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.

28 August 2014

Kuta Beach

(After Reading Lorca)

Death comes in
with the salt
at the tavern

in this country
both gentle and sinister

prancing white horses
wave-dancing men

their soft guitars at night
from across the bay

the noises
the bursts of light

mistaken for fireworks
at first

young men
with trembling hands

young men of the sea

an odour of salt
and blood

death enters into the salt
as the salt enters into the death
in that tavern.

© Rosemary Nissen-Wade 2005

Published Diverse-City 2006 (Anthology of the Austin International Poetry Festival, Texas)



La muerte
entra y sale
de la taberna. 

Pasan caballos negros
y gente siniestra
por los hondos caminos
de la guitarra. 

Y hay un olor a sal
y a sangre [de hembra]1,
en los nardos febriles
de la marina.

La muerte
entra y sale
y sale y entra
la muerte
de la taberna.

At dVerse we are invited to try homophonic translations (aka translitics). My current - weird! - attempts are in previous post. I'm posting this one to show what can be done with more time. *Smiles*.

(This example is not strictly a translitic, as I did understand some of the words — or thought I did — and used a mixture of translation, translitic and leaps of thought.)


A dVerse exercise in homophonic translations, aka translitics, where you translate as best you can the sounds of an unknown language into words of your own.  Although I have done this kind of thing before with results that pleased me, I found this one very testing. 


Ne-om aminti cândva târziu
de-aceasta întâmplare simpla,
de-aceasta banca unde stam
tâmpla fierbinte lânga tâmpla.

De pe stamine de alun,
din plopii albi, se cerne jarul.
Orice-nceput se vrea fecund,
risipei se deda Florarul.

Polenul cade peste noi,
în preajma galbene troiene
alcatuieste-n aur fin.
Pe umeri cade-ne si-n gene.

Ne cade-n gura când vorbim,
si-n ochi, când nu gasim cuvântul.
Si nu stim ce pareri de rau
ne tulbura, piezis, avântul.

Ne-om aminti cândva târziu
de-aceasta întâmplare simpla,
de-aceasta banca unde stam
tâmpla fierbinte lânga tâmpla.

Visând, întrezarim prin doruri -
latente-n pulberi aurii –
paduri ce ar putea sa fie
si niciodatã nu vor fi.

I had two tries.

Translitic 1: 
(seemed to work better without line-breaks, as a kind of prose-poem) 

Nay, I'm — am! — into "can-do" of a tears-you day, a ceased (ah, in temple are simpler) day, a ceased,  a bank, a (understand, temple) a fire-burnt, a longer (temple, ah!)

deep, a stamina day, alone. Din! Plop! I'll alibi. Sea cure in a jar, you'll, or ice in sea put. Sea very fecund, rise. I pay, sea-dead; a fire are you.

Pole, newel, caddy. Peace! (Tea? No.) I in prayer edge. My gal been a Troy in a all-cat you, lest — eh? — an orphan. Pay America Day, nay sigh in genie.

Naked, e'en guru can dive or be. I'm sighing. Oh gee, canned new gas. I'm cue have, and you sigh new as time seep, are a ride, a row, natal bureau. Please is eventual / a vain tool.

Nay, I'm aiming the candy vat (ah!) as you. Day a cease taint, ample ate simpler, dear cease to ban Kay, understand, ample fire been too long at temple: a

vice and in treasure I'm pry in door, you are I, latent, in pool bury our ill — paid. You are I, see, are putty, as if I is in sea, oh data new have, or fee. 

I'm amused that it came out rather like one of those abstract word-association poems which I am not really into!

Translitic 2:

Nay! O Mam, in’t I can’t have a tear? Is you
de ancestor in temple, a simpler
day, a sistah (ban) say? Understand,
temple fire burnt. A longer temple, ah!

Deep, a stamina day, alone.
Din, plop! Pill. Alibi. Seek, earn; edge or all.
Or ice in seep at sea, very fecund.
Rice I pay, see deed. A flower, annual.

Pole in awl caddy, pest. Eh no, I
in pre-aim, a gal been Trojan eh?
All cat — you, I, is it? — in our fine.
Pay you, me, or I. Caddy? Nay, is I in genie.

Nay caddy, an’ guru can do for be I’m
sighin’, och! I can do new. Gas! I’m curve an’ tall.
See, new. Is it I’m see Pa? Or I de raw
new? Too ill, burrow. Please, is eventual? 

Nay, Oma, mine, tea-canned avatar, as you
de ancestor in temple are simpler,
dear cease to bank a under-steam
temple fire-bin too long at, ampler.

Vice; and in treasure I’m pray and do run —
late in tea and pool bury — or I, I 
paid you. Are I see or put here safe? I
sigh, Nice I, oh daughter, new for if eye.

I can see a story in this weird pidgin or Creole I came up with. I'd like to tease it out later. In fact I'd like to develop both of these into new poems, using the above as foundations only — but pushed for time just now.

