Saturday, April 28, 2007

Did the Earth move for you?

An earthquake has hit my old birthing ground. Course, as earthquakes go, a 4.3 shake is not much to write home about - especially when I'm sitting here in London and didn't feel a shiver.

What does amuse me, though, is how close this quake was to the Dungeness nuclear power stations. This aging, concrete mess was supposed to be retiring soon, but got a 10 year operating extension in 2005. I wonder how newsworthy a 4.3 shake would be if it had managed to damage the station? I wonder how much stronger the quake would have to be to do serious damage like, well, cracking a pipe or something.

To quote from the BBC news report: "This is by no means a complete surprise," he said. "There have been earthquakes in this location before. Two of them have been some of the biggest earthquakes ever to affect Britain. The first was in 1382 and in 1580 a quake with a magnitude of about six killed two people in London."

I'll just go check to see which way the wind's blowing ...

Monday, April 23, 2007

NaPo 07 #20: Crime of Passion

You can tell I'm churning them out. This one leaves me 3 days behind:

Crime of Passion

It was a strange case
all round. This guy walked
through my door one afternoon,
rope trailing from his neck. 'You
need the work,'
he said, 'and I
need the work doing.'
So we sat
and talked for an hour, suspects
and letters and failings
and stuff. He seemed upset,
a sad smile painted over
unshaved cheeks. 'He told me
to do it,'
he kept repeating,
as if the jingle of his assertion
could set history straight.
But the shekels shackled him
to the time and place. 'You
need to see the bigger story,'

he told me, standing to move
as the cock struck sundown.
'Anyone can get their hands
nailed to a plank of wood!'

And there it was: the jackass
trade-off. Folks will do
the most deviant things
for a dance with
old Dame Fame.

NaPo 07 #19: Slumber


I saw you dead, a smorgasbord
of flesh arranged in a box, pine,
a Blenheim I think, with loose-screwed
handles for decoration. But the dead
don't smile unless the corpse-artists
overstuff the cheeks, and your snores
were breaking my dream-threads.


Yes, is back online - meaning we have eye candy back on this blog, and the cats have come back home!

No, I haven't written a NaPo poem. This is my fourth day of inactivity. I think I'm supposed to feel guilty or a bit looserish, but I've checked through my emotional wardrobe and I don't seem to have any feelings of that colour. I might write some poems later. I might not. Whatever.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Does it work better as a visual poem?

I didn't like the draft of this NaPo abortion. So I set The Gimp onto it, to see if playing with space and suchlike makes for a better work. I do prefer this version, as it more closely resembles my incoherent thoughts on the issues.

It's not very experimental (though combining the oldest poetry form in the English language with early 21C design in such a casual manner might be a bit, well, odd), but what-the-hell: enjoy!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

NaPo 07 #18: A Story With Morals In It

A Story With Morals In It

Chlorine Cassie caught a train
and went to see her friend Lorraine.
But when Lorraine came to the door
she slipped and fell down on the floor.
So Cassie took her friend to church
to see the vicar, Lithium Lurch -
a barge of a man with tiny eyes
that hid in his brows like furtive spies.
He preyed for the soul of poor Lorraine
ignoring her moans about the pain
in her knees and hips; he shared a sip
of wine with Cassie, brushed her lip
with the back of his cassock, stained it red -
and then he took her home to bed,
leaving Lorraine to die of thirst
under the alter, cold and cursed.
So when you hear a friend come a-knocking
don't answer the door just wearing your stockings!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

If you're going to do something stupid ...

... then you might as well do something truly, royally stupid!

I'll give you a demonstration.

Having got myself into a situation where my website had to come offline, I sat in front of my computer and thought to myself: "what can you do, Rik, to make everything even worse for yourself? Huh?"

"Well," I mused: "I could always try upgrading my Linux installation ..."

Thankfully, some 18 hours later, I once again have a reasonably well behaved computer. The new system is certainly prettier than my previous system (Ubuntu 'Edgy Eff' in place of Mandriva 2006), though I decided to go from the one to the other via Mandriva 2007 and Xandros Desktop 4. And you know that really, really, terribly important rule that you write in big, thick felt tip pen on your computer screen before you attempt to fit a new Linux operating system - the one that says "UPGRADE, NOT INSTALL"? Guess who pressed the wrong button?

