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 March 2016

Weather Report

Closed –
my favourite track to the beach.
I lift the string, step beneath it,
take the risk.

Hard to believe … a cliff
where the ramp used to be.
Hurled logs and whole trees
lie splayed like bodies.

Far out, voluminous grey waves
in rich turmoil boil to white,
attack a shore
that can't escape.

Victory. The water surges
higher than it's ever been,
to the abrupt end of the track,
excitedly bashing the debris.

I've walked this beach in calm winter
gathering unlimited shells;
in spring and summer
skipped and played like a child.

Now: deep, cold fury
roars and hisses as I retreat. 
Tonight I won't challenge 
this menacing sea.

Linked to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #295

22 March 2016

Summer is Over

(A Dream of Zanzibar)

Suddenly, fiercely,
ponderous Autumn rains.
The sky churns, vanishes. 
Falling sheets of willowy water.

In humid aftermath
we burn, melt, elongate
on restless crimson couches, fatally alone. 
Night pierces: aromatic, forbidden.

I wanted to kiss you
in golden sunlight under blue –
is over.

Dream of Zanzibar (3068173668)

By mwanasimba from La Réunion (Dream of Zanzibar) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Poem written for Quadrille – 5: melt at dVerse. 
Also linking to Poets United's Midweek Motif: Climate

Process Notes:

I wrote an okay piece about the end of summer and rainy beginning of autumn, but it didn't really say anything new. So I used a tip from Diane Lockward's The Crafty Poet: If a draft's not working, list 12 of your favourite words. Add them to the poem.

Quite a challenge when you've only got 44 words to play with! But I'm much happier with this result than I was with my first draft. 

One of my added words was Zanzibar, and the only way I could work it in was by creating a subtitle. I didn't know exactly what that would be until I found the picture.

21 March 2016

Running, Barking

Footsteps. A child
runs down our street
A dog barks.

I remember all that
time of my life
long ago, when
I thought it was all.

The boys running
to their play,
and our dogs. Me 
trying to be wise.

I didn't know
how fast 
it would all be gone –
and never gone.

in the moment,
to do it right 

I prayed
it would all turn out.
It didn't, of course.
And it did.

A boy is running
down our street,
the dog across the road
barks, wrenching my heart.

Linked to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #294

15 March 2016

By Singing Light

‘In my craft or sullen art / Exercised in the still night / When only the moon rages…’ – Dylan Thomas

White full face floating in my window, you spread a sheet of light across the wide dark sky. You spread another over me in my child-size bed by the wall under the sill. You hold me wakeful, glad to be so, watching you watching me. You smile, serene. Your gaze on me twinkles: knowing. You know me. As I grow, you shine through many windows – my desk in deepest night, after everyone else is in bed and I am writing, writing; my kitchen when I rise, unable to sleep, and look out over the still street and somnolent houses, and above them to you and the stars.

You are my distant love, my pale beauty: luminous, mysterious. You are my close friend, right by my side, firm touch on my shoulder, whispering wonderful words in my listening ear. There are times in autumn when your face is enormous, golden. You roll along the horizon, keeping pace with our passing car – always riding with me, always looking with true aim across the space between and finding me, filling my sight. My lifelong love, others may see you too and even adore you, but the secret look you send to my eyes tells me our converse is personal, ours alone. You sing for me, very softly, very clear. Now and forever, I thrill to your secret song.

spreading dawn
more and more birds chirping
slow moon fade

Written for Haibun Monday #9 at dVerse, with a suggested focus on the moon. Also inspired by Brendan at 'imaginary garden with real toads' asking us to write of our Muse as paramour.

Image: Creative commons – full moon March 

(no other attribution given).

11 March 2016


It wasn't an option whether to go or stay
(bodily). And so she sits
with her toys, or in the garden, pretending to play.
Secretly, she matches wits
with the adults around her, fits
herself into their inscrutable comedy
to all outward appearances, while her inner soul flits
easily away on the ether. She is building her own tragedy,
invisible to the naked eye
of the world or its denizens. They are not so smart
as she is – yet she will find a hard cost later. She will cry
then, from her old broken heart
for the soul that could only fly inwards. Now, no moan
nor sigh nor any sign must reveal the walls of stone.

