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 April 2012

Not Whimper But Bang

A romance like ours can’t just fade away 
becoming nothing; love like ours can’t end at all.
What seemed a slamming on of brakes
was merely a sudden change of gears.

I bought him grey for the nursing home —
grey pyjamas, grey socks ... at least its neat
but does suggest perhaps a gradual fading,
a bleakness. We don’t know what is coming.

It is Samhain, the festival of the dead.
My eyes can barely stay open. Emotion
is so tiring! But I need to light a candle
to honour the ancestors, before I sleep.

I feel as if I am living the Death card in the Tarot:
the death of a way of life or a way of being,
occasioning mourning. But we’re supposed to
come out the other side; it’s meant to be rebirth.

The cats are restless, coming in and out
repeatedly, as if looking for something. 
Or someone. A pale gecko has got inside.
It ran away from me to lie on the ceiling. 

I bought red wine tonight, even though 
the image of an old lady on her own, drinking,
seemed pathetic. I drank it anyway, two glasses
with dinner. Now my thoughts are all over the place.

A friend advises Beethoven. I might try Wagner.
Something cathartic seems called for tonight.
I’d like to clash some cymbals. Or kick down a brick wall.
I go in my mind to where he lies sleeping. I hope he sleeps.

I’ve packed his suitcase; I’ve filled in the forms.
He knows now that we won’t live together again.
Tonight in the hospital we cried together, then 
laughed at ourselves, then cried some more.

Some day soon, I hope we’ll find new gladness.
Yes, I suppose he is gradually dying, but aren’t we all?
Tomorrow they move him, tomorrow the new life
begins. I descend into depths of darkness.

April PAD Challenge #30: Fading away

29 April 2012

He Was the One Looking After Me

He was the one looking after me
again, tonight, when I wept.

It was time to tell the truth.

Just the two of us 
quietly companionable,
reading the Sunday papers
almost as if we were home;
our heads close together,
the ward for once peaceful.

‘Do you get lonely at night?’ he asked.
‘Well I have the cats,’ I said, 
then paused and blurted, 
‘To tell you the honest, yes I do,’
and burst into tears. ‘But I can’t
take care of you any more, darling.
It’s become too much for me
to manage on my own.’

He nestled my head on his shoulder,
put one arm around me, with the other
stroked my hair — so gently, I felt 
my hair was golden silk.

It will be all right,’ he said.
‘You must do what’s best for you.’

We’d already talked of ‘the new place’
and when he’d be moving there.
He was getting jack of the hospital,
looking forward to leaving.

And so I said the rest: 
‘It’s temporary now, because that
was already authorised, but it will
become permanent. Unless you really 
hate it; then we’d find another place.’

I promised I’d bring him back home 
to visit, even stay overnight — 
when the kids can fly up for a weekend
(or any one of them) and assist;
afraid now to try on my own.

He held me untiI I was calm.
‘Drive safely,’ he said when I left.
‘I love you,’ we both said.

April PAD Challenge #29: Take a favorite line or image from an earlier poem this month and re-work it into a new poem. This title is a line from my Day 21 poem, Taking the Obs.


The problem is 
she thought she was helping,
doing something nice for me,
and for her dad.

‘You can take the laptop
into the nursing home,’ she said, 
‘And watch all these
wonderful movies together.’

The problem is
I’m five days into my billing period
and now, for the rest of the month,
the service has been slowed.

I’ll have to wait a while
to see last night’s ‘New Tricks’
that I missed, on iView. I hope 
I can still work the blogs.

The problem is
after the slowing began
the movies didn’t 
completely download.

All that for nothing!
When I can just as easily
and almost as cheaply
hire the DVDs.

The problem is
I didn’t see the warning emails
until this morning, too late 
(now that she’s gone back home).

The dreadfulness of our task
had me retiring early to cry,
her staying up late on the net
to distract herself.

The problem is
he keeps saying 
he wants to come home
and I wish that too, but it can’t be.

And so we seek for ways
to help him, and help me too,
enjoy the new life
we have to have.

The problem is much bigger
than a slow internet connection
for about three weeks
and a few useless downloads.

(Meanwhile I sit here 
in the warm dressing-gown 
she bought me; money in my wallet, 
and a fridge full of food — bless her!)

