This is just to say

A madrigal dances
And lilts with joy
Each voice blending until
My own ill-starred entry

Sweet-toned harmonies
Dissolve all too soon into
Dissonance and glares
Followed by silence

Forgive me
It appears I can
No longer count to
Ten any more

© 2020, northie

Verses after William Carlos Williams’ poem of the same name. A test of line breaks as part of this month’s YeahWrite poetry slam.

Your comments and constructive criticism are welcome.

Image by Oldiefan from Pixabay

À Deux

This blog is two years old. Cue faintly bemused celebrations that we’ve made it this far. I say ‘we’ deliberately. Hands up how many of you are unaware I share this blog with my friend (and editor), Parker Owens? I imagine there’ll be a fair few of you out there.

A couple of months after this blog started, I invited Parker to contribute his first post. Since then, he’s added a distinct, alternative voice to Pencil’s offerings with his poetry. Sometimes funny, at others, profound or contemplative, his verse often centres on love, and his own experience as a gay man. Continue reading


It oozes, trickles, laps, seeking any entrance it can. Foam-tipped rivulets test homemade defences in near silence. Finally Nature’s might pours through unimpeded, wielding power without mercy.

Weary residents succumb to the inevitable, abandoning everything in their flight.

The flood won this time, but maybe not the next.

© 2020, northie

Your comments and constructive criticism are always welcome.

Image by Chräcker Heller from Pixabay


So far, the disease had cropped up in five different towns. A virus, it spread rapidly in clusters. Winter coughs and sneezes gave the contagion an added boost, meaning it could be caught as easily on public transport as at work or school.

Or home.


Returning from a brief food shopping raid, Fran cleaned her hands thoroughly with anti-bacterial gel, even though logic told her it wouldn’t kill the virus.

She sighed. “You’re getting worse. Next up, you’ll be giving credence to anti-vaxers.” Journalist, blogger, and tweeter on medical subjects, she believed in giving science sway over her articles. Continue reading

Christmas Present

The kiss reminded him of chemistry lessons in school, when if the right two elements were put together, they’d explode. Alan leaned forward to peer at the TV screen, drinking in the men’s beauty, their ardour and sexiness, and the rightness of it all. Even his faded, ancient corduroys momentarily felt tighter in the crotch. Then a lifetime’s worth of regrets, hidden secrets, and loneliness welled up; tears oozed out until slow rivulets flowed down the lines in his face.

A groping hand found the hanky in his pocket. He mopped up and blew his nose fiercely.

He turned the TV off, tossing the remote onto the sofa. “Why start watching the film, you stupid sod? That sort of thing always sets you off. And it’s worse this time of year.” Continue reading

’tis the Season…

And so comes the Season beloved of all with its
Jocund melancholy, guilt-bedecked feasts, and
Soured amity poisoning the day.

Nearby lives a soul who mourns friends
Long departed while dining on worrisome care
Silent frugality prevails whatever the season.

Gluttony or loneliness? Surely our path lies between.

© 2109, northie

Revisiting the sevenling. I welcome your comments and constructive criticism.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Apple Green – Part 2

In the second and concluding part of this Yuletide tale, the weirdness continues. James tries to impose his dreams on the orchard but he faces an opponent. Who wins? If you missed the first part, you can find it here: Apple Green – Part 1

Caution for sexual content.

James Beaumont found himself back in his house with the box. He was its guardian. … Where did those random thoughts come from? Again, the image of the glowing seed appeared in his mind before fading away. A seed? No way. It was delayed stress, the silence, anything apart from the box and its contents. As he left the box in the front room, the young man felt he was released. The connection lessened in strength, but only for a period which would not be determined by him. Fuck, the sooner he was away from the place, the better. Continue reading

Apple Green – Part 1

A young man from the city has great ideas for redeveloping his late uncle’s quaint, rural house and its garden. A present he finds in the attic changes everything…

Something dark for Yuletide.

“Hey! Young man! You can’t leave that parked there.”

James Beaumont turned to see a determined older woman in a tweed skirt pointing at his beloved, bright red roadster. He’d parked on the road outside one of a short row of half-timbered houses. His late uncle’s house.

“Can’t you see no-one else will be able to get past it?”

The young man stared at the female, then grudgingly eyed-up the narrow Herefordshire village street. Why couldn’t his uncle have had the decency to live somewhere civilised? Like London.

He sighed audibly, and made his way back to the driver’s side. Where the fuck was he meant to park then?

The woman answered his question before he’d even asked it. “You can park at the village hall. It’s fifty yards ahead, on the left.”

James rolled his eyes, got in and drove off. Looking in his rear view mirror, the woman still stood there. She was probably wondering who the fuck he was. Stranger and all that.


Having left his precious car behind, James strolled back up the narrow lane, carrying his luggage. It appeared he had the place to himself again. Even so, he sensed the twitching of curtains. Continue reading