Written for dVerse Meeting the Bar: Bouts Rimés Revisited, using the end words, in order:  stay, sits, play, wits, fits, comedy, flits, tragedy, eye, smart, cry, heart, moan, stone.

I chose to do a free verse sonnet – a contradiction in terms? That is, the 14 lines and the rhyme scheme are fixed; the line lengths are not and there is no metre.

The photo is of me and was taken by my Dad when I was four. It is my property and must not be copied or used in any way without my permission.

9 March 2016

Weird, How

how my slender black cat
lifts her tail straight up
and it shivers

like a leaf ruffled by wind,
only quick – a tremor.

Is it fear or excitement?
Does she seek to communicate
or is it involuntary:
some sharp, sudden frisson of longing?

Written for Poets United's Midweek Motif: Weird (in the 44-word form called quadrille).

Photo © Rosemary Nissen-Wade 2016. This photo is mine and should not be copied or used in any way without permission. 

8 March 2016

On Remembering Bliss

A stream, soothing cold
on a fierce day…

On winter mornings
heat from the shower
pouring over my shoulders
and down my back…

After sobbing,
the peace
engulfing body and brain
before deep sleep…

Do I grin to recall?
No, I shudder with pleasure.

A quadrille using the word 'grin', written for dVerse Quadrille – 4.

6 March 2016

Berta Cáceres, Indigenous Activist, Is Killed in Honduras *

The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be  – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Extreme necessity.
Her voice sounds out.

Will not be silenced.
Until …

If you will speak
for forests and rivers
your mouth can be shut.

If you will defend
generations of future lives,
you may be shot –

Dead – as the land, water, air,
and all who dwell therein.

But her voice
rings even louder now.

For Flash 55 PLUS! (5 March 2016) at 'imaginary garden with real toads'. Also shared with Poets United's Poetry Pantry #292.

2 March 2016

Rainy Day Flower

A flower was offered to me
on a wet day. The wide green leaves
were heavy and glossy with rain.

It was a larger than usual gardenia,
the scent of its radiant bloom
intensified in the misty air.

And that is my favourite flower.
Nevertheless, I turned away, walked past 
as if I failed to see the arm held out.

I turned away, and said in my head
to my invisible companion: Dearest Andrew,
I'd rather be in bed on this wet day.

If you were here, as flesh and blood, 
I'd like to be in bed with you all day, 
snuggling up, cuddling, reading.

We'd bring snacks and cuppas 
back to our bed. Now and then we'd nod off,
singly or together. We'd rise around 4,

do a bit of writing at our separate desks,
feed the cats, get our dinner, watch
some evening telly. Then we'd go back to bed

in the same warm pyjamas. Then 
we'd make love. It would last all night.
We'd have amazing dreams by morning....

A flower was offered to me. I turned 
as if I'd not understood, and moved away. 
To embrace armfuls of deathless flowers.

Written in response to Sumana's Midweek Motif prompt at Poets United: A flower was offered to me

1 March 2016

Views from the Train

I have gone all away from the morning, the train rushing madly on, the chug chug chug of its wheels underneath me and the shaking of its rapid walls, the clang and rattle, and the long, repeated screech as we approach and leave the stations.

Morning was pale yellow as I peeped underneath the blind, the sky streaked and cloudy, the landscape flat and broad. Trees were sparse and low, bare and spindly, not the trees of home. I saw no mountains, I saw no rivers. 

But my father will be there on my arrival – there in the hot landscape where we'll live with his new wife; his new old, fat old wife with the white streak in her bright black hair and the scornful smile on her deep red lips.

hot and flat
low scrub in red dust
yet birds rise

MiIdura Vines
This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Longhair at English Wikipedia. This applies worldwide. In some countries this may not be legally possible; if so: Longhair grants anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.

Written for Haibun Monday #8 at dVerse