April PAD Challenge #28: A problem
(Yes, I can still work my blogs.)

Also submitted for Poets United's Poetry Pantry #98

28 April 2012

The Trouble Is Almost Over

Today his daughter and I
went together to look at two 
potential homes for him. 

We rejected the glamorous
up-market one with the formal air
for the old building, the laughter,
the residents’ vegetable patch,
the assistant manager whose eyes
grew wet too when I cried.

If we had dogs instead of cats,
I could take them to visit
(provided they had 
their vaccinations).
Anyway, a dog and a cat 
live there already. And 
I can bring him back here
to visit our cats and me. 
It’s just five minutes away!

He can take his own comfy chair. 
Peeping into rooms, we saw 
walls hung with photos
and favourite paintings,
personal bookshelves,
collections of souvenirs.

We told him all about it. At first 
it’s just for a try; then, if he likes it....
His face cleared. He started to smile.

April PAD Challenge #27: ‘The Trouble Is ..’

Also submitted for Poets United's Poetry Pantry #98

27 April 2012

Cat Love

Sometimes, absent-mindedly,
he would call this black boy cat
by his eldest son’s name, then 
shake his head and correct himself.

I think that was even before
his mind began slipping —
though who knows when 
such gradual slides begin?

And the animal would snuggle up,
or lie at his feet for hours
when he worked at his office desk — 
‘Just us blokes together.’

I am giving him extra cuddles now,
the cat. I wonder how long before
he realises that this absence 
will not come to an end?

He and his sister have learned:
beloved humans go away and come back 
after days or weeks or even months. 
Some reappear after years.

I wonder how long it will take
this time, to understand? Meanwhile,
unless I mention them first,
the man never speaks of the cats.

April PAD Challenge #26: An animal poem.

Also submitted for Poets United's Poetry Pantry #98

26 April 2012


Footy is soccer —
except when you’re ocker.

Up north they hold forth
on the pleasures of Rugby.
I find it ugly, 
a form of thuggery.

Down south they are fools
for Aussie Rules.

As I was born and raised
a Southerner — well,
you would have a right to be amazed
if I didn’t follow the AFL.

Not a native Melburnian,
I got to choose.
‘Carn —
the mighty Blues!’

April PAD Challenge #25: A sport. (Yes, you have to be an Aussie to understand this poem — no apologies!)

25 April 2012

The Trouble with Love

The trouble with love
is just what your mother always told you:
it will end in tears.
The more love, the more weeping.

The trouble with love is
you do it anyway;
it gets you,
in spite of all the warnings.

You wake up one morning and notice:
Oh! Yes! The world
is a place of happiness now;
it has a shine.

The world, you notice, 
is focused around
the presence of that one person ...
that one radiance making the whole world glow.

You wake and it’s
immediate: you open your eyes to light,
a rich enhancement of daylight. You open 
to immediate delight.

Oh, love!  The long daylight hours
of its duration
are changeable with the time and weather.
Then comes night.

Sleep tight, little lovers.
Descend not into nightmares.
The day is over.
Say your prayers, and hope to survive.

The trouble with love is
it ends.  We all know this. 
After a moment it ends, or after a lifetime. 
It ends. We are left weeping.

Goodbye, my dear love.
I see you are going
leaving me richer by far, and weeping
after such influx of light.

April PAD Challenge #24: Love poem, Anti-love poem, or one of each. (This April, for these ‘Two for Tuesday’ double prompts, I have been trying to combine both into one poem.)

Also submitted for dVerse Open Link Night #41.

24 April 2012

Morning Now

 Morning now is different,
and waking up unwelcome.

The cats still have the same habits,
but no-one now pats the bed
to entice Levi up for a cuddle 
when he mews at 5 am for food.

I don’t have to give the insulin,
take the blood sugar,
fetch the tablets ...

And there is no-one 
to snuggle back down with,
to read with, to eat with. Hard
to get used to using
the one-cup coffee plunger.

April PAD Challenge #23: Morning

23 April 2012

Elderly Drivers

One and then another
white-haired driver dawdles
slowly down the empty street
I wait to drive across.

Inside my head, I think,
‘Put yourselves out to pasture!
Go and get off the roads!’

