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 2017

Lovers' Morning

Dawn whispers curl,
so hot they scar the breath,
cue sparks.
Clouds and shadows open. 
We leave them ajar:
roses spill on the breeze.
Spring-green, scented
zephyrs skip and twist,
shimmer and melt. 
Our grins bubble 
into laughter without lull
as morning dances.

Written for Quadrille #25, dawn at dVerse. This one uses all the prompt words from Quadrille #1-25, in reverse order.

Seduction by Quadrille

I dance, even 
when music lulls –
I'm a bubble.

You grin, I melt,
we shimmer.
You twist, I skip.

Green breeze 
spills roses,
as from a jar;
leaves open.

A shadow
clouds our spark. 
Cue: breathe fire!

Old scars curl away –
whispers at dawn.

Written for Quadrille #25, dawn at dVerse – using all the prompt words from Quadrille #1 onwards, in order: dance, lull, bubble, grin, melt, shimmer, twist, skip, green, breeze, spill, rose, jar, leaves, open, shadow, cloud, spark, cue, breath, scar, curl, dawn.

Also linked to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #348

She Becomes an Indoor Cat

In heatwave, dawn and dusk 
are the times she likes to go out
into the cool, to her garden.

But these are the times forbidden –
mosquito hours. The allergy 
strips her rich fur.

She distrusts help, resists 
calendula cream or diluted 
lavender oil. Stalemate.

Denuded on belly; thinning on paws, eyebrows and behind ears

Actually she is being treated by tablets crushed in her food, which will help even without the topical calendula cream. But I must not let her out at all during her preferred hours – and without the lavender oil to discourage the mozzies, I can't let her out at any time.

Written for Quadrille #25, dawn at dVerse.

29 January 2017

Poetry in the Mouth

After Neruda: ‘Sweetness Always’

Some poems 
are hard and immobile
as statues
made of gilded stone.
Though fine indeed to gaze upon
from behind the barrier,
how can they portray
the everyday?

The sweet everydayness of things
I want to put in my mouth, 
bite down and suck, lap my tongue
around and through the honey taste.
Please make me, bake me
a confection of a poem,
to feed and sustain me!
Always, then, I will sing it.

Written in response to Weekend Mini Challenge: Condense a Poem at 'imaginary garden with real toads'. The original Neruda piece may be found at this link. We were asked to restate it, condensed, in our own words while keeping the essence of the original.

Photo of baklava from public domain.

28 January 2017

Good Company

The great god Thoth
the Egyptian

patron of poets and giver
of written language

deity of the moon, 
magic and wisdom

record keeper, scribe,
and measurer of time

presides in statue form
over my desk and laptop.

He holds a tablet and pen
in the act of inscribing.

Next to him, in a goblet,
I keep an ibis feather.

(Ibis abound here.
I like that.)

Thoth was often portrayed as ibis-headed, as he is in my statue. The crescent-shaped beak symbolised his connection to the moon. (He would have used a stylus for inscribing his tablet, but I said 'pen' to make a bridge to the present.)

I'm linking this poem to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #338

27 January 2017

No, Old Men – Things Fail to Fall Apart (and that's the trouble)

When we neglect our country,
monuments tatter.
The holy gyre is revealed
as turning by artifice.
Drowsy in our anarchy,
we fail to see, in the centre
of the incoming tide,
the waste it carries. We turn
even oceans to desert. Pitiless 
and without ceremony, how 
we debauch earth’s innocence.

In Get Listed! today, at 'imaginary garden with real toads', we are asked to use at least three words from two poems by Yeats (Sailing to Byzantium and The Second Coming) in a poem of our own. I used all the words, in the order given, and in keeping with Yeats's despairing view of the world in the poems cited. The words are: 


centre (center)

The Way It Changes

I am not writing so many 
sad poems any more.
Four years and four months
have passed since your passing;
I am adjusting. I would even say
my life is pleasant, I have learned

Or perhaps it’s all gone underground.
I’m bingeing on vampire movies 
and TV series, over and over
exploring death, dying, afterlife, 
immortality, and what to do 
with love when the loved one’s gone.
How to keep it / them?

