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 June 2017

Now You've Gone and Done It

For Rae

When he wished me Happy Birthday,
I emailed back: '75. So I'm having
a week at least of celebrations. How 
are you going?'  'Running to catch up 
to you,' he said. 'Panting.' (He was
two years younger than me.) But now, 
18 months later, he's gone and stopped.
How could you do that? Now you'll never
catch up! Or is it I, now, who'll always be 
trailing, unable to catch up with him?

Poet Rae Desmond Jones (1941-2017) and I knew each other slightly for many years, and knew of each other's work, but only really became friends late in life, via the internet. In those recent years I came to treasure his humour, intellect and very sweet nature. I'll miss him!

Linking this to the latest Tuesday Platform at 'imaginary garden with real toads', where change is a theme.

25 June 2017

Looking for Myself in 'Peanuts'


All I know is, I’m not Charlie Brown –
don’t play baseball, wouldn’t wear a cap.
I could be Lucy with her bossy frown;
I could be Linus clutching at his blanket.
All I know is, I’m not Charlie Brown.
I might be that romantic, star-crossed blonde
drooling for Linus, only briefly cast down
by rebuffs; or else dedicated-to-his-art Schroeder.
(I’d like to be grown-up Schroeder, with renown.)
Perhaps, writing up a storm, I’m smart Snoopy?
But if so, who would feed me? Charlie Brown?


I think I’ll be Schroeder,
living (w)hol(l)y for art,
soul-child of Beethoven,
oblivious / impervious to all else. Yes,
I think I’ll be Schroeder.
I don't really think I’m Snoopy,
master of the cliché – moreover

typewriters are old; I love my computer.
Of course he’d need a make-over
from muso to poet (I’m tone-deaf)
but, that sorted, I could be Schroeder.

At 'imaginary garden with real toads', we were invited to find ourselves in cartoon characters in the prompt: Fashion me your words to fold ~ ergo (in less than 100 words). The mention of 'fold' inspired me to use Gillena Cox's Fold form. And then I was moved to write a second one. Each, individually, is under 100 words, but I didn't want to post them separately when they so clearly belong together.

24 June 2017

Think Positive

The TV shows me Kenyans dying of drought.
Cattle become skeletal; babies droop.
On facebook people chirrup:  'Life works out.’

The parents of the babes don’t scream or shout.
They weep, but are resigned. Their shoulders stoop.
The TV shows them close up, dying of drought.

Calm commentators tell what it’s about.
I pour myself another bowl of soup.
On facebook people burble: ‘Life works out.’

The self-help gurus urge us, 'Banish doubt!'
I sign a petition, join a spiritual group.
The TV shows me Kenyans dying of drought.
On facebook, though, we know that life works out.

Prompted by dVerse: How to Write a Villanelle (I have written this one a little bit 'wrong'; let's call it a modified villanelle.)

23 June 2017

This Poet Thinks She’s Me

This poet thinks she’s me,
and furthermore that her work is mediocre,
and furthermore to that (further-further-more?)
that she must do it, can’t help it, can't walk away.

‘The stars are green and gold’ she wants to say
right now, but I censor that. It comes in
out of nowhere. It’s a nonsense.
She says it’s pretty. I say, ‘But….’

It has to have a place in the poem, see.
And this is a poem about this poet
who imagines herself to be me, or conversely
that I am she, capital-P Poet.

Clearly, I am more: 
widow, former librarian, friend, cat-lover, witch …
all right all right, so they get into the poems.
So maybe there is only one poet/me.  Then,
am I also green-gold stars? (Am I nonsense?)

Written for Literary Excursions with Kerry ~ Metafiction at 'imaginary garden with real toads'

The Yoga Master

How sinuously 
she contorts herself
into positions which,
on the basis of eyesight
and some idea of anatomy,
should be impossible.

She makes it look easy –
shoulders high, head low;
arched back, then slump;
limbs curving over bent head;
body recumbent while legs
reach gradually further up the wall.

Then she relaxes flat,
motionless, and I realise
she has gone into deep meditation,
zoning out, stilling her mind.  
She can lie a long time like that
before slowly stretching and purring.

Written for Poets United's Midweek Motif ~ Yoga

20 June 2017

My Upbringing as a Girl

My parents and grandparents, my aunts 
and uncles, and several of my teachers
were progressive thinkers who thought 
that girls, too, could grow up to have careers, 
just in case they never married (in which case
of course they wouldn't – or, more precisely, 
home and motherhood would be the glorious,
totally fulfilling and naturally preferred career) 
but they still believed, those adults of my youth,
unquestioning, that girls couldn't, indeed mustn't
play football, or any of those rough sports, 
because that was what boys did: those critters
who were made of slugs and snails and –
you know how it goes.

(The era was the 1940s.)

This grew out of (1) a discussion, 'Exploring our feminine' inspired by the writing of Brooke Medicine Eagle in Buffalo Woman Comes Singing, and (2) an exercise in Wingbeats, to create a one-sentence poem of 14 lines and at least 100 words.

Linked to The Tuesday Platform for June 20 2017 at 'imaginary garden with real toads'.

19 June 2017

Visiting Letitia

I have left behind 
a head-shaped dent in the pillow,
a tub of cashews on the table,
a loaf of dark rye in the fridge,
a pair of long dark boots 
that fitted you better than me,
and some reassurances.

I have taken away
some deeper certainties,
my chakras re-aligned,
a magic square of cloth
to tuck under my mattress
for comfortable sleep,
and your wise face in my mind.

All that good talking stays –
a form of nurture. 
So much better than messages, 
emails, or even phone:
a weekend sitting on a couch
opposite yours in your living-room,
going nowhere but going everywhere.

Happily at home in your home –
over the years the scene
of family Christmas feasts –
I feel myself unfurl and stretch
like a fern, expanding in light.
You see me and do not judge
though you surely discern.

Because you share with me
the steps and halts of your journey, 
I've watched with concern, 
fascination, and final delight –
falling easily into a role
I've trained for all my life:
sounding-board, reality-check.

Again we told each other
more and more parts of our stories.
We ate good food. We laughed.
Occasionally we noticed
tears in each other's eyes.
We offered and needed no comfort
but open seeing and spoken truth.

You didn't want me to leave.
I didn't want to go.
But Life is calling us onward
into the everyday non-ordinary.
Never fear! I shall return
again when the time is right.
I know the road.

Dark Emerald

The large green stone,
square-cut, was mounted
on simple gold: a plain setting.

I crept in often to gaze –
sitting at her dressing table,
tugging open the heavy drawer.

My mother must have known
it was my dream of beauty,
never told me it was only glass.

Written for Micro Poetry ~ Dark Emeralds at 'imaginary garden with real toads'.

15 June 2017


Walking in the rain, smiling,
she has a light in her face.
She is unaware of it, focused 
on the rain splashing in puddles,
making little circles of ripples
around the spot where each drop 
hits the water. She stops to watch.

On the wet grass, a drenched
brown twig, darkened by rain
and rounded, glistening, looks 
to her amusement like a cigar.
She knows what it is, but likes
to entertain other, stranger ideas
caused by the wealth of water.

She is only an old woman 
in a little country town
situated near the coast
and also close to mountains.
Ordinarily, she likes to explore
her town in its usual abundant sun.
But the rain, too, interests her.

Written for Poets United's Midweek Motif ~ Seeking the Extraordinary in the Ordinary