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 December 2017

Discovering Three Pratchetts Not Yet Read

I'm sitting up in bed last thing at night
reading Terry Pratchett – one of my grand-
daughter's books, which I seized on with delight
when I discovered it so near at hand.
I’m visiting for Christmas. It's all right 
that I'm in her space; she’s a good girl, and
is young enough to like the blow-up bed
she gets to use in the front room instead.

Or else she sleeps on a trundle mattress
in the study, but anyway I get 
her room and her bed and – what happiness –
three books of hers by dear Terry Pratchett:
Sir Terry, whose name I shall always bless
for Discworld and its inhabitants – yet
this is tinged with some grief. Though they live on,
their gently humorous author has gone.

They are ‘young adult’ books, a genre I
often choose for its own sake anyway.
I may be regressed, but I don’t know why
I need worry about that. Reading’s play
in my book (ha ha ha!) and I’m not shy
of admitting this. Could there be a day
without a book in it? No, not for me –
glad I’m still here, in bed with Terry P. 

Winding up the month (and year) with a final offering for the Poetic Asides Ottava Rima Challenge.

I'm also sharing this with Poets United's Poetry Pantry #384, the first after our 2017 Christmas break.

Happy New Year, dear readers!

30 December 2017

The Roses I Post on Facebook

My hobby is to photograph roses.
I like to find them growing in gardens.
The good God, whom we are told disposes
all things, knows how a heart sometimes hardens,
therefore is using me (one supposes)
to remind others of love and pardons.
Each comes with a message, unique each day –
yet all the same really. 'Be Love,' they say.

When I visit my family down south
in the temperate climes, I thrill to see
gardens full of roses. They spill and froth
and crowd and dance, and almost sing for me.
(Or is it that songs burst from my own mouth
in my joy that so much beauty can be?)
At home I photograph roses for sale
in hot-housed bunches … but still beautiful.

The words I add to these posts are simple
wishes for peace, for love, for happiness,
for a bright day – nothing original.
Yet people cherish them, feel that they bless.
I do go into my heart for them all –
risking banality, seeking sweetness.
Whether they come from within or above,
each message is really the same one: ‘Love!’

And again, an ottava rima for the form challenge at Poetic Asides.

Also shared with The Tuesday Platform for 9 Jan. 2018 at "imaginary garden with real toads".

29 December 2017

There's Nothing Now

There’s nothing now that I can do for you,
and how it hurts my heart that this is so.

My sky has darkened from its sunny blue
as I discern that yours is thick with snow.

I always held to what I knew was true –
only to wonder now if I did know.

We were each other’s shelters once; that’s gone.
Like swords: the cutting rain, the piercing sun.

A combined ottava rima / ghazal, for the Poetic Asides ottava rima challenge.

28 December 2017

That Sentimental Place, the Past

She dreams of roses. Her father grew them
when she was a child, in all the colours
roses came in then. She remembers him
tending them closely. He would be outdoors
morning and evening, flexing his green thumb
(he hoped) outside his daily working hours,
and longer on weekends. The hues and scents
he revelled in, she treasures … and laments.

Yet another ottava rima for the Poetic Asides form challenge

Also shared with Poets United's Poetry Pantry #387

On Going Within

I speak into a void. He, Hermit, goes
so far into his cave, no-one can see
his lone attempts to heal his current woes.
I don’t know if he’s even hearing me;
he’s possibly so deep he never knows
that messages are sent at all. Will he
restore himself by hiding as in womb –
or does he pull around himself a tomb?

Another ottava rima for the Poetic Asides form challenge

27 December 2017

Time Off

for Julie

She’s gardening, before the weather heats
as morning widens into brightest day;
before the dense humidity repeats
its everyday assault. Meanwhile I play
indoors with poetry, creating feats
of formal exercise – the kind I may
do seated: scanning metre, choosing rhymes,
while she indulges in more physical pastimes.

We’re both on holiday, and catching up
with things which called us in the busy year
but were perforce passed over. Now, to stop
does not mean inactivity. The dear
preferred preoccupations fill each cup
with our own versions of post-Christmas cheer. 
She brings me a tomato, tangy-sweet.
I try for poems good enough to eat.

Another ottava rima for the current Poetic Asides challenge.
It came second!

Also sharing with The Tuesday Platform for 2 Jan 2018, at 'imaginary garden with real toads'.

26 December 2017

And What If Light?

‘And what if light surrounds us like a song –
or what if we are made of singing light?
You cannot prove these propositions wrong,
no more than I can prove that they are right.
Yet what if we had known it all along –
that light and music meld beyond sound/sight?
What difference might it make to you and I?
Perhaps we’d live more lightly, perhaps fly.’

He whispered these reflections to the air,
sending them out upon a rising breath –
then bent again to tend the garden, where
beneath the plaques folk rested in their death.
A woman came towards him, crying, ‘There
is where I want my dears, in solid earth
where I can come and talk to them and pray.’
Her tread was heavy as she moved away.

Around the grave-beds, grasses, flowers and trees
firm-anchored in the soil, while stretching high
into the air, moved slightly in a breeze
as if they danced – as if they’d almost fly.
Wind in the leaves made soft noise; humming bees
thronged the flowers. The sun rose in the sky.
The insects and the birds moved through the day,
uncaring of what he and she might say.

Another ottava rima for the Poetic Asides form challenge.
Also shared at the latest Tuesday Platform, for 'imaginary garden with real toads'.