Escapist, I've told myself. But
now I think, It’s just the way
it changes. And Leonard too
has left us, like so many.
They are changing constantly,
the shoreline and the sea
that make my life.

I read, I play with my cat,
I make more poems, 
I meet my friends 
for coffee and chat,
there are family visits.
Still, obsessively, I contemplate
undying passion, resurrection.

Prompted, in part, by Midweek Motif ~ Change at Poets United

22 January 2017

The Voices

I overhear fragments 
of conversations bypassing me – 
not whispers, not secretive; 
I'm simply irrelevant. 
They feel no obligation 
to address me directly 
or at all. Merely, my head 
is the space where they live, 
their context, background. They 
have their own lives going on.

Responding simultaneously to Quadrille #24: Whisper at dVerse and Mini-prompt: Voices at 'imaginary garden with real toads'. Also linking to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #337.

16 January 2017

A Chemical Reaction

I watched in awe, savouring every detail: the fluttering fingers, the almost imperceptible bronze metallic cloudiness that appeared on the skin, as if, before my very eyes, it were being breathed upon by death. 
    And then the utter stillness.
– from The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: a Flavia de Luce mystery, by Alan Bradley

The slow discolouration of his skin;
its cloudiness; the metallic cast.
The abrupt silence of the breath 
drawing in – out – in – then nothing.
(After the fluttering fingers had stopped).

These are her delights,
the keenly dispassionate observations
of the fervent scientist.
She thinks herself blessed 
to come so close as this to the marks of death.

It is not a personal interest.
The dead man is a stranger
who wandered into her garden ... died there.... 
She simply likes to investigate 
the effects of specific poisons.

Linked to Inside the Ink at 'imaginary garden with real toads' – where we are invited to take a quote from the last book we read and play with it in three stanzas. (I have also written a review of this book: here.)

15 January 2017

Because You

Because you are music,
I sing you, even 
when you aren't here,
softly in memory.

Because you are wine,
you intoxicate me
slowly and smoothly,
the taste lingering.

Because you are ocean,
I bathe in you, plunge
and almost drown, then float
on your buoyant blue.

Because you are poetry,
I return to you again and again; 
you fill my mouth, 
I give you utterance, but –

Because you are mystery,
I cannot touch your core,
fathom your depths, recover 
from you, find your truest chords.

Written in response to Literary Excursions: human in terms of non-human 
at 'imaginary garden with real toads'.

12 January 2017


This chain that holds me
here in place,
this block of stone
and the metal ring
fixing me to it,
tighten and firm 
as I struggle to pull away.

If I give up
if I give in – 
might the stone soften,
a bed for my rest? 
Could the heavy shackle 
open into a door? 
And where would that door lead?

Written for Poets United's Midweek Motif: The Door

8 January 2017

There Was This Man

(this out-of-standard dropout)

He climbs from a hole in the ground,
trots jerkily through the cemetery
gorging on wreaths of roses
redder than blood –
plunging his whole face, tearing. 

Wearing green; devouring flowers ...
yet nothing about him suggests 
life or nature. He has crawled
from some circle of Hell; he has lost
everything he ever loved or was.

For Play It Again 7 Jan. 2017 at 'imaginary garden with real toads', we are asked to be inspired by Laurie Anderson, or the Out of Standard movie clip 'Film School Dropout' (see below), or (in 55 words) by Dante Alighieri. It was mostly the movie clip that got me, but I also gave nods to Anderson and Dante, and wrote it in 55 words. The fact that I have recently been bingeing on 'The Vampire Diaries' crept in there too.

5 January 2017

A Conversation About Creating a Vision

The vision the conversation is about is recorded here.

Me without –
without hope, without vision,
without a dream for the future –
what could that be?

A testing? 
A between kind of place?
A terrible thwarting?

No – matter
is not sufficient.
I need also the soft frisson
of hope, though it may be

The truth of fact
is one thing, and facts
are hard to shift, they are
rocks you trip over.

