Monday 23 December 2013

Christmas Past

Madonna With the Milk Soup, 1510, Gerard David 
He remembers her;
she all proud and plump and pinafore(d),
she mythering and a-muttering
as porridge splattering and a-spluttering
simmers (like her temper) on the stove.

He watches from the door,
mouth drooling and tongue a-lolling
for the toast she is a-buttering,
nothing else mattering
but the grumble in his belly.

The kids are on the floor
pulling paper off their prezzies,
sucking satsumas found in stockings,
delirious with delight as *Magoo
(in black and white)
finds his way onto the telly.

This was the time! 
The beginning of The Day! 

He remembers her, he remembers then.  
And then she went away.

She ran off with anyone who’d take her,
tinker tailor butcher baker
and finally met her maker in the year of ’84. 
The kids are big shots in the city,
(who conveniently forgot him)
who selfish and rich rotten
never set a foot across his door.

So this day he sits alone
but by crikey he still misses her
and in these Christmas dreams he kisses her,
she all proud and plump and pinafore(d)
(in his dreams his toast she’s a-buttering)
and he hears himself a-muttering;
she’s the one that I adored.


Anna :o]

With thanks to Tess at The Mag for the inspiration – the Milk Soup (porridge) bit – not necessarily the image; also shared with the good folks at Poets United - thanks Mary.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all; have both – or else!

When I was a lass an essential part of Christmas was Mr Magoo - watch below and treat yourself!

Thursday 12 December 2013

Christmas Eve

My sis and I had attic rooms
and cold they were on winter’s night
and I was certain in that whispered gloom
hid bogeymen intent to do me harm
once I had lain my head
on cold feather-down yet hot water-bottled bed.

So the ritual:
heart in throat I looked in wardrobe first,
gingerly opening door then scanned the floor
neath wooden cot with metal springs
and then the most awful thing:
pull the curtains back check window ledge
that large enough could seat a man
and phew   phew
no-one there.

And so it was on Christmas Eve
envelope(d) betwixt the sheets
I lay in fitful sleep
dreaming the dream of Christmas Fare –
turkey (yum yum) and all the trimmings
plus the most important mushy peas –
and stockings brimming
with gold-wrapped chocolate coins
and satsumas tangerines –
and of course beneath the tree
wrapped treasures of Judy doll,
magic set, books,     sweets and smellies.

And so it was on Christmas morn
to celebrate the Christ Chikl born
we children came sleepily down the stairs
yet in excitement of the presents waiting there
beneath the tree, in room 
with blazing fire warming
even coldest nook and nose
pressed into Bunty book
how glad was I to be alive.

And I didn’t want to go to church…

Anna :o]

Gay at dVerse has us writing of ‘Hearth, Home and Common Speech.’  I attempted to write of my life now – but whatever I wrote, because of present circumstances appeared full of gloom – and my life is not like that.

So I decided to return to my childhood.

My parents hailed from Yorkshire and though having its accent were not broad Yorkshire, although did use some of its dialect.  Flower and luv are Yorkshire terms of endearment and I can remember having moved to colder climes, my dad calling the milkman luv…(dint go down very well.).  I too had a slight Yorkshire vernacular – dint=didn’t and cunt=couldn’t - the latter caused much amusement and sometimes offence…

I loved my parents so much and hope they have found their place in Heaven – if it exists.  Despite being brought up in a (non-oppressive) religious household – I hold no beliefs – never have, too much time in children’s wards as a child…  But I do love Christmas and the closeness it brings.

The rhyming thing is not false.  Although my mother never wrote poetry – most of the time (except for but sometimes including serious conversation) we would speak in rhyme – often with hilarious results.  Lovely lovely mother.

And so I offer the above as my contribution to the dVerse prompt and when doing so offer my heartfelt thanks to all at dVerse for making my life so much richer.  Merry Christmas to my friends there and look forward to joining in the fun in the coming New Year.

Kind regards
Anna :o] xxx

Image: courtesy of Wikimedia Commons– I couldn’t locate a Christmas(y) one

Sunday 8 December 2013

The Forester

Cherry Blossom (1905) John Reinhard Weguelin
a product of a poisoning
is unblemished fruit
         ripe for the picking.

He is hiding there,
hiding neath the woodpile
yet affords her a view of single eye;
he watches   waiting
waiting as she fills her basket,
fills it with the want of him,
he a fuel for her fire.

Oh how she longs for warmth,
she his unfeathered maiden,
maidens who too young to burn,
bleed and sizzle, spit in protest,
until engulfed,   they are consumed
in his awkward awful flame.

