How do you Spell Witch? #NaPoWriMo

“The absence of the Witch does not
invalidate the spell”
when your thoughts run amok like whirlwinds
tossing magic hither and thither, its dust
turning events on their heel
at a fickle pitch and hurl.

Tempting fate
whose idle hands
are only too glad
to meet your promise.

Like a quake, like a suction hole
like a moment seized
on a stolen bike.

How to undo the spell
when it spreads its uttering beyond and beyond?

Is it only when the witch morphs that charms vanish?
When you hear a pop in the ether
the buzz of an etheric door being zipped up?
Knock knock, who’s there? 
No one. No more.

How to undo the spells that ought not have been born?
You think your words have no power? 
How do you know it wasn’t your own witchery
that invoked it in the first place, you accidental magus? 


“The second half of joy
is shorter than the first”
you told me, but I disagree –
for the second satisfies more deeply
where the first was quick and greedy.

© N Nazir 2022

Photo by Ruvim on

NaPoWriMo Prompt: To write a poem inspired by a line from an Emily Dickinson poem. Those given were:

  • “Forever might be short”
  • “The absence of the Witch does not / Invalidate the spell”**
  • “If to be ‘Elder’ – mean most pain – / I’m old enough, today”
  • “The second half of joy / Is shorter than the first”**
  • “To be a Flower, is profound / Responsibility –

For full details on how to take part, visit

You can read more poems by Emily Dickinson here.

Shared also for dVerse Open Link Night

Beyond Limbo (An Aerial Poem)

Erasure Poem #34, watercolour & gel pen on paper, © N Nazir 2021 (Sourced from Sum: Tales of the Afterlife by David Eagleman)

The fauna of angels,
The sky like paper
in disarray.

God is crazy
He is on a siesta.
He has gone awol.

He’s in the jungle,
as smoke
like a footprint in air.


It’s incredible
how we ascend
in the end.

We pivot
on a new universe,
one that wagers
our existence.

© N Nazir 2022

*shared also for yesterday’s Ragtag Daily Prompt: labyrinth

*RIP Taylor Hawkins ❤

Re-imagining Ageing: Poetry Exhibition

The Sands of Time, The White Building, Sheffield City Centre, 2021

I meant to share this much earlier. I’m not sure why I didn’t. I think I just didn’t feel entirely comfortable with my poem. But it’s a publication and a project I really enjoyed so I ought to share it. The project was called Re-imagining Ageing (produced by research organisation Lab4Living and Joan Healey, Social Sciences lecturer at Sheffield University) and I took part in the workshops last summer along with a bunch of other poets. Together we explored ideas related to the meaning of time and how we spend it now compared to life before plague times.

One of my poems, The Sands of Time, made it into the exhibition and the pamphlet, which I am pretty stoked about. I submitted four altogether and they’ve all been accepted to appear in an anthology later this year along with other participants’ poems exploring this vast subject. The exhibition took place at the end of last year and the photos were taken on my phone so they’re not razor sharp. Below is a version of my poem that’s a little easier on the eye.

Does time make everything more unbearable or more
treasured, as dear as hard-won freedom? As you
cast off the arrogance of your twenties and r-
-ealise this time, you know how to lov-
-e better than you ever did? Can
time only be measured in all
the moments you spend
with people you love? 
And if those peo-
-ple are gone
does tim-
-e bec-
-ies of
ghosting you
as you recall, h-
-onour and worship
bittersweet traces of y-
-our departed loved? Why
must time be measured in dete-
-rioration, the look of things, beauty
fading, echoes, amnesia, silence and how
quickly dust gathers? Who was I with you, who
am I this moment, to where will I eventually disappear?

Honestly, it does make me cringe a little. It needs editing but I didn’t want to mess with the shape of it so I submitted it as was. Perhaps it only got in because it worked visually. Looking at it now, I’d definitely want to rewrite it. I think I repeat the word love too much. I think I would rather not use the word love at all. Some words are overused and I feel this one is.

Still, it was a good event and at the end poets were invited to read their poems. There was a lovely receptive audience of maybe thirty people, and though I always get a little nervous before reading, in that moment I wasn’t nervous at all.

And, of course, I’m not in my twenties, I’m quite a bit older now. But I refer to the invincible feeling one has during those years and how it stays with you for a while beyond that decade, that is, until you get a wake up call or two and realise you ought to be doing what you love as time is only shortening (now I can’t stop using the word love!).

And I understand why middle age is called middle age but I have never liked phrases that have ageist connotations, or ageism in general.

Anyway, there were some wonderful poems in the exhibition, moving, bittersweet, life-affirming. I hope to share more from the anthology when it comes out later this year.

What ageist phrases do you find problematic?

What words do you think are overused in poems?

Feel free to share your thoughts below…

© N. Nazir 2022