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')

This blog is not, 'Here are my very best poems'. It's for work in progress, subject to revision.
Posts may be updated without notice at any time. Completed work appears in my books.

23 April 2014

Cinquain for Phillip

April Poem A Day Challenge 2014, day 22: Two for Tuesday — 
an optimistic and a pessimistic poem. This is the pessimistic poem.

global warming.
You cook dates in curry!
Now I know civilisation
is doomed.

Comforting Myself

My little cat is old and ill
but so far in no pain.
Her cancer's growing slow.

When I lie down for a nap
she comes and purrs with me,
but when I start to dream
she moves away

as if she too can see
the crowding images
that seem so real.

With such a bond
between our spirits,
surely it will stretch
to keep us connected, later?

April Poem A Day Challenge 2014, day 22: Two for Tuesday — an optimistic and a pessimistic poem. This could be both in one, but I'm labelling it optimistic. The pessimistic poem is in my next post.

22 April 2014

The Basics

Now that I'm old and widowed
I meet up with my kind,
and all those single ladies
are of a single mind.

All their immaculate houses
quite put mine to shame.
In Domestic Goddessry,
they're at the top of their game.

"I don't want Help," they tell me;
"It gives me something to do."
They wait expectantly,
quite sure I'll say this too.

But I'm a weirdo poet
and live a different life.
I like my house OK
but I am not its wife.

We all get back to basics
our own ways, I suppose.
I should pay more attention
to vacuum and garden hose.

But needing something to do
that badly fills me with horror.
I have poems to write —
the dishes can wait till tomorrow.

April PAD Challenge 2014, day 21: back to basics
(Also back to basics poetically, with the loose ballad-like form)

21 April 2014

Happy Easter

My friend phones in crisis.
‘You’ve got to leave it be,” I say.
You can't sustain these shocks.
She’s an adult now.”

"Yes," she says, 
"And it cuts both ways.
If the homeless team find her,
they can't even tell me she's safe
unless she gives permission,
because she's 34."

That surprises me.
I thought the soft-faced girl 
was about 19 —
that childish gaze,
and her behaviour ...

The story this time:
the refuge kicked her out
because she got in a fight,
and the mental health clinic's full.
She's got no money, and 
she's out of her medication.
She’s borrowed a phone
to call her mum
from some woman in the park.

"I don't even know
if she's telling me the truth,
or how confused she might be,"
her mother says.

"But I've worked out the pattern.
It's intermittent. Happens
at Christmas and Easter.”
“When did it start?” I ask.
“She was 13, it was after
her father's suicide."

Her other daughter’s visiting
to use her mum’s computer,
and she has things to say:
"You never helped me either.
You've got to go and look for her.
You're not a proper mother."

I know the years of care,
the returns in violent abuse.
"That's all you need," I say.
"Tell her that's the past.
Tell her to back off."

"Oh, she's worried about her sister. 
But I can't go. The lawnmowing man
threw up a stone, and smashed 
the back window of my car.
I can't go anywhere."

Meanwhile her son with Asperger's
shuts the door of his room,
“To keep the dramas out.”

"I'm shaking and I want to vomit,"
says my friend.

April Poem A Day Challenge, day 20: A family poem

20 April 2014


In Peru
the blue of his eyes
had the women twittering.
“So handsome!” they told me.
(I already knew.)

I, of course, was gazing
(discreetly) into 
the deep brown eyes
of slim, black-haired men
with knife-edge cheekbones.


In Bali
the locals feasted their eyes
on our fair-faced, fair-haired boys 
(they were pre-schoolers then)
with clucks of admiring joy.

Their father and I 
couldn’t pull our gaze
from the quick, dark local children,
their golden skin, black hair
and bright black, dazzling eyes.

April Poem A Day Challenge 2014, day 19: a colour poem

19 April 2014

Weather Report, Outside and In

It's a warm autumn day outside
but overcast in the house
with the blinds all closed 

against the heat,
which is not extreme.
I forget that Summer has gone.

I'm listening to Rufus Wainwright
soaring on YouTube, singing 
Fare Thee Well ... "oh, fare thee well."

I've shut my doors against 
one who wants to come and rest here 
after his latest hurt.

He said, ”I'm not asking for a saviour
but a friend. If it goes on past a month,
I'll just add my name to the lease."

"Oh no you fucking won't!" I said.
Now I feel as if I'd swallowed 
a mass of thick grey sludge.

He says I'm harsh. I know I'm selfish.
"Have you ever had nowhere to go?"
he asks. "Have you ever just wanted

a quiet place with a good friend?" 
No. Nevertheless.
It's a warm autumn day, outside.

April Poem A Day Challenge 2014, day 18: a weather poem.

18 April 2014

Alternate Realities

When my sons were young
and annoying, 
I'd stomp around the house
crying, in that harsh, metallic voice:
They didn't laugh.
(Just rolled their eyes and scoffed.)

Now those boys are long ago
grown and gone.
I have the house all to myself
except for my pets.
The cats are sweet; 
they never get jealous 
when I mother my dragons.

April Poem A Day Challenge 2014, day 17: a pop culture poem