I’m glad I’m not like that.
My white coiffure conceals
a sharp and youthful brain.

And when I pause to assess
a traffic situation,
this is heightened consciousness!
(Why is that fool honking?)

April PAD Challenge #22: Judging

22 April 2012

Taking the Obs

Around his neck, under his pyjama top,
a white plastic rectangle hangs from tapes.
It has a dial with lights and symbols
which the nurses can decode. ‘We think
it might be your ticker causing the falls.’

They take his blood sugar, more often
I suspect, than the twice a day
I’ve been doing at home. And they take
blood pressure, temperature, pulse, all that.
They check his water, intake and output,
and whether his bowels have opened today.

I am a visitor now. I must relinquish him
into other care than mine. I am training myself
not to ask what his blood sugar is this time,
nor at what hour they gave his insulin dose.
‘He’s in good hands,’ the nurses reassure. 
‘You’ve done a wonderful job,’ says the doctor. 
‘It’s enough! Time to let us look after him now.’

Only last week, when I started a cold,
he was the one looking after me,
wrapping his warm arms around me,
stroking my hair, soothing me off to sleep. 
I examine, now, as he lies in his hospital bed,
the smile in his eyes as we share a joke,
the interest in his voice as he asks the nurses,
‘Where did you grow up? Where did you train?’

I observe the way his hair curls over his ear.
I watch his hand take hold of mine. I perceive
the gentleness of his touch, the warmth 
of his loving clasp. I monitor not the beat 
but the inclination of his heart, its directions;
I try to gauge his happiness levels, his peace.
This has been my chief occupation for years.
I can’t stop noticing and caring, just because
he’s now in a hospital, being clinically observed.

April PAD Challenge #21: Under the microscope
Also submitted for dVerse Poetics: Duty Calls

Published in THE d'VERSE ANTHOLOGY, 2013

21 April 2012

Let's Cuddle

‘Let’s cuddle,’ I say to our cat
or she says to me
or both to each other.
(We are using body language.)

Anyway, we snuggle.
She settles against me
in her usual spot on the bed, 
squeezed in between us  —
only you are not there
on the other side tonight.
She purrs hard and long
as if you were.

But we’re both restless.
We shift many times in the night,
as if that could make a difference.
We open our eyes briefly
to stare at each other
almost accusingly,
avoiding the huge absence
over your side of the bed.

In the end there is only one way.
‘Let’s cuddle,’ we say to each other,
snuggling as close as we can
and the night slowly passes.

April PAD Challenge #20: Let’s ...

20 April 2012

Home Alone

(Now he must go into care)

Suddenly —
now —
I live alone
as of shortly after lunch today
though I didn’t know it then.

Another fall
and he’s back in hospital
after one night and a morning
here with me.

I was with him,
helped him collapse
gradually to the ground
and so, no injury
this time. (Nor the last.)

Twice in three days
is too much —
the buckling of legs
that just stop working.
No loss of consciousness, just
inability to stand.
Sudden. Total. What if
I had not been there?

And I can’t lift him.
All I could do
was put a pillow under his head
and call the ambulance

While he was away
yesterday and the day before
I shifted furniture
to make the place safer:
things he could grab and hold,
strong enough to support him.
I guess it was just as well.
He used one to lean on
while I helped him down
slowly to the floor.

I put clean sheets on the bed.
His last night home
was comfortable.

I bought some more Zero Coke
because he likes it.
But he didn’t even have
one glass last night.
He was so tired,
and went to bed early.

‘So nice,’ he said this morning,
‘To be in my own bed
in my own home.’
But lately it’s been hard for him,
I know.
So much weakness, 
so much pain.

So much more I wanted to do here
to make this place
beautiful, and kind to him.
Now, how empty
such improvements seem
for me alone.

April PAD Challenge #19: A life event.

19 April 2012

The One We Don't Mention

The favourite local delicacy
is not openly spoken of.
In fact I myself haven’t tasted it
for years, not since before even
moving up here — back when
it wasn’t specific to a place
so much as a time:
that experimental era
when we tried so many ways
to give our lives new flavour.