She waits   wide-eyed  
understands not what she sees.

A crisp December morning,
she clears the grate,
clears it for a new day
and he rises from the ashes.

He takes her there,
takes her in the cold of winter,
takes her there on winter’s table,
presses down and takes her there.

She bleeds but does not sizzle
spit in protest, rather succumbs
to warm breath warm hands,
takes comfort
from the closeness   rhythm of his body. 
(There is rhythm in belonging.)

She is fallen, fallen high from grace,
she falls as cherry blossom,
a pink confetti , a scattering
in a cemetery of childhood.

She is fallen yet somehow whole.

Anna :o]

Shared with the good folk at Poets United – thank you Mary,  and also at Open Link Night at dVerse hosted tonight by Joe - thanks to you too Joe.

Image: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Sunday 1 December 2013

Small Print

Look at the small print,
look at it just look at it. 
No need to read
between the lines,
it is there in black and white.

Addendum to diary entry:
I love him I love him I love him!

I am so tiny tiny tiny

Why can’t I think big?
Why can’t I say:
I love you I love you I love you.

I am so tiny tiny tiny.

Oh if only I could sprout
the wings of a bird
I would fly to him,
fly to him
and gather him in my skirts.

Say: See here,
look at the small print: 
I love him I love him I love him!

Instead:  I am tiny tiny tiny.

I have the wings of a moth
forever searching for the moon…

Anna :o]
With thanks to Tess at The Mag for her prompt (the image above is not that of the prompt.).  Also thanks are due to the commentator of a news item who stated: Look at the small print – and the above sprouted from the two.
Also entered at The Poetry Pantry – thanks Mary.

Image: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Photographer: Pierre Dalous

Sunday 24 November 2013

And Then They Came

July the fifth
and I scribe in his name
in ink and hope
and think I’ll go mad;
a whole month to wait
before we meet,
before we meet
on that dreadful day. 

This date has significance,
for him for me,
a sad anniversary of a time
when fate decreed
we both should be there
upon that street,
upon that street
when strangers came.

They came in ships
of brilliant gold,
the skies their sea
this Earth their shore
and how in awe we were
of tales they told
of how they would set us free,
release us from this hell of war.

We weary of the battle then
welcomed them with open arms,
these saviours from some distant world
who would quell our pain
and free us from our Earthly bonds
and they whispered in our ears their names
and their names are Yutha Nasia.

Twas some time ‘fore we realised
on some dreadful dawn
that although we, imperfect born,
deserved and so desired to live.
Yet Earth had changed
lost all humanity 
and man joined Yuthas’  battle cry:
Give the marred their rights 
and let them die!

Twas soon we lost all hope
as mankind slid down the slippery slope, 
and now we have no rights at all
and today we both received the call
and soon we shall be no more
as death waits for us at the door,
the door of Yutha Nasia.

Anna :o]

Victoria at dVerse asks us to consider time.  She writes:

Today, I invite you to consider calendars. You might want to look at your own Planner from 2013, choose a day and let it tell you a story. Or maybe, check out a wall calendar and let the art speak out to you (I’m looking at a little-known painting by van Gogh as I write this.) Consider time. What messages do you receive from the changing seasons? If you’re into astrology, perhaps you will find inspiration in one of the signs…your own or a loved one’s? How has the passing of the years (otherwise known as aging) affected or changed you?

I keep neither calendar nor diary as I just remember everything.  Well not strictly true as I forget birthdays and anniversaries’ – even forgot my son’s birthday twice – how bad is that.  But everything else I remember. 
So I just wrote a date and let it take me where it wanted – although I never expected where it took me.

I have great concerns regarding the slippery slope of what euthanasia has become and I may or may not have witnessed non-voluntary and involuntary euthanasia.  Further reading can be found below.

Image: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The euthanasia machine was created by Dr Philip Nitschke   

Sunday 17 November 2013


Watch me for a little while!

Viviparous, they so primitive,
entombed they are in womb of glass,
he smiles and shakes hard the jar
of funny little human things.

At five, a passel as a birthday gift,
he had watched them breed and grow and thrive,
watched awe-struck as procreation
brought alive his little alien nation,
housed as they were in vivaria
that sat pulsating on his bedroom desk. 
He had marveled at their industriousness,
their efforts to achieve betterment,
yet this noble occupation bent/
thwarted by inherent base
need/desire of war,
a slaughter of its own innocents.

