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.

30 September 2008

Long dark road: haiku and things for September 2008


Young and poor, I found
an orange in the gutter
shining like the sun.


Spring begins with rain
falling on land and ocean
with a hushed white roar.


The hurricane wind
reaches across the world
smelling of fear.


When my son was here
he never saw these moments,
our small shared laughters.
The fact of an observer
changes what’s being observed.


This morning is bright
as if washed after the rain,
the picture refreshed.


For Haiku on Friday (MySpace)

In my time of dark,
in another hemisphere
my friends make poems.

I waken to find
here from all over the world
this feast of haiku!


Sept. 11

The burning towers
bloomed across my TV screen
and the world was changed.


Long dark road.
My friend's chest pain is intense.
The drive seems endless.

As I bring him home
after the operation
small birds are singing.


In the morning sun
red leaves outside my back door
glow, pointing upward.


Haiku and moonlight.
Leaves turning with the seasons
as dreaming begins.

26 September 2008

Verse Portrait 55. Canadian Poet

Pearly girlie plays with words,
sounds, meanings, structures
and arrives at intriguing
revelations or conundrums
that always go deeper
than you might first expect.

Work different from mine,
which is plainer.

I don’t have to be the same
to appreciate the juicy flesh
of a poem bitten into and tasted,
thrilling to its savour, inhaling
the lingering memory,
running my tongue again and again
over satisfying texture.

23 September 2008

Autobiographical Poem Format #2

I am ____
I wonder____
I hear____
I see _____
I want ____
I am (same as first line)
I pretend ____
I feel ____
I touch ____
I worry ____
I cry ___-
I am (same as first line)
I understand ___-
I say ____
I dream ____
I try ____
I hope ____
I am (same as first line)


I am alive in the world.
I wonder at this great blessing.
I hear many complain,
I see there is hardship and suffering, and
I want to help relieve that; but I am thrilled by life.

I am alive in the world.
I pretend to be just like everyone else.
I feel, though, exhilarated merely to exist.
I touch trees, flowers, stones, flowing water.
I worry about the survival of this beautiful planet.
I cry if a tree or animal dies – yet I kill some insects.

I am alive in the world.
I understand only that life is a miracle.
I say this out loud very seldom, as few can hear.
I dream of a time when we’re all rejoicing;
I try to lift the spirits of those I touch.
I hope for a time to come when all proclaim with joy:
‘I am alive in the world!’

Autobiographical Poem Format #1:

Line 1: First name only (screen names are fine)
Line 2: Four adjectives that describe you
Line 3: Son/daughter of __
Line 4: Lover of __ (name three things - phrases work best)
Line 5: Who feels __ (name three - phrases work best)

In the following sections, the writer may name as many as they like.
Line 6: Who finds happiness in __
Line 7: Who needs __
Line 8: Who gives __
Line 9: Who fears __
Line 10: Who believes __
Line 11: Who would like to see __
Line 12:Who enjoys __
Line 13: Who likes to wear __
Line 14: Resident of __

Line 15: Last name only (screen names are fine)


Rosemary –

didactic, wise, magickal, ripe
daughter of Oswald and Helen,
lover of bitter dark chocolate,
the blues and the poetry of Yeats,
who feels irritated by too much chatter,
thrilled when contemplating the ocean,
and delighted by really good haiku,

who finds happiness in the love of like minds,
who needs great gobs of solitude every day,
who gives psychic readings that are locally famous,
who fears appearing ridiculous but risks it anyway,
who believes in the power of the human mind,
who would like to see the Andes again, up close,
who enjoys fantasy in print or on screen,
who likes to wear black and purple,
resident of the Mt Warning Caldera
in far northern New South Wales, Australia 

– Nissen-Wade

20 September 2008

Verse Portrait 54. Prisoner Poet 3: The Suicide

After 26 years and more,
more years than your life,

I can remember you
with joy exceeding sorrow –
though, as The Prophet suggested,
they’re sides of one coin:

always some tears,
a swift pang.

When your death was recent,
it was anguish to notice young fun –
pinball machines, amusement parks –
you might have enjoyed

if not for a youth in prison,
if not for your final escape.

16 September 2008

Verse Portrait 53. Milk Baba

I remember Milk Baba.
I saw his face tonight on TV,
but I recall the encounter in Nepal
at his small room opposite the Shiva temple
with the children surrounding him, peeping out.

A simple life. Then we find
he is learned, an acclaimed scholar
of that great scripture the Ramayana,
corresponding with people all over the world.
Thirty years of only milk, he says, made him pure.

8 September 2008

The Quest

Prompt: Write a poem that's a parable. I'm cheating on this one, being pushed for time, and using a poem written some little time ago.

I looked for you all my life,
found you in many places.
I lusted after your beauty,
saw it in many faces.

But each illusion faded
as the world continued turning.
The days drew on to sunset.
I saw the horizon burning.

'That's fine,' I said to The Mother,
'If that is how it must be.
This journey into sorrow
has held much joy for me.