In these parts, I guess you could say
we’re in permanent time warp.
Indeed, the main ingredient
in the best of this region’s cuisine
is our staple crop, widespread
throughout the district. Old timers still
remember the Great Disaster — the raid
which put so many growers out of action
that the local economy went bust
and the hardware store had to close.

Of course, there’s more ways than one
to ingest what is often considered
a gift from the gods (at once
so pleasurable and so good for us
that some people claim medicinal
dispensations). Plenty prefer to enjoy it
while sitting around and smoking.
Out Nimbin way, though, our Mary Jane
creates the most wicked, most munchable
cookies, with that little extra something!
(At least, so I’m told.)

April PAD Challenge #18: regional cuisine


The place we are taken to is clinically cold,
exactly as alien abductees have always
described the environs they encountered.

I see sections of wall screened off
making booths or cubicles, where I glimpse
people — ordinary people like me, but looking
pale and still. They are restrained by cords, attached
to their bunks, and to alarming, strange machines.

They are for the most part silent, but
some moan or groan. Then those others, the ones
who look like us yet subtly different from us,
go to them and stop their cries. I see them probe
the inert sufferers with instruments, just
as we have been told of in all the stories
that we didn’t seriously believe.

I am conducted to a figure reclining on pillows.
‘Here is your husband,’ I am told as I recoil
from the creature before me. I cannot describe
that head, the bulbous appendage where you and I
have a nose, a mouth, a chin, a neck. Those organs
have become one single swelling, machine-like,
growing all over its face. It speaks, harsh-voiced,
incomprehensible, in a sort of rasp. I think, ‘Is this
what I am doomed to for the long rest of my life?

Eventually my time there is done — until next time.
I must come back, no help for it, but for now
I may return to my home. So I do. How odd, how
altered my home appears after that episode.
The cats are welcoming, but they can tell
I am edgy. Nothing is as normal, nor can be.
I am simply thankful things were no worse.
He’s off the oxygen now, and that disconcerting
mask. They’re monitoring his heart all night
and they think, all being well, I can bring him home
tomorrow, thank God. (Don’t you just hate hospitals?)

April PAD Challenge #17: SF and/or Fantasy

17 April 2012

Mixed-Up Poem

The poem is distracted.
She wrings her hands
and curses freely.
I am so mixed up, she cries.

I amb so not a sonnet,
and as for pentameter,
I’d as soon have distemper.

Am I just some kind
of lune-y?
Well mate, you tell me!

I used to love
sitting in sweet silence,
all the dear words
waiting for me to choose,
then telling me, ‘Tanka!’

but now I ghazal them whole
I, the poem without a soul.

I cannot bear to stay alone
without a ballad to my name.
With all my rhymes and metres gone
there is no fame, there’s only blame.

Listen! the high coo
of a mournful dove flying
away from this page...

April PAD Challenge #16: a mixed up poem

15 April 2012


Button up!
Make sure your strap is tight.

You don’t need a face mask;
this is a balloon.

Yes, I’m sure you won’t get airsick.
If you do I’ll slash the fee.

April PAD Challenge 15: Use the words slash, button, mask, strap, and balloon in your poem.

The End Foretold

We waited on a high hill
in a house with plate glass floor-to-ceiling windows
looking straight across at the mountain.

There were maybe twenty of us.
Three days of meditation and feasting.
And when I say meditation, I mean
laughing meditation, crying meditation,
singing and dancing and breathing meditation,
and trance-like healing sessions too.

My friend Karen (who died five years later
but we didn’t know then)
stood like an angel with arms outstretched,
holding the energy for others to heal.

My friend Kay, who shares with me
Nepal and Peru as well as this home Caldera,
talked with me over lunch. We explored
garden and forest, walking together.

On the last night, we all lit red candles
from one given by the Buddhist monks —
and that was from one originally lit
by the Dalai Lama. All that energy handed on,
rekindled over and over, that molten light.
They are candles for peace, we said.

We watched the dawn. The Y2K bug
wasn’t real, though we had slightly wondered.
The millennium arrived. We rejoiced.


Later, of course, the new century
astonished us all with terrors
we hadn’t imagined. One by one the predictions
are coming true. Are we moving towards
the end of the world — again — or the Golden Age?

April PAD Challenge #14: Doomsday

Also submitted for Poets United's Poetry Pantry #97

14 April 2012

Friday 13

I woke up
with a raging head cold.

