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.

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.)


  1. As gripping to read as the book must have been. You nailed the tone of clinical objectivity.

  2. Fantastic:

    "These are her delights,
    the keenly dispassionate observations
    of the fervent scientist."

    "She simply likes to investigate
    the effects of specific poisons."

  3. Thank you for this walk in a strange garden

  4. A nice tale of a strange lady, Rosemary. I just finished a murder mystery book by Leslie Meier, her 22nd in 22 years, "British Manor Murder", where, at the start a man wandered into the garden's maize and died. He was on drugs, OD'd, and died there.
    Your poem is along those veins, our hero loves to investigate murders. Soon there was one of those also. The two incidents turned out to be related.

  5. The subject of this poem sounds like someone I would love to read.

    1. P.S. Love the title of the novel you quoted.

    2. Did you tread the book review, Magaly? I think you would adore 11-year-old Flavia, as I do.

  6. My goodness, this is soo beautiful, hypnotic and poignant to read! Kudos!