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‘Dare You Blow it Out’

Slugs ease in round half eleven.

Double, teeth on her graphite tourniquet,
looms up the wall.

Ceiling’s Brownian mandala.

Candle, eating its amygdala, gives a masonic wink
to Minton glaze on the mantel,
vase and jug, that aluminium lamp,
as an artist would bring them to life
I expect.



“I imagine tutor Tom Chivers at the moment he conceived of the online course ‘Nightwriter’, rubbing his hands and laughing like a Bond villain. Yes, he would expose his acolytes to all sorts of darkness and for their own good, mwa-mwa-mwaaaa…

It was the middle of Tom’s three assignments that really pushed me to produce something different: write at midnight with only a candle for light, and try to capture the strangeness of it, the unease. Reach for new words – ‘dark’, ‘shadow’ and other familiar linguistic props, banned!

I duly sat on my sofa towards midnight and made lots of freely associative notes. Next morning, the poem came relatively easily. The title, on the other hand, has given me trouble; not sure if it’s completely settled yet. ‘Dare You Blow it Out’ – invitation, provocation or question? – over to you…”

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Image Credits:

Image: Mason Jar Candles

Image credit: Lisa H