Both cats
vomited their breakfast.

had terrible leg pains.

I hauled him off to the doctor.
By then, I was so dosed up
I managed not to sneeze
all over the waiting-room.

We both forgot to report
the shoulder pain he’s also had
for days, unresponsive
to anything we’ve tried so far.

But anyway, the doc prescribed
new medication, as a trial,
for the agonised nerves in his legs:
a quarter the usual dose
(i.e. half a tablet) to start,
at night. Come back in a week
and we’ll see if we up it.

At bedtime I opened the box.
Uh-oh, capsules. Instruction
on box: take half; on
manufacturer’s leaflet: do not
cut open the capsule
and use just the contents. So —
no medication for him this night.

We watched TV, a show I like.
He pronounced it corny.

I had a poem to write,
working in my head; stayed up
to get it written. He
interrupted, repeatedly, to insist
I ought to be in bed. I at length
erupted. (I wonder,
can the neighbours
hear me screech?)

We didn’t get much sleep.

I‘d like to be able to blame
Friday 13.

April PAD Challenge #13: Unlucky

Also submitted for Poets United's Poetry Pantry #97

13 April 2012

Something Intense

My horoscope said, ‘Today
there will be an intense
conversation. You must
express your views.’

I waited all day. Only
the bland and average,
the practical, necessary,
everyday exchanges.

Then, that night, on TV,
the documentary — Australia
and the war in Vietnam. ‘Oh look,
I’m there!’ I said, pointing.

But it was only a glimpse, just a few
of the women from Save Our Sons.
‘They didn’t show me,’ I said,
‘But I was there that day.’

‘What were you doing there?’
I stared at him. ‘I was holding up
a placard. I was standing
with the others. I was protesting.

‘I remember, I was about eight months
pregnant.’ ‘Oh, you silly thing,’
he said indulgently. Then
our conversation became intense.

April PAD Challenge #12: ‘Something ...’

Also submitted for Poets United's Poetry Pantry #97

12 April 2012

Autumn in the Northern Rivers

Always so warm
the trees and flowers
behave as if it were Spring.

Wattle and bougainvillea
bloom profusely bright
along the roads.

Most years, even my roses
bud and flower briefly.

For a short while
we open blinds and curtains,
not keeping the temperature out.

The fans are off, the heaters
not yet switched on.
We let in the air.

Gradually the nights cool
after clear, sunny days.

The mountains stand out sharp
around the sky-line; the rivers
gleam, filling their banks.

‘Why,’ we say to each other,
‘Would you want to live anywhere else?
How could you ever leave?’ (We are smiling.)

April PAD Challenge #11: A season.

11 April 2012


It began with the two willows
in the vast back yard of my childhood.
Dad hung a swing from one
and I swung inside a green cocoon,
sky-dreaming in a trance.

And the black wattle over the garage —
the solid, spreading branches
made a seat for me, half way up,
out of Mum’s view. I played deaf
when she called me, reading till dusk.

Then there were the dark pines
edging my grandparents' fields
alongside the railway line,
like guardians for my cousin and me
as we played on hillocks of heath.

I remember that river gum
somewhere between Three Ways and Darwin,
off even that not-very-beaten track,
with the Territory’s warm winter sunlight
bleaching patches of trunk.

And the tree at the top of the paddock
at North Tumbulgum, past the dam,
right on the neighbour’s fence,
with a trunk too broad for my circling arms
and two lopped branches forming snakes’ heads.

These and many more. I have a forest
of trees, beloved, living inside my mind,
speaking to me forever after. Far-flung
individuals, their roots connect underground;
their branches join invisibly through air.

April PAD Challenge #10 Tree and/or Forest

10 April 2012

Shadow Selves

She is Ms Nasty,
I am Ms Nice.
I am all virtue,
she is all vice.

She’s in black leather,
I’m frills and lace,
yet some people tell us
we ought to embrace.

Do opposites attract?
No, not in this case.
And yet it’s so strange —
we wear the same face.

Although we feel
so separate,
we’re told it’s best
to integrate.

Will I allow
myself to swear?
Can she discard
that surly air?

We’ll have to do it
bit by bit.
In tentative swaps,
we find the clothes fit!

