Tea with dVerse

Such a long time has slipped by since I last played this game but what better way to restart than Tea with dVerse. Thanks to Claudia for the prompt on 5 August. It is just a bit of nonsense but fun to do.


Life is an old tea cup,

with orange flowers painted in bloom,

filled from an old liquor bottle

sip-savoured till dregs remain.

The magic of such a potion

old Obelix could explain

to the dog with yellow-teeth grin

whose love was to gnaw a bone.

To the dragon who melted the Ice Queen

but came close to quenching his flame

and the crocodile soothed by the blues man

playing on his saxophone,

to the black cat counting his nine lives

who always finds his way home.

And the man who can’t stop clapping

as the blue car takes him away

for sip-savoured tea-cup liquor

imbibed all night and day.









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A new one on me. Fantastic elastic plastic! No, a way to write a poem about a photograph, painting, statue. Not only did our tutor throw Ekphrastic at us but also Anaphoric – a poetry technique using repetition for emphasis. ‘Try to combine both,’ she said.

With a little help from the Impressionists, in particular Edgar Degas 1876, I delved into the Parisienne cafe life of actors, poets and painters. I’m not sure where my Green Fairy lives but she was certainly kept busy back then.

La Fee Verte

I watch as iced water

slips over sugared spoon

to turn the emerald green,

like magic, to a paler hue.


They watch as I take my cue,

wait for me to slip –

to forget the words

that make my role so real.


He won’t watch – is ice now,

thinks I have lost my touch,

knows they wait for me to slip

into that paler hue.


She watches as I take to stage –

Green Fairy on my shoulder

waiting patiently until curtain fall,

waiting to reward me.


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Blogging Olympics

I fell off my blogging bike with the new year. Been busy scribbling and sketching and doing my bit performing with Paragram but just couldn’t get back into the swing of writing a blog.

My friend and BT Olympic Writer was kind enough to invite me to the Olympic Park last week for the London Prepares series of sporting events. This particular weekend was the official opening of the Stadium with 2012 hours to go.

I admit I’ve had mixed feelings about the games this summer but I can see now that London will have a superb legacy once the medals have been won and the razzmatazz disappears and I hope it will be freely available for all to use and enjoy.

We had a really interesting day which required an Olympic effort on our part, setting off early and returning home quite late. Unlike the atheletes our training for this cold day required fresh ground coffee and hot waffle with strawberries and cream. We sat alone in front of the Stadium wondering what this place would be like in a couple of months. Would the British weather perform to its best ability and more importantly would our hands and feet warm as the day progressed?

My poem is a thank you to Sally for an interesting day.

Olympic Feet

Early morning feet walk the Greenway,
the last mile from West Ham,
slicing through East London history
past Abbey Mills Victorian splendour,
no longer pumping but empty windows spectating.
Laughter on our lonely journey –
destination and others still to come.
We obey pink waistcoats, smiling, pointing
pink sponge glove fingers till
the Greenway ends and
Olympic Park lets us in.

We continue; follow those
who authorised our entry;
try to catch the khaki yompers
quick and light of foot, lean stride
as they move with purpose seeking out
McDonalds rations.

Past contractors clobber,
waiting clearance,
past hints of meadow planting
with promise of yellow, gold.
Past the spiralled Orbit,
tallest art in Britain,
awaiting dinner guests when all medals won.
Past cedar benches wearing
gems to read while resting;
‘how starlings once slowed Big Ben’.
Past moored Velodrome, wooden clad,
set to sail when games done.

We cross the rubber bubbled pathway,
a treat to eye and aching feet, to where
suspended metal ring crowns tree –
the start of a living memory.
We take our place in Eton Park
in awe of Paralympic hopefuls
as they demonstrate how wheel can compensate;
rolling serves, double bounce,
powerful shots, spinning rallies.
Doubles teamwork – fast and funny.

We turn home behind the hockey crowd
who stadium stamped and raised the clouds
for Australia against UK.
Stomping kids with cardboard clackers
raised the dust on new laid paths
as 40,000 queued to enter
the illuminated jewel Stadium
and celebrate that 2012 hours remain.

The Greenway beckons,
our tired Olympic feet shuffle,
the unlit Torch waits its turn
as London Prepares.

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A poem for the New Year

The sky cries farewell to the old year –
raining cleansing tears
to wash the earth
of last year’s sin.
This, the first day
of the first month,
with its grey wetness
offers no false promise
to lift our spirits
and tests our resolve to
aim for better things.
This rain is our lifeblood –
it feeds our rivers,
fills the oceans,
grows our seeds.
Each new year brings its gift –
a chance to start again. 

2012 arrived wrapping the day in a wet blanket. Not too inspiring but I thought I’d not be beaten and started with my first verse for the year.




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Bufo bufo – you’re out there, I know.

When I went to check on the Valerian seedlings by the kitchen door, the plants in one container stood like a well drilled platoon. In the other, they had collapsed at one end. ‘That’s strange,’ I thought. ‘Perhaps I forgot to water them.’ It’s really difficult to kill Valerian. The original seeds had come from gran’s garden years ago. It is a good value plant that will grow on rocky outcrops or in poor soil like the sand in my garden.
With hot summers and hosepipe bans, my plants have to be tough. I do spread homemade compost but this disappears like peas in quicksand and I know I’m in trouble when even the weeds won’t flourish. Valerian seems to cope and rewards with flowers every year.
I set off down the garden to a sunny spot with the collapsed seedlings and pushed my trowel into the middle of the container.
‘Bufo bufo – you sneaky toad!’ I screamed as I unearthed the warty beast. In the dead of night he must have crawled into the trough and settled under the leafy quilt to hibernate for the winter. He’s done this before several times and I’m not sure who is more disturbed by the encounter. I always try to rehome him but I know he never likes my choice of abode and crawls off in disgust as soon as I put him down.
I do appreciate his appetite for slugs and snails but in the autumn I’m afraid to push spade into earth for fear of the damage I might inflict. I understand the toad can live for forty years or more, so unless the snake finds him before we move house, I shall have to be more careful. 
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It’s the small things in life

Sometimes, when life throws too much at you, it’s good to notice the small things. Things that exist quite happily without our help although we are sometimes a hinderance.

