Category Archives: A Poem a Month

2027. It was the Rainbow gave thee birth

This is a personal reflection which could be construed as a story. Outside my window, especially in the early mornings, there are usually two or three kingfishers sitting on the fence looking down into the long grass. Suddenly one of them will swoop down, gather something, and return to the fence. Presumably they are looking for insects or lizards or worms or whatever.

I like them. At primary school we were given a poem to learn off by heart by William Henry Davies called The Kingfisher:

 It was the Rainbow gave thee birth, 
 And left thee all her lovely hues; 
 And, as her mother’s name was Tears, 
 So runs it in thy blood to choose 
 For haunts the lonely pools, and keep 
 In company with trees that weep. 

In all my years I have always wanted to find a kingfisher’s nest and never have. They peck a tunnel/cave into a dirt bank and raise a family in there. The local farmer said that at the back of his farm there is a bank where the kingfishers have their nests. And then…

Just out my window, on a clay bank, a pair of kingfishers pecked a hole! They dug a cave and presumably laid some eggs. I didn’t like to go too near lest a disturbance drove them away. Things settled down. I rarely saw the pair but could hear them calling all the time with their repetitive call. Meanwhile the bank below the hole was collecting more and more poo.

That’s all there is to see. No sight of babies, but poo poo poo.

A hole in a bank, repetitive calls, and poo poo poo. I’ve always been a bit of a romantic.

Smoko!

“Smoko” is the New Zealand-Australian term for taking a coffee/tea break at work (mid-morning, mid-afternoon). I’m taking a Smoko Break from posting daily on this blog for a while. There’s still plenty to read if you click on the Index Link at the top of the page!

I shall be pottering around. In the meantime, I wish everyone Season’s Greetings for which ever season you happen to be passing through!

Poem 99: At last! A poem for academics!

See the new moon up-slip
and flare its vicious whips of light
across the back of night.
The moon bears no delight, but brings
dull rays of hurts and stings
made yesterday. It sings cold songs
old songs that don’t belong
if we are to move on and make
a fresh and novel take
in the lake while baking a cake.

To hear this poem being read click HERE!

Apologies for poor audio – broken mic.

Poem 98: On a child leaving home

All shall know a time of knowing raindrops on the window.
Storm clouds break apart, bestowing raindrops on the window.

Woven branches of a boulder river’s plaited pattern
echo tangled paths of flowing raindrops on the window.

No sunshine in this early morning’s churlish rooster’s call.
Stay in bed! The cock’rel’s crowing “Raindrops on the window!”

Some folk imbibe a fear-filled brew, and full of sad dismay,
dread the storm, dislike the growing raindrops on the window.

The cellist plays a longing air of now-gone, buoyant years,
enthralled in thought, rapt in bowing raindrops on the window.

Bruce knows the time has come for you to step from where you grew.
Blurred sight hides your pathway going. Raindrops on the window.

Listen to this poem being read HERE!

Apologies for the poor audio quality… broken mic.

Poem 97: Self-portrait on a blank canvas

(Today’s story will make an appearance at midday (New Zealand time). But first I wanted to post a poem. This is the third (and possibly final) self-portrait poem. The first was “Self-portrait in landscape“. The second was “Self-portrait in still life“. And here’s the third – “Self-portrait on a blank canvas”. Thanks for taking the time to read/listen!)

The blank canvas calls for colour;
a pale blue perhaps for endless sky,
a fresh-filled swimming pool,
Our Lady of Lourdes,
a blue cat.

Perhaps a vibrant green
for vernal growth,
jade parakeets,
new chestnut leaves,
bile spewed or envy all-consuming.
Not everything on a palate’s palatable.

Blotches of red;
too much splattered that
the portrait’s doomed and ruined.
Scarlet garnets show for miles.
There’s no grace in brazen crimson,
no joy in bloodshot blood.
I wish that red would fade.

Other tints ungrace and grace the picture:
a cowardly yellow,
fractured gold,
orange sunlight shattered, a purple patch,
brown (common brown), a slice of black, a splash of grey,
bits of missed transparent canvas.

Sometimes a person comes along
and scrawls unprompted in a space.
Most (but first let me stir another sweetened brew)…
most enter; and exit after scribbling… nothing much.
They mutter in their passing, “What a… what a mess.”

I’m sorry, but it’s all there is and it’s all I’ve got.

To hear the poem being read click HERE!

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.

To hear the poem being read click 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.

To hear the poem read click 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.

To hear the poem read click 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.