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.

31 July 2011

Quietly Surprising

(Found poem: Cryptic crossword clues)

One enters 
very quietly
the final conduit
quiet knock 
Len returning
with bits of broken shell
nice to come back
into quiet, first-rate court area
the French shelter
outside the open atrium
with a kind of concealed energy
the boy it brings back
makes hand signals in water surges
surprising boy dancer 
a pro, he is faultless.

30 July 2011

Suddenly: July haiku 2011

the vine blossoms orange
winter sun

vine flowers
long loops of honey
climb the trees

warm winter
green weeds and parsley
spring up


carrying kindling
I reach to pat my new dog
she flinches sharply

(No I don’t have a new dog; this describes an incident far past.)


sunny morning
my stepson’s confident voice
clear over Skype


wet night full moon unseen


dark night
rain falling softly
low voices


Lune Sequence for Suzanne

a cold day indoors
I listen
as an old friend sings

her voice high and strong
in my ears
her words plain and sweet

I‘m on my own here
my headphones
wrapped around my skull

and she doesn’t know
I hear her
remembering well


29 July 2011

I Am Awaiting

I am awaiting his approaching death.
There, I’ve said it openly at last —
although in writing only, not with breath.

The slowing present hurries to be past,
the dear days dawdling to their close too fast.

Meanwhile, for the most part, we pretend
liveliness doesn’t lag and life won’t end.

An experiment in rime royal, prompted by FormForAll at dVerse

27 July 2011

Faint stars: July tanka 2011

I look outside
hoping to find poetry
in my garden.
Instead it sits on the pane:
spider too small to breathe on.


morning chill
cleaning out a cupboard
I come across
the four blue place mats
inscribed with your poems


faint stars
the blink of a plane
street lights
lights in windows
the lights of home


Home Care visitor
phone calls
take A for blood test.
Poetry, what’s that?


26 July 2011

Texas Boots

We’ll have to get you
Texas boots and a cowboy hat,’
said my new publisher.
(He meant for me to pay.)
I cringed.
‘I don’t think so.’
(Maybe that, right then, was where
our relationship went wrong.)

When I got to Texas, I began to see
why I might want them,
falling quickly in love
with all of Texas
(except him, but it’s all right —
he wasn’t a native.
In mutual dislike by then,
we arranged never to meet.)

The day came when a friend
guessing my size, bestowed
a pair of Texas boots.
‘You can’t go home without them.’
With two extra pairs of socks
I made them almost fit.
(It was I who bought my own
white straw cowboy hat.)

Sometimes I wear those boots.
They look very dashing,
but they either slop or pinch.
I don’t know what became of the hat,
though I wore it home on the plane.
It looked peculiar here.
(By the same token, a dinkum Akubra
would have looked wrong there.)

But up in Lamesa, West Texas,
across from the festival venue,
there was a garage sale.
I found a pair of thick SWAT boots.
‘Try them on,’ said Thom,
so I did. A perfect fit!
When (rarely) it’s cold here, I put them on
and (fond, nostalgic) I remember Texas.

Inspired by a prompt at dVerse

24 July 2011

In Dreams I Return Often

In dreams I return often
to my childhood garden,
that vast rectangle of lawn
and the bushes around the sides.

When you wake during a recurring dream,
you know at once it has been recurring —
this one all my life,
including the years I lived there.

The lawn has long been cemented over.
The raspberry bushes, the ferns and bamboo
and the two spreading willows
have all disappeared. 

Nothing of it exists;
not the swing, not the summerhouse.
My brother and I 
went back one day and saw.

But in my dreams I return
often to that childhood garden,
my archetypal garden, always green.
And I am at home there.

23 July 2011

The Photo on My Desk

We’re about to be married.
We stand, nervously smiling,
in front of a hedge of white roses.
The roses in my bouquet
and the one in your buttonhole
are cream like my smart suit.
There are pearls in my ears
and three strands around my neck.
My hair is coiffed and fluffy.

Yours is brushed up too
as bouffant as short can be.
You stand straight in your navy,
displaying your fancy tie.

We never dress like this!

I remember that stupid man
who was married to what’s-her-name
telling me how nice I looked,
in tones of raw surprise.

6 July 2011


She barged in the shop door
straight at me, was aware
I was there, stopped short,
side-stepped, ploughed on

all without meeting my eye
or even my face, intent
beyond me. I was obstacle, 
thing, irritation in her way.

1 July 2011

Late sun: tanka for June 2011

like dragons
in the night sky
and at dawn

like angels
on bright blue
and in moonlight


late sun
on the silver river
red sky
how quickly dark falls


wake in the morning
open the bed
turn down the curtains
switch on the cats
feed the computer ...

(Recycled last verse of an old poem that otherwise didn’t work.)

13/4/08 – 18/6/11

Winter Solstice tanka

at Solstice 
my sister witch
wanders outside
waters my herbs

at Solstice
we eat muffins
talk Tarot
no formal rite
simple sharing

at Solstice
we send our thoughts
to a friend
in her garden
lighting her fire


winter sunshine
ripens the tomatoes
to profusion
as if growing wild
I need do nothing


late night
I remember
old ghosts
some of them dead
some still living