I Challenge You To…

This week’s challenge is to write a story, limerick or poem on the subject of:

The Sea

Last week’s challenge was to write about love. You sent in some great pieces. Here are a few:

EDC Writing sent in a powerful poem:

There is a sky
No need to see
There is a day
No need to break
There is a love
No need to dream
There is a you
No need for tears.

Here is Kevin‘s sensuous poem:

Love is a soft kiss,
A moment of bliss.
‘Tis a candle lit meal
Where a lover’s hand
Does softly steal
Under the restaurant table.

Love makes the wise
When a girl’s eyes
There can be no denial
That he
Is lost. But if she
He will in sorrow drown.

I’m very pleased to welcome newcomer, Unoma B:

Love, now obsolete

The night whistles on
The stars playing
I, under their veil listened to the loud silence
All in harmony, yet

Everything different!
Certain great love, now obsolete.

The past cycled back
Staging before my eyes
A play from life to the death
My ledger bleed
Helplessly, I fought memories
The gory initials of yesterday
Cut deep into me
I, no more the mistress of the floodgate of my soul
Let it flow

Everything different!
Certain great love, now obsolete

Left in my place
A figure shifting around in purgatory
Waiting for the light of heaven.

Keith Channing was away but still managed to send in a fantastic limerick:

As I drank iced champagne from her slipper,
And she said my soft words could unzip her
It felt like romance
Till she started to dance
Then I realised she was a stripper!

And here’s Martin Strike‘s hilarious response to Keith’s limerick:

So while Keith from my slipper sipped Cava
I jiggled the tassles of my bra
While he seemed to fawn
Over my bunions and corn
I stripped while he supped on verruca.

Now for a frankly brilliant piece of prose on love from Martin:

Play Misty for Me

I sidle along the cheese aisle as slowly as I can. Some lunchtimes it’s cereals and other days canned veg, it all depends on which till they’ve put Miss T Cleavers on. But today it’s dairy products and I feign interest in a wheel of Camembert. I hold it up, pretending to read the sell-by date, while through my fingers I’m gazing at her arms, all whitish and slender, while she scans people’s groceries.

I always go to her till and buy the same things for lunch: a jacket potato and a steak, which I take back to the office staff room to microwave. I’m trying to build up some muscle. Misty (my nickname for Miss T as I don’t know what her name is) won’t fancy a 20-year-old weakling like me; all feet and nose. To be honest, a microwaved steak is as chewy as a plimsoll, but at least the water that broils out of it lubricates the potato a bit. I don’t like milk either, but still drink a pint for its body-building properties – not that it’s built anything yet, and costs me a fortune.

I join Misty’s queue. She’s beautiful. She’s got half her hair dyed white. It curls round her head perfectly, like the top of a walnut whip. There’s not a hair out of place as if moulded through a giant Play-Doh Barber Set. Denise at work says, ‘hair isn’t meant to be perfect,’ as she watches me crush mine down with my brush, desperate for it to lie flat while it insists on preventing my love life by springing up at the ends. Denise’s hair behaves itself and she gets asked out all the time.   How come everyone else finds dates and hair so easy? I’m not that terrible a person, am I? I’d treat a girl like a queen. OK, I hate clubbing and Ed Sheeran, but I’m OK, just boring, I guess. Denise is always on at me to upload a dating app, but it’s just not for me – I’m too scared. She says she’ll be my ‘mating mentor’, but the thought appals me.

I’m getting nearer the front of Misty’s queue now. She picks up a loaf. How I’d love to be that seedy bloomer. I hear the customer accuse her of squeezing his bread. She can squeeze my bread any time; turn it to crumbs like she turns me to crumbs. I’d love to step in and defend her honour, but I can never get my words out when I’m near her. Anyway, she doesn’t know who I am of course, and he’s bigger than me.

The man loads his bag and goes. It’s my turn. As my steak and potato trundle along the conveyor, I feel the lump build in my throat.

“Did you hear that bastard?” she says.

