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 January 2015

Victory

They are all
dead, my husbands, so now I can choose.
Tonight for the Asian Cup
it's Bill I invite
to come watch.

As we did
a long time ago,
late nights with the kids in bed.
'How good is that goalie?' I say now —
then we score.

A tense game,
the Socceroos against Korea,
tied at the last minute
so now we're into
extra time.

It's almost
as good as that match
when underdog Sunderland
won the FA Cup ('73).
Nail-biting!

Like old times,
my soccer-loving second husband
sitting with me here tonight,
barracking with me.
Like old mates.

Countdown's on —
Queensland election —
right now I don't even care.
We get past that goalie one more time,
and we've won!


Note: My late second husband, Bill Nissen, migrated to Australia with his family at the age of 15, from Holland, where he was being groomed to be a goalkeeper for the national soccer team.  In Australia he followed Aussie Rules football but still liked watching the FA Cup on TV.

(This poem consists of a sequence of mirror-image Maudern cinquains, alternating reversed and normal.)

I'm linking this to both dVerse OpenLinkNight and Poets United's Poetry Pantry #238, where you'll find lots of good poems by lots of good poets.


30 January 2015

My Black Cat

My black cat,
my handsome black cat,
the perfect cat for a witch,
is named Levi. His other name is
'familiar'.

When I cast
my magic circle
on the night of the full moon
my black cat is with me, and also
the fairies.

He grows old,
this dear cat. Me too.
Sometimes, when the weather's cold
only the fairies dance, by the light
of the moon.















At dVerse Meeting the Bar this time, Tony Maude invites us to try an extended (or expanded) cinquain with one extra syllable per line than the form invented by Adelaide Crapsey. What this version might be called is still being debated, but the term Maudern cinquain, suggested by one user, is proving popular. Although Tony himself feels it would be arrogant for him to use it. I have no such constraint and am adopting it forthwith. This poem is a sequence of three of them. 

26 January 2015

Aunty Ev

My aunty is old.
I send her my poetry book
to please her,
knowing she can’t take it in.
I hope its being sent
will be enough.

Cousin Elizabeth emails.
My aunt is cranky now,
disoriented,
must be supervised,
no longer has her own
little house where she planted roses.

I think of her 
fifty years ago
when she rescued me in my teens
and my little brother.
I think of her on her doorstep
smiling and opening her arms.

2/10/07 – 26/1/15

(A revision. Aunty Ev died in 2010.)

Here is Aunty Ev (right) with cousin Elizabeth — 
not her daughter but another niece —  in 2008.



















Submitted for Poets United's Poetry Pantry #236

23 January 2015

Wet Mornings

Sat outside
first thing in the morning
to begin his dying

... heavy-lidded
shift in chair with pain
slip into semi-sleep ...

Random-seeming
dreamlike thoughts
faded out of full memory.

I look back.
All happened.
Meanwhile rain.

Submitted for dVerse Meeting the Bar: Breaking and Entering. We are asked to take a form and 'break' it in some way to make it our own. Synchronicity: I saw this prompt just after writing the above — which is a blackout poem done differently. Instead of taking a text and blacking out / erasing all except the words I wanted to use, I opened a document on my computer (an entry from my private journal) and lifted only the words I wanted on to a new document — where I proceeded to delete a few more before arranging into verses (still in order of writing) and re-punctuating (or for the most part unpunctuating). I did it just because I like playing around with erasures at present. I didn't have a conscious idea of anything I wanted to say, and what emerged was nothing like the message of the journal entry. Also it's not exactly factual, but on an emotional level it's probably very truthful. There — that's a long explanation for a short poem!

18 January 2015

Airman

When I was just a child, the gliders flew.
I loved them: fragile-seeming, light as toys.
Straight-winged, they looked like crosses in the sky —
a sky forever sunny in my mind.

'The War,' mysterious background to my life,
was spoken of, but did not happen here —
except for absent fathers, rationed food,
and handsome Air Force visitors in blue.

Once, when Dad was home again, we passed
a man who hitch-hiked, in a uniform.
My father muttered, 'Yank!' and speeded up.
Our wind-rush sent him sprawling on the grass.

(The war was over then, but some not yet
returned across the wide Pacific, home.)
Old lady now, I still see startled face
with big blue eyes and thick black hair cut neat.

What things, and why, impress us in our youth?
Those random threads grew long and strong, to be
fast-woven in the pattern of my fate
in ways that no-one could have seen or told.

Much later, my first love was Air Force too.
A thrilling summer holiday romance,
it lasted after summer's end when he,
returned to base, wrote letters. I replied.

But words on paper can't compare with touch.
His name was John, his hair was thick and black.
His hands were lean and strong. On summer nights 
he taught me passion, and he taught me well.

We spoke of marriage. I was just nineteen.
He was nine years older, drank too much.
As well, he was, like all his family
a Catholic — while I could not believe.

His father told him that we wouldn't suit.
He saw that it was true; I didn't, then.
We married others in the end — I soon,
and much mistakenly, but learned and grew.

I did it better next time, and the next.
He, sobered, waited; married only once.
For him, of course, it had to be for life.
I heard he married happily. I'm glad.