For an older and completed example, see next post.

15 August 2014

On Cold Nights (2)

This is the same poem I posted two days ago.  I am using it here for a dVerse request to mark up a poem so as to define the beats.  The heavy stresses are in bold. A caesura (a pause that's part of the rhythm) is indicated by square brackets around a space.

On Cold Nights

Although I have no husband now,
there are those that warm my bed.

One caresses my feet. [ ] My toes curl 
and stretch in ecstatic response

Another has my back. [ ] I snuggle in,
feeling comforted, safe.

A third is hot in my embrace
for hours, [ ] night after night.

There's a lad who sneaks in late. [ ] I wake to  see
his black-haired, handsome head [ ] lying beside mine.

My favourite, though, is grey-haired like me, [ ]
female like me. [ ] When I stroke her shapely flank,

she purrs. [ ] So does the black cat by my pillow ...
while the hot water bottles nestle quietly.

13 August 2014

On Cold Nights

Although I have no husband now,
there are those that warm my bed.

One caresses my feet. My toes curl 
and stretch in ecstatic response. 

Another has my back. I snuggle in,
feeing comforted, safe.

A third is hot in my embrace
for hours, night after night.

There's a lad who sneaks in late. I wake to see
his black-haired, handsome head lying beside mine.

My favourite, though, is grey-haired like me,
female like me. When I stroke her shapely flank,

she purrs. So does the black cat by my pillow ...
while the hot water bottles nestle quietly.

8 August 2014

From One Side

Falling rain.
The first quarrel
between old friends.

Are these tears?
Don’t be silly!
(It’s true my face is wet.)

The words lie
where they were left.

must make the first move.
All right, I will. Help!

At dVerse "Meeting the Bar" it's a small, small world. They're calling for poems of 40 words or fewer. This one's the full 40, excluding title. I like to think each verse could also stand alone, and that the first two verses could, together,  form one poem — as could the last two, and even other combinations of two at a time.

4 August 2014

The Dead of Winter

My house is my cave today. 
It's drizzly out and my blinds are drawn.
But weather is not my reason, 
it's my opportunity.

I fold this cave around me 
like a cosy dressing-gown.
I hope there will not be visitors. 
I disconnect my phone.

This is my bad time of year 
(though none, now, are good).
This is the death time, doubled — 
the recent and the old.

Which should I count worst? 
The man I was with for 20 years,
truest of all companions, 
slowly ageing, ailing?

Slowly losing his mind —
though never his love ... our love: 
our resolute, practical love — 
as I lost power to help.

Or the violent, sudden end
decades past, of one
linked to me, mind to mind,
a week short of his 25th birthday?


Such outwardly peaceful events. 
Holding a hand as known as my own,
murmuring to him of love and memory, 
all those hours with his eyes closed.

All those hours until his breath stopped, 
just as his eyes flew open
to bless me with his last look. 
And I, that one instant, not looking.

Or to sit down with a coffee 
on a lazy Saturday afternoon
and open the day's paper 
to the headline I'll never forget.

No-one knew I was someone
who would need to be told,
who would most need to be told —
no-one who had the telling.

(And I’d failed to understand
my inexplicable tears the night before,
the lines of poetry filling my thoughts
in words of love and goodbye.)


“There are some," my psychiatrist said, 
“Who break down very quietly.” 
Mostly that's what I did 
in all the several breakdowns of my life.

And in these hurts too. Mostly. 
"You mustn't grieve," I was told.
"It holds the dead back." Too bad
I said in my head. You owe me that.

I went long walks alone 
in Melbourne's hottest summer,
haranguing the pitiless, empty sky; 
returning calmly to cook dinner.

That's when I started 
always having too much to do,
keeping busy against 
bottomless rage and despair.


"Live my life for me," he seemed to say 
through the pages of a book.
For a while I tried but then I knew, 
that was not his message.

Live your own life, he'd have said.
Write your own poems. I'm outa here. 
And he'd have laughed. 
I went on. Life is long.

As my life with my last love was long, 
sweetly long, and now is done.
You won't see me scream and sob. 
I withdraw. I do it all alone.

Submitted for Poets United's Poetry Pantry #212

1 August 2014

Paradelle of Love in the Morning

Hold me against your heart.
Hold me against your heart
in falling rain.
In falling rain
against your heart hold me,
rain falling in.

When we awake and stir,
when we awake and stir
in new daylight …
in new daylight
we stir and awake when
new in daylight.

Then we gather roses.
Then we gather roses
fresh with morning.
Fresh with morning,
we gather then roses 
with morning fresh.

Morning, rain falling.
Gather fresh heart.    
Hold me in your new 
against then within
when we stir daylight awake,
and we roses.

For a dVerse prompt. The paradelle is a joke/hoax by Billy Collins, parodying formal verse. He claimed it originated in France in 11th century Languedoc. Check its strict — and very silly — rules, and/or see what others have done with it, back at dVerse.