“Err yeah,” I stammer back, trying to sound indifferent and cool. I can’t believe  Misty’s spoken  to me.

“How can I pick up bread without squeezing it? I’ve got hands, not flippin’ flippers.”

“Ha! Yeah,” I add, not really understanding her point and thinking that hands or flippers, they are gorgeous.

“Put this on the end of the belt.” She passes me a closed sign, like it’s a token of our love. Has she waited to serve me before she goes for her break? Of course, I’m happy to oblige and enjoy the rest of my transaction more than ever, silent apart from her “that’s £4.97”, captivated by the octopus tattoo on her wrist and her black lipstick, luscious as a Pontefract cake.

Having insisted she put my 3p change in the charity pot to show how generous I am, I stand back to allow her to exit her booth. Then it strikes me. She has legs. I’ve been yearning for her for so long but it hasn’t even crossed my mind what they look like, and now here they are. Both of them.  They’re shorter than they might have been, which does not seem to match the slenderness of her arms, but I don’t mind. She has tiny, angel’s feet, in cute DM’s.

“You following me?” she says as she strides towards the door. I didn’t even think she knew I was there as I try to keep up and view her recently discovered legs.

“Err,” I say, feeling rather caught out.

 “Thought so,” she says. “You can do something for me.”

 “Yeah, no prob,” I say. I would do anything for her.

“Get fags for me at the kiosk. I’ll err, pay you back later.”

“Don’t worry about that,” I say, “I’ll buy them for you. As a present.”

“OK then. Marlborough Lights. I’ll wait here.”

She stands over by the front door while I queue. I can’t help my voice trembling as I ask for the horrible things, and can’t believe how expensive they are when the lady says, “That’s £9.99.”

Misty smiles at the cigarettes as I bring them over.  I see her teeth for the first time and realise that despite weeks of coming in my lunch hours hoping to see her, I have never seen her smile. They are perfect, petite teeth, each separated by a small gap, giving the appearance of a well-tended war cemetery.

“You can smoke them with me if you like. Round the back.”

“Err, yeah.” I’ve never even had a puff, and feel like a sailor being lured by a Siren’s call to a rocky and potentially cancerous end, but there is no way I am going to pass up this opportunity.

I push through a break in the chain linked fencing after her, down a worn, rubbish strewn path to a clearing in some wasteland. We sit on the bare earth, surrounded by a thousand cigarette ends and some evidence of previous illicit camp fires. She breaks into the packet’s plastic wrapper with her keyboard teeth, and I watch her elegant fingers reach in and raise a cigarette to her lips. It bounces up and down in her mouth as she asks, “Got a light then?”

“Err, don’t think I have,” I say, padding my jacket pockets for a lighter I know not to be there. I’m fearful that this will mark the end of our date before it’s even begun, yet partly relieved that I can’t be cajoled into smoking.

“Thought not,” she says, and pulls one from her pocket.


Having lit up and drawn a couple of deep puffs, as if replacing all unwanted oxygen with nicotine, she holds out the packet to me.

“Not for me, thanks,” I cough.

“Yeah, I’m trying to give them up too. It’s a mare isn’t it?”

“Tell me about it.”

“How many were you on?”


“Fags! Before you stopped. I’m on twenty, but it used to be more like thirty.”

“Yeah, me too. Mare.” Thirty. That’s fifteen quid a day! Even my steak lunch isn’t that much.

I hope my horror doesn’t show on my face.  

She leans back. “My mum would kill me if she found out.”

“Yeah. Mine too.” I am really struggling to think of anything to say that would not condemn me as a non-smoking wimp.

“We got something in common then.”

“We have?”

“Of course. We both hate our mothers.” How sad, I think that anyone should hate their mother. Mine’s annoying, sure, but…  She looks up at me.  “What’s your name then?”

“Just John. Boring, I’m afraid.” I immediately wish I had lied and called myself cooler, like Caspian.

“Better than mine, Just John. Bet you can’t guess what it is.”

“Erm, Tracy?”

