Category Archives: A Poem a Month

Poem 96: Self-portrait in still life

(Today there is no story, but Poem 96. This is the second “Self-portrait” poem – the first one was “Landscape” and this one is “Still Life”. This poem is probably not to everyone’s liking. I try to cover as much territory as I can and sometimes feel a bit strangled by the expectations of the occasional some. So if I don’t follow myself I end up in some quagmire of  uncreativity and consumed by self-doubt. Sorry if this didn’t make sense. For those who prefer to be warned, there is a swear word in the poem).

Today I pulled out weeds in the garden.
I don’t have a clue what the weeds are called.
I s’pose they have names.
I have a weed book (with illustrations) called
“Weeds”. All the names inside

are Latin, like Taraxacum officinal
which is just an antediluvian nomenclature for dandelion.
A friend of mine once made tea out of Taraxacum officinal and got the runs.
Yes, I have friends.

(Fa la la la la).

One of the weeds was all tanglely and sticky.
Another had roots so deep it snapped underground.
Yet another was prickly
and another slimy because of spit beetle spit.
Anyway, I couldn’t help but think –

I am a fern frond stuck in a vase in a still life painting
– not that a fern is a weed –
stuck in a vase with a couple of dowdy dead flowers,
and next to a banana.

(Fa la la la la).

I am a fern frond stuck in a vase.
I am a fern frond stuck in a vase next to a banana.
The frond reminds Mabel up the road of the most intricate lace.
But it’s the same all the way up.
It’s the same all the way down.

Everything’s the same.
It’s the same fa la la la la.

(Fa la la la fucking fa la).

Some days I feel the need to escape
the picture.

If the above link doesn’t play, then try clicking HERE!

Poem 95: Self-portrait in landscape

The landscape’s crumpled undulations
stand perhaps as some sort of metaphor.
It’s as if when god got to make me a muttering was heard:
stuff this, who cares about this one?
The blueprint was screwed up
and tossed to the ground.

You know, you know,
people snapshot it, they take pictures
of the blueprint as if it’s the beautiful thing,
and yet the scene proclaims…

(nothing really, it doesn’t matter).

The landscape’s crumpled undulations
are as green as anything; muddled as anything.
There is no old history.
There’s nothing to say the place is sacred,
this dude is home, this fellow’s holy,
this guy is worth half another look.

You know, you know,
people snapshot it, they take pictures
of the blueprint as if it’s the beautiful thing,
and yet the scene proclaims…

(nothing really, it doesn’t matter).

The landscape’s crumpled undulations
can be unravelled if anyone cares to loosen;
undo the screwed-up-ness, flatten the blueprint out.
But it’s munted, the twisted scene’s munted,
the blueprint’s screwed-up twice
and chucked to the ground.

You know, you know,
people snapshot it, they take pictures
of the blueprint as if it’s the beautiful thing,
and yet the scene proclaims…

(nothing really, it doesn’t matter).

Someday someone might pick up this bit of trash
and set it on fire.

If the above link doesn’t play, then try clicking HERE!

Poem 94: More blazing than the sun

The song I heard you singing falls more blazing than the sun.
The woodlark in the coppice calls more blazing than the sun.

It’s little things that seem to joy our peace-filled days and yet
any sullen silence quick-galls more blazing than the sun.

Children frolic on back garden lawns with shrieks of laughter,
and then a bee stings one who bawls more blazing than the sun.

Wings of butterflies, rasps of crickets, hung webs of spiders,
the ordered world of ants, enthrall more blazing than the sun.

The distant haze of blue, line-dancing mountains row on row
makes late afternoons stop and stall more blazing than the sun.

The tiny flower, unnoticed, hidden, nameless, lost, unknown,
outshines the fields of peonies tall, more blazing than the sun.

And Bruce, his song so incomplete without your voice to sing,
entrusts you hear his words, though small, more blazing than the sun.

If the above link doesn’t play, then try clicking HERE!

Poem 93: Yet another poem about a dead cat

My cat woke me at four each morning.
She would jump on the bed and claw the pillow
right next to my eyes.
I would wake, fearful for my sight.
Would I never again see the day slip over the hill?
Would I never again see the moon slip over the hill
or the barley field wave in the wind?
Perhaps by patting the cat I could doze a little longer.
Bloody cat.

Fourteen years ago,
on a night I could not sleep,
I rose from bed at four and fed the cat.
Breakfast at four became her rite, her right.
Bloody cat.