The eight-legged fisher  

I marvel at the fisher of flies
waiting to grant audience 
while centred in his garden orb.

I marvel at his skill to throw
tensile thread from sky-point
to leaf-joint.

Who taught him how to cast his line,
construct with such precision
his cantilevered artistry?

I marvel at the skill employed without
tool box or instruction book
as he hangs his wheel-net and waits
    in exchange for his survival.

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The four P’s: Paragram, performance, poetry, prose

Can we do it? Can’t remember whose idea it was but there are 55 days to go, although any moment now the clock will hit midnight and it’ll be 54. 

Some of our writing group has not ventured recently into the world of performance and I have to admit it was a long time ago when I last stood on a stage. My very first appearance was at the age of five when I played the Star of Bethleham in the school play. I had the only speaking part and rehearsed for many hours with mum and dad until I had it word perfect. On the day I managed to muddle the verses but hopefully no one noticed, except mum and dad of course. 

Paragram is the name we are calling ourselves as a performance group. This is a first for us but we are working hard to make sure our first appearance in November will go off with a bang – catherine wheels, rockets, sparklers –  anything we can keep back from Guy Fawkes night plus some more.

We are busy choosing our best pieces for performance and also for the book we are pulling together for sale on the night. Posters have been designed, tickets will be printed and sold. Remedies for cold feet are being sought. I hope I don’t muddle my verses this time!

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Luke Prater – Poet – thank you for the Octain

A friend and prize winning poet introduced me to the Octain, a new form created by poet, Luke Prater. Writing poetry to a specific form can be quite daunting and challenging but that is part of the fun. A trip to the brain gym is good exercise and hopefully if done often enough will show some results.

I do not like obscure poetry but I do worry sometimes the things I write are t00 personal and are not experiences generally shared (thank goodness), so I will explain this one by saying it is a mother talking to her adult autistic son.

If written entirely true to Luke’s form, I think this High Octain should read as one complete stanza. I have broken it into four in an attempt to help comprehension. I hope he will not mind.

I gave you my future

It was a burden on your head
too great perhaps and so unfair
to try and make you be aware.

You would not know, it was unsaid.
My future’s set but with regret
that I can’t make yours right; instead
I have to make amends and care
about the burden on your head.

It was a burden on your head
expecting you to want to dare
and understand the world we share.

You see its puzzle pieces spread
beyond your net, your grasp and yet
the picture’s there. First born please tread
across my life with kindly care.
Was it a burden on your head?

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Autistically speaking …

Summer is threatening to close in with alarming speed; temperatures are dropping, the days shortening and some trees are showing an autumnal tinge. A group of us have managed our Poetry in the Garden workshop with tutor Sally without a raindrop splashing the page. We think this is down to Sally who has placed an order for fine weather every week. 

We have been led through the Haibun, the Villanelle, Tercets, Pantoums, Rondeau, Triolet and Octain. Sally asked if I’d lost weight and I admitted just two or three pounds but I think I’ve discovered a new diet. It’s the ‘Poetry Diet’. I’ve decided mental gymnastics require as much energy as the treadmill at the gym. The discipline of trying to keep to form, make sense when repetition of rhyming words or refrain are used is difficult. This is not helped when we read published poets who break all the rules and seem to get away with it. But I suppose it’s like anything, the more you practise, the easier it becomes. 

Last week we tackled the Rondeau. For a moment I was challenged by the idea of a Rondeau Redouble but chickened out at the last moment with the following.

Autistically speaking …

Now Monday can be any day
worn happily without dismay,
it is a sign that things are good
and maybe with the likelihood
embroidered socks are here to stay.

It has been hard to find his way;
remain on route and never stray
in other worlds, misunderstood.
Now Monday can.

It’s up to him to have his say
but know that black is sometimes grey
and as his socks have proved, he should
attempt to tackle more and could
because he knows his feet convey,
now Monday can.

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My recycled friend, Charlie Green

Charlie Green is down there waiting. He says, ‘You don’t have time for coffee’.

I say, ‘I do. This is the best time of the day so you sit there and enjoy as the rising sun melts the last raindrops from your metallic frame. See how it lights the web curtains around you.’

He replies, ‘You’re wasting time. The ground is soft and ripe for pulling weeds.’

I’ve tried to explain to him, ‘I like the weeds. I’m going wild. Just a small patch at the bottom of the garden. It’s interesting what grows when you leave things alone.’

‘You’re just lazy,’ he says.

I know I’m being sensible. How will I find time to write my book if I have to pull every weed and chase every greenfly? That’s supposed to be his job. He wants to return to his seat beneath the Amelanchier. It’s closer to the house and he can keep a eye on what we’re doing.

‘I don’t like the slippery snail trails around me every morning,’ he says. ‘I don’t mind the frogs – I just direct them to the pond. The squawking parakeets I could do without.’

I’ve offered to make him a tisane with homegrown Feverfew to soothe his stressed brow but he says he’d rather have a gin and tonic. I didn’t like to tell him it would be a waste on a person of his composition. Besides, I’m saving that for me!  


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