Tag Archives: free verse

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.

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 86. A dire warning to lovers

Falling in love is sort of like
being diagnosed with sugar diabetes.
It’s kind of like a sugar overload
and the body can’t cope with all the syrup fast enough
so it results in a sticky mess
and you end up
chucking the baby out with the bathwater.

Falling in love is sort of like
weeding the garden;
there’s a great vision of magnificent blooms
further down the track
but there’s the inevitability of pulling flowers out
with the weeds
and chucking the baby out with the bathwater.

Falling in love is sort of like
you know
it gets more complicated than you think
and it completely stuffs up your life
because you should be finishing an assignment and
instead you end up spending all night trying to make
something to chuck out with the bathwater.

Anyway, despite my warning,
by the time you realize you’re in love
it’s too late. You’re completely caught in the net.
Every song on the radio is about you. The only way out
is not to get up in the morning
or to move towns and that’s tantamount to
chucking the baby out with the bathwater.

Be warned! Love’s sort of like a horse and carriage:
every wedding’s followed by a marriage.
It’s not that you can’t do it;
it’s just that so many for a thousand different reasons blew it.

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.

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

Poem 73: Aunty Rene

(This poem continues my decision this month to post poems I wrote fifty plus years ago – this week’s poem was written around about when I was 15!)

My aunty died about thirteen years ago.
For thirteen years she has not known the
warm sun and pale breeze I now feel.
She has not known the thirteen
evenings, the afternoons, the blackbird peace and
childhood memories that swing around every spring.
As a spinster, she has no one to love her after death,
no one to be remembered by, and
not much to be remembered for.
She was just an ordinary aunty.

And I thought of all the ordinary people
who mean nothing;
whose names do not lie hidden
even in buried archives.
I thought of all these people,
once so wonderful, so friendly,
and now indifferently forgotten…

Oh what is life? and what is life? and life?…
My aunty never died,
she has only been forgotten.

Feel the warm sun and pale breeze,
Sing to the universe,
Tomorrow you may feel no more.
Tomorrow –
Tomorrow you may feel no more.

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

Poem 66: Nothing was said

To think, starlight in the pond
travelled millions of years to reach us;
no one saw it,
or if they did, nothing was said.

To think, each leaf trembling on the tree
is unique among billions;
no one saw it,
or if they did, nothing was said.

To think, the threatening cloud growling beyond hills
was formed by eons of conniving concocting weather systems;
no one saw it,
or if they did, nothing was said.

To think, the baby born somewhere today in a slum,
unique among billions, is dead;
no one saw it,
or if they did, nothing was said.

Poem 60: New Year

You cavort around wearing your woman’s
leather rhinestone-rivet-chain quartz-bracelet-wristwatch watch
and singing Auld Lang Syne like you mean it
like there’s nobody in the world you forgot
like friends who love everybody in a great saturnalia of giving a
tu-whit tu-whoo and your original NIKE air max women’s running shoes
(worth five hundred and forty dollars fifty-eight)
that you can’t walk in cos of those tight, ripped, distressed, slim jeans, and
the knitted cat-ears faux fox fur vegan fibres beanie.
You can take that cup o’ kindness and
shove it up ya up ya up ya
tu-whit tu-whoo along with the I’m-currently-reading tome on
the life of Nefertiti which I recall you were speed-reading two years ago.
We too have run around the slopes
and picked the daisies fine
for auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne.
But you forgot, an old acquaintance be forgot
and never brought to mind
those days of auld lang syne
our days of auld lang syne, my dear,
our twenty-four years of auld lang syne.

I’ll be home if you want me, with the kids, though I don’t like my chances.

 

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

 

Poem 55: I cannot love the sky

55free

I cannot love the sky
until I know the scientific names for all the clouds.
Look! how dramatic is Cumulonimbus!

I cannot love the garden
until I know the scientific names for all the flowers.
Oh! such lovely Lobularia maritima!

I cannot love the song
until I know the scientific names for all the birds.
Hark! to the rapture of that Turdus philomelos!

I cannot love reflections in the water
until I’ve checked for giardia,
those anaerobic flagellated protozoan parasites of the phylum Sarcomastigophora.

I cannot love you
until I have dissected your opinions
tested your resolve
verified your good faith
and checked that you don’t have a Daucus carota stuffed up your Sphincter ani externus
like some overcharged know-all who

…cannot love the sky