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.

27 February 2015

Reflections on Time

The skin etches one molecule at a time
slowly deeper into approaching night.
The light moves across its dips and hollows,
those tiny miniature craters, as if searching
for meaning, but the meaning is only
time's movement and how it reshapes us —

time, that old rogue who waits for no-one
but marches on with the tide, into a future
that does not exist, as time is always
circular and now. The skin, though, reveals
the passage of time, regardless
of music or roses or the faces of children
(your children) looking back at you as they move,
forward or back as they overtake and surpass you.

Then, when you decide that it's merely
a man-made construct, and you construct
evidence in support of this — a new day dawns,
the sun comes up, the world is round, and you know
again it's solid geography and physics, even if some
insist times measured in a thin line on a cats back.

Written for a joust at dVerse in which we were to take a line from a poem by Brian OR Claudia and have it inspire a poem of our own. I am a bad person! Instead of choosing either team Brian or team Claudia, I was so intrigued by one particular line of each that I have used both, as my beginning and end. Either I will get disqualified or my entry will count towards both scores (which is much the same as neither).

no landmark

early or late
this face

drifts on the river
the mist closes

in quietness 
a dark business

water weeds stand
like flotsam tangled

you are alone
the dark place is not safe

the way of the dead
cannot be tamed

the floating sun trails
still rust-coloured

fronds ripple a black pool
shadowy banks

the wild part used to be
alive an animal

the black spine
like question marks

this face
its sacrifice ...

whatever that means

An erasure poem remixed from an early draft of an old poem of mine, Without a Signpost, which never quite worked, interwoven with the first chapter of Jeanette Winterson's The Daylight Gate. It's an experiment; please tell me if it works for you (and also if it doesn't).

Submitted for The Tuesday Platform (24/2/15) at imaginary garden with real toads

22 February 2015

Naming the Ineffable

'What's your favourite alternative name,'
asked my friend on facebook, 'for God?'
A  rabble of competing answers came:
'Pick me as the truest / funniest / cleverest word!'

I look at this photo of a yellow-tipped bird,
a kind we don't have where I live.
'Here is God,' I think, but have no name to give.

For 'Play It Again, Toads!' #14 at 'imaginary garden with real toads', where you can also find the bird photo I refer to. I took on the challenge of using Rhyme Royal.

21 February 2015

That Moment on the Couch Tonight

I was so full of love for you!
Though I said not a word, you felt it 
and wordlessly responded.

I held you to my heart,
your chest pressed against mine,
savouring your warmth 
and the dear shape of your body. 

Long minutes
without moving,
we rested in the embrace.

Afterwards I was still happy.
What a wonder, what a gift,
to feel your body
with my body

just as it used to be 
when you were living.

Submitted for dVerse Twist and Shout

15 February 2015

14 Words for Love 2015

I've participated once again in this little exercise of writing separate 14-word pieces on love in the lead-up to Valentine's Day. Below is my collection. See others at the website. I am submitting this series to the Tuesday Platform at 'imaginary garden with real toads'

Not your death pains me
but your pain before that.
It’s my love hurts.


Our shipboard romance
long ago becalmed
still floats sweetly in memory
which is kind.


Though you leave, you stay
forever in mind and heart
which never leave you.


I remember your eyes
the blue-green of the sea …
I drowned in your eyes.


Pretty in pink,
my dear old Aunty
in her photo.
I recall her warmth.


My friend's voice on the phone.
At once I breathe in,
relax and smile.


Across miles of air and ocean
I reach to you,
grasp your virtual hand.


Will you ever return?
Look for me in memory,
wait for me in dream.


In soft morning light
your head next to mine.
Your eyes open, you smile.


The birthday you had
this last lifetime
arrives again.
I toast you
in coffee.


Last thing at night,
thoughts of you.
First thing on waking,
thoughts of you.

First thing on waking
thoughts of you,
last thing at night
thoughts of you.


It’s Lughnasad here.
What a harvest I reap
from our season together,
Bright One!


Because your face is yours,
I find it beautiful --
or, your beauty finds me.


A glimpse.
Someone who looks like you.
But after all
looks  like you.


Between kisses
we laughed together.
That was in
another lifetime.
Now I cry alone.


Unrequited love
is also sad
for the one
who cannot requite,
and must hurt.


Old friendship long cooled —
but when we met
in last night's dream,
we kissed.


My Answer 

'What direction shall I go now?'
I ask the oracle stones
I made myself.

Scrabbling deep,
ha! — I pull out the one
on which I drew a heart.


Such tenderness I feel,
seeing the back of a head
that might be yours.


Thought I'd lost you
but memory retains all your details;
that loss is impossible.


A handwritten letter
sharing your day,
and I am with you
in quiet delight.


The smile in your eyes
when you look at me
is reflected in mine.


Love is also
being glad you’re gone
away from discomfort
and this trying weather.


Valentine’s Day. I wave
to my three old husbands
(and sundry lovers)
in Heaven.


The friends who hold your heart
may warm it a long time,
outlasting lovers.


12 February 2015

LOVE is not a Greeting Card

How cross you were
on our first Valentine’s Day,
when I gave you a card.

You felt, you said, manipulated,
as if you were then required
to go out and buy one for me.

I understand now
you felt guilty: you were trying
to shift the blame.

The next year, of course
I didn’t mark the occasion.
You, of course, did!

You brought me roses.
You often brought me roses
on any occasion, or none.

We had twenty years together.
Now you’ve been gone
not much longer than two.

Yet I simply can’t remember, now,
whether or not we observed it again
in all those loving years.

Probably not … or maybe …
How little it mattered! Love
permeated our days. 

I remember many other things …
the love that didn’t need a greeting card.
(Though greeting cards sometimes happened.)

Written for Poets United's Midweek Motif: LOVE is not a Greeting Card