April PAD Challenge #9: Shady / Shadowy.

Also submitted for Poets United Poetry Pantry #96

8 April 2012


It came on me out of the blue
after seven years (only
it wasn’t an itch).
One careless thing he said
about a third party, and suddenly
I heard clearly at last his utter
lack of compassion.

I heard the way
he always justifies.
I understood in a flash,
as if explained in great detail,
the game he is locked into
and does not wish to stop.
All that in an instant.

On the instant,
I put down the phone.
It was unpremeditated but
if I’d had a deliberate thought
it might have been, ‘I’m done.’
I ran out of puff just like that —
out of anything more to give him.

No, I don’t think
I behaved well.
I’ve tried to explain.
I‘ve apologised, I’ve reasoned.
His recriminations go on and on.
I know it hurt. I didn’t mean or expect
to end our long, fond friendship. However....

April PAD Challenge #8: Rejection

7 April 2012


Noises off.
Has he fallen?
Dropped something vital?
She runs to the bedroom.
It seems he has just been
turning noisily.

He scowls
brandishing his hot water bottle.
She receives it
from his outstretched hand
and exits,
heading for the kitchen.

Returning it refilled
she shoves it at him abruptly.
He hunkers down in the bed
closing his eyes.
She sighs, and rolls hers.

April PAD Challenge #7: A wordless interaction


In their hidden world
on Barrow Island
the ospreys look after each other,
so it has been observed,
and raise their young.
The native island mouse
and golden bandicoot,
and our biggest lizard,
the handsome perentie,
go about their business
evading introduced predators —
now that those predators
have been reduced.
Graceful green turtle and dugong
glide and turn in the clear water near shore.

Oddly enough,
when the oil extraction stops,
all these fragile species and more
may be worse threatened
by eco-tourists. The conservation workers
work while they can. And possibly pray.

April PAD Challenge #6: Hidden

Also submitted for Poets United Poetry Pantry #96

6 April 2012


He sits astride the cannon. He is five.
At that time, I was not even alive.
This is my favourite picture of him:
such a joyous child, with so much to give.

His head is high; the wide, delighted grin
is echoed more restrainedly by the man
and the older boy, father and brother
sitting smiling behind him on the gun.

Their heads lean towards him. He does not see
their protective attitudes; family
he remembers as undemonstrative,
and himself repressed, but here he looks free.

His eyes are crinkled behind the round specs.
There’s a pride in the way his head’s thrown back —
a little-boy smugness: he’s in the front,
his chubby bare legs stuck out straight as sticks.

Now he’s my husband. He is eighty-three,
and the laughing child is still there to see
with that same spontaneous joy in life
as he smiles at me ... as he smiles at me.

April PAD Challenge #5: Something before your time.
Also submitted for dVerse FormForAll: Rubaiyat quatrains (mine using syllabics rather than metre).

5 April 2012

100% — Does It Exist?

For instance, this is now Autumn —
except some days it’s more like Summer
and other days bits of Winter creep in.
You can’t say ‘100% Autumn’,
not with real meaning; you can only say,
‘These are the official dates; the season
is this long, between here and here.’

Something more measurable, perhaps?
‘He ate 100% of that orange.’ No,
he didn’t. Not the rind, not the pips.
‘She lost 100% of her money.’ But
money is this imaginary thing
that we pretend is real. We even
give it physical form (sometimes;
for now) and yet what you lose
is the value it represents — which
is variable, artificially created. And truly,
someone will probably feed you, etc.

What about absolutes? 100% of nothing
is absolutely nothing. Only, like money,
there’s no such thing as nothing.
Go on, point to it! It is merely
an abstract concept with no reality.
Find me, if you can, one skerrick
of nothingness. It can’t be done.
And don’t be trying to blind me
with quantum physics. We live
in a Newtonian universe, which is all
filled up with something: many
pieces and kinds of something,
everywhere you look or listen or touch.

100% of everything? Ah —
that has credibility.
That’s logical (magickal). Look!
We can’t see how far
the Universe extends, and maybe
there are others beyond.
Maybe it never stops. We can’t
apprehend every detail. Nevertheless
everything, all there is, all of it,
100% — that makes sense. We can grasp it.
(Some of it literally.) It’s really there.

