What am I? Playing with kennings

When I was training at the Curious School of Puppetry, the brilliant writer Anna Maria Murphy came to work with us for a few days, and one of the glorious creative titbits she introduced me to was the kenning. We ventured outside to observe the pigeons in a Bethnal Green park, and kennings tumbled out onto the pages of our notebooks.

Over the past few months I’ve been developing a daily writing practice. Looking back on those wonderful days at Curious, I remembered how much fun it had been to play with words in this way with Anna. So when I sat down for my daily dose of writing earlier this week, I thought I’d have a play with some kennings again…

Love letter to the sea…

Some days you love me
Caressing my skin with your silken 
Calming my worried soul
Bringing me peace

Some days you torment me
Thrashing my body with your 
power, your rage
fuelling my fears of
Why do you push me

You show me wonders
Life circling beneath my feet
Wonders I cannot

You hide them from me
Shroud your secrets
Deny me access
Yet always 
you give me answers
You're hot
then cold
But mostly cold

You're my teacher, my lover, my nemesis, my friend
My dreamy escape
My reality check
The thing I take for granted
Yet when I am far from you 
My heart aches for
your touch
your comfort
your beauty
your pain
your testing
your reminding
that there is always a reason
to go on. 

I searched for peace

I wandered
roaming the shoreline
The noise of life too
loud in my mind
I searched for peace
But it eluded me.

Up ahead, the beach had changed,
the sand shifted in the recent
tides, leaving slippery rock

My path, more complex than anticipated.
I stopped
knelt by the nearest rockpool
and waited

Time passed

The light shifted

A subtle but unmistakable step over
the threshold.

The air bit at my fingertips
Blue morphed to amber
to golden
to red.

A twitch
A bubble rising to the surface
A spindly leg and pointed toe

To my left, another twitch

To my right, another

One by one, knees and mandibles
Shells traversed the sand
carried on thin, groping legs

One clambered over curly seaweed
up over around
Mandibles working

Crouched above them
I observed.
I watched the hermit crabs go
about their business
coming to life as the day faded
into night.

I forgot noise
I forgot cold
I forgot time

Until my stiff, human knees reminded me
it was December
and I wasn’t 16 any more
and crouching for 20 minutes
had consequences.

I left the rockpool
its edges silhouetted against
the rusting sky.

I left the crabs
breaking the noise
into tiny pieces
then burying them.

I carried my peace home.

Rice crispie rain and a promise of violence

It was a heavy evening
Full of the promise of violence,
Yet I went out.
Climbed up the steep driveway to the castle,
Down into the moat
Where the wind held its breath.
The blackbird was silent as I waded through treacle,
Air heavy,
with an electric current.
The sickly sweet smell teased my nostrils,
A sugar-coating of things to come.
I risked a glance upwards.
Thick clouds rolled in and blanketed the sky.
I sped up.
What's a light smattering of rain?
But these clouds 
meant business.
Past the wall of primroses I stomped.
Red campion
Red valerian
Clumps of cow parsley,
Nodding at a fellow solitary walker
from a safe distance.
Passing the thick stalks of hogweed,
Chewing the name around in my mouth.
I felt the first stealthy drops
touch my cheeks.
Light fingers, tentative at first,
Multiplying into rice crispie rain.
Its lightness lulled me
Like a stroke before a
Toes tingling
Fingers fidgeting
I strode under the front porch
As the heavens fell behind me. 
Just in time.