“Cheers! You think I look like a Tracy? “Don’t laugh, but it’s Titania. My dad’s a right cock and liked Shakespeare. Midnight’s Daydream, or something. That’s why I have it in my badge as ‘Miss T’ – it saves all the piss-taking.”

“It’s a beautiful name.” I can sense myself blushing. Could this be the opening for me to overcome my shyness and tell her how amazing she is?

“Nah, it’s shit,” she says.

“If I were you, I’d call yourself something like, oh I don’t know – say, Misty?”

“Now you’re taking the piss.” She lights another cigarette.

I’m horrified. “No, no. Misty. Miss-T. Get it?”

“That’s a bleedin’ cat’s name, you knob.”

I am a bit disappointed. I had imagined calling her ‘Misty’ on our wedding day.

“You’re weird,” she says. “You buy me fags then take the piss out of me name. Then squirm like a fish trying to get out of it.”

I struggle to find something to say other than querying whether fish actually squirm.

She looks at me, like I’m an idiot and says, “You can kiss me if you like, Just John.”

“OK,” I said, trying to keep calm while my internal organs go into a spin. It suddenly feels very hot.

“Don’t sound too keen about it, will you,” she huffs, but before I can answer, she leans forward and clamps her lips on my face.

I thought kissed lips would feel soft, but hers are hard and muscular, like a calamari ring. Her mouth tastes of burning ash and I’m not sure I like it even before her tongue comes into my mouth like a dragon rising from the catacombs of hell.

I lean back as her lips push harder and yelp as my hand presses on something clammy.

“What the fuck,” she says, and gets up.  I look back and see my hand pushing into the lunchtime steak in my bag.

“I’m sorry,” I say, “but I’ve got to get back to work or I’ll be in trouble.”

“Fine, suits me,” says Titiana. “Weirdo.”

I had to agree with her. I ran back from lunch after an extemporary snog with the girl I thought could be mine, shaking. Denise could sense that something was up. I tried to explain why it had seemed so awful, but I didn’t understand it myself.  

“What’s wrong with me, Denise?”

“Nothing,” she said, “you stay being you. You’ll find a girl whose kisses taste of M&M’s, don’t worry.”                


I’ve not had a microwaved steak for 6 months now, nor been anywhere near that supermarket. Denise was right, although I’d say her kisses taste more of Jelly Tots.


Photo credit: www.pininterest.com

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14 Responses to I Challenge You To…

  1. Reblogging to sister site Success Inspirers World

  2. Excellent challenge. What wonderfully creative shares! ❤️

  3. What makes speaking French hard for me
    Is la mer is the word for the sea
    Le maire is the mayor
    And your mother’s la mère
    And they all sound the same, can’t you see?

  4. Of all the words I have I’ve mentioned the sea just once … so to you familiar but I thought why not?

    You’ll think this a strange thing for me to say, but I feel your presence. Where my thoughts go you go too – us walking bare foot in the grass, our feet anointed by the sea as we stroll along a beach, hands held beneath a sky of blue – I know, I know, too much, too soon – to think of you like this.
    You know how to give me butterflies, don’t you? I enjoy your thoughts – I have the same sorts of things running through my mind too, though I don’t have the words to capture them as you do.

  5. Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this week’s challenge and many thanks for publishing my contribution from last week’s challenge. The below is written with fulsome apologies to Edward Lear!

    The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea in a leaky, cardboard boat.
    They had lost all of their money
    To a girl called Honey
    Along with a five pound note.

    The owl looked up to the stars above
    And sang to a small guitar
    “Oh beautiful Pussy, oh Pussy my love,
    I wonder where we are,
    We are,
    I wonder where we are?”

    The pussy sighed
    And sadly replied,
    You are a stupid old fowl.
    Can’t you see
    That we are not at sea.
    There can be no mistake
    That we are on a lake.
    Oh what a stupid old fowl you are
    You ar
    Oh what a stupid old fowl you are”.

  6. Reblogged this on newauthoronline and commented:
    I particularly enjoyed Martin Strike’s prose piece on the subject of love and Keith Channing’s limerick on the same topic.

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