Cryptic Poems

Yuki Means Happiness will be published on July 27th, the novel I recently finished is getting feedback, and I'm as yet too busy to start the one I'm planning. So I'm between projects. When that happens, I turn my hand to shorter pieces. I send out short stories to literary magazines and contests, I mess around with audio (see previous post), and I write poems. 

I'm a big cryptic crossword fan, and the other day I noticed a clue that felt poetic to me, so I scribbled it down and took it up to my office. I decided to use it as a writing prompt for a poem, with the challenge of using the clue as the first line, and ending the poem with the answer as the last word. My brain has loved the exercise. Here are the two completed so far. I know I'll do more!

26 Across

Bored, having seen tide turn at sea,

not having felt a thing,

I nosed my kayak to the horizon.

“The tide has turned,” people say ominously,

always giving me a sense of the surge

from ‘i’ to ‘ur’ when they do.

The figurative water moves powerfully, one way

Or the other.

Sitting, literally, in my kayak,

Watching the waves overreach themselves

up the beach,

and then desist,

I felt no gravity in the change.

Human tides are more dramatic at the turning point.

The tide turned.

I paddled away,



12 Across

Old joke about man, saint and fiend

dragged its way around the bar, over months,

a contagious yawn zigzagging

among the drinkers.

Widowers leaned in,

Brilliantine to Brilliantine.

Young men spoke it

into the air under their baseball caps.

It moved more slowly

when women were present;

was forgotten completely,

left to wait for peace to settle,

when Mercedes Rodriguez

proceeded to her table,

flashed her porcelain teeth,

and traced,

with the ends of her tapered fingers,

the knots in the chestnut.