'I thank you for the pleasures
and for the lessons learned.'
And I prayed for a spirit companion
while still the horizon burned.

I travelled across the horizon,
plunging into the dark.
There was no ground beneath me.
Ocean and sky turned black.

Sunrise flames on a new world,
a horizon flooded with light.
All names and faces merge as one,
and I sing on my forward flight.


6 September 2008

Happy Birthday

Prompt: a poem about a painful experience or one involving some other emotion, without stating the emotion. I've written enough pain poems this year to last a lifetime! So this isn't.

On your very first birthday
what did I give you,
knowing I gave?

A long journey
twelve hours, exhausting.
The briefest touch of my arms.

And instant recognition:
you could only be mine,
with those family features.

I gave you
a mother too tired
to hold you long that first time,

one who couldn’t feed you,
but could later cuddle, talk to you, rock
once we got the bottle right.

Much later I discovered
other things I gave you
from the first –

a love of poetry
and the gift to write it
from my Dad and his Dad and me

and music, not from
but through me,
one of my mother’s talents.

Now you’re 41
in just a few days.
I can’t believe it.

It’s hard to know what
I might give you this birthday.
Usually I don’t, just a call

or an email. We always say
we don’t need words –
we who love them.

And these days it’s you
who finds gifts for me,
nearly always a perfect book.

"Happy Birthday" is the Midweek Motif prompt at Poets United for 19 March 2014.  This seems a perfect piece to submit!

5 September 2008

Money Blues

Prompt: Write a blues sonnet

Money’s getting scarcer by the day

money’s getting scarcer ev’ry day
I’m juggling bills, there’s always more to pay.

I think this week I’ll manage and we’ll eat
this week I think I’ll manage, we will eat
but then they raise the rent, we’re on the street.

We don’t know where the next cent’s coming from
we don’t know where the next meal’s coming from
we don’t know where to find another home.

I used to have a cat I couldn’t feed
I used to have a cat I didn’t need
I gave him to a friend who could afford

such luxuries as roof and food and pet.
I don’t know how much lower I can get.

(Slightly exaggerated, don't worry - I would NEVER give away my two beautiful cats!)

Editorial Aside

Posting here less often just now, while doing the 30 Poems in 30 Days challenge at Writer's Resource Center.


Anyway I, missing the boat, did not drown
thrashing wildly, nor did I turn in anger
striding up the pier and away. I only
waved as if calmly.

Spring is now beginning to rain on all things,
wetting even oceans and rivers, lakes too.
Only I’m not adding to all this water;
I am not crying.

You can sail away on your ship to elsewhere.
You can leave today or (I can’t remember)
was it really yesterday when we parted?
See – I forget now!

When the years are thundering slowly, heartbeats
drumming heavy down throughout time, through my time,
surely no pulse echoes to your blood rhythm,
nor will I dream you.

The prompt was to write in metre, preferably one we didn't often use. This is my attempt at Sapphic metre. (The addressee is fictional, or perhaps composite.)

3 September 2008

A poem about finding something

(Last Wednesday's prompt from Poetic Asides)

Young and poor, I found

an orange in the gutter
shining like the sun.

2 September 2008

What Object Is This?

Prompt: Write a poem that includes at least one description of an object that is six or more words long. Mine's a sort of riddle poem.

I play with it at night.
It keeps my hands occupied,
demands concentration
yet helps me relax.

Not what you’d call
glamorous to look at
but it can excite me,
more so when hard.

It’s longer than six;
I'm glad of that.
And there’s no anger
though the words are cross.

Later: OK, everyone seems to have guessed – as intended; while understanding the innuendo also – as intended. So I should probably call it a joke rather than a riddle.

Mater Familias

30 Poems in 30 Days is back this September at Writer's Resource Center aka PoeWar. The prompt for Day 1 was to write about something one believes.

I believe in One God
who has many names and faces
and more genders than we
here on this tiny planet
could possibly imagine.
And I like to call Her Goddess.

Sometimes I call Her Mother.
But that can get confusing.
Since her death, my own Mum
tends to come at the call –
quite kindly, and pleased I think
that finally I seem to need her.

Or I call Her the Universe
encompassing all
that vastness, limitless,
as well as the most minute
invisible particle, and
even the nothing between.

The Universe. Isn't that 'It'?
Abstract, non-gender-specific?
Perhaps. But also I see
that space, that profound dark
as the Void, the Great Womb,
the Nurturer of Life.

I like the horned deer in the forest,
male symbol of God, the stag.
I like the great image of Pan
as the kindly sprit of Nature
animating our world. So I’m not
committed to calling that Gaia.

I believe really that God
is everything we are,
our whole reality – Truth,
and Life, and Love: as
every scripture says. I believe.
Then I make up the details.

And I do like to call Her Goddess,
choosing to give Her the face
of the Moon more often than not,
inspirer of dreams and poets.
She has many names and faces.
Tonight I believe I'll say Ishtar.