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 updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). 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 blog posts as much as possible.

21 July 2017

The Misunderstanding

I said into her mind, ‘Today you can
come with me if you wish.’ I only meant
she could attach her mind to mine and see
and hear and feel and do alongside: scan
my own experiences and share. I sent,
I thought, that message. Sadly, she
received it literally, stood by the door
as if with whiskers spruced, bag packed, intent
and ready, proud to come along with me
on business. Had to tell her, ‘Sorry – you’re
Cat, see.’

Written for the curtal sonnet challenge at Poetic Asides.



8 July 2017

A Vain Pursuit


I search in facebook and my email box
in a vague play of eyes and finger-tips
for something – anything – I don’t know what.

Except I do. I want to smash the locks
that death instals so deftly: kiss the lips
of those I loved, as if alive. They’re not.

And friends I used to talk to when online
have nothing new to tell me now; their quips
and loving wisdom stilled, while bodies rot.
Likewise, they don’t absorb one word of mine,
though I pine.

Written for the curtal sonnet challenge at Poetic Asides

7 July 2017

The Light Seems Holy

The light seems wholly blue when I look out
from my front door, discovering the day:
a day of starkly brilliant winter sun.
The dark blue mountain range right opposite, 
the vast and shining blue of morning sky,
pervade the street below. 'Thou art the one!'
I sing to Life (for God is Life, we're told).
On such a day, my soul must dance and fly
in sheer delight, pure joy that I was born.
This moment is the whole. This truth I hold:
all's one.


Written for a form challenge at Poetic Asides


3 July 2017

On Not Going Home Again

Across remembered waters, bay and sea,
the island lies that I will not forget,
the one I know I'll never see again.

The mountains and the rivers nurtured me.
In memory the crashing waves repeat
their rhythmic play on ancient cliffs of stone.

Old forests grow unhindered, thick and tall,
fed well by rich dark soil, by gentle rain –
in memory. In fact they've since been cut,
the lakes and streams polluted, air made foul.

All gone.


Written for a form challenge at Poetic Asides

In Difficulties

I wrote a curtal sonnet but it stank.
I needed all of 14 lines to say
the whole of what I had in mind; present

a thesis that would float before it sank –
in fact not sink at all but stretch and play,
its movements elegant and confident.

Instead, alas, it doesn’t wave but drown.
Without room to manoeuvre, there’s no way
to save it – what I meant as eloquent
is chopped abruptly, three lines short, shut down
unspent.


Written for a form challenge at Poetic Asides

Nomenclature

He's asking us to write a 'curtal sonnet'.
I told him once before, the word's 'curtail'
(as in truncation, lopping off) but he

persisting with his error – set upon it –
will judge our efforts. I don't want to fail.
I'd better just shut up and let it be.

They call me grammar Nazi; spelling too.
I like precision to the nth detail.
And Hopkins said 'curtail', so why not me? ...

Oh, never mind the name – just write one, do!
(Or three.)


Written for a form challenge at Poetic Asides.

(Adopting a bit of a persona for this one. I don't REALLY think I'd be failed for cheekily correcting a spelling mistake.  And actually, it turns out he's right, I'm wrong! I have now ascertained that 'curtal' is a variant of 'curtail', and is indeed the word used to describe this form.)


28 June 2017

Now You've Gone and Done It

For Rae

When he wished me Happy Birthday,
I emailed back: '75. So I'm having
a week at least of celebrations. How 
are you going?'  'Running to catch up 
to you,' he said. 'Panting.' (He was
two years younger than me.) But now, 
18 months later, he's gone and stopped.
How could you do that? Now you'll never
catch up! Or is it I, now, who'll always be 
trailing, unable to catch up with him?


Poet Rae Desmond Jones (1941-2017) and I knew each other slightly for many years, and were aware of each other's work, but only really became friends late in life, via the internet. In those recent years I came to treasure his humour, intellect and very sweet nature. I'll miss him!

Linking this to the latest Tuesday Platform at 'imaginary garden with real toads', where change is a theme.

25 June 2017

Looking for Myself in 'Peanuts'

1.

All I know is, I’m not Charlie Brown –
don’t play baseball, wouldn’t wear a cap.
I could be Lucy with her bossy frown;
I could be Linus clutching at his blanket.
All I know is, I’m not Charlie Brown.
I might be that romantic, star-crossed blonde
drooling for Linus, only briefly cast down
by rebuffs; or else dedicated-to-his-art Schroeder.
(I’d like to be grown-up Schroeder, with renown.)
Perhaps, writing up a storm, I’m smart Snoopy?
But if so, who would feed me? Charlie Brown?


2. 


I think I’ll be Schroeder,
living (w)hol(l)y for art,
soul-child of Beethoven,
oblivious / impervious to all else. Yes,
I think I’ll be Schroeder.
I don't really think I’m Snoopy,
master of the cliché – moreover

typewriters are old; I love my computer.
Of course he’d need a make-over
from muso to poet (I’m tone-deaf)
but, that sorted, I could be Schroeder.




At 'imaginary garden with real toads', we were invited to find ourselves in cartoon characters in the prompt: Fashion me your words to fold ~ ergo (in less than 100 words). The mention of 'fold' inspired me to use Gillena Cox's Fold form. And then I was moved to write a second one. Each, individually, is under 100 words, but I didn't want to post them separately when they so clearly belong together.




24 June 2017

Think Positive

The TV shows me Kenyans dying of drought.
Cattle become skeletal; babies droop.
On facebook people chirrup:  'Life works out.’

The parents of the babes don’t scream or shout.
They weep, but are resigned. Their shoulders stoop.
The TV shows them close up, dying of drought.

Calm commentators tell what it’s about.
I pour myself another bowl of soup.
On facebook people burble: ‘Life works out.’

The self-help gurus urge us, 'Banish doubt!'
I sign a petition, join a spiritual group.
The TV shows me Kenyans dying of drought.
On facebook, though, we know that life works out.


Prompted by dVerse: How to Write a Villanelle (I have written this one a little bit 'wrong'; let's call it a modified villanelle.)