I thank his father now for saving us,
and leaving me with kindly memories.
I never saw him afterwards. He stays
forever young, the handsomest of men.

5/11/05 - 19/1/15




















I found this in my 'Drafts for Reworking' file and decided it was working after all. I hope you agree! (Upon reflection, changed just two words.)

Linking to Poets United's 'Poetry Pantry' #235

16 January 2015

tenWords — Newly minted

cool veranda
cat and me outside
after the day’s heat

******

I find a garment
left behind —
he wants to return!

******

water lizard
holds very still

so do we, watching
hushed

******

child from the mild south
exclaims, ’Cool!’
discovering tropic frangipani


Another response to the dVerse tenWords prompt, These are new pieces, written specifically for/in this form.

tenWords Extracted

Gave her heart
only for a few seconds.
More than enough.

******

Buying silk,
an artist expressed
a desire to know velvets.

******

In the garden
very quiet
dream-life taking hold —
remember?

******

Pure frosty mornings:
rare occasions
when there is no wind.


The tenWords form is an invention of Brian Miller's. At dVerse today we are asked to try some. I extracted the above from pages of the novel The Maker of Heavenly Trousers by Daniel Varé; so they are also, in a sense, found poems, and — because some of the words are far apart — they are similar to erasure poems too.

13 January 2015

Of Sawdust and Screens


I hated cartoons.
(No TV:
Saturday matinees.)
Everyone laughed  
when the cat fell
over the cliff,
or the roadrunner
squashed the coyote
under a weight.
I cried: strange child,
no sense of humour.

The same with
those circuses
that came around —
shivering through
animal acts
in the sawdust rings
of my childhood.
Tough looking men
cracked sudden whips
that made me jump
like those reluctant beasts.

Cirque du Soleil, now,
that’s rmagic.
In my own living room
the clowns dance; they are
jugglers, acrobats,
flyers. Their bodies
writhe and slide, twisting
serpents of light.
Their voices of silver
soar and swing.
A tightrope cyclist
jumps a man, lands
precisely. Flames leap up
and swirl. The arena
is strafed by stars.


22/3/06 – 13/1/15

Another oldie finally improved by erasure.

11 January 2015

Muse

He is d’Artagnan,
dance and flash —

the grin, the jaunty stance,
the curled plume of the hat.

His dark eyes regard me
in absolute a-Musement

but he’s not saying a word:
this warrior is on strike.

The blade, resting sheathed,
hat and cloak laid aside

proclaim he has
as much time as it takes.

Is it up to me
to coax the words?

Is he Muse or Anti-Muse? Ah …
I know him: Animus.

He winks;
that lazy air

belies his tightening grip
around my pen.

I reach and clasp his hand.
At last — yes — action!


Been tinkering with this for 11 years!  The black-out erasure method helped me pare it back to something which I could then build on anew — using bits of the original, bits of the erasure, plus some new things —and finally get to what I wanted to convey. 


10 January 2015

Scene One

Interior forest: morning.
Tim is eight.
Walking through the forest
he falls, cries out.

A tiny fairy alights.
They talk in a new way
instantly.

She is in his garden.


The dVerse prompt at present is to do a 'blackout' poem. This is my second attempt, using the first section of a practice pitch my late husband, Andrew E Wade, did for his children's novel Jorell, when he was in a screen writers' group. (Jorell was already published as a book but never became a movie.) Below is the original, with and without blackouts:

Interior Forest: morning

Tim Simons is eight years old. Since he was five he has been obsessed with the ambition of seeing a fairy.

On this particular morning Tim is walking through the forest and fails to see a hole in the path. His foot gets caught in it. He falls, twisting his ankle, and cries out in pain.

A tiny fairy, curious about the noise this human is making, alights on a mushroom near his foot.  Tim looks up and is startled by the sight of her. He leans closer.

“Far out!” he exclaims, “Are you real?”
“Yes, b-but you’re not supposed to…humans can’t see fairies.”

They continue to talk but in a new way – by exchanging thoughts.
Now Tim asks Jorell if he can see her again. “Just call me,” she says, “and I’ll come.”

But Tim doesn’t. Jorell wonders where he is, and with her power to be anywhere instantly she is in his garden. Tim is seated with his head in his hands and a grey cloud swirling around his head.

“Tim!” she says loudly. Tim takes no notice. Jorell flies above him and drops a cloud of fairy dust. Tim springs to life, sees Jorell and tells her to go away.  He’s angry. He’d asked his dad about fairies and his dad says fairies are in books not real life.


JORELL

Interior Forest: morning

Tim Simons is eight years old. Since he was five he has been obsessed with the ambition of seeing a fairy.

On this particular morning Tim is walking through the forest and fails to see a hole in the path. His foot gets caught in it. He falls, twisting his ankle, and cries out in pain.

A tiny fairy, curious about the noise this human is making, alights on a mushroom near his foot.  Tim looks up and is startled by the sight of her. He leans closer.

“Far out!” he exclaims, “Are you real?”
“Yes, b-but you’re not supposed to…humans can’t see fairies.”

