Haibun: Fear of Sparrows

This is my first attempt at a haibun, a form that I have seen quite a few of my fellow poets attempt at the dVerse Poets Pub. So tonight, for Open Link Night with Grace, I thought I’d give it a whirl myself. Not quite right for the Dog Days of Summer prompt earlier this week, but moving in that direction…

You trill and chirp, flutter hither and thither with worms, blades of grass, twiglets in your beak. The tree branches shiver in anticipation of your landing. All hops and thrills, you sway and tilt your winsome head sideways with cheeky flourish.

I so want to make friends. But can you not feel the menace of our feline, belly crouched below the green line? Perhaps we should have fastened bells to her collar, or perhaps she’ll be too slow. I know we’ve let the grass grow too long: one swift spring and your family could be decimated.

Small but persistent
They play happy families –
Sparrows on my sill.

Multiple Choices

For Open Link Night over at dVerse Poets Pub, I was inspired by this wonderful poem about Persephone by A. E. Stallings, written as a multiple choice quiz. Political indignation is all my own.

She pitches forward

  • in darkness
  • under cover
  • haunting waking hours
  • with mocking laughter

He wonders quietly

  • at her tangled shyness
  • how such a vamp could
  • where to shut her in
  • why she’s so cold

Their children hesitate

  • on brink of teendom
  • always picking the other side
  • which game to play next
  • to pick up weird vibes

We are so convinced

  • we have motley choices
  • our minds are our own
  • there is a right answer
  • we’ve the right to stun
www.thewhitepalace.com
http://www.thewhitepalace.com

Entitled in title and privileged, created in our image,

we sit back and enjoy

picking over the poor choices of others.

 

 

 

 

Poetic Experimentation: The Reduction

At dVerse Poets today, Anna is encouraging us to experiment with poetic forms and language. I’ve chosen to ‘minimise’ or ‘reduce’ the unyieldy sauce of an old but previously unused poem.

I found my old lovers on Facebook.

They all had wives and kids>

Remarkably unpining after my charms,

nor did they realise what my fecund ideas

might have done to their lives.

Instead of world creation

bland holiday snaps.

Instead of creativity, those endless quiz results.

One had gone to seed

cow-like in pasture

happy in his ruminations,

aside from the fray.

Once angular faces now rotundly benign,

with eyes that flashed danger

now dulled by routine

and contentment.

 

The reduced form of this is as follows:

Old lovers on Facebook,

all partnered, with kids,

no pining for my charms,

or fecund ideas.

Creativity reduced to quizzes.

Rumination in pastures.

Dangerous angles rotundly benign.

Routine contentment now ruling their world.

 

 

 

 

Weekend Fun: Library Pubs

Something completely different today. Over at dVerse Poets we have been celebrating all week: it’s three years since the opening of our virtual Pub, where we meet weekly to discuss poetry and display our poems. Instead of a poem dedicated to the Pub (or to any pub), I thought I would share with you some pictures of pubs which look like libraries. Sounds like an irresistible combination!

New York, NoMad Hotel, GQ Magazine.
New York, NoMad Hotel, GQ Magazine.
Plaza Hotel, Copenhagen, librarybar.dk
Plaza Hotel, Copenhagen, librarybar.dk
Auckland, New Zealand, travelbugtv.com
Auckland, New Zealand, travelbugtv.com
Dallas, Citybuzz.com
Dallas, Citybuzz.com
Los Angeles, frenchdistrict.com
Los Angeles, frenchdistrict.com

My only question is: are the books just for decoration, or can you read them? And what sort of books are they?

An Even Better Cat Poem (By My Sons)

My sons were not impressed with the poem I wrote about our cat for dVerse Poets Pub. They suggested (insisted) I should post their ‘Song for Zoe’ instead. They’ve composed it themselves, written the lyrics and regularly perform it as a lullaby for our bemused cat. So here goes: the much better cat poem which perfectly captures her quintessential nature (and it rhymes!).

Zoe can be fierce and Zoe can be scary,

Zoe can be cute and Zoe is so hairy.

Zoe can be fussy and Zoe can be strong.

Zoe can be greedy and this is Zoe’s song.

My First Pub Night and Animal Poem

I am very honoured and pleased to be hosting my first session behind the bar at the dVerse Poets Pub today. Feel free to join me there for an animal-themed poetry session (and link your own animal poetry if you feel inspired).

ZozoBlankieThere are two reasons for this animal theme: first, it is Poisson d’Avril (the fish which the French use to trick you on April Fools’ Day). Secondly and more selfishly, I cannot get enough of singing the praises of my lovely recently-adopted cat. Today is her (approximate) birthday: we think she is roughly two years old. It has been my lifelong desire to have a cat, always thwarted by parents, landlords, spouses, travel and international moves. But my patience has been rewarded with the sweetest, most affectionate cat in the world. Even though she does bring in an occasional lizard or bird…

 

At night a cat purrs me to oblivion

with rhythmic chant she kneads my mind

wet nose nestled in my blanket

she slows my needs and wants right down

mistress of silent companionship

she asks nothing, no rush to judge or refute

listens with pupils like pools of ancient knowledge.

 

I live scarcely aware of the encroachment of loneliness

until the tinkle of her arrival signals comfort

that small paw of trust

nuzzling the crook of my arm

her hunting instincts quelled for the moment

bloodthirst slaked in the wish to be loved.

The Birthing Pangs of a Poem

Image from www.mrwallpaper.com
Image from http://www.mrwallpaper.com

I’ve got an issue with privacy. I’ve never liked open plan offices, I don’t like people coming into my study at home, I don’t like showing my work in progress. Psychologists may see a link there with the fact that my mother read my diaries and opened my letters when I was a teenager. I just call it personal space: I’m happy for those around me to have theirs, and hope they will allow me mine. So it’s unusual for me to show you a first draft, but I thought it would be interesting (for a later version of me too, perhaps) to see how my poetic mind works. This is still too explicit, personal and verbose. It leaves nothing to the imagination. It was written after a rather frantic weekend alone with the children. I will come back with an edited, perhaps even a final version and would welcome any suggestions for improvement.

It’s been a day of shouting

Coffee-ad family picture frayed and curled,

burnt up in blood-hot temper.

Sullen moods, sulk and whine, heave and lift

of bone-breaker words:

careless second of uttering,

then a lifetime of regret.

It’s been another day of failing…

my children, my ideal, myself

and all the compensatory cakes I bake

turn to sand in our mouths.

I’m left chasing words on empty beaches,

finding other people’s discarded treasures

more plentiful than shells.

I pick up a conch and pour my anguish in its ear.

I pour all my inadequacy into a jar,

screw on the jam-stained lid so tight

then fling it back into a sea just lukewarm.

So my poems are merely turgid,

my thoughts piddling, my family average.

We muddle on and on,

imperfect and random

victims of illusions

drunk on lost words.

I’m linking this to dVerse Poets Pub, a friendly community of poets who support and help each other.