The building material of the Universe,
so we are told, is Love. I believe it.
(OK, this you might have to
take on trust.) Everything, then,
is Love. It makes the grass grow
and the planets move. And for sure I can say,
I love you — 100%.

April PAD Challenge #4: 100% [+ word or phrase]

Also submitted for Poets United Poetry Pantry #96

4 April 2012

Sorry / Not Sorry

I got your special soil.
The instructions were scary:
handle only with gloves, do not breathe in.
But if that was what you needed....

I draped long strands of coloured beads
around your pots, one each,
set crystals on top of the earth
and bright statuettes nearby.

I conversed with you,
tended you with Reiki,
gave you both water and wine.
It wasn’t my fault.

I even brought you inside at night
to keep you safe from nibbling gekkos.
When I stopped, for the dirt on the floor,
I used magick instead. Not one bite!

But after a certain point
you not only failed to thrive,
you developed wet black marks
up your sides, a kind of rot.

So I took action. Now your carcases
lie in my cast iron cauldron
waiting to be ceremonially burned.
I’ll accord you that respect.

Was it because I never
took things one step further?
Did you crave intimacy,
that ultimate merging of selves?

Yes, I know your sacred purpose,
but I’m sorry, I don’t do that.
I’m such an addict! Therefore
restraint is my middle name.

I’m sorry you sickened
but I didn’t do it. Tomorrow
we shall have the burning time.
I won’t be sorry to finally get it done.

April PAD Challenge #3: Apology and/or Unapologetic.

Also submitted for dVerse Open Link Night #38

3 April 2012

The Visitors Who Took Over

Some house-guests (like these)
are hard to get rid of.
They move in, just for a few days
which become a couple of weeks,
and next thing you know....

He was handsome
and seemed such a charmer:
always so friendly
and so obliging.
She —

truth to tell, she was always
more of a problem. So ill
soon after she first arrived
with that dreadful tick bite.
Well, we’d hardly turn her away.

And she grew on us.
Tough little soul, but
affectionate in her way
underneath the loudly-voiced
opinions and shameless greed.

Yes, we got stuck with them.
In the end, we didn’t
have the heart. They were
destitute; where could they go?
They’ll be company, we told each other.

We’ve seen the worst of them
by now — like the raucous fights.
Domestic violence in which
she gives as good as she gets.
Though it’s always him that attacks.

Then it all calms down
and they’re all over each other again.
They keep us entertained
with their antics, I will say that.
And they in turn tolerate us.

We’re getting on a bit now
and they try to boss us around.
But we couldn’t do without them, after
twelve years, can you believe?
When they came, they were just kittens.

2 April 2012

With him: March haiku 2012

hidden laugher
behind the green door
pyjama games?


peaceful evening
I stayed home all day
with him


the way he twists
moving his body
against the pain

walking slowly
in pain —
despite the pain

when the pain is worst

seldom complains
I forget the pain
rarely absent

yesterday morning
said, ‘It’s so nice
to be without pain!’


Show-Off Limericks

A fellow was trying to show
his girlfriend the right way to blow.
You are silly,’ she said,
‘I adore giving head.
I could teach you a thing or two — so!’

A woman was trying to show
an alky how to go slow.
‘Don’t up-end the jug
with a glug-glug-glug!‘    
So he lined up ten bottles in a row.    

A polite young man wanted to show
he’d make a sweet, sensitive beau.
But when he took her to bed,
his girl filled him with dread —
she was so wildly gung-ho.

Limerick-Off Monday prompt from Mad Kane's Humor Blog.


Snuggling up.
Laughing together.
Exchanging a look.
Needing only half-sentences.
We still have days like that.

I settle into this fond old age,
treasuring the sweetness
of time with you. Your hands
are eloquent —
holding my shoulder, 
stroking my hair.

At other times 
you disappear.
A hostile stranger
swears at me, yells orders,
asks the same question
over and over,
regardless of answer.

I am learning that this too 
is communication —
an indirect message
of pain and fear.
at the end of the day I snap
and communicate wordlessly
in tears.

April PAD Challenge http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/poetic-asides/poetry-challenge-2012  #1: Communication

Also submitted for Poets United's Poetry Pantry #95