It’s Christmas time, and I do not believe
in all that crass, commercial carry-on.
I like to give. Most focus on ‘receive’
this time of year. The feasting, though, is fun.
I did that twice, the first on Christmas Eve;
then Christmas Day we fronted up again.
I must confess, the presents that I got
are great. ‘Bah, humbug!’ doesn’t hit the spot.

I had good conversations. One young man
regaled me with his fishing expertise;
I matched him catch for catch and line for line,
our heads together half the evening. He’s
a schoolboy, still a youth of just sixteen,
while I am far into my seventies, 
and yet we found such happy common ground
each counts the other now as a new friend.

On Christmas Day we dined with son’s old mates
(several I have known since they were small).
The hours of well-spaced courses, fun debates
with smart, like-minded people did not pall –
music, movies, books, fish, cheese, desserts …
we rose reluctantly as evening fell,
and drove home peaceful, happy and replete.
So now, goodwill to all! My life is sweet.

Another ottava rima for the Poetic Asides challenge.

Later: Although it is now far past Christmas (February, in fact) I am sharing this one with Poets United's Poetry Pantry #390

24 December 2017

Secretly Super

These copper cuffs that ornament each wrist
are solid copper, not mere coated tin.
I trust that my arthritis may desist
as this good metal swiftly does it in.
And look – they also help me to resist
all evil, crime, wrongdoing, error, sin.
Raising my crossed arms like Wonder Woman
deflecting bullets, I’m an Amazon!

Another for the Ottava Rima challenge at Poetic Asides

Prodigal Friend

I had not looked for him these many years.
It seemed I must resign myself to fate.
Despite a sense of loss, there were no tears,
and certainly no reason to await
a reappearance. No-one reappears –
do they? – after such a lengthy absence,
such an unrelieved and total silence.

Yet here he is, with thanks upon his tongue
for all the truth we shared a decade past –
and suddenly I’m roused, as after long
and peaceful slumber, opening eyes at last ...
awakening to dawn and daylight, song
of early birds crescendoing, and vast
blue skies unfolding to the spreading sun.

Written for the Ottava Rima challenge at Poetic Asides

(12 Aug 2018) I've just removed first and last lines, which were banal and unnecessary, so it's no longer a proper Ottava Rima; maybe I could label it a truncated one.

(Oct. 2018) Also linked to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #423

23 December 2017

A Masterpiece Takes Time

My son and grand-daughter
are making gingerbread,
wearing matching aprons.
Crisis: unsalted butter left out
went soft – but they find enough.
When mixed, the dough must go in the fridge
three hours – like short crust, they say.
They tell me the ingredients:
things I can’t eat, but they’ll give me
a tiny piece. After all, it's Christmas
The next item mustn’t be added 
until the last is measured.
‘Mix slowly into the wet stuff.’
The beaters whirr and grind.
A knife scrapes a spoon. I hear
deliberations, and laughter.
expect to enjoy my taste when I get it.

At 'imaginary garden with real toads' Gillena invited us to write on the theme 'SLOWLY' in only 100 words. And then, fortuitously, this gingerbread-making began.  And here is a sample of the finished product, later:

22 December 2017

‘May the Road Rise to Meet You,’ I Said, and She Said:

What does that mean? I feel like 
I just climbed a mountain.
What you want from me?

I don’t wanna climb anymore …
can’t I just walk downhill please,
to the next flower maybe?

May the road be winding and wonderful
(Feels like a tightrope at the moment.
Talk about straight and narrow.)

Found poem: found in a comment on one of my facebook posts. I couldn't resist shaping it into the poem I thought it wanted to be.

Later: Linking to The Tuesday Platform for 20 Feb. 2018 at "imaginary garden with real toads".


Letting the pen flow
any old where across the mind
(you thought I’d say ‘page’, but
no, it’s the mind that the pen
– my pen – traverses at
random) I find myself
in glades of light, filtering
through tall, leafy trees –
in this country, we don’t
do deciduous, and anyway,
now is summer, and we feast
on and in the sunlit green.

Or I find myself (at
the tip of my flowing pen)
in deep, dark caves, which
nevertheless spell ‘home’, being
womb-like. Or else I wander
to a phone-call from a brother,
wishing me Happy Solstice.
(Will you fly? he asks.) 
I like the randomness of things,
of scribbling, though we pretend
there is order and reason. Ha!
My pen knows better. And my mind.

Written in response to a prompt from Karin Gustafson at 'imaginary garden with real toads', Writing Exercise (For Days of Little Time/ No Muse) in which we are asked to think of a letter, then a word, and go-go-go. 

18 December 2017

Early and Late

Initially, passion shocked 
my mouth open,
made my toes 
curl tight, uncurl….

Finally, your touch
in its lack
chills my skin,
slows my blood.

A belated attempt to respond to the recent prompt, Micro Poetry ~ Fire and Ice, at 'imaginary garden with real toads'. 
Also written for THE POETRY OF THREE, Three Words Per Line on facebook. 
And linked to The Tuesday Platform for 30 Jan. 2018 at "imaginary garden with real toads".

3 December 2017

January Moments

In my dark garden
wind chimes clang faintly, I breathe
the smell of the sea.

Steamy nights
on this tree-thick hill;
my grey cat 

sits silent 
on the top step, keeping guard
while we toss in heat.

Like my cats
the plants are very still
this hot morning.

The heat revs up
as the morning brightens.
What time today
will humid rains kick in?
Summer at full throttle.

At last a bud
on the rosebush.

Quiet –

the rain pauses

Trying to come up with a poem for the new year, and uninspired, I looked through several years of micropoetry written in January, selected one from each year (with a bit of tweaking to some, on seeing them anew) and found that they could be read as a sequence.