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 May 2012

Nursing Home: Keith

He’s thin and slighty stooped
but the grey hair’s thick and wavy

and he moves at normal speed —
except when he’s with her.

Holding her hand 
or arm around her

he leads her to meals
or out to the sunny garden.

She turns to him
a gentle, vacant face.

He greets us cheerily,
eyes full of comprehension.

We realise he lives here 
to be with her.

He looks happy. 
So does she.

Submitted to Poetry Pantry #101 at Poets United. 

Cross-posted to my verse portraits blog, Impressions You Left

Nursing Home: Bobbi

Bobbi walks quickly 
along the corridors,
keeping to the edges.
One day she tells me,

‘I hurt my hip. Now 
I have to keep walking 
or it seizes up.
I feel conspicuous
and embarrassed.’

She is slim
in her neat slacks
and cardigan,
sweet face framed
by a short pageboy.

Her eyes widen
a moment and I glimpse 
fear, want to hug her 
but will not intrude
on her frail dignity.

Submitted to Poetry Pantry #101 at Poets United.

Cross-posted to my verse portraits blog, Impressions You Left

27 May 2012

That red wine: May haiku 2012

full moon
blurred white through cloud
I miss you


(from the facebook group UmitBattal POOR - HAIKU© )

I recall
only the red wine
not the glass


that red wine
the essence of joy
stands alone


wine lingers
the glass that held it
breaks apart


the glass
falls away
from the wine


drizzly rain
from morning to night
angry words


20 May 2012

When I Come to Bed

He’s waiting 
naked and grinning.

We’re not too old for a frolic.

(This never happened
in the nursing home.)

I'm submitting this one to dVerse Open Night #45 — where you'll find lots and lots of good reading from a great community of poets.

Obama the President

Oh how ecstatic.  
At last, I thought, 
And liked him so much, 

his Yes We Can slogan 
It’s Time!

But it hasn’t turned out 

‘What chance
have they given him?’
someone asks.

I don’t know. 

Couldn’t he have closed 
Guantanamo? am I naive?  

Anyone, of course,
better than George 

personable, and his family
And has a brain

ought to have been 
the Messiah some of us 

but in truth 
seems weak.

And a damn sight more 

What good 
killing Bin Laden? 

him and Hilary and co 
all sitting around 
watching it on TV, 
like murder was GOOD 

chilling banality. 

No I don’t say Bin Laden 
was right or good or anything
But still. 

‘Two wrongs don’t make’

those values
long gone now.

A 'cut-up' poem, made from a prose timed writing in response to a prompt at WordsFlow writers' group.

9 May 2012


It’s a lonely sound,
the plane going over
up there in the night.

So is the gathering of wind
from the corners of darkness
into a rumble, then a howl.

I want to cuddle with my love,
sleep near his warmth all night.
He wants that too, yet we’re apart.

Submitted for dVerse Open Link Night #43

8 May 2012

Tanka Challenge

In the midst of the Poetic Asides April PAD Challenge, Robert Lee Brewer also issued a tanka challenge.  He has just announced the winner, out of hundreds submitted. It is by Jane Schlensky, you can read it here, and it will be published in a future issue of the Writer's Digest magazine. He also listed the rest of the 'top ten', and what do you know — one of mine came second! 

Here are all those I submitted. The first is the one chosen. I hedged my bets and made some of them 5/7/5/7/7 even though I think that the least important 'rule' for tanka in English. I'm particularly delighted that the one chosen has shorter lines.

she is lonely
new love poems
to an old love


when I am dancing
and you are looking at me
with your eyes shining
for a moment I forget
that we are old people now


once upon a time
when the fairytale ended
and they did not live
happily ever after,
they found another sweetness


a still night
the hum of his bike
goes for miles
she hears him leaving
the rest of her life


she dozes
a gentle touch
on her arm
awakens her
she sees no-one

PS  My place-getting tanka was later published in the Writer's Digest of September 2012.

6 May 2012

High Care

I try to recreate a homely feel
within the nursing home. It isn’t real
and their new schedules take you when I leave.
It is the very contrast makes us grieve —
this isn’t home. Nor is the old home now
without you. I would bring you back — but how?

I must surrender you to better care
than I can give, although it seems unfair
and you believe I have abandoned you.
In fact it was the only thing to do.
I want to smile, not weep when I am here
visiting you. Let’s find some new joy, dear

for still we’re never one whole day apart,
and surely home is in the other’s heart?

A response to the dVerse FormForAll prompt: Clarian Sonnets
though written too late to be included in the line-up there.

Also linking to the dVerse 2019 Sonnet Challenge.

The Clarian Sonnet is my favourite kind of sonnet – though the Neruda-style free verse sonnet runs it close. (Which is interesting, as the one is so modern, the other so classic.) The Clarian seems to me somehow less of a virtuoso performance than the Shakespearian, Petrarchan or Spenserian, so that the reader's focus is hopefully more on what is said than how it is said. In the others, even the very best of them, my attention is split equally between both. I love playing with form, but I like it to be in the service of – even subservient to – meaning.

2 May 2012

Things you think: April tanka 2012

Things you think
you will always remember —
some you do.
The bedroom by the sea
had bamboo walls. I was eight.


Yes, only one tanka this April.

Bleak nights and cold: April haiku 2012

Good Friday
we eat the Hot Cross Buns
his blood sugar rises


bleak nights and cold
swirling dust and dry leaves
Melbourne city


city streets
thin dust in gutters
icy wind