They continue to talk but in a new way – by exchanging thoughts.
Now Tim asks Jorell if he can see her again. “Just call me,” she says, “and I’ll come.”

But Tim doesn’t. Jorell wonders where he is, and with her power to be anywhere instantly she is in his garden. Tim is seated with his head in his hands and a grey cloud swirling around his head.

“Tim!” she says loudly. Tim takes no notice. Jorell flies above him and drops a cloud of fairy dust. Tim springs to life, sees Jorell and tells her to go away.  He’s angry. He’d asked his dad about fairies and his dad says fairies are in books not real life.

 Jorell suggests Tim start a garden and all the fairies will help. Tim asks his dad if he can start a veggie garden and gets the ok.

9 January 2015

Storm Watching (blackout poem)

Storm Watching

Cool rain
lazy thunder.

Back verandah calm,
the brave uneasy.

Spraying. Pelting.
I am tender.

The front draping, the door
near me. Safety.


Not an electricity blackout, but a response to the latest dVerse prompt. I promised myself that this year I would prefer revisions to prompts, but this prompt gives me a method of revising! I decided to use it on one of my own recent poems which I thought a bit lack-lustre. The original is here.  And the blackout is below. (Mind you, I still don't like the poem, lol. Sometimes they are beyond saving. This was one way to find that out.)


I sit outside in the cool,
in the rain and lazy thunder,
under the wide overhang
of the back verandah.

My companion stretches and shifts
on his blanket, attempting calm.
But his sister was the brave cat.
Without her, he's uneasy.

So we come inside from thunder
and spraying, pelting rain.
I like all that but he, I guess, has no need
to prove himself to me. He knows

I am very tender of him, I won't
challenge or scorn or compete.
Instead I usher him in, get him settled,
Then I find me a spot on the front verandah.

I see him through the flywire
draping himself inside the door,
looking out -- near me
in safety. We are both content.

27/11/14

8 January 2015

The Seventh Night of the Year

Pale faces thronging the dark
the dream only fragments now,
fag ends or tangles of smoke ...
athletic bodies fighting
fierce and fast, like acrobats.
The dim light caught shaven heads,
naked limbs white against grey.

Or tumbling on a trapeze
higgledy-piggledy, but
there was still room for singing.
Singing and swinging alive,
disappearing in distance.
I was caught, one leg fastened
by intertwining others.

Perilous extrication
leaving me fully alone,
leaving me lying alone
on a floor I could not see,
surrounded by smoke too thick
to discern any image.
A distant smell of burning.

Seven turns of the clock face,
seven lean hours of the night.
Seven number of challenge.
Seven explores the unseen.
I woke. My cat on the bed
leaping, pouncing on nothing,
continued to wrestle air.

The seventh night of the year
I made a spell for dreaming.
Did it gather all the dreams
dreams of the politicians,
dreams of teenagers mingling,
pooling inside my one skull
in frantic kaleidoscope?

I remember a woman.
My dress was red and purple.
'These,' she said, 'are the colours
designating a priestess:
from base chakra up to crown
where the light collects and blooms
like an explosive flower.

(When I was seven I knew
I would always be alone
inside the populous town
and the warm family home.
For why? I was the dreamer
'head in the clouds' and my feet
trailing behind, straying slow.)


At Poets United, our Midweek Motif is January Seventh and we are asked to write anything to do with the number seven. In this piece the structure echoes the theme: each line, including title, has seven syllables; and there are seven verses, each of seven lines.

6 January 2015

Ghosts Blow Me Kisses — random micropoetry 2014

(tanka / haiku / two lines / gogyohka)

after so long
we exchange pleasantries
as if normal —
as if years of coolness
were only imagined


13/5/14


loverless
I write erotica
why now?

10/6/14


Who loves me?
Ghosts blow me kisses.

11/6/14


saying goodbye to her
evening shadows fall

8/9/14


striped by sunlight
her purring form
remembered

13/9/14


Sydney
in climate change summer —
and she wonders
if she should buy a fan!
(Been living in England.)

1/11/14


the mystery of tea —
almost
I could forsake coffee

(after reading haiku in praise of tea)

3/11/14


Linking to Poetry Pantry #273 at Poets United.

Licking My Lips: Erotic haiku, December 2014

licking my lips
after the banquet
replete

26/12/14


memory
the smell of your skin
its taste

***

my lips
on your hair
murmuring

***

your fingers
hesitant
then bold

27/12/14


he traces
the slender curve
slowly

28/12/14


hot afternoon
your cool breath
caresses my shoulder

30/12/14

Submitted to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #239 — a bit of erotica in the aftermath of Valentine's Day!

2 January 2015

More About the Dead Woman

(‘Less is more’)

The dead woman
is watching.

She wants to hang on.

The dead woman
taking long sniffs

lets the heat burst.

The dead woman
sits

without turning.

She dreams
that the rain

is nothing.



Threads:
I wanted to try an erasure poem.
I had discovered that my 'Dead Woman' poem was incomplete, as the form is supposed to include a second piece: 'More About ...'  (So this is the companion piece to the first one.)
I did the erasure on my own original Dead Woman poem, with the idea of saying something new (more) while paring it right down (less).