Cherry Blossom

On the first day of spring

This poem was written by Adrian Thirkell in 2018, after Adrian came across my Japanese Cherry Blossom painting online. I’ve never met Adrian, yet he offered his art freely, and kindly agreed I could share it with you. His offer slipped my mind, until I got one of those ‘One year ago’ memory jogger thingies from Facebook yesterday. Finally, a year after it was written, and coincidentally on the Spring Equinox of 2019 – here it is.

The morning tree is hung, profuse, in blossom.
Speaks from every budding flower
Of how, notwithstanding that a vial of poison
May leech us of our love, turn all things sour,
We may find ourselves again renewed,
And from each cast of air strewn light
Absorb upon the skin, then through and through,
The means to our own blossoming, and free of blight.
And then we wake to more transcendent mood;
Each bloom, unfettered, calls the spirit up.
To speak, we make emollients of every word
And every touch distills the petals’ sap.

If you would like to own a copy of the picture which inspired the poem, it is available on Etsy as a signed numbered limited edition A4 print, as an A5 print, and as a greeting card. Thanks in advance for your support.

Mood Poetry

Pick a mood right now. Write a poem about it and share the poem with someone.

I opened Twitter on Friday and my friend Zoe Mounsey had posted up a Stop Doing Dumb Things Card. This one:

Pick a mood right now

Here is the poem Zoe wrote to accompany the card.


Thinking, thinking, overthinking
What if? what next?
Fear of the unexpected
Thinking through the worse case
Hoping for the best case
It doesn’t help
But it keeps me busy
Worrying and worrying

Great stuff! I love the poem and I’m left wanting to know what happened next…?

I thought I would reply, and here’s what I sent back to Zoe.


The idea is a spark
The conversation oxygen
Action is the flame
Light a fire in your life

There was a positive reaction to both pieces of verse on Twitter, and I thought I’d share them with you here today. If you fancy adding a poetic contribution in the comments – it would be lovely to hear from you.

Artists and Thieves

I joined David Zinger’s Employee Engagement network back in March 2009 and since then I’ve gained a lot from being a part of this network. I’ve contributed, shared and learned, and I’ve met David twice on his visits to the UK. I think the network is a helpful resource for people curious about how to make work more enjoyable and useful, and if you’re not yet a member, pop over and take a look – and if you like what you see then maybe join in?

The reason I referenced this network today is that I received a super email from David this week in which he shared a video he’d posted on the network called Steal Like an Artist.

The video is an interesting tale told by Austin Kleon as he traces the roots of his ‘original’ ideas and thinking about creating poetry directly from the newspapers of the day all the way back to the mid 1700s. Not so original after all huh? Kleon acknowledges this and goes on to encourage us to steal and reinvent pieces of work we admire, and mash up the old and the new to create something different…ish. I don’t have a newspaper to hand right now, but I will buy one and see what poetic efforts I can steal extract from it soon.

Watching the video, I was reminded of being in the company of a few friends earlier this year, when among other things, we tried an experiment with poetry which went something like this: I encouraged people to think of a list of words around the themes of water and movement (we were in Greenwich close by to the River Thames), and once people had a few words and shared them with the group, we each then looked to integrate our words into verse. Pencils and paper were provided along with some ink pencils too, so that people could add colour to their emerging work. Because we approached the task in stages it seemed to make it easier for people to produce interesting work than if we’d all just tried to write a poem from scratch. Here’s some feedback from a few of my fellow thieves poets after they’d had time to reflect on the process.

I enjoyed the peace, the step by step building, delving into something deeper. I felt prepared and safe, yet ready for something unsafe. I was surprised at the emotion it created, although writing poetry myself, I realise it can be an amazing conduit. I felt it connected the group, and yet was an individual isolation.  Paradoxically. Meg Peppin

What was unique about the experience was being with my creativity alongside others in a way that I had not experienced before. I very much enjoyed experiencing and seeing compelling aspects of others naturally surfacing through the process, linking me to their creativity, passion and power of their contribution. For me personally it provided an opportunity to access a different way to face a challenge. Simply by exploring one word, I found an ease of flow and depth. I took away a personal commitment to use the process whenever stuck, be it in writing, creating workshops or bedding down new thinking and new approaches. Natasha Stallard

Your session, like some of the others featured what i consider to be an important aspect of facilitating conversation and making things happen and that was – it was companionable. By this I mean we were doing an activity together which led to other things ie conversation, tears etc. I’m going to write about being companionable at some point because it so powerful for letting other things happen. This was my number one take-away.

So . . . really liked the fact I was sharing an activity with everyone else. I liked they fact I was free to do whatever i chose – bit of painting, poetry. Wasn’t sure where I or we as a group were going but I liked that and it felt OK. I was less concerned about what I would leave with, i.e. a decent poem and enjoyed more the experience.

I liked the sense of place and connections with where we were (Greenwich, river) and I enjoyed the way you facilitated the session – bit of nudging, suggestions  . . . helping us along. I liked the context you provided us with – I thought that was a good bit of hosting, something I liked.  I also really enjoyed seeing what everyone else did and their reactions. Some powerful responses which left me wondering about peoples’ past experiences. I got snippets of people but not the whole picture. Martin Couzins

On returning home, I stole the idea had a go too and produced this drawing/doodle/poem/video – called Slowly Bares the Soul

So what? Well I think the video David sent out and the experiences it reminded me of, point out the importance of reinvention and repurposing, of being open to new possibilities, and also to letting ideas percolate, layer and develop. Someone should write a poem about that.

Thanks to David Zinger, Austin Kleon, Megan Peppin, Natasha Stallard and Martin Couzins. Without people, you’re nothing.