Tag Archives: poem

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

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.