He sadly observed that they did not value life
yet this knowledge served his purpose well. 
No longer would the surplus feed
beasts that slithered belly down,
the budding entrepreneur would spice them dead,
create a pickle for discerning connoisseurs.

He shook the jar again, watched them swish
as if they had become some sad foetuses
awaiting birth from pickled death. 
He picked one out and with bated breath
awaited its deliciousness
and disappointed not he marveled at his own creation.

Big taste, big bank balance, he sighed happily,
Garf: quondam loser?  Yes – now bloody genius!

Anna :o]    

Björn at dVerse has us writing sci-fi.  The above is a re-write of a micro story (that lies in a now dormant blog) I wrote in May 2011, a re-write in the form of poetry.

I love sci-fi – well not the rubbish stuff – and read Isaac Asimov when a spotty teenager.    Loved watching the Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone and Dr Who.  I loved them because they scared me silly.  (I had a plan should a UFO land when I out alone – I would run head first into the nearest brick wall…!)

The micro story and thus the poem are based on the notion that this universe and this Earth on which we live, exists in some distant galaxies equivalent of an ant farm…

Image: courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Author: Piolinfax

Thursday 14 November 2013


Were I not ensanguined I would bleed pity into your callous heart.
Blunt rejection implodes ego, hate blurs self-perceived kindheartedness
Excised heart lies cold upon the butchers slab, revenge keeps it beating.
Revenge best eaten cold, hell no; pray hard, there’s fire in my belly.
Belly full of you, I spill memories until I run on empty.
Empty, I am yesterday; tomorrow has no need for warm embrace.

Anna :o]

Gay at dVerse has us writing American Sentences, these an American haiku invented by Allen Ginsburg.  Each line/sentence consists of seventeen syllables and should tell a complete story.

Not certain if the above is what Ginsburg  or Gay had in mind…

Image: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Author: Fragile_Emotion.jpg: Don from Murfreesboro, TN

Monday 11 November 2013

To Those Who Would Dishonour the Dead

 Apologia Pro Poemate Meo

I, too, saw God through mud– 
The mud that cracked on cheeks when wretches smiled.
War brought more glory to their eyes than blood,
And gave their laughs more glee than shakes a child.

Merry it was to laugh there–
Where death becomes absurd and life absurder.
For power was on us as we slashed bones bare
Not to feel sickness or remorse of murder.

I, too, have dropped off fear–
Behind the barrage, dead as my platoon,
And sailed my spirit surging, light and clear,
Past the entanglement where hopes lie strewn;

And witnessed exhultation–
Faces that used to curse me, scowl for scowl,
Shine and lift up with passion of oblation,
Seraphic for an hour, though they were foul.

I have made fellowships–
Untold of happy lovers in old song.
For love is not the binding of fair lips
With the soft silk of eyes that look and long.

By joy, whose ribbon slips,–
But wound with war’s hard wire whose stakes are strong;
Bound with the bandage of the arm that drips;
Knit in the welding of the rifle-thong.

I have perceived much beauty
In the hoarse oaths that kept our courage straight;
Heard music in the silentness of duty;
Found peace where shell-storms spouted reddest spate.

Nevertheless, except you share
With them in hell the sorrowful dark of hell,
Whose world is but a trembling of a flare
And heaven but a highway for a shell,

You shall not hear their mirth:
You shall not come to think them well content
By any jest of mine. These men are worth
Your tears: You are not worth their merriment. 

To Those Whow Would Dishonour the Dead

One single shot shattered fragile peace
and your country needs you,
needs you now,
needs you to spill your blood and guts on foreign soil.

There are empty places at the table,
lineage as broken as the beating hearts he left behind,
no progeny to bear his nose his chin his eyes. 
Do you remember him or does he lie forgotten?

There are those amongst us
who would have us turn our backs
against those sacrificial lambs that,
ripe for slaughter
fell to earth for king and country.

To you who wear proud
your badge of smug self-righteousness
I ask:
When they first come for the socialists, 
will you speak out?

Lest we forget;
know of those whose fallen bones
lie lost beneath the sod of foreign fields,
where poppies bleed in awful grief
and give gentle nod of reverence.

I will remember.

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then the came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemöller

Remembrance Day is a memorial day to remember members of the armed forces who died in the line of duty.  It is not a glorification of war; it is a day to honour the dead.
Please don’t politicise it.
Also remembered, all civilian causalities and all those who through the death of civilians and armed forces personal were never born.

