NaPoWriMo Day 18

Can you believe it? DAY 18!!!! I never thought I would get this far – so I’m feeling a bit pleased.

The prompt today (which you can read here) was to pick a chapter title from a suggested book (or any book you wanted) and make it the title of your poem.

Chapter titles from the suggested book that I felt drawn to:

Collage, please don’t understand, listening to our shadow, our real names, being here, the blue socks, open the window.

Too much choice! So I picked a random number between one and seven. It was two: Please Don’t Understand.

This title made me think about something I heard on the radio about domestic violence against women and girls, and about how physical abuse can sometimes be forgiven too readily by women who are trapped in frightening situations where they ‘over-understand’ and show a lot of empathy for their abuser when interviewed. All a bit heavy, but I do think about this subject a lot so I guess it will rise up in my poetry. I edited a non-fiction book on the topic several years ago when there was a focus on developing strategies and policies in this area, and yet now I hear the government saying, yet again, that they are going to tackle it. I wonder when it will actually happen.

I don’t know where the climbing imagery came from as I am not a climber at all!!! Although a friend of mine wrote a novel about a climbing family, some of which was set in the 1930s/40s, when this sort of waist belay would have been used, so I think I picked it up there (they have fancy equipment for belaying nowadays, I think!).

Please don’t understand


His mood the usual crag, a leer of limestone overhang,

fissured, gashed, deposit-streaked, seeps minerals,

spite-green. Insults like the grit from climber’s foot

fall on the steadfast belayer beneath, steadying the rope.


The patient rope-holder, you can see the face-rocked journey

chosen is not the favourable route; can see missed holds

and opportunities. Unlike the belayer, you’ll stay quiet,

too feared to call it upwards lest he twists; his angled fury

will tear the rope through gloves, rip your palms.  

Best just stand still while that rope bites through jacket,

creases waist tight; drags your skin to crimson weals.

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