Writing Prompt 1: bulb

I thought it would be good to have something interactive going on over at The Poetry Shed. The recent call for poems was on mental health which in a time of isolation and social distancing is an important issue to continue to address and discuss so the selected poems will continue to appear here each week. In between the poems I will put up a picture prompt and hopefully inspire some writing. I think(!) it might be possible for these (or some of these) to be posted in the comments below. Here is today’s image and I have included a poem of mine below to get you started….

In May selected poems from these prompts will be published on The Poetry Shed… happy writing…


Daughter bulb

You grow in me. I call you petal
and your name buds on my tongue at night.
We’re spooned in sleep, skin on skin
and I purr lullabies from sap-filled lips until
your limbs purl like newly-woken shoots:
fresh leaves wait for nursing, suckling.

I name you Lily, and in the bulb of my belly
the veins of your body knit together
and you sleepwalk inside me,
make tiny footprints in blurred dreams,
trail my spine with satin feet as if you
own each and every inch of me. I don’t know
which one of us is the honey, which the bee,
or who has the nectar we drink so deeply.

(From The Unmapped Woman)

7 thoughts on “Writing Prompt 1: bulb”

  1. Thanks for the wonderful words and prompt. For me it’s very pertinent to write about bulbs as we are celebrating Nowruz (Persian New Year) and part of this involves celebrating the growth of hyacinths , which always bring me joy.

    Seven for Luck on the Haft Sin Table

    Every year makes the same promise –
    to begin again. The seven symbols map us on.
    Sonbol, hyacinth, is a packaged promise
    of what will come – an oracle hidden in plain sight.

    Each year I hide the surprise in moss and loam,
    wonder who the soil has been before.
    Ancestor mass, history scales, waiting secret.
    It all comes round – again. A continued performance.

    The past reveals next year’s shocks,
    wrapped and waiting, wearing a neat tunic.
    We too can reach out into the dirt, and root
    perform sympathetic magic inside – bide our time.


    Almost an act of faith then, planting out
    those bulbs before the winter’s frosts, all
    self-contained like monks in contemplation, hooded
    in winter’s cowl. Sunk deep enough to hold
    their memory and purpose, shallow enough to let
    them sense their moment of release. Tete-a tete,
    entering Spring’s cloisters, singing their colours
    as we converse and fret, our eyes looking beyond
    the silent roads, an act of hope.

  3. Gwen Grant

    Gwen Grant

    When she was at her worst
    She was still interested in flowers,
    Touching the petals gently
    Before ripping them off.

    For a long time, it was all destruction,
    Until she found the bulb
    Lying on top of a flower bed,
    Pushed out by the hidden spite
    Of things in the earth beneath it.

    ‘Just like me,’ she said, picking it up,
    Planting it in a plastic plant pot
    Lying under the window,
    Not even glancing at it till Christmas.

    Then, of course, she destroyed it,
    For where she had expected a flower
    She found snakes, and swearing they had bitten her,
    Mashed it all up in her hands.

    That bulb, sending out its delicate thin roots,
    Keen as mustard to multiply,
    Didn’t stand a chance.

    Next time, we’ll give her a fat rosy bulb,
    Flower already wide-eyed and open.

    ©2020 Gwen Grant

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