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')

Some of these poems are autobiographical, some are entirely fictional, and some are a mixture of both. The intention is art rather than self-expression. I don't allow factual details to get in the way of poetry! (I do seek emotional truth.)

They 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.

4 October 2015

The Seeming

Today in my quiet garden
Spring settles, clear blue,
above rooftops and treetops
and the glisten
of slightly-moving leaves.

In some other reality
wars are fought, madmen 
attack communities, burn homes,
hack heads off bodies.

In some other truth
children starve, drown,
are raped, beaten, enslaved...

For a moment I put down
heavy Excalibur.

At 'imaginary garden with real toads' it's time for FlASH 55 PLUS, where we write a piece of exactly 55 words – plus, this time, the option of being inspired by this doom-laden Carl Orff song featured in the film Excalibur:

2 October 2015

Winter sunshine: Haiku for August and September 2015

winter sunshine
the top step is empty
my old cat gone


on the top step
the ghost of my black cat
waits for me


All winter: Tanka for August and September 2015

another day
without your eyes
your voice
your quiet movements
your huge presence


we were all singing
of time or our tasks
it was a party


all winter
my bed was a nest
inside a cave
the room full of books
my warmth and safety


Few and disparate, these from the last couple of months! Linking to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #272

29 September 2015

This Poem is Healing, Recovery and Light

This poem is an instrument of healing.
This poem is a recipe for recovery.
This poem is filled and surrounded with light.

This poem must be read with an open heart.
You can take it into you, into that heart,
then let it spread it throughout your body.
Now see it extend as a cloak to embrace you.
This poem is an instrument of healing.

This poem is a set of instructions
which you can follow step by step.
Try not to vary the key ingredients.
You want the taste just right, and the nutrients.
This poem is a recipe for recovery.

This poem is soft yet radiant.
It is all-pervasive, but you can direct it.
Look at the colour. It is blueish-white.
Or is it in fact whitish-blue? Ah yes!
This poem is filled and surrounded with light.

This poem is yours, your instrument of healing.
This poem is a secret recipe I share for your recovery.
This poem, if you let it, will fill and surround you with light.

This poem is an example of Hannah Gosselin’s Boomerang Metaphors.

This poem was written for Susan’s ‘Recovery/Healing’Midweek Motif at Poets United.

“Everything in creation, everything in the universe moves in the flow of Light. This subtle Light has a natural stream of flow in your circulatory system. The circulatory system of your body is a river of Light. It is a very concrete flowing fluid, and the Light that is pouring in moves into your system to guide you into the flowing current of new life that is changing your whole physical body.”


27 September 2015

Making the Red Mandala

As I begin the red mandala, 
outside the sky darkens for thunder.

‘Start with red,’ the teacher said,
‘The colour of sex and blood’.

I draw my circle freehand
with a water-colour pencil.

Then I make lots of scribbly scrolls
around the inside, drawing quick.

I get the result I want: the circle shape
imperfect, the scrolls wildly uneven.

I never wanted to colour in neatly
between precisely patterned  lines.

I have only two reds to work with:
a hyper-bright and a deeper, purply stain.

I add a red wax crayon; I find
a water-pencil in tan, another in orange.

I fill in some of the spaces. I press hard dots
of deep red into the centres of the scrolls.

Surrounded, still, by orbs of white,
they look like a circle of eyes.

I paint the whites of the staring eyes
orange, so they look golden.

The reds bleed, smudging the paper.
I mark them again, heavy.

I’m not a fan of the decorative arts –
none of those dainty, pretty things.

No, I want art that is power, bold.
I want the power of magick.

Outside, the thunder revs up,
cracking and roaring around the hill.

My mind keeps telling me I need green.
It isn’t red, not nearly red, but I must.

I know exactly where it goes, and how.
Now the red is redder, strong.

In the middle, moved by instinct suddenly,
I draw long oval shapes that suggest a flower.

It’s turquoise blue with green edges.
Behind it the air becomes bright yellow.

Now my mandala breaks all the rules. Now
with a top and a bottom, it can only be one way up.

The red line I began with, edging my circle
has disappeared. I create a new outline.

I make it thick, but it won’t retain firm shape.
All right! I scribble a spiky edge.

All by itself the paint flows outward,
flares into a wide ring, and settles.

The wild wind outside quiets;
the thunder comes to a stop.

Inspired by artist and art teacher Sharyn Williams's blog on Red.

I'm linking this to The Tuesday Platform for 29 Sept. 2015, at 'imaginary garden with real toads'. Visit to find other poets and poems.

Now if I write ...

Now if I write
and go on writing, 
what will happen next?

Will the air fuse

with my regrets and hopes
and give them colours?

Or shall I end up

with a sad scrap of nothing?

Couldn't resist another stab at the 'allegro' for Play it Again at 'imaginary garden'.

Impatient for the Inner

quickly she goes,
allegro she cries,
it’s the middle of the night
and she wants her dreaming
to hurry –
to scurry into corners of light
of night, of unbelief
become believable – fast!

Ram's Head, White Hollyhock - Hills, Georgia O'Keeffe, 1935, oil on canvas

This poem was composed at a rush for the Play It Again prompt (allegro), at 'imaginary garden with real toads'. We had to do 8 lines in 1 minute! And we had to include the word 'allegro'. Everything is just as written in that minute – in the middle of the morning, not the night. (The title came later.)

We were invited to choose a painting to use.  I chose this one because it's dreamlike (and because I love Georgia O'Keeffe) but I did that after writing the poem; the poem is not in any way inspired by the painting.

26 September 2015

At the end ...

At the end
I’d have your eyes, your voice
your hands on me
to soothe and reassure –
had I not outlived you.

A Jisei (Japanese death poem) in the form of a tanka –
written for a dVerse prompt. (They can be written as haiku too.)

23 September 2015

To Be or Not to Be a Slob?

I woke early in my comfortable bed. 
'I'll have a slob day today,' I said. 
I thought, with no-one else to feed,
I'd bring my coffee and something to read
back to the cot, and snuggle in
as we used to do together, me and him
on rainy, overcast days like this
when we stayed all day to snooze and kiss
and talk and cuddle and read and eat –
usually joined by at least one cat.

I didn't, though. Perhaps I was hesitant
to try it alone? Yes of course reluctant –
but still, I thought, I could simply pretend
all that companionship didn't end.
I know the flavour of him so fully
and the cats' too. I could recreate, surely,
the warmth and comfort we used to share
when all of them were with me here!
Instead I dwelt on the sweet expectation
of how it could be: day-long anticipation.

I didn't get dressed, though I nearly did.
'Be sensible!' I admonished me. But then I decided  
at least to stay in my warm pj's,
at least to have that much of a laze.
And all day long it was such pleasure
to imagine myself reclining at leisure,
not missing my dears in sad grieving
but feeling them near as if they were living.
I cooked and I cleaned and I used my device
while my thoughts of my bed were increasingly nice.

But would I, but could I? First yes, then no,
chopping and changing, not going with the flow,
until at last it was 4pm.
If it would happen, this was high time!
So here I am, with iPad and biscuit,
lying back on high pillows, no more Ms Fixit
but Ms Relaxed. And yes, it feels good.
My darlings, I know, would be here if they could 
but as they are not, I summon them in thought.
Now for hot soup and a cosy night!

For Poets United's Midweek Motif: Choice