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Speaking the Name

‘Queenie!’ they called in the schoolyard game,  drawing it out like a taunt: ‘Queen-eeee.’

Was it catching a ball or skipping a rope? By now I forget ... but neither a thing I could do.
I know it was facing the wall, then turning around to a crowd of jeering faces – or none; abandoned.
So when she came to me, bearing that name
to announce that she was imperious

(another owner’s taunt for a defensive cat
incorrectly seen as proud and bossy)
I couldn’t call her that. I wanted to summon loving-kindness when I spoke to her.
I found a beautiful rhyme, even more elevated: Selene (moon goddess). In time she accepted that.
I found her not imperious but gracious, wanting to please; eventually sweet and loving.
Seeing it written, one asked was it Sellenay. Most assumed Seleen. ‘To rhyme with Queenie’
I kept explaining in vain. Never mind, we got it, she and me. It suited her natural elegance.
Also I called her My Treasure, Sweetheart, Cleverest Thing, Most Beautiful Cat in the World,
and after she slipped so quick…

Reminiscing in the Rain

The rain falls long today. Waterfalls – lines of light – drop from the sky: straight sheets. A day to stay indoors as tears unstayed repeat.
The rain falls long today. I hear the empty hours fill with your footsteps – loud and steady like the rain … slow, as if with head bowed.
The rain falls long today. I hear you come wetly across the soaking grass and the squelching footpath. You pass, and pause, and pass.
The rain falls long today, as that fell yesterday: hard, dark, across my heart and footsteps walked away, since when we played apart.

Responding simultaneously to Inform Poet – Monchielle at Poetic Bloomings and Weekend Mini-Challenge: Homographic Fun at 'imaginary garden with real toads'. (Homographs are words spelt the same, with different meanings. Mine are 'falls', 'long', 'stay', 'pass', and – cheating a bit – 'apart'. Also I was trying for a double meaning with 'fell'. And then there's the double entendre which some of you may detect.…

Missing Selene

I long to be able to look and see through the swirling curtains of mystery.
I find myself blinded and silenced in the banality of misery.
She and me in only three years lived ourselves a sweet history.
Is it the living or the going gives this knowing of Great Mystery?
Ah, but who knows, oh Rose of the Sea, of the Moon Goddess now? Where is she?

Notes: 1) My cat, Selene, was named after the Moon Goddess. 2) It's usual in a ghazal to include the poet's own name or some form of it in the final couplet. Rosemary (Latin rosmarinus) means Rose of the Sea. It seemed a nice match with Moon Goddess, turning us both mythic. [Later research reveals that 'dew of the sea' is a more accurate translation, but I'll leave the poem as is, for both the rhyme and the meaning.] 
3) I like to create deliberate variations from the ghazal form (inspired by the late John Calvin Rezmerski) – in this case by varying the couplets' final word, but with words/phrases that could mean or include 'myst…

Kindly Comfort

The Universe is ever kind, I tell myself. It may be true. At any rate I soothe my mind with such-like platitudes, a few.
I tell myself it may be true that God is good and all is well. With such-like platitudes, a few, I walk, I swear, in Heaven not Hell.
That God is good and all is well is possibly not an outright lie. I walk, I swear, in Heaven, not Hell, and can find spurious reasons why.
It’s possibly not an outright lie that we are headed for salvation. I can find spurious reasons why this world itself is not damnation.
That we are headed for salvation is kindly comfort in our plight. The world itself is not damnation, we hope and pray, seeking light.
It’s kindly comfort in our plight; at any rate I soothe my mind with hope and prayer, seeking light – the Universe is ever kind!

Written for dVerse Poetry Forms – The Pantoum and for Poets United's Midweek Motif ~ Kindness.
I hesitated to share such a cynical-sounding piece – a subversion of the Kindness motif. It's not really my way of thinking, mor…

Farewelling Selene

Image
While we waited for the vet to come, I thought I’d take one last photo. Usually she turned her eyes away from the flash, but this time she gazed into mine with an intense look of love.
Of course it wasn’t the last. We went outside. She liked us to sit together in the garden. I took some more but she seemed uncomfortable on the concrete step. I scooped her up like a floppy rag and put her back on the mat inside the door where she could still look out, and took another. She gave me that deliberate look once more – fixed, but so different from the fierce, wary gaze when she came to me three years ago.... Three years and eight weeks, already not young....
I sat near, at my computer, but then I just began talking to her – I dunno, whatever was on my mind about how I’d like her to be my familiar in spirit now, but of course it was up to her, what she wanted, her choice, her 
happiness the most important thing.
She listened. Then she got up – you have to know she was very uncomfortable, very weak – walked over to me and…

Haibun: Getting Colder

‘Why is Autumn coming so early?’ I thought, as I woke to suddenly cooler mornings or began reaching for a blanket at night. But it wasn’t early; I was still caught in Summer though Summer was ending. All at once it was the 1st of March, the timing perfectly correct. Only Autumn was always my favourite season – not hot but beautifully warm, the river shining, the skies their deepest blue. This time it's cold and wet. Some days, the rain doesn't stop. Not far away, there have been cyclones and floods. The Weather Bureau promises three days of thunder.
in the big bed my small cat doesn't fill the space you left

Written for Season Your Poetry Part II at 'imaginary garden with real toads'.

NaHaiWriMo 2019 week 4

The final week of this year's NaHaiWriMo month.

I found the prompts this year difficult to use to attempt true haiku. (If these succeed at all, I'd call them senryu.) I'd sooner take my inspiration from the natural world around me. 
But NaHaiWriMo aims to inspire a daily haiku habit, and in that respect succeeded with me, by showing me how I prefer to approach haiku and that I would like to do so, if not daily at least a lot more often.


#22 nearsightedness
labelled a snob – until I get glasses and see who’s who

#23 casserole
recipesays cast iron dish – my cauldron?

#24 school play
stumbling infants brilliant on stage by senior year

#25 hair brushing
100 strokes night and morning … the aunties lied

#26 bank account balance
pension day – bills and groceries balance zero

#27 canned meat

canned meat – I turn vegetarian

#28 school principal
Years later, ‘Look! it’s Mr Wilson.’ Vague-eyed he lifts his hat.

To be shared with Poets United's Poetry Pantry #442.