I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world,
to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress, and may be subject to revision without notice. Completed versions appear in my books. Nevertheless copyright applies to all texts found here.
Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your posts as much as possible.

19 April 2015

Contradicting Sir Terry

 “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.” 

The warm darkness sits. The light
comes rushing in, breathless.

It plumps itself down
as in an armchair, and spreads,
taking up all the space.

But the darkness has not hurried
to get there first.

It was there already, always;
even before the beginning.
It was all there was —

Nothing and Everything;
the Everywhere. 

It shaped itself.
It became a womb,
it became a cradle.

God said,
‘Let there be Light’....

And afterwards
when we are finished, still
there shall be darkness.

Prompt 18 for 'Poems in April' at 'imaginary garden with real toads' is to be inspired by a Leonard Nimoy or Terry Pratchett quote.

18 April 2015

Friday Haiku

Cloudy morning.
across the view.


At the Gallery
clouds and mountains
through the window.


Noisy Miners*
shriek at the roof.
A cooling breeze.


My black cat

*Noisy Miner — Australian bird.

Prompt 17 for 'Poems in April' at 'imaginary garden with real toads' is to write haiku. Once upon a time I used to do that every Friday. I think I should start again; I've got rusty! Apparently in America the 17th of April is National Haiku Poetry Day (and therefore internationally online). I wonder if that's because of the 17-syllable rule. As we are told a 'syllable' in Japanese doesn't really equate to the English, I no longer stick to that but aim for something briefer.

This is an unconnected series, not a sequence.

16 April 2015


The Eye in the Well

The deep eye in the well stares up without blinking even once.
Is it made of water? Like the water, it reflects the sky.
I believe it accuses me, but it may be indifferent.

The Sages Speak

We are mountains. You see us that way, for we are very still.
And we have wisdom, acquired and stored over many centuries.
This bustling angel, all light and movement, brings us a message.

You would see the angel as a cloud with stormy edges.
The whole world is alive in many ways you do not perceive.
The Angel comes from God. You too could hear if you stilled and listened.

Prompt 16 for 'Poems in April' at 'imaginary garden with real toads' is to be inspired by a piece of visionary art. I am a visionary artist — although only as a hobbyist, not of the calibre to be exhibited; and it's years since I did anything major in that line. I thought it would be fun to write to my own art works. I chose pieces I haven't looked at for a long time so that my response would be fresh. They are chalk pastels, done approx. 1989.

I had the notion that the Korean form, sijo, would work well for this prompt, so that is what I've used. The second poem is a double sijo.

My Folly

Left alone
to find my single self,
I thought I'd need to build
a new identity.

I constructed Widow:
elderly, grieving,
coming to terms;
just me and my cats.

I called this
'learning to be with me'.
I'd never lived
alone before.

Except for those cats.
Then one of them died.
Now it was just
her brother and me.

We clung to each other,
bonded more fiercely.
I refined my construct:
old witch with black cat.

When a very nice man
spoke of new friendship,
I missed whatever hint
he might have meant.

I blathered on, about 
how my cat had become
my Significant Other.
Now that man doesn't call.

I did need time for myself.
I needed self-sufficiency. But
I never meant to construct

For 'Poems in April' at 'imaginary garden with real toads', we were asked to write about a folly — some foolish or eccentric construction to satisfy one's own whim (well, that's my definition and I'm sticking to it). 

I'm also submitting this one to Midweek Motif at Poets United, which this week offers the topic, Foolishness.

15 April 2015

Everything Went Away Through the Broken Rainbow

Everything that matters, I suppose. Or an amorphous all, that shockingly
went off into a mist? (Like the gap in the universe in Doctor Who.)
Away where? A mystery never explained to my full understanding
through all these months of being without you. Here we go again:
the recurring subject matter of my life and therefore my poems.
Broken dreams, broken relationship ... broken trust? No, not that last. 
Rainbow — symbol of hope and beauty — may be found in a mud puddle.

For the 14th day of April, at 'imaginary garden with real toads' we can link to any of our poems, old or new. I am writing new ones every day this April, and here I try another first word acrostic, as I find the form productive. The title (used also in the acrostic) is a phrase that just popped into my head, seemingly from nowhere, as lines of poetry sometimes do. I didn't consciously know what it meant, and thought this would be a good way to explore it (which it was). I might have guessed! — another bereavement poem, another step in the working through.

13 April 2015

Arguing with Joan Didion

“Grammar is a piano I play by ear.”
Best way to play it — but
there are those who have no ear.

“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.”
And in order to avoid living.
In order to run away.

“I closed the box and put it in a closet.
There is no real way to deal with everything we lose.”
There is writing. There is always writing.
(Perhaps there is only writing.)

“I don't know what I think until I write it down.”
Me too — can’t argue with this.

“It occurs to me that we allow ourselves to imagine 
only such messages as we need to survive.” 
If that is so, some of us clearly need 
the vast and wide-ranging, 
the wild and fantastical.

“When I am near the end of a book, 
I have to sleep in the same room with it.” 
The book you are writing, or the one you are reading? 
I always sleep in the same room as those I am reading.

 “Time is the school in which we learn.” 
Yes? … yes, I guess so …  yes, I see … yes.

The 13th prompt for 'Poems in April' at 'imaginary garden with real toads' is to be inspired by one or more of the above quotes from Joan Didion. They are imteresting quotes in themselves, but I thought them too prosey to use for poetry — or perhaps it's just too late at night — and I took issue with most of them. That seemed to be the only poem I was likely to get.

The House Is Quiet Because It Has To Be

Riffing off Wallace Stevens

The night is completely hushed.
House and street are still.
Is there moonlight? No, not tonight.
Quiet and darkness fold my house and me —
because this is my refuge;
it shelters me in its cloak of silence. This house
has just my old cat and me now
to stir it up, but we are not very loud. We can
be whatever we like here, and we choose soft.

Prompt 12 for 'Poems in April' at 'imaginary garden with real toads' is to 'write a new poem or prose poem inspired by a line, title, verse or style of Wallace Stevens'. The title of this poem is a line from a Stevens poem called 'The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm'. The line was in past tense but I've changed it to present. The poem is another first word acrostic.