Category Archives: A Poem a Month

Poem 83: Under the influence of Ezra Pound

Let’s face it:
most people don’t have a clue
what Ezra Pound is talking about.
Quotiescumque manducamus panem hunc…
That doesn’t mean to say he’s not a great poet;
many who like Pound (who loved Hitler)
understand Pound’s poems, aren’t dumb,
and find his poems accessible.
I don’t.
Itis apis potanda bigone.

He’s such an intellectual.
All those different languages
and so many references to mythologies and stuff!
Cryptus rushes onward,
‘tis zucchinis for Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort.
But look! Look! Listen!
He had a big influence on others, Eliot for example;
Eliot wrote about cats.
If I ended up in the same place I started
I’d know there was a wrong turn somewhere.
Quotiescumque manducamus panem hunc makes even a cat look academic.
Meow.

Methinks
the emperor has no clothes.
Itis apis potanda bigone.
…um …er …oh …
Itis apis potanda bigone.

Poem 84: Stuck inside on yet another rainy day

It’s raining on my pomposity.
Now my pomposity’s all wet.
It’s a monstrosity.

Precipitation precipitates with considerable velocity.
There’s no stopping ‘locity
with or without an apostrophe.

Perhaps I should try reciprocity.
But rain falls with such ferocity
it makes reciprocity preposterously an impotossity.

If I’d been born a rhinoceros I’d have a lot more rhinosity.
I tell you, once my pomposity gets wet
I get filled with ridiculous verbosity.

It’s a philosophical atrocity,
especially when stuck inside
on yet another rainy day.

Poem 83: When I was young and free as a bird

When I was young and free
as a bird, as the wind,
I knew every frog,
every eel, every darting fish in the stream.
I knew every wasp nest. I knew every
empty and abandoned butterfly cocoon.
I thought thoughts like a wild duck and could
walk straight to their hidden nests.
I knew the secrets of pied stilts on river beds
where they laid eggs disguised as stones.
I knew where to find peripatus resting in rotting logs.
I knew when to go get the bull to put to the cow, and
mark in the book when the calf was due.
I could milk all the cows, the whole herd of 120, all by myself;
and drive a tractor; and make hay while the sun shone.

And then I went to high school and they made me
take trigonometry. I couldn’t understand a thing. I liked
Euclidean Geometry but they dropped that from the syllabus.
They taught Shakespeare and I didn’t understand a word.
They taught Bertolt Brecht and I didn’t understand a word.
They taught T.S. Eliot and I didn’t understand a word.
They taught physics and I didn’t understand a word.
They taught chemistry and I didn’t understand a word.
They made me read Darwin and Mendel and I didn’t understand a word.
They taught Latin and I never knew what an ablative absolute was.
They made me play sports and I could never comprehend the rules.
And in between I’d go home and milk the cows.

And then I went to university and they made me
study Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Boulez and Messiaen. I couldn’t understand a thing. I liked
playing Scarlatti on the piano but they dropped that from the syllabus.
They taught John Dryden and I didn’t understand a word.
They taught Samuel Beckett and I didn’t understand a word.
They taught Teilhard de Chardin and I didn’t understand a word.
They taught how to calculate the properties of a distant star and I didn’t understand a word.
They taught Plato and Bertrand Russell and I didn’t understand a word.
They made me read Clarissa and Joseph Andrews and I didn’t understand a word.
The only thing I understood about Einstein was that he played the violin.
They made me study deoxyribonucleic acid and it tied me up in knots.
And in between I’d go home and milk the cows.

The other day someone said
have you noticed there are fewer birds about these days?
I looked and counted 24 species out my window.
I hadn’t looked for over fifty years.
I should never have stopped milking cows.
Funny how some things don’t work out.

Poem 82: Thank God I’m not famous

God has not allowed me to become famous
lest it go to my head.
“Shall I compare me to a summer’s day?”
is all that need be said.
I’d spend all day reading my own poetry
out loud and to myself.
It would be seasons of missed and shallow fruitlessness.
Yes! Yes! I’m glad I’m not famous;
otherwise I’d end up writing infantile poetry instead of stuff like this.

God has not allowed me to become famous
lest I needlessly trample all over those less fortunate than myself;
like Margery Hansen who lives down the road
and Anita Gladsberry and … oh the list goes on and on – interminably.
I never realized until now just how unfortunate most people are,
yet poetry pours out of me like a gushing waterfall.
Yes! Yes! I’m glad I’m not famous;
otherwise I’d end up writing mindless poetry instead of stuff like this.

God has not allowed me to become famous
lest I lose all sense of humility
like Harold Kingsbury this nutcase I know
who has a carrot up his arse and his nose in the air
and writes the most ridiculous poetry that doesn’t even rhyme
unlike mine
at least some of the time
which is fine
if you want to write inanities like Harold Kingsbury this nutcase
who has a carrot up his arse and his nose in the air.
Yes! Yes! I’m glad I’m not famous;
otherwise I’d end up writing crap instead of stuff like this.

Poem 81: Grave stone

The gravestone says it all –
Dulcie, loved wife of Paul. She is
safe in arms of Jesus;
loved until hell freezes over;
mourned and missed forever.
Another could never replace
her face, her smile, her grace.
And Paul would take the space next her

when he goes. But I fear,
it being one hundred years ago,
we’ll clearly never know
if Paul moved on to hoe a new
and different field. For see,
lichen covers Dulcie’s name; dank
her space. Paul’s stays blank.

 

(Based on the Vietnamese luc bat form)

Poem 80: When birds begin to sing

When birds begin to sing
I know with joy that spring is near.
Somehow, this time of year,
the birds join up in pairs and build
nests, lay eggs in song-filled
days, feed, are never stilled lest
the fledglings leave the nest too soon.

Fresh things are everywhere!
Flowers bloom! Fruit forms! The air – it cries
new life! And butterflies!
And bees! Yet here, in my old, spent
winter of discontent
I must not not forget to turn
the page, the page, the page.

(Based on the Vietnamese Luc Bat).

Poem 79: How long the shadows fall

How long the shadows fall
this breakfast time. How tall in height,
(as if in evening light)
the fence posts stand, as might night guards,
freezing in sun’s weak shards.
A bitter morning. Hardened ice.
Desolate wind with vice
-like grip, ready to slice the heart.

For me to light the fire
is to admit that you’re not here.
The early morning’s cheer-
ful warmth that only yesterday
you lit, your final day,
before the Fates held sway and snipped
your thread of life, and clipped
forever what bound you to me.

How long the shadows fall
this first breakfast time.