Paint chip catch-up

Linda Krushke’s paint chip challenge this week following the sad loss of her sister:

‘Today’s challenge is a free write, any form you want, or you can write free verse. Rhyme or not, the choice is yours. The only stipulation is that you use at least ten of the fifteen paint chip words and phrases. If you want, you can write about someone you love and miss, which is what I’ll be doing.

The paint chip words and phrases you have to work with are sunflower, watermelon, pool, in your eyes, clear skies, before the rain, margarita, hot sauce, zest for life, heavenly, sunshine, total eclipse, out of the blue, the whole enchilada, and yellow brick road.’

Don’t forget to click through to Linda’s post to read her poem, and to see the paint chip colours and the responses of other paint chip poets. My thoughts and prayers are with her and her wider family at this time.

Although my own sister died almost 41 years ago (aged 24) I have never previously written a poem about her.

My sister

It is from my early life
My memories of my only sister
Remain – for over forty years
Her friends and family have missed her.

To me as a two-year-old
Her arrival came out of the blue.
When she was ill, Mum nursed us all;
I had whooping cough and Dad had flu!

Her zest for life caused Helen
To excel at sport, dancing and judo.
We used to walk miles to the pool
Under clear blue skies, not in snow.

She loved to bask in sunshine,
And to eat honeydew melon – sweeter
Than watermelon. She had friends,
Who would travel far to meet her.

A calceolaria was
Her favourite of the hothouse flowers,
Not a fuchsia like our Mum’s choice,
Or even fast-growing sunflowers.

We saw the yellow brick road
On the cinema screen in Rochdale, Lancs,
And projected by lights – Wizard
Of Oz on Ice – a family treat. Thanks.

She baked heavenly buns
Using ingredients in proportions
From our family recipe.
Against cancer there were no precautions.

Had you known her at all well,
I’m sure you’d remember her as a friend,
Recalling with tears in your eyes
Her life coming to an early end.


Idyll paint chip poem

Sea foam on a bridge and beck

Sea foam in the foreground with distant arable fields

This week Linda Kruschke’s challenge is to write an Idyll. For the dictionary definitions, colours and her poem please click here. She writes:

Today your challenge is to write your own idyll, according to any of the three definitions provided by the poetry dictionary

The paint chip words and phrases you have to work with are sprig of mintmoon walkwaterfallscarecrowsea foamsaffron, and forget-me-not. I’d like you to use at least five of these words and phrases in your idyll.



Coastal countryside

In the northern British countryside scarecrows are rarely seen.
Mostly made for festivals or National Trust properties,
They have been given funny names* or represent celebrities.
The windswept arable fields change from ploughed brown to green.

Along the edge of the growing crop wild flowers germinate.
They look quite small and insignificant by the swaying stalks;
Field pansy, forget-me-not, shepherd’s purse and more brighten our walks.
After a storm sea foam leaves the coast in a strange state.

Sea foam glistening white clings to the cliffs as the tide ebbs.
Seen from afar it might be thought to be a waterfall.
Red saffron-coloured sandstone makes many an attractive wall.
On the walls plants grow, snails shelter and spiders build webs.

* I once met a blogging scarecrow with a funny name at Wordsworth’s House and Garden in Cockermouth. Read about our first meeting here.


Paint chip haibun

Linda Kruschke’s Paint chip poetry prompt is for a Haibun. For the definition, the paint chip colours and examples of her haibuns please visit her post.

What I would like you to do is write a haibun in the form of a travel journal or diary entry. It must be nonfiction. I want to hear about your adventures. End your poem with a haiku (for those of you who were hoping for haiku this week, you won’t be disappointed). You can include additional haiku if you like.

The paint chip words and phrases that you have to work with are before the rainmountain peaksupernovatumbleweedtropicalin the dark, and dust bunny.

I would like you to use at least five of the paint chips, including one in your haiku.

And there is no need for a title with a haibun, much like the haiku that has no title. But you can add one if you like.

Haibun inspired by journal entries in my Decomposition Book

Monday. We were driven from the airport towards the sun, setting bright as a supernova.

Pool in Japanese garden

Pool in Japanese garden

Wednesday. In Portland’s rose garden we explored the paths, read many labels and ate our picnic lunch before the rain. Then we visited the Japanese garden.

Waterfall beyond
a pool wherein koi carp
swim near the irises

Saturday. Visiting Mount Tabor we caught a glimpse of the mountain peak we had last seen from the air. Walking up a path we reached a gap in the trees. Mount Hood, which had been hidden by clouds on Monday, was clearly visible. An awe-inspiring surprise view.

It was June. Light evenings meant we rarely stayed out in the dark. We walked a long way in the city and its suburbs.

Tree-lined avenues
diminish tropical heat
of Portland’s sidewalks