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 March 2011


Yes, I've renamed it! (From 68+ x 365.) This can go on indefinitely, at my own pace — as indeed it has been doing since number 44, when the posts stopped being daily. In my new title I'm reflecting what is so, and giving myself new freedom. The number of words will continue to match my number of years, but you don't need to keep track of that; it's my private game/discipline.


18 March 2011


This was written in 2007. I'm posting it now as part of the 'Candlelight at the Dakota' poetry event on facebook — where I can't post it because it's too long, so I'm linking to it here.  This is a different Dakota from the place with the candlelight. This Dakota was a friend of a friend, who became my friend too. He lived in the USA.

His fur was white and gold. He didn't act wild.
He cuddled up to me, then moved away quietly.
'A dog,' said David, 'wouldn't do that.
It'd be all over you, wanting more. But he's wolf. Mostly.'
'I like it,' I said. 'In that way he reminds me of a cat.'

Now that he's older, he's both tamer and wilder.
More wolf in the desert, more dog in the city.
Or so I am told, now that I'm far away.
I see photos. One pops up on my screen frequently.
He looks at me with his head cocked, ready to play.

The gold has turned dark – grey shading to black,
with a patch of triangular tan around each eye
and his muzzle and belly still white.
We talk in our minds sometimes, Dakota and I.
Not often, given that my day is his night.

I'm as far away as a thought, or a heartbeat,
but sometimes that seems impossibly far.
He's been missing now for more than a week.
I wait and wait, I offer prayer –
stuck here on the other side of the Pacific.

Hours and days lengthen. Signs are, he's stolen.
A stray as white as a ghost is sent by Spirit
to comfort David; he names him Spook.
But there's a limit to any comfort.
Every spare minute, he continues to look.

Dakota seeks out his friends, gives pictures into our minds.
And phone calls come: he's been seen in a certain area.
David goes there to dowse, follows the track
and howls. Dakota howls in answer.
But then he's silent – though all around, loudly, other dogs bark.

I remember a gathering in a forest clearing.
The faeries there were friendly. I watched them play
with the young wolf at the edge of the circle.
They also welcomed me. So I call on them today
and ask them to restore him, as then they did a lost pentacle.

And the poem flounders, and the story wanders
into inconclusion, and I haunt the computer
waiting and waiting for news, or even
the confirmation of no news yet, or
anything except Dakota irrevocably gone.


Postscript.  A friend who knew nothing of this animal or situation channelled him for me a year or so later during a meditation. As we feared, he was stolen for dog fighting and died of injuries. Afterwards, though, his soul was free and healed, and still immensely loving.

12 March 2011

My Evening Walk

I go further today
in the same time,
surprised to find
it’s so light out so late. 

A Willy Wagtail skitters
about the bitumen road,
pecking decisively
at invisible things.

Ants? I wonder,
spotting a trail
dancing in frenzy
across my path.

I notice the roof
that the crows like
is a high gable
with attic windows —

mad in this climate,
but at least they’ve used
that sun-reflecting paint
and the house is white.

Returning up my hill
I skirt the magpie and greet
the terrier who always
rushes to his gate and barks.

I grew up in a town
of hilly streets
with grassy nature strips
and clean air like this.

The crows’ house
has a stand of  bamboo
along the fence. My Dad
used to grow bamboo.

Growing Old Disgracefully

‘A nude woman!’
he shouts with joy,
encountering me moving
thus unencumbered
from bedroom to bath,
bathroom to bed.

‘Aren’t you lucky!’ I say.
‘How many men of 82
have nude women
wandering their homes?’
‘Not too many,’ he guesses,
and grins. ‘Yes, I am lucky.’

And I think to myself,
How many women of 71
have their nudity greeted
by men shouting for joy?
Not too many, I think.
I know who’s lucky.

Published in BEYOND THE DARK ROOM, 2012

5 March 2011

The Bees' Knees

They bend with ease,
they stretch and flex,
the bees’ knees
on skinny legs.

Bees have no feet;
did you ever look?
No toes, how neat!
No soles, how crook!

But bees have knees
that bend in the middle.
I bet they could dance
if you struck up a fiddle.

They can hop and skip
and do highland flings.
You wonder why
they really need wings.

And when they fly,
their long legs trailing,
their knees scrape the sky
while their wings go sailing.

Submitted 20 October 2013 for a dVerse Poetics prompt to write a poem for children — which is what I always thought this must be, even though it just arrived like any other poem, with no particular audience in mind.