I go along to a poetry group every other Saturday where we discuss poems, get feedback, and do some writing exercises. One of our recent exercises involved picking one word from each poem that had been shared that week (not knowing what we would be doing with them) then using them all in a poem. This is the result of my attempt at this exercise. I won’t tell you which words I picked. Some will be obvious, others will not.


An octopus lays in wait
Anxiously waiting
Nervously gesticulating in a mirror of discarded glass
Amused fish-eyes slide past outside
His own wide arms
Wing-span, diameter
Fill his cave
As he practises his lines

A disappointing pile of unflowering anemones
Decays in a corner
Were they a bit too much?
He is soaking a shrimp in vinegar
Because all the books say it’s romantic
But it’s apparent
That every inch of his near transparency
Is lost

And suddenly she’s here
So he octoposes
Flexes in octopostures
Fashioned to appear robust
But trust his luck
A bubble of air inflates his face
And she giggles

He takes in her smile
Her gentle dance
Her scuffed octoshoes
In the deep, blue light
And thinks
She’s a bit of alright


The elusive, wall-scaling house-octopus


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