Did you hear that?
I say to no one there
and wonder what in this place
would need to settle;

I’m waiting another week
to turn on the heating. ...

About the poem

This poem was published in the Samhain 2018 issue of Three Drops From a Cauldron.

The poem was written during a Poetry London masterclass led by Glyn Maxwell. It was inspired by a writing exercise describing various postures of people within the class. The exercise is described in Maxwell’s book Drinks with Dead Poets, which I recommend for many reasons, including a wonderful insight into poetry and some other excellent writing exercises.

I love writing prompts and exercises - they are such a help in maintaining my writing practice on days when I am stuck for ideas, but I’m also always fascinated by what comes out of them. A group of people in a room can all write something very different from the same prompt because you bring yourself to your work, and in this case, because you’re not setting out with a particular intent you can catch yourself unawares.

This poem may have come from an exercise, but it has a lot of my own experience in it. I live alone, and mostly I’m happy about that and don’t get spooked easily. Sometimes, however, on a low day, I do feel uncomfortable or uncertain and it’s a feeling that creeps up on me, just like this poem.

I’m very happy this poem was published in the wonderful Three Drops From a Cauldron because it’s perfect for Halloween, a time when we tell ourselves scary and outlandish stories in part to reassure ourselves of our safety. While it’s not helpful to become overtaken by fear, there is something to relish about a little shiver of fright or a second look around an empty room.