Showing posts from April, 2018


 Poetry Month, day 30

At the final day of Thirty Poems in April for 2018, we are asked to turn nouns into verbs. What wild and wondrous metaphors that  might produce! ("If we firework, is it from rage or orgasm?" we are asked.) But poems have minds of their own, and mine took a rather more literal approach.

I'm Samhaining tonight. No, the date's not wrong, I've Hemisphered it (Southerned it) Sabbated it to this arc of the circle where I live and witch.
Oh, there'll be plenty on the other side of the world Northerning the date – lighting fires and jumping into each other's hot arms, Beltaining the evening away.
Here, I’m ancestring. Places are set around the table: plated, cutleried, cupped, food and wine ready for those who care to come spiriting through the veil.
And not only my forebears,
those past generations – no, also my husbands (three) who unspoused me in life or death but all dead now … and certain others never wedlocked.
What kind of ritualling would it be withou…

Away With ...

Poetry Month, day 29
For This Is (Almost) The End at "imaginary garden with real toads" we are asked to write about that moment just before something ends. Which I did – but then I had to go on a little further to answer a question that arose.

Away With …
Strange, enchanted beings of the forest, of the dream, I know you didn't mean to break my tender heart, you simply didn't comprehend that such a thing could be.
You'd been there all my childhood in the light around the flowers, the music of the bees. It wasn't possible that no-one else could see or hear your shimmering, your song.
Playtimes full of laughter, dancing dizzy, falling down – how was I to know they could not last forever? That only for the very young your frolics are, and gifts.
But why do I remember what the others all forget? You circled me and smiled, that final afternoon. I didn't know it was goodbye, but you knew, didn't you?
And one, perhaps, felt pity for the awkward, dreamy girl too shy with other kids, so bl…

Watching TV on a Wet Night

Poetry Month, day 28
At "imaginary garden with real toads" the prompt is: Fashion Me Your Words to FOLD, in which we are asked to use the fold form (invented by Gillena Cox) to write about destructive weapons. The fold must also always include something about nature and its effect on the poet. 

Watching TV on a Wet Night
Now it’s falling, the steady rain we’ve needed here: a strangely hushed sound beyond my wall and window-pane, as if it whispers to the dark garden. Now it’s falling, the steady rain of death, there, on the targeted city. The silent chemicals don’t even whisper, but pain soon has the survivors crying, screaming. On yelling parents’ faces, despair is plain. Pale, shocked faces of children stare blankly, then recede from the screen.... In the background, steady rain.

I Am Lonely

Poetry Month, day 27

In Let's Join the Children at "imaginary garden with real toads", we are invited to use one of several paintings by children as inspiration. This one was painted by a 13-year-old. After I gazed at it a while, this unknown voice spoke through me (btw it felt male):

I Am Lonely
I am lonely under the purple sunset. On black hills against the sky, I am lonely.
Music is no solace, as I am not the music. Or, in another reality, I am nothing but the music. Which I play with competence on my Baby Grand, but not with soul, not with the outrageous passion I knew when you and I were young, when you painted me in stark silhouette, here.
How did you know to paint my loneliness before it had arrived – before the silver moon rose to make us all lonely, in our separate outposts of the dark? How did you know that I would look so calm and relaxed, my foot pumping the pedal, my back straight and my hair worn in that careless ponytail?
I wanted to walk with you, in among visible trees, wit…

Wrong Men

Poetry Month, day 26
For A list with a twist at "imaginary garden with real toads" we are asked to create our own list of five items to write about. What I haven't done is name my – er – items, but I've listed them by other characteristics, and the title tells you the category.

Wrong Men
The ship's deck cold under stars. A hidden corner; your warm hands.
Your father advised, two years later: Don't marry. You, sadly persuaded, obeyed.
Dazzling dancing man, lover of jazz ... we both were. I still am.
Oh long ago so briefly wed, wild gambling man ... our parting sobs.
You bent deliberately for that kiss. I reached up, standing on tiptoe.
Lamplight and incense, our mingled hair. But the secrets broke us later.
Your face appeared always sunlit, eyes blue-green oceans for my swimming –
yet you lived in engulfing dark. Until your escape forever into light.
Our lovely laughter! How you delighted my foolish heart, sweet wicked boy.
Knew you fae – forgot those can't attach humanly; also I can&#…

My Favourite Vices

Poetry Month, day 25

In Virtue or Vice at "imaginary garden with real toads" we are asked to write about at least one of the Seven Deadly Sins or Seven Heavenly Virtues.

