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.

30 January 2015

My Black Cat

My black cat,
my handsome black cat,
the perfect cat for a witch,
is named Levi. His other name is

When I cast
my magick circle
on the night of the full moon
my black cat is with me, and also
the fairies.

He grows old,
this dear cat. Me too.
Sometimes, when the weather's cold
only the fairies dance, by the light
of the moon.

At dVerse Meeting the Bar this time, Tony Maude invites us to try an extended cinquain with one extra syllable per line than the form invented by Adelaide Crapsey. (What this version might be called is still being debated.) This poem is a sequence of three of them.

26 January 2015

Aunty Ev

My aunty is old.
I send her my poetry book
to please her,
knowing she can’t take it in.
I hope its being sent
will be enough.

Cousin Elizabeth emails.
My aunt is cranky now,
must be supervised,
no longer has her own
little house where she planted roses.

I think of her 
fifty years ago
when she rescued me in my teens
and my little brother.
I think of her on her doorstep
smiling and opening her arms.

2/10/07 – 26/1/15

(A revision. Aunty Ev died in 2010.)

Here is Aunty Ev (right) with cousin Elizabeth — 
not her daughter but another niece —  in 2008.

Submitted for Poets United's Poetry Pantry #236

23 January 2015

Wet Mornings

Sat outside
first thing in the morning
to begin his dying

... heavy-lidded
shift in chair with pain
slip into semi-sleep ...

dreamlike thoughts
faded out of full memory.

I look back.
All happened.
Meanwhile rain.

Submitted for dVerse Meeting the Bar: Breaking and Entering. We are asked to take a form and 'break' it in some way to make it our own. Synchronicity: I saw this prompt just after writing the above — which is a blackout poem done differently. Instead of taking a text and blacking out / erasing all except the words I wanted to use, I opened a document on my computer (an entry from my private journal) and lifted only the words I wanted on to a new document — where I proceeded to delete a few more before arranging into verses (still in order of writing) and re-punctuating (or for the most part unpunctuating). I did it just because I like playing around with erasures at present. I didn't have a conscious idea of anything I wanted to say, and what emerged was nothing like the message of the journal entry. Also it's not exactly factual, but on an emotional level it's probably very truthful. There — that's a long explanation for a short poem!

18 January 2015


When I was just a child, the gliders flew.
I loved them: fragile-seeming, light as toys.
Straight-winged, they looked like crosses in the sky —
a sky forever sunny in my mind.

'The War,' mysterious background to my life,
was spoken of, but did not happen here —
except for absent fathers, rationed food,
and handsome Air Force visitors in blue.

Once, when Dad was home again, we passed
a man who hitch-hiked, in a uniform.
My father muttered, 'Yank!' and speeded up.
Our wind-rush sent him sprawling on the grass.

(The war was over then, but some not yet
returned across the wide Pacific, home.)
Old lady now, I still see startled face
with big blue eyes and thick black hair cut neat.

What things, and why, impress us in our youth?
Those random threads grew long and strong, to be
fast-woven in the pattern of my fate
in ways that no-one could have seen or told.

Much later, my first love was Air Force too.
A thrilling summer holiday romance,
it lasted after summer's end when he,
returned to base, wrote letters. I replied.

But words on paper can't compare with touch.
His name was John, his hair was thick and black.
His hands were lean and strong. On summer nights 
he taught me passion, and he taught me well.

We spoke of marriage. I was just nineteen.
He was nine years older, drank too much.
As well, he was, like all his family
a Catholic — while I could not believe.

His father told him that we wouldn't suit.
He saw that it was true; I didn't, then.
We married others in the end — I soon,
and much mistakenly, but learned and grew.

I did it better next time, and the next.
He, sobered, waited; married only once.
For him, of course, it had to be for life.
I heard he married happily. I'm glad.

I thank his father now for saving us,
and leaving me with kindly memories.
I never saw him afterwards. He stays
forever young, the handsomest of men.

5/11/05 - 19/1/15

I found this in my 'Drafts for Reworking' file and decided it was working after all. I hope you agree! (Upon reflection, changed just two words.)

Linking to Poets United's 'Poetry Pantry' #235

16 January 2015

tenWords — Newly minted

cool veranda
cat and me outside
after the day’s heat


I find a garment
left behind —
he wants to return!


water lizard
holds very still

so do we, watching


child from the mild south
exclaims, ’Cool!’
discovering tropic frangipani

Another response to the dVerse tenWords prompt, These are new pieces, written specifically for/in this form.

tenWords Extracted

Gave her heart
only for a few seconds.
More than enough.


Buying silk,
an artist expressed
a desire to know velvets.


In the garden
very quiet
dream-life taking hold —


Pure frosty mornings:
rare occasions
when there is no wind.

The tenWords form is an invention of Brian Miller's. At dVerse today we are asked to try some. I extracted the above from pages of the novel The Maker of Heavenly Trousers by Daniel Varé; so they are also, in a sense, found poems, and — because some of the words are far apart — they are similar to erasure poems too.

13 January 2015

Of Sawdust and Screens

I hated cartoons.
(No TV:
Saturday matinees.)
Everyone laughed  
when the cat fell
over the cliff,
or the roadrunner
squashed the coyote
under a weight.
I cried: strange child,
no sense of humour.

The same with
those circuses
that came around —
shivering through
animal acts
in the sawdust rings
of my childhood.
Tough looking men
cracked sudden whips
that made me jump
like those reluctant beasts.

Cirque du Soleil, now,
that’s rmagic.
In my own living room
the clowns dance; they are
jugglers, acrobats,
flyers. Their bodies
writhe and slide, twisting
serpents of light.
Their voices of silver
soar and swing.
A tightrope cyclist
jumps a man, lands
precisely. Flames leap up
and swirl. The arena
is strafed by stars.

22/3/06 – 13/1/15

Another oldie finally improved by erasure.