Me. The person now typing who has managed to lose more than 4 years worth of email files, and various other documents such as the one listing all the news servers and pop3 servers and smtp servers that you need to know before you can get any news or send any email. And all my favourite website links. And all my RSS feeds, which doesn't really matter because I haven't actually worked out where my RSS reader is yet. And how about all those email addresses? I bet I don't need them at all! They were just being a burden on my creativity.

Anyways. This be my poem:

It was big and shiny
and flashing at me
and saying: "I shall
comfort you and love
you if you push me,
just here, just tick
my box then I shall
relieve you of all
your tensions
and emails
n stuff."

I'll do a proper NaPo poem tomorrow. Tonight I just want to go out and torture things that squeak and/or flash ...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

NaPo 07 #17: Economic Migration is an Eighty Mile Trek

This one is pissing me off. It doesn't say what I want it to say - probably because I know what I want to say but don't know how to say it in half-decent images. Fuck it! Fuck it all!

Economic Migration is an Eighty Mile Trek

Behind the wall, a wilderness
of ditches dug to drain the soil,
their looping routes layered in arches
of brambles and bushes, blossoming hawthorn.
It's easy to amble aimless across
this unmapped world, its whorls of growth
a narrative of nature's nascent charm
smothering the steel and stench of life
beyond the fronds of the fallow soil.

My walls are packed with the produce of lands
that span the globe, spirals of goods
freshly jetted from fields to joust
in polythene packaging for my pocket change.
I buy tomatoes from Mexico, break them
free from their prison, pinch and fondle
their standard-sized, unsullied flesh.
In the street, I bite, assert my right
to consume the fruit of foreign worlds.

Someone penned a protest note
to a national rag, to rage at the plans
to erect an arc of energy mills
behind the walls of the wilderness:
'it spoils the views', they vent; 'it threatens
the natural world'
. I wipe some pips
from my chin as I read: 'it wrecks the charm
of this special place, and the price of my house.'

I turn the page, pick at the news.

Talking of images, most of my blog images have gone awol. I was hosting the images on my website, but now I've (temporarily) had to take that down ...

I've got spadefulls of shit for sale, if people are buying. Buckets of the stuff!

'kay, some fuckwit bastard tosser has gone and inserted "alien" files onto my website. They included files for sending out email spam, plus some other, more worrying, executable files. Thankfully, my webhosting company were quick enough to notice unusual activity emanating from rikweb and very sensibly asked me to do an audit. Given what I found lurking in the dark recesses of the site, I have decided to remove the entire shebang rather than risk having it used for possibly criminal activities. It annoys me beyond endurance that I have to do this, but I see no reason to apologise for taking down the website: if my loss helps prevent even just one criminal act, then it's a worthwhile loss as far as I'm concerned. It's only a vanity website, after all.

NaPo 07 #16: The Betsy

This one is again a bit of a rewrite of a 2006 NaPo stillbirth, or more accurately an extension. The first 7 verses were written (and then forgotten) 12 months ago; the rest was written today - possibly as a penance of some sort.

Snowdrop (the 57th part):
The Betsy

"There comes a time when ice defines
the fields, and ditches freeze
as solid as the stiffened corpse
swung high to tease the breeze.
The snow will gather in the streets
and cattle in their barns
and folks will gather round the fires
to watch the hooden dance.

"Now I's the Betsy, can't you tell?
My dress is made of silk!
my stocking cotton comes from France,
my gloves is white like milk.
My hair is fair, my heart is strong,
my honour is intact -
and I'll be first to clump the arse
of those who doubt these facts!

"This troupe of vagabonds and thieves
is here to tell a tale
of how the Lord our God Above
became a man so frail
that He could die upon the cross
in anger and in shame
and in His death to bring to us
forgiveness in His Name!

