Tag Archives: verse

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.

1765. Thanks for the poetry

Hi Harvey

Just a quick note to thank you for sending me your book of poetry. Congratulations on getting it published. I was very keen to read your poems as I didn’t until today realize that you wrote poetry. It tells me a lot more about you than I ever imagined.

The book arrived in the mail just as I was about to go to the bathroom. As I was so excited to begin to read it I took it to the bathroom with me and began to peruse your poems while “enthroned”.

The first thing I noticed, and this is a little critical, is that the cover is excellent, as is the print, but why, oh why, did it have to be printed on cheap newsprint? I suppose it’s fashionable to use recycled things, but personally I was distracted by it thinking that your poetry would most certainly deserve better.

Well, I started reading your poems thoughtfully and I guess I carefully read the first half dozen. Look, I don’t want to be negative about things, but quite honestly, the poems did nothing for me. I thought they were banal and simplistic. I’m telling you this not to be cruel and offensive, but because honesty is always the best route to take. How can one improve if one already thinks that one is the cat’s whiskers?

Heave ho! upon the briny deep,
Oh sailor man.
Wither doth the waves caress the shore.
Who could wish for more
In days of yore?

I can see why you had to get it self-published.

Anyway, thanks again for thinking of me and sending a free copy.

Regards
Maurice

P.S. Don’t you just hate it – like once every eleven years or so – when you’re in the bathroom and realize you’re out of toilet paper?

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.