Truth stretches though,
to fractal infinity
with built-in random.
So I have hope
enough to create a vision.

The way is up,
I believe.
Then my friend 
tells me
her truth.

Rich, awful telling.
(Some of it I've heard
in other places before.)
A vision for the future
will pull you back, she says.

You'll be stuck
in / with / to 
the past you label bad.
Isn't it better to see 
your vision here, now?

Never mind (I think)
what I do see here and now.
The mere word Aleppo
conjures maimed children, 
terrified parents. 

In my own town
I see the deranged,
the homeless,
walking about
as part of 'normal'.
I will not blind my eye.

How long
should we let this lie?
Well, there is being and doing.

Nothing ventured....
The watery grief, even
the shock and rage,
all are real, each
is necessary, this

is a way to finding out 
what more brings life to life.
From that we create vision.

My soul can have it be
here, now, radiant, yes,
but my body
is trapped in time,
and my personality too,

for reflection
is a thing we can do.
We can pull the vision close,
make it
an act of creation.

Deliberately stepping
for this moment
out of time,
hearing in mind and heart
the sweet words 
expressing our vision –

right then it is here,
we are in it,
and we carry back
to the everyday world
that consciousness –
a mechanism
of infiltration,
helping the vision spread.

Always yet to be reached?
No. Only hear it.
Only hold it.
Know it. 
Be it.

And if that seems unreal, 
simply start
here, now.

Back Story

Susan, at Poets United's Midweek Motif, asks us for a vision of the future, in poetry. I am one of a sisterhood called the Goddesses of Shining Light, who spent months last year creating and articulating just that (though not in verse). Here (again) is the link; we are inviting people to listen and, if they choose, hold it in consciousness (and in their daily meditations if they do that). I couldn't say it better (and btw the concepts are not new – though arrived at anew – but bear reiterating)So I thought to write, instead, a poem about creating a vision.

I began with an erasure, and the idea that I might expand it. A friend (Debi Swim) sent me a package wrapped in a Barnes and Noble bag with an excerpt from Huckleberry Finn printed on one side, one from Moby Dick on the other. We don't have B&N in Australia; I was enchanted!  The first verse of my (unexpanded) erasure poem below was from Huck, the second courtesy of Ishmael.

Meanwhile I posted on facebook the invitation to listen to our vision. A friend suggested we'd do better to envision our ideal world as already here, not to dwell on the negatives (though in fact I don't think our vision does that, except perhaps by implication). I understand where she's coming from. However.... We had a long discussion, which gave rise to an expansion of the erasure poem into something else. I even incorporated (in verse two) some of Spellcheck's more creative mistakes! The resulting poem, above, is my vision poem for the prompt (not the vision itself – for which you must click the link and listen – but about the process).

Creating a Vision 

me without 
no matter
the truth
the way is up
rich awful

never mind
how long
the watery 
is a way 
my soul 
deliberately stepping

3 January 2017

Mothers' Secrets

Without warning
time reels back, 
returning always 
over and over
to those fragments 
best forgotten – 
which of course 
we don't forget.

A half-revealed eyebrow
in a photo, the reminiscent
shape of a stranger's shoulder,
a stray curl on a forehead ...
our lost children.

Written for Quadrille #23: curl at dVerse.

1 January 2017

New Book!

Dear Poetry Readers –

If you are not on facebook, don't read my SnakyPoet personal blog or look at my official website, and haven't noticed the ad currently at the top of my Publications list in the right side-bar here on this blog – I just want to make quite sure you know I have a new book of poetry out: THREE CYCLES OF THE MOON.

It's a collaboration with old friends and esteemed fellow-poets Jennie Fraine and Helen Patrice. At SnakyPoet I describe how our friendships began, and how, many years later, we came to produce this book together. The article at the website also deals with the genesis of the book, in a briefer, more business-like, but I hope still interesting way.

Both of course are glorified ads, as is this. We think it's a terrific book and we'd love as many people as possible to read it. To that end, we made it an ebook, available at Smashwords in whatever format you require, for the ridiculously low price of $3.99 USD.