"A thousand years and more ago
around this time of year
a woman dressed in blue became
a mother, blessed from fear
and at that time the farmyard swine
and horses, sheep and kine
raised up a din to keep away
the Devil and his kind.

"And that's what we must do tonight:
a play we must perform
to keep at bay this winter's bite
and keep our bellies warm.
Our laughs will make the Devil's head
explode in blood and bones;
our dance will stop the Devil's legs
from straying near our homes.

"So meet my troop of merry men
who've travelled far and wide
to keep this hillside safe and hale
and true to God's own side.
I'll start with Carter, built of stone -
a solid churchman, him,
who keeps the dancers out of harm
and also very slim.

"Our Carter's staff is like the wrath
of God when riled to fight
and useful too for keeping safe
our stocks of food each night.
But who would steal such frugal fare
from honest folks like us?
What kind of beast would bust the reins
of friendship, love and trust?

"Beware the hobby! He's a fiend
a feral animal
with bones for skin and nails for teeth
and ribbons round his skull
He'll eat your babbies, steal your bread,
demolish house and hearth.
He'll drink your beer and then he'll piss
right in your old mum's bath!

"Beelzebub's own horse he is;
a fearsome sight to see
and even Carter can't keep him
away from you and me.
Can no one save us from this beast
now savaging our homes?
Is there no saint to hear our prayers
and slay this bag of bones?

"But ho! I hear a trumpet blare
from high up on the hill -
a fair haired lad has come to bring
this evil bane to heel.
He wears a breastplate bright as noon
and carries a great spear,
and even though he tumbles down
the hill we give a cheer!

"For he is England's own Saint George -
a little short, we know -
but even so he's not afraid
to battle monstrous foes.
He fights for Christ and Christendom
and our own mortal souls
(however tarnished they may be,
though mine is solid gold).

Just watch him take his great big stick
and wave it at the horse
and how he thwacks the Carter's head -
a practice shot, I'm sure!
They circle now, a courtly dance
of chivalry and shame,
but just before he kills the beast
we'll break for bread and ale

"For it is said, and truly so,
that godly work is tough
and harder still when hunger knocks
our bellies like a puff.
So bring us beer, and mead, and bread
and maybe some roast duck.
Then once we've supped we'll see just how
our saviour rides his luck!"

Monday, April 16, 2007

Which Discworld character are you?

I was actually hoping to be Greebo, Nanny Ogg's semi-feral cat, but instead it turns out I'm ...

The Librarian

You're the Librarian! Once a wizard, now an Orang-utan (due to an unfortunate magical accident), you refuse to be turned back for a few reasons: In this form, it's easier to reach the shelves and hold more books; having the strength of five men makes people return their books on time; life's great philosophical questions boil down to "when do I get my next banana?" You say "ook" but are usually understood well enough.

Which Discworld Character are you like (with pics)
created with

Rejection: Magma

"Dear Rik,

Many thanks again for sending me your poems, but I'm afraid I'm not taking any of them this time. I thought 'Coots' was much the strongest, but the bit about them eating their young a bit implausible as that is not something they do.

All best wishes,"

Poems submitted to Magma Magazine:
      Dad, Something's Wrong with Nanna
      Stanley in Moonlight
      The Place Maker

See. I'm not as good as I think I am.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

As threatened ...

Kitty photos!

"We know you like the cute look. Now feed us!"

"Look, I swear it's not the catnip. That mouse was wearing clogs!"

"Hey, I think I've found where they keep the 'special' grass"

"Listen, buster: either you put down the camera or you lose your eyes. It's your choice!"

NaPo 07 #15: The Hoodeners

This one's a substantial rewrite of one of last year's NaPo efforts. I make no apologies for this.

Snowdrop (the 56th part):
The Hoodeners

She sits in the boughs of a birch tree
alert, listening to the litany of profanities
growing louder: a lurching draggle
of men scratching an unsteady path
through the moonlit muds of the wood.

Beneath her feet they file in line:
their leader a lad who limps with a stick;
then a man in drag, his dress a mess
of rags and patches - he repeats a tune
of whistles and hisses through whiskers and teeth.