Image: courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Author: Tijl Vercaemer from Gent, Flanders #Belgium)

Sunday 3 November 2013

There Will Be No Spring

There is an air of neighbourliness here;
it is a mere pretence, a sham.
We nod, exchange pleasantries,                        
share small talk as I walk the dog;
watch (and mention) his hard labour
as he  cuts a swathe through evergreen

and he seems a little distant now.

We live our solitary lives
preferring the comfort of our own potting sheds,
there is necessity of order here,
we choose what will live and bloom
or twist out and die. 

We have our sanctuaries’ our Edens
guard ourselves against the possibilities of harm. 
We, victims of our own defences become a garden full of weeds.

We had talked some time ago;
he told me of his blight, proliferation of disease. 
He had hope then, an optimism. 
He would lend himself to those with greener fingers,
they would tend him and he would thrive again.

The seasons pass and he has a look of autumn,
a withering of summer. 
He tells me the laurel will not outlive the winter
and crestfallen his sad smile flutters to his feet.


MLM at Mindlovemisery has us trying our hand at prophecy.  Sadly the prophecy is that of a near neighbour and I fear he might be right in that he, the laurel will not outlive the winter…  Not quite sure the above is what MLM had in mind but after talking to my neighbour a few days ago i felt compelled to write of our discussion and I honestly think I did so to cope with my own felt inadequacy.

(Also shared with the good folk at Poets United)

Image: courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Author: User:Burrows

Thursday 24 October 2013

With Rapier Wit

With rapier wit- his words his sword,
a cut deep into her heart he scored
and twisted thus (with daggers thrust)
and she (poor thing) her longings crushed,
wailed, as from her eyes her tears poured.

And he (the fool) knew that she he adored
and knew his words himself had gored,
and knew deep inside that he was cussed
with rapier wit.

He genuflect, forgiveness he implored,
his heartfelt wish; her love be restored.
And she (good thing) her worries hushed,
a kiss upon his cheek she brushed.
And he: lust crude confessed lost her once more
with rapier wit.

Anna :o]

Tony at dVerse has us write a Rondeau for today’s Form for All, thanks Tony.

I subscribe to Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Day and as today's was so perfect I had to use it and gained my inspiration from there.  (Author attribution: Marie-Lan Nguyen)

Thursday 17 October 2013


You never quite forget the hell of it,
the smell of it:
charred flesh and cordite;
and the never ending mortar fire
and sometimes you go mad with it.

I body-rock:
rhythmic   repetitive 
like a ticking clock,
tick-tick-tick, to-and-fro
not side-to-side like a stick insect
and he asks:
how do you feel about this;
and I say I don’t know,
not being arboreal 
I've never lived in trees.

My feelings for you are inchoate
although I’ve known you
longer than a piece of string
and I can’t help wondering
if that time we smoked all night long
and I got paranoid
whether you just might’ve set fire to the bed
as you rocked to-and-fro in candle light
grinning like a Cheshire cat.

My heart
has the monotony of a metronome
and my mind
is bored with its click-click-click-click
and I think I am bored with you
but as said feelings inchoate.

The garden is overrun by weeds
and ivy strangleholds the trees
and sometimes I think you are strangling me
and I wonder if I should cut and run.

I think my mind is running out of time
and I don’t quite know who or what I am. 
And I wonder if this coldness in my breath
is death whispering holding out its hand,
and whether it is or not,
either way do I give a damn.

Anna :o]

Gay at dVerse has us writing beat poems and she writes: Beat poems have no set form. They are free verse influenced by blues, jazz, post-war angst, the feeling of being beat down by society  (therefore a little rebellious) inspired by hallucinogenics (surreal) also influenced by meditation, Zen Buddhism, Native American and other ethnic tribal lore and folk stories.  The challenge for this article is to take some of these elements and create your own beat poem.

Not quite sure the above is one, but I chose to write about post-war angst and the effects of hallucinogenics.  The image sourced at Wiki is itself sourced from the 'Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Research Fact Sheet' authored by The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Interestingly (or worryingly?), the fact sheet advocates cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and I wonder about this having personally seen the damage that can be done in taking this 'talking' path, where the patient becomes stuck on the merry-go-round of constantly reliving a traumatic event or events.

Of course the skills of the counsellor are paramount here but sometimes I wonder if all this ‘talking’ is to meet the needs of the counsellor…

One of my great mentors (on this subject and via reading his blog) is The Cockroach Catcher and you may be interested in reading his posts on PTSD here.  He writes:

What was most surprising was how the group that had counselling generally faired worse, much worse than those without any counselling. The group that did best were the ones that drank, and drank a fair amount.

Please visit his blog and read more.