Penultimate Poem

Day 364 of 365 days of writing and posting a poem a day. Except for the blip on 30th November when the internet went down. There were two posts on 1st December. When I considered what might be a fitting subject as I have the finish line of this poetry writing marathon in sight, I thought I have not, directly at least, written a love poem for Ireland. I also am very fond of old style maps. You know, the paper kind, rather than the interactive, digital sort. Months and months ago I found this wonderful image of an old map of Ireland that has been on my desktop teasing me. It’s a map of Ireland from circa 1808. It delinates the four ancient kingdoms of Ireland- Ulster in the north, Leinster in the east, Munster south and Connaught in the west. I live in a village on the Black Pig’s Dyke, which was an ancient earthwork system to discourage cattle raids from over yon border. (These schemes for walls never work. Why do we never learn, but just keep repeating the same old same old?) Half of my village is on the Ulster side of the River Shannon, where I live. Cross the bridge and you are in Leitrim and Connaught.

There was a rosy glow of dawn’s early light over the Playbank as I let Ellie out to answer her call of nature this morning. It never fails to take make me feel blessed to call this place home. So, a love poem for Ireland…


Island or land mass
Every chamber
has its particular
of its four fields,
their rivers,
arteries of love
running through.
Their oxygen, too.

It may only be
the size
of a human fist,
yet everything
upon this:
the morning mist,
its mythic hints,
the river gods
the seat of awe.

Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved

I Fell In Love With You Here

Yesterday, when I was perusing Unsplash looking for a featured image for the blog, my eye was caught by an image and I thought, Right! That is tomorrow’s poem’s title and theme. So, unusually, it had about twenty-four hours to simmer on the backburner of my brain. Despite – maybe even because of – the grim world news, it’s another love poem. It began it’s first draft in the waiting of my GP’s surgery too early this morning. Then it macerated a bit while I planted some more of the hundreds of spring bulbs my husband is planting in our garden this autumn. I burned some of the lunch while I redrafted  it. (Thank heaven’s for smoke alarms.)


I Fell in Love With You Here

 For Tony


Not to be glib, but it fills the bill –

a mattress on the floor in a house on Stamford Hill –

when I glimpsed my beauty in your eye.

But that would be half a lie.

I had already fallen into you

when I fiercely said, Choose me!  –

settling a point we would  no longer

debate or need to argue.

Maybe it was when you moodily considered

the Thames. (Or was it the River Lea?)

as you sat with your pint

pondering the problem of  me.

The truth of the matter is

I fell in love with you

here and here and here –

in a new place every year.

In massive rows and make up spunk,

in an OR where you donned surgical bonnet

and held my hand hard.

I fell for you there. You didn’t funk.

Only just last week I was so moved

by your hands, laying lightly on the steering wheel,

or playing your guitar,

the strength and breadth in their span.

I rediscovered you recently

coming down a supermarket aisle

cradling loaves of bread. And

I melted at your smile

this weekend when I woke up

bewildered, with Halloween hair bedhead.

I fall in love with you

in the garden and proposing by the sea.

I fall in love with you impromptu

here and here and here.

I find a new place every year.


Copyright © Bee Smith 2018


Featured image by Jason Briscoe on

Love Sonnet

I woke early for me, before it was fully light, which allowed me to peacefully creep into the day once I had fed the cat collective. I read while I drink the first cup of tea of the day (green, with lemon, and a sugar/stevia sweetener to try and curb my sugar habit). I don’t know what I will write. But I am not an immediately wide awake riser. I slowly surface, like those divers who used to have to ascend metre by metre, so they didn’t get a bad case of the bends. I browse emails, social media, or a real book in hand. Whatever takes my fancy. What prompted today’s poem came from a stray line in a Brain Pickings email – no heart goes unplundered. That sentence was the trigger.

Surprising myself, I decided to bash away at another sonnet. Love and grief and sonnets cluster together nicely. There are so many kinds of love and loving, yet the essentials always remain true no matter what form it takes.


Love Sonnet


Love is not an object ordinary,

being subject to laws of physics.

Love is beyond chemistry, godlessly

opposed, lawless, crossing demographics,

moving nanoseconds faster than light.

Love has presence that will always pervade

absence. Grief will take us to darkest night.

Love will raise us upright and unbetrayed.

Even when we only have its perfume,

someone’s scent on sweater worn, though fading,

wraps its wooly memory, restoring bloom –

stem erect and poised for flower.

Resilience is love’s gift and power.


Copyright © Bee Smith 2018


Featured Image By Hu Totya – Own work, Public Domain,

Simultaneously One Summer

Day 10 of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo and yesterday’s poem is still rattling around my head.  Today’s prompt reads thus:

Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem of simultaneity – in which multiple things are happing at once.

And what is emerging from my draft is another unconventional love poem.  Because there is an element of story I am opting for prose poem form for it. Some say prose is writing within margins, poetry defies margins. Merriam -Webster defines a prose poem as “a composition in prose with elements of a poem.”

The Summer of 1968

The cities began to burn like brushfire.

My family drove the Jersey Pike to visit my Grandmother in the Lutheran Home.           She had had a stroke, lying speechless in her bed, slowly dying.

We had passed Atlantic City on the way, but my mother couldn’t be persuaded to take a turn off extra dividend. She said ‘no’ in hushed tones, which made the city seem full of sin.

Or maybe it was because her ill-starred, unhappy parents had eloped there and so began the whole sad unravelling.

We drove back to my aunt’s, quiet in the car.

Meanwhile, your eighteen-year old self was there on a J1 visa having your Big American Adventure with your twin,

picking up and dropping down jobs like the pizzas you twirled on the Boardwalk. You snoozed in unoccupied hotel rooms, snuck in by Housekeeping. Down to your last dimes, you and your brother ate plums and milk on the beach watching the sun come up.

And we never met, even as I was  feeling a tidal tug towards you, asking my mom to turn off there to have a look.

Double my lifetime from that day.

We had gone our separate ways.

We travelled continents in opposite directions.

We crossed decades.

But finally

you saw me.

I saw you.

And we knew.


© 2018 Bee Smith




Featured image is a photo of the Atlantic City elephant circa 1970s found on