My Favourite Vices
Mine are the sensual vices, gluttony and lust. And they are worth their prices – if pay one must. My moist, warm orifices weren't meant to rust!
I cherish both sweetness and savour, equally willing to relish any flavour so long as it's filling, and feast in a blissful fervour of juices spilling.
Mine are the sins of pleasure, the decadent. I love to gorge at leisure with full intent. I never hoard my treasure, I like it spent.

In that lost part....

Poetry month, day 24
For this Tuesday Platform at "imaginary garden with real toads" we are offered the suggestion of writing twitter poetry, within the 140 character limit. Here's mine:

In that lost part ...

In that lost part of morning just after first light I forget not to think of you. You're linked now to birdsong, and rosy sky. #tweetpoem

I do occasionally write twitter poetry (or tweetpoems) and am grateful to Sanaa, today's prompter, for not specifying a poem of exactly 140 characters. This leaves room for me to include the hashtag, which I normally do.
The poem is untitled, but this post had to have a title, so I made it the opening phrase.
Yes, the poem has been posted – hashtagged and untitled – to @SnakyPoet on twitter.

Nearly a year later: But I have now deleted my twitter account, after years of using it less and less often.


Poetry Month, day 23

Written for An Antic Disposition at "imaginary garden with real toads", where our focus is "those troubles of the brain, shaping fantasies and antic dispositions which make us human."

When the other passengers' heads warped out of shape, becoming skulls and leering monsters, I knew it wasn't real, even though I was really seeing it, with my naked eyes. And I wasn't on any drugs, so I knew I must be mad.
I got off the tram at my stop, acting calm, after sitting very still and quiet. Must appear normal. I told no-one. But later when I had the mood swings, after I couldn't stop the hysterics, I said to my doctor, "I think I need a psychiatrist." He asked why.
So I told him. "I think I must be going mad." He asked why. So I told him that. It felt brave and desperate. No turning back. He said if I was mad, I wouldn't be sitting in his room requesting psychiatric help. But he did agree I needed a psychiatrist. And h…

Born to Jump

Poetry Month, day 22

Born to Jump
You've done a bit of it in your life, but never quite got over that moment of panic before the thrill – to feel that sudden shock, the jolt, the drop. Jump and soar doesn't immediately happen; you're off the ground but not flying. Look Ma, no wings. The realisation hits and you scrabble for anything –  cliff grasses, broken twigs, fallen feathers, all cobbled together somehow, mid-air, and stitched. The wind is whistling past rapidly, loud and screechy. Time is not on your side. But you do improve with practice, and hopefully, even as a beginner you stay aloft, you build a serviceable floating device – your parachute, perhaps – until you learn to grow wings, real live ones ... anyway it's not easy but on the whole, it's exciting, it gets addictive: the sudden shock, as I said, the scrabble, the thrill.... Way too soon really, you're flying with ease, up and up and down to the ground again to touch and bounce, and leap, and start all over.

Image: f…

Mistaken Identity

Poetry month, day 21
For Mythical Creatures at "imaginary garden with real toads"

Mistaken Identity
Enamoured I was, of his fiery breath, the metallic clash of scales and claws and those magnificent wings.
"No," said my friends, "he is reptile" but I was blind to that point of view. Perceiving no look of snake, I saw Dragon.
Only when finally alone with him, I wondered why he chose, instead of sky and glorious flight, that rock in the water.
He folded his wings and began to look like ... could it be a lizard? Then he opened wide  a huge jaw. At last I discerned the crocodile.

Of Country

Poetry Month, day 20

The prompt today at "imaginary garden with real toads" is Say the Names of the Places You Love.

