Poem: H.M.S. Overly Verbose

So, it’s another poem, instead of that whole short story thing I promised. Trouble is, the short story just won’t stay short. Maybe this will give you some idea of what I’m talking about.

It is, of course, the longest poem I’ve ever written.


H.M.S. Overly Verbose


It’s less than true to say I’m schooled in ship-building, I know;

But there are ports I’d like to show you. So here goes.

First we pick our starting point–or in my case,

Don’t. Begin at the beginning with our metal, cloth and wood,

Strewn all over; one titanium beam for the base,

is gilt with copper for a glowing finish. If I could,

I’d shove a pole of iron all the way throughout its core;

To prove I work in layers. But I’ll restrain myself.

(don’t get too comfortable; you can be assured–

this ship will prove most hazardous to your health!)

The hull we’ll build with tungsten plate glued on to tungsten plate;

I’m sure it will suffice for this creation.

Until we have to patch the ensuing leaks–but wait:

Try not to overwrite the decoration.

Fine flowers; stencilled, cut and blowtorched on to link

One mismatched bit of steel to fine ceramics.

And if, by chance, en route to this my Frankenstein ship sinks,

You’ll be too mesmerised by it to panic.

We’ll make the deck five miles long, so to incorporate;

Every bit of timber jigsaw we can find.

And fit them all together with smooth marble counterweight,

To fill the gaps between oak, maple, ash and pine.

And cherry, silver birch and lime–the best of woods for carving,

So I’ve heard: so that one’s for the figures.

(all nine thousand) with live trees too to stop us starving,

if it doesn’t work we’ll have to build it bigger.

A cathedral of the sea, although we’ll invert the fan vaulting;

Add some buttresses and blow them out of glass.

The angel-demon-griffins on that edge will prove most halting,

Should our questionable voyage come to pass.

Now for the masts; we’ll weld a million lightning rods together,

For the first, and next a million spears.

And if you fear the rest will attract equally bad weather–

Don’t worry. It won’t be done for years.

I want to build a ship that has a piece for all occasions,

And force it out into uncharted slaughter;

Decked with anything that’s caught my eye: the magpie consecration,

My pretty fish to blow out of the water;

With the super-laser-cannons I have armed with brazen swords

I brought to gun fights (true, to some exasperation)

And moon-rock enjoined catapults to face oncoming hordes,

Of better-made ships bound for devastation.

To keep the sails working in the face of this onslaught;

I suggest we take what we’ve already got,

And weave it through with spider’s silk; admire what we’ve wrought,

And fly them every time we have the shot.

But one restraint I’ll put here before people get excited;

That silk and sack, that satin suede and skin–

Will bear no message sewn on them until we’ve all alighted,

Or else I’ll have to sink it for its sins.

I guess we’ll have a colour-scheme: for I’ll not have a rainbow,

Spoil the twilight horizon with bad taste.

But we’ll embroider every metaphor with silver, like a halo;

always one more adjective to stall our haste.

And let’s erect a tower with a turret at the helm;

Like the writer in the berth that’s next to mine.

It’s not a rip-off; mine is knitted, hers is made of elm,

Homages honour these ships ‘of the line’.

And wool from every corner of the world will make the cables;

Even if exceeding three will weigh it down.

We’ll change it later if we have to. First–we’ll draw on Aesop’s fables,

One more homage won’t run us into ground.

As for the ridiculous amount of decks below;

Eventually there’ll be some theme in their style.

I swear the trip will go too fast, even if the ship is slow,

And stern to bow can be measured in miles.

I realise it’s not the ideal vessel for the task;

The monstrosity upon the wine-dark sea.

But skill in this and every art can only come to pass,

With time. (yes, that’s an allegory).

There are so many islands that I want to take you to,

That cannot wait. So while some might use a raft,

I’ll throw everything I know together; conjure up a crew

Of characters who’ll help us in this craft.

So the ship is both built and edited as we go;

Which of my many tales would you know?

H. M. S. Overly Verbose


#NationalPoetryDay : The Snail (A Self-Portrait)

Just like me to post a poem the day BEFORE the day that turns out to be National Poetry Day. Well, once I heard someone at work mention it, I just had to write another one; and when you’ve been looking forward to another day of entering files onto a spreadsheet, writing poetry just ends up a chore, let me tell you!

Anyway, read on for the answer I know you’ve all been waiting for to the burning question of ‘why does this person identify with snails so much’? Enjoy it; it’s more upbeat than my usual offerings 😉


The Snail (A Self-Portrait)


At the speed of slate and dressed in black,

I carry a world upon my back;

In a waterproofed pack (while I get wet).

The end of the book is a long way yet.

There’s awe in the shell, if not in the face,

And I, the King of Infinite Space–

The most awkward creature you’ve ever met!




In other news, I’ve just added this year’s novel to my NaNo page; so if you’re doing NaNoWriMo, and especially if you’re doing history, supernatural or generally weird shit next month, feel free to look me up–I’m Rachelloon there too.

Don’t You Understand What I’m Comma Trying To Say?

Technology marches on, and after a long time trying to decide whether I was too lazy to learn how to use Voice Typing, or whether I was lazy enough that Voice Typing itself would save more effort in the long run than not being bothered to look into it would, I took the plunge and bought myself a wireless headset + mic to start talking to myself like a crazy person!

Only this time I was wearing the headset, so I didn’t look quite so crazy.

To test it, I read aloud one of my favourite poems–Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley. These were the results (mistakes in italics; corrections in square brackets):

I met a traveller from an antique land

Who’s there had two vast entrance Westlake’s of stone [said, vast and trunkless]

Stand in the desert near them on the sand

Have sent a shattered visage lies, his brown [half-sunk, frown]

And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command

Tell that it’s got to well those passions road [sculptor, read]

Which yet survive stamped on these lifeless things

The hand that mocked them and the heart of the third [that fed]

And on the pedestal these words appear

My name is of him and he is King of Kings [Ozymandias]

Look on my works the mighty and despair [ye]

Nothing beside remains round the decay

Of that colossal wreck boundless and there [bare]

The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Considering I’m using the free Windows software, this was the first thing I voice-typed and it will get better the more I train it, the above actually isn’t too bad–some lines were even word-for-word correct. I then did one of the training things that they have, where you read their pre-prepared text so the speech-recognition can get more used to your voice. The problem with that is that they tell you to use your normal speaking voice, but as soon as I’m told to read something aloud I put on my Public Speaking voice; which sounds like…

“The train at platform one is the eleven twenty-eight, First Great Eastern service to… London King’s Cross. Calling at Royston, Hitchin, Stevenage, Welwyn North, Welwyn Garden City, Ashwell & Morden, and… London King’s Cross, only.”

Also, I can tell homonyms are going to be a problem with it, as well as names I’ve made up–maybe even less common names in general. But it has improved even after only a short time using it–for example:

It was a scroll, a skeleton, walking towards them and the remains of the shrouds that had once been a very extravagant, expensive—it had to have been, but what remained of it now was nothing more than shreds hanging off the shoulder bones of the undead creature.

Which was meant to be:

It was a skull, a skeleton, walking towards them in the remains of the shroud that had once been very extravagant, expensive–it had to have been, but what remained of it now was nothing more than shreds hanging off the shoulder bones of the undead creature.

Only a few small errors. (I particularly like how it recognised ‘undead’, but Word underlined it in red anyway).

And yet I drew this series of cartoons anyway because it amused me…

Speech Recognition 1 Speech Recognition 2 Speech Recognition 3

I don’t know why my laptop wants to be the next Dan Brown of all people. Truly, it is a sick and twisted device…