26.9.19

The Extinction of the Bees


Poets United's Midweek Motif this week invites us to write of honey-bees.













The Extinction of the Bees

I used to take care, 
placing my feet on 
the clover-decked lawn.

You hummed everywhere
there, low to the ground,
a murmurous sound

quietly busy
before afternoon
’s warmth-induced swoon

when you reeled, dizzy
with honey and heat,
heavy and replete.

That was long ago
when I was a child –
the climate still mild

and what did we know
of changes we’d see
or losses to be?

My eightieth year
perceives your absence:
though colours and scents

still call to you here,
I’ve a bee-less garden.
Does God’s heart harden?

I cultivate weeds,
need miracles, pray.
Still you stay away.

Dandelion seeds
abound in my care
but their blooms are bare

of your many small 
forms, collective song.
Oh, the world’s gone wrong!

Though I entice, call –
too little, too late ...
sealing our own fate.














The bee-less clover and dandelion pics are mine, and recent.

'sealing our own fate' see details.


25.9.19

Colours of Music


In response to a prompt at 'imaginary garden with real toads': Bits of Inspiration ~ The Colors in a Song, asking us for a synaesthetic response to various pieces of music, I chose two:





Colours of Music

Jimmy’s a shimmy,
all colourless glitter,
or veering between
splashes of silver,
flashes of gold.

Then, when his guitar
screams along its cutting edge,
the noise is red, sharp red,
then ragged black, 
then piercing white,
easing down 
into purple haze.

*********

Ella is yellow
shining sunny. 
Then toffee gold 
deepens to mellow, 
softening caramel, sweet....

Now lifts into blue
as her voice soars,
swells and lingers, 
falling into 
a rhythmic fade:
pale yellow,
sunlight on water.

21.9.19

That's Not What I Meant! [Prose]


In Interactive Moonlight Musings #2: "That's Not What I Meant" at Poets United, Magaly asks us how we react when our writings are misinterpreted (and to write of this in 369 or fewer words). 


Is It Me Or Is It Them?

I write a poem full of sorrow for a friend’s approaching death. A reader feels glad I’m so happy in my friendship.

I rail at political decisions I deplore. Someone professes agreement (!) that we’re lucky to be well governed.

I indulge in a piece of light-hearted nonsense. People tell me it’s deeply moving, profound.

It’s wonderful to be in this poetic community where we can exchange feedback on our work. Yet how disconcerting when readers who believe they understand a poem get it completely wrong!

Have I written it badly? Is it perhaps a cultural difficulty? Or are they just plain dumb?

If only one reader misunderstands while everyone else gets it, it can’t be a fault in my writing. Maybe, when we respond to prompts then try to read as many other responses as we can, we skip through them too quickly and form a hasty impression. Perhaps we don’t give ourselves enough time to savour the finer points. 

Does it matter? Yes! I want to be understood. Also I don’t want other readers who did understand thinking they must have got it wrong. So I try to clarify the matter in a reply to the mistaken comment, hoping other readers will see it even if the misunderstander doesn’t.

I try to be polite – even when inwardly screaming, ‘How could you POSSIBLY think that?’ (After all, they can’t help being stupid.)

When particular people consistently misunderstand, I realise we’re not on the same wavelength. They’ll never read me right; no point trying to explain. (I try anyway, for the sake of other readers. Many read the comments as well as the poem.) 

Then there’s the mansplaining. Of course, none of the lovely men in our community would do that! Those others, who kindly inform me, in erudite detail, what I just said and what I meant, are lost causes. I ignore them.

Do I rewrite? Sometimes. Knowing in our own minds what we mean to say, we can miss connections which others need made visible. Sometimes it is me, not them.

And sometimes it’s them. My little Mum was always convinced particular poems were about her, no matter how I exclaimed (truthfully) ‘That person’s NOTHING like you!’


13.9.19

But All Must Be Endured ...


In Wild Friday at Poets United, Sanaa invites us to complete one of Sappho's fragments — this one:

In my eyes he matches the gods 


In my eyes he matches the gods, that man who

sits there facing you—any man whatever—
listening from close by to the sweetness of your
          voice as you talk, the

sweetness of your laughter: yes, that—I swear it—
sets the heart to shaking inside my breast, since
once I look at you for a moment, I can't
          speak any longer,

but my tongue breaks down, and then all at once a
subtle fire races inside my skin, my
eyes can't see a thing and a whirring whistle
          thrums at my hearing,

cold sweat covers me and a trembling takes
a hold of me all over: I'm greener than the
grass is and appear to myself to be little
          short of dying.

But all must be endured, since even a poor 


So here is my idea:


But All Must Be Endured ...

But all must endured, since even a poor
fellow may sit, laugh, speak with you, touch your hand—
even one utterly unworthy to stay
        near your sweet beauty.

He is privileged as a god, even if
you care nothing for him. He is free to bask
in your least glance, the slightest remark you let fall— 
        while I sit like stone.

Yes I, watching, show no sign of the turmoil
inwardly destroying me. My face is a mask.
Near fainting, yet I contain myself: remain
         still, silent, alone.


(I kept to the syllabic pattern of the original.)

12.9.19

Seeing Stars




    Seeing Stars

    There is so much light on the ground
    and so bright, few stars can be found
    when we gaze up at night,
    and those few are dim and blurry.
    But we are in such a hurry,
    we seldom lift our sight.

    We scurry about, looking down,
    surrounded by city or town –
    yet out in the real dark
    beyond the artificial lights,
    in the true, atavistic nights,
    a star is no mere spark.

    In the vast arc of that black sky,
    so infinitely far and high,
    every star is ablaze:
    intensely clear, shockingly bright.
    Then we know the meaning of light –
    and of awe, giving praise.



    A poem in response to the Midweek Motif ~ Looking at Stars at Poets United. In this piece I am also practising the Rime Couée – a French form shared at Robert Lee Brewer's 'Poetic Asides' recently – which has:
    • Six-line stanzas.
    • Eight syllables in lines one, two, four, and five.
    • Six syllables in the third and sixth lines.
    • Rhyme scheme of AABCCB

    10.9.19

    Dreaming True



    Dreaming True

    In order to enter the dream and stay
    living there, you need to believe the dream.
    You must not for a moment allow yourself
    to know that the other, different world 
    (which you think you remember)
    has any reality. Let it be just a vague idea
    easily forgotten, of no substance.
    Until you can master this understanding,
    you will always come back from the land
    of the dream, the enchanted universe.

    You can’t stay there if the grey quagmire 
    of doubt drains the light from your eyes,
    the dance from your step; if you let it
    suck you back into an outside world
    of pain and fear, and little joy. Instead,
    embrace the magical, embrace the light!
    Enter fully the most perfect love,
    the deepest beauty: inside the permanent 
    world of the dream, shaping it so
    the dream becomes, at last, reality.