Of Country
Murwillumbah in the Northern Rivers, under the mountain known as Wollumbin (which Captain Cook christened Mt Warning) is a home which I came to late in life. Seers, oracles and guides all told me I belonged far north of where I was. Then Fate and the Universe took a hand, offering a house for rent, all the way up here, in Pumpenbil out past Tyalgum, at the end of a dirt road nearly to the top of the hill. The name our landlady gave that place was Djieriong, a Bundjalung word meaning "Freedom of the Heart".
And we found that here. Though we didn't find any of the "many possums" we were told that Murwillumbah was the "place of" – and as for the mountain, there are those who say white settlers misunderstood. That name, they say, belonged originally to a different mountain further along the range. Be that as it may, it seems to me they are a…


Poetry Month, day 19
In Get Listed at "imaginary garden with real toads" I chose, from several lists of words to include in a poem: sensual, features, blue, mouth. (We could also be inspired by a poem about Spring in April – but where I live, April means Autumn!)

Sensual Autumn fails to arrive this April. The warm blue skies we expected do not appear. Instead we look up at a vast white stippled with grey. So far, the month features rain, thunder, wind, more rain. The mouth of the river is rippled with stormy waves, even before it merges with the sea. What gods must we pray to, so as to avert further punishment for all our misdeeds? Are we ourselves the gods who now make the weather happen? Then who indeed shall we pray to? (Mother and Father both being gone.)

Five and a Half Years Later

Poetry Month, day 18

In Write Here. Write Now. at "imaginary garden with real toads". we were directed to breathe in, breathe out, be here now, and write about the moment.

Five and a Half Years Later
When I breathe in deep, and out, when time and the world stop, when I come into the moment here and now, when I enter myself ...
I know that nothing is different, it is only covered by the small occurrences that make a life, it has only gone deeper under the everyday necessities of being.
I am still stopped at that moment when there was no more you and me but only me continuing
after you breathed in and out and stopped.

Predominantly Black

Poetry Month, day 17

Predominantly Black On White II by Vassily Kandinsky
He is a knight setting off for battle, lance couched and ready, the four shod hooves of his horse lifting high, glinting.At this stage his black helmet is still visor up.
He boards a ship. One sail is furled along the mast. The other flies, bold yellow. The ship's flag is red, matching the kingly crest on the knight's helmet.
Over all, superimposed, central, but unbeknownst to him, is the round clock-face of Time. His hours – perhaps even minutes – are numbered. He is a soldier going to war. This story ends badly.
The painting is labelled simply, deliberately, On White II – the artist refusing colourful interpretation. "It's an exercise," he is saying, "in hues and shapes. Nothing more." But then he gives it to us. And here and now to me.
In my world, knights with lances are long gone, ancient. Now we go to war  with planes as often as ships,  though we also still fight on the ground.  We watch on TV. We know i…

Remembering Games of My Childhood

Poetry Month, day 16

Remembering Games of My Childhood
My Grandpa taught me cribbage, a complex game for two. All I remember now is putting tiny pegs in rows of tiny holes on a narrow, rectangular board.
What I really remember, still, is those long, quiet talks, heads bending close. He taught me many things besides the game; never treated me as just a kid.
Uncle Ian taught all us kids how to play Chinese Checkers, around the dining table. I loved the strong colours of the round balls, and loved the big six-pointed star we jumped them across.
Checkers was a noisy game with lots of laughter. After that I never could properly learn chess, later; kept wanting to take all the pieces fast. 
Uncle Ian treated us exactly like kids. Both ways were good, I remember.

Image Public Domain

For It's All Fun and Games at "imaginary garden with real toads"

So High Climbs the Price When You Want a Thing

Poetry month, day 15

So High Climbs the Price When You Want a Thing

so much you want it that you pay the price – Villon

Bali 1973.
Sanur beach. A row of tiny shops.
The hollowed stump  of a coconut palm remade as bowl and lid, painstakingly carved.
Bill saw my look – fleeting,  but he knew me. 
He began haggling. I walked out. Mustn't show my huge desire.
Afterwards: "How  are we going to get it  back home on the plane?"
Clothes packed in as well as around it, inside our trunk. Excess luggage fee.
Still worth it, 55 years on; gracing my hallway, holding my oracle cards.

For Serendipity and a poet at "imaginary garden with real toads".