A New Year Pirate Poem

Happy New Year to you. If you’ve just tuned in here, Poetry Tag is where Rebecca and I take turns challenging each other to include a set of words in a poem. Topic and form are the poet’s choice, but the set words must be included.

I have to admit, this is the first time since we started that I’m posting something I’m not best pleased with.  It’s my fourth attempt to use the words, and I’ve decided I just have to post something, to show that I tried, I really tried.  And to show that sometimes poems just will not behave.

The problem lies in one of the words Rebecca gave me ‘pirate’ – or, to be more accurate ‘the pirate’.  As soon as I saw that  word, I vowed that there would be no actual pirate in my poem. I would use  the pirate as a metaphor for something else. But my metaphor just would not behave, and each attempt was not only trite, but also didn’t flow as a poem.

This latest attempt presents the idea I wanted to get across – of doubt being a pirate trying to rob us of success or happiness or pleasure.  But I did want my final version to be cleverer and read less preachy. Still, time has tick-ticked by since Rebecca set the words, so I have decided to post this version, and then let it rest, in the hopes that my  subconscious treasure box will work away at what I was really trying to do once the pressure is off.

So, here’s my response to the words ‘the pirate’, ‘idle’ ‘eats’ and ‘will’. And watch out, Rebecca. You might have stumped me, but vengeance will be mine because now it’s my turn to set words for you!

New Year

A new year

Is a an uncharted sea

on which to set sail

aiming for lofty horizons.

Goals are the ship you board

hoping for treasure before year’s end.

Doubt is the pirate

that battles will

and eats



at courage

and determination

and hope

in idle moments.

Trust is the noble warrior

brandishing the cutlass

that forces the pirate

onto his own plank.

Belief is the sailor

who takes the wheel

and redirects the vessel.

Success is the ultimate goal

though it rarely looks

exactly as planned.

Sometimes the treasure is

different than imagined,

other times it lies in simply

looking back at the journey

and still others

it’s being alive to tell the tale at all.

(Copyright Sally Murphy 2018)




Postal Nonsense

Rebecca only gave me three words this time: ghost, with and global.  I wrote the three words on a stickynote and thought they would do their magic on me, worming their way into a piece of poetic brilliance – or at least a piece of poetic averageness. But nothing happened. My mind played a bit with the alliteration of global ghost, and flickered briefly to global warming and the ghosts we might become if we don’t take stronger action, but that seemed a bit dire for this blog.

So, some weeks went by and the words were still just three words. Till my son asked me whatt heyw ere and I explained that I needed to put all three in a poem. “That’s easy!” he said: “There once was a ghost/Who got some post…” His words trailed off, but my mind started, at last, to tick away. Because I’ve been working on a workshop about forced rhyme, and there was one staring me in the face. “Hmm,” i thought. “I think I can do soemthing pretty corny here.” And the res, as they say, is history.

It’s not poetic brilliance, but it is a bit of fun, and perhaps an example of what happens when you try to force rhymes to a topic. (Sarcel? Thanks for that one, Rhymezone.)

Here’s my effort:


Postal NonsenseAdvance Sage 3

Can you exchange post

With a ghost?

Write mail

To a snail?

Send a letter

To a red setter?

Or a card

To a St Bernard?

Can you write a note

To a goat?

Send a global parcel

To a hawk’s sarcel?


(You’ll want to go

And look that up).

I guess you know

The answer’s NUP.


Poem copyright Sally Murphy, 2017

A Homophonic Musing

Yet again I have been slow to meet the challenge Rebecca gave me. I have been lost in the depths of a doctoral thesis focussing on children’s poetry, as well as releasing two new books and working. Still, I shouldn’t neglect Poetry challenges!

Anyway, when I finally sat down and looked at the word Rebecca had given me:

foul all or use

I instantly thought about the homophone pair of fouls/fowl. It only took a few moments to realise that all four words were homophones, and so the idea for a homophone poem tickled my fancy. This is the result:

A Homophonic Musing

As I stand and look in awe

I know it’s neither oar or or

That I should use

When admiring ewes

And feathery fowl

Who are not foul.

My brain’s a metaphoric awl

That helps me manage pinpoint all

The different ways of spelling

Things I see and tales I’m telling.


Thanks for the challenge Rebecca. Watch out for new words coming your way.

(Poem copyright Sally Murphy, 2017)

Summer Swim

To be honest, the set of words Rebecca gave me weren’t anywhere near the hardest she’s given me, but it’s still taken me a while to get around to using them in a poem. It’s summer here in Australia, and  this means that when I looked at the word ‘lazy’ I immediately thought of lazy afternoons at the beach. So here’s what I came up with.

20170112_162907Summer Swim


And I am lazy

Smell of sunscreen

Fills the air.

A thousand bushflies

Drive me crazy

As I make  my way

Down there.

I plunge myself

In cooling ocean

Feel inertia

Wash away.

Flies have vanished

No devotion

To watery fun

They’d rather stay

Beachside where they’ll

Leave their print

On backs of sunsoaked

Sandbound teens

Who’ve left the water

For a stint

Of games, or food,

Or magazines.


(Poem copyright Sally Murphy)

Family Hound

It’s only been a few days since Rebecca gave me a new set of words, and I surprised myself by knowing instantly what to do with them. Maybe because this was an easier set than last time (when she gave me Shakespearean words) or maybe my muse was just having a good day.

The words she game me where am, spot and slip. As soon as I read them I had an image of a spotty dog. slipping and sliding around. Which lead to this:

I am Spot

Dotty hound

Grotty hound

Sometimes tangly

Knotty hound


I am Spot

Slippy hound

Yippy hound

Sometimes wet and

Drippy hound


I am Spot

Leapy hound

Creepy hound

Sometimes tired and

Sleepy hound.






(Poem Copyright Sally Murphy, 2016)

Thanks for the words, Rebecca.