He Says She Says They Say

From nownovel.com
From nownovel.com

I don’t know how, I don’t know why
but one day
on the sly
and on the fly
my poems turned into surly teenagers.
No more tender night cuddles
no tear-smirched cheeks to smooth
seldom around for longer than it takes
to grunt and disapprove
of my repetitive attempts
to ask them
they feel.
Sometimes she constrains our flow
in dismally low fixed forms, barriers and the like…
Oh, pu-leee-ze, lady, make up your mind!
She twirls us endlessly,
frets, crosses out
the best among us.
Then, too late,
she introduces us to new words
still stiff from their dictionary plaid.
So why should we be easy, pleasant and obedient?
Stop trying to make us fit in!

And that’s about all you’re going to hear from me for the rest of the week, which will be dedicated, alas, not to writing, but to amusing and feeding the children, and going through an immense To Do list.

On Writing Poetry in the Morning


not at all

what to find in dredges

of my mind: appealing rhymes, rocking sounds,

or free verse galloping to the hounds, ideas so abstract,

sly turns of phrase, precise descriptions, felicitous haze. I wake with words crawling



every pore

refusing to battle

leading, coaxing, bullying more. Nothing

licks them into shape, so let them swarm gently, leaving agape,

Meaning, words drift asunder, while the Poet chases rainbows. It’s a perfect blunder!


This has been an interesting experiment of mathematical meter over at dVerse Poets.  I wrote a rhyming and metered poem yesterday which I have now redone to fit a Pascal Triangle, that is, 1-3-6-10-15-21 syllables in each line.  I am not sure it adds to the poetic experience (the rhymes have gone awry, of course, and I’ve had to lose or change words), but it’s all part of exercising the poetic muscle.


Then and Now

I’m afraid I am reblogging myself instead of creating a new poem. Yes, to such grim depths have I sunk – with three fussy patients in the house fighting the flu.  Still, it expresses so much of what I feel about writing now.  And how that has changed in the last year or so since I got serious about writing again.

Well, as serious as you can get whilst making tea, milk with honey, chicken soup, hugging feverish youngsters and so on.

Submitted for Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub, the friendliest place to meet and greet poets.

Then and Now.


The Death of Poetry

I’m poet-ed out.


My words, once so deft

at finding me,

now stand chastened

like moon-faced schoolboys

caught truant once again.

They’ve let me down,

skived off when most needed.

They’ve left in a scramble of deafening noise.


I tripple, weary, through mock-landscapes of meaning,

I gush and jargon with the best,

as, achingly, I long for sparseness,

hard-won meander, richness to digress.

Ideal conduct of desire,

harbinger of eloquence,

I snatch at shadows

flitting just outside my vision.


There is no rhyme

there is just reason

in my life and on my page.



Semolina Pudding

When all is said

some word remains,

hanging smartly, hanging loose.

When all is done,

some deed compels

to scratch afresh, to find new root.

They’ve mocked enough the pale surmise,

they’ve overcooked that sweet surprise.

They’ve rattled, counted beans of their trade.

They’ve filed all corners and watered down juice.

It’s all here.

Queen Blandness.

To fill with your meaning,

Take on your colours,

Succumb to your fears.

Girl, Interrupted (by Words and More Words)

This month, and, above all, this past week, I have had to shed my creative self like a snake-skin and slither back into my smooth professional self.  There are many things I enjoy about my work (performing in front of a mostly attentive audience, having my opinions mostly respected, getting paid most of the time).  Yet I can see that it is not conducive to writing.

So diametrically opposed to writing is this kind of itinerant consulting life (there, I’ve said it, that’s what I am!), that I found myself struggling to write even those book reviews I have been planning to write for the past 2-3 weeks.  Not just because of travelling, being tired, faulty or overpriced wireless networks at hotels… but because my words have all been used up.

When you use persuasive language, corporate jargon and the left side of the brain exhaustively, it becomes nearly impossible to fall in love with words again. I no longer want to play with them, soothe them with a lullaby, tease them with a come-hither look, bend them to my will or surprise them and myself.  All I want is blessed silence.

And escapist books to read.