Last year she was sick.
The veterinarian said
“That’ll be one hundred and thirty dollars please.”
I gave up wine and stuff for a month to pay for it.
That bloody cat was more of a nuisance than I ever imagined.

Last week she died.
If she came back I’d let her scratch out my eyes.

Poem 91: Thou wert my gate

I haven’t published a poem on this blog since last July, so here goes. Once again I have had the singular honour of winning the week’s “Terrible Poetry Contest”. My thanks to Chelsea, the instigator and judge. The theme for the week was “Engineering Failure”. I now know better how an astronaut feels when stepping on the surface of the moon – profoundly humbled by the experience. So here then, for your edification, is the terrible poem on “Engineering Failure”. Of course, it could double as a love poem if you want to use it for that.

Thou wert my gate
in the fence of life;
a doorway in the
corridor of existence;
a hole in the
wall of being

Now you have shut the
entrance to your heart
and I am shattered into a pile of quaking reinforced concrete.
No more will I hear your euphonious voice
wafting over the plastic barrier of time;
no more will my nostrils sense the scent
of your hair on the yellow brick road of vivacity.
Oh the audacity!

You have become an engineering failure,
a total engineering failure;
in fact you are the biggest engineering failure
I have ever encountered in my life.
And you are fat.
I wish you all the Botox you can lay your hands on.
You need it.

Strumpet! Strumpet!
You have no reason to blow your own trumpet
for thou art a total engineering failure!
Thou wert my gate
in the fence of life
but now you are just a pile of rocks –
to say nothing of your choice in tasteless frocks.

There you have it. Success has once again tempted me to blather on and on about myself – but, dear me, this is not Facebook. Mind you, I don’t belong to Facebook – or Twitter, or Instagram, or anything except this blog. I don’t even have Google Chrome. In fact, I don’t know if I’m utterly “Yesterday” or completely “Tomorrow”. I’m trying not to get spied on. I don’t even purchase anything on Amazon because of the astronomical cost of postage to New Zealand. Which accounts partly for why I am still reading stuff like Clarissa and Joseph Andrews with the odd contemporary thing thrown in that’s on hand such as John Millington Syne’s Riders to the Sea (my favourite play) and Mrs Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters.

So I hope you have a nice day – in fact a happy, happy day – and don’t feel bad if you haven’t got time to learn the above poem off by heart.

Poem 90: Blue

Kingfisher waited near fish-filled stream and flashed blue fire.
Distant thunder grumbled to a scream and flashed blue fire.

A welder melded into shape tough unbending steel;
this artist’s arc launched one steady beam and flashed blue fire.

The frantic horse’s metal shoes on stony gravel
broke the silence of the morning’s gleam and flashed blue fire.

Massed irises turned their heads towards the rising sun;
yellow, purple, peach, rose, white, and cream, and flashed blue fire.

And Bruce, patience at an end with this and that and things,
saw this growing mound of stifled dreams and flashed blue fire.

(This is my final poem on this blog – at least for the time being. I’ll still post the occasional poem hopefully, but a poem a week is a bit much! I shall be concentrating on putting out a story a day until the 1500th story is reached!)

Poem 88: The stream that flows near my house

The stream that flows near my house
comes from goodness knows where
and goes to goodness knows where.

I never visit it with dull skies,
but some days when sparkles shake the water
the dog takes a bath.

Has the stream perhaps scampered passed death;
a wild pig’s corpse
or maybe a tatty rotting bird?

Has it greeted fish of every sort;
eels and trout,
and cockerbullies* cowering in caverns?

Have the rough, rocky tumbles
bestowed both cheer and fear
on this joyful jolly journeyman jongleur?

Today I see it hubbubs happily on,
forgiving its past
and singing only of tomorrow’s adventures.

* Small New Zealand freshwater fish.

Poem 87: Gone but not forgotten

I saw my name on a war memorial
It wasn’t me of course
Same name but someone else who was
Gone but not forgotten

I fell between the cracks of wars
A rather rare occurrence
Else it would be me who was
Gone but not forgotten

They drafted names for Vietnam
Picked by random birthdays
Those born one day after me are
Gone but not forgotten

As each war comes and each war goes
And parents siblings fade
Dead soldiers are remembered in a generic sort of way
But as individuals no one would have a clue who the hell they were
They’re gone and long forgotten