The troupe behind him trample and stamp
their heels the beat. At the back trails
a terror of bone and broken feathers
impaled on a pole - a painted skull
with a metalled jaw. A man the size
of a sturdy house is heaping a stream
of abuse on the rider - a boy who lies
on a bed of bramble with bouts of laughter
bubbling smears of snot down his chin.

She smiles at the sight, suppresses a giggle.
The boy in his mirth marks her presence -
he shouts and points: "A pox on the saints!
I've found us an audience! Let's entertain her!"

Saturday, April 14, 2007

26 hour writing contest

Evil Editor has just posted the results of his 26 hour writing contest. My effort is lodged in at #4. I've no idea if this means mine was 4th best, or one of the best 10 entries EE received, or if the contest only received 10 entries in total. Even so, there's some very funny entries posted - though you have to be in on the joke to, um, get the jokes.

Miss Snark doesn't read Minion blogs, does she? Please say she doesn't ...

NaPo 07 #14: An Office Acquaintance Offers Advice

An Office Acquaintance Offers Advice

He said: "love
is a game
of both skill
and chance,
strategic planning
must become
your friend."

I said: "why
turn these chemicals
into a game?"

He said: "you have
to compete, mate."

I said: nothing. I watched his tongue
moisten his underlip, a quick slither
of spittle between words to gloss
his good looks. He smelt of sharp spices
mixed with soft conditioned cotton.
When he cocked his head, his eyes
remained symmetrically blue, electrodes
pushed through my forehead; lobotomising
me. I watched his throat form thoughts -
a rhythmic rise and close, rise and close.
There were curled hairs caressing his larynx.

He said: something or other.
I was not listening.

(I think the punctuation is the least of this one's problems. Oh well ...)

Friday, April 13, 2007

You want some 'Q' to go with that big old 'I' of yours?

'kay. I've just taken this online IQ test which tells me that I have an IQ of 136 - making me (heh) "gifted", but not a "genius".

It annoys me beyond belief that the website also tells me that my IQ is lower than Madonna's ...

The main point of this blogpost is to warn people that I have pussycat photos I'm planning to post over the next few days - relief from the vicious amount of raw poetry currently floating round blogland.

NaPo 07 #13: Something Watches

Snowdrop (the 55th part):
Something Watches

Something watches. The woods are silent,
no strand of fern disturbed by footfall,
no talon of twig tugged out of place
by the passage of flesh, or fur, or cloth -
something watches. A whiff of the Marsh
mingles with the mist, mesmers the birds
in the trees to quieten the taps of their quills,
their beaks: something - stirs the leafmould:
a finger of mud fruits a hand-palm,
an arm, an elbow, an outline of shoulder
sprouting from the soil; silver moonlight
reflects from the clay as it forms a shape,
a scope of a man. Someone watches -

a girl in a glade. She gathers the mist
in her hands and styles it to the sights in her head:
the pleat of a skirt; the spin of a ball;
the heel of a shoe that she hangs on her toe
as she sits on a rock that rose to her call.
He watches her brush bracken from her hair,
noting the dirt that dapples her knees,
the white of her wrist. When she reaches
her hand to the ground, he hears the gasp
of the bulb as it spindles, blossoms: a snowdrop
for the plucking - a rare, precious treasure
discovered in the depths of this displaced wood.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

NaPo 07 #12: Language

Another potential one for the threatened Love Poem chapbook thingy:


So when did we start speaking
a different tongue? That first night
of passion, perhaps, our grunts
new symbols for art and thought;
or afterwards, meeting in bars,
shifting sounds to build barriers
between us and the crowds
admiring our mutual lusts?

Or did we develop our idiolect
browsing shops for furnishings,
partners in fashion crimes? I speak
you as well as you speak me,
and sometimes we even chat
silently, commands conveyed
by touch, look. Observe how
my shoulders type: 'I love you!'

NaPo 07 #11: Stirrings

Snowdrop (the 54th part):

A crystal of water
caught in an anvil
of stalk and leaf
collapses, drips.

Cold granules
compacting roots
shift at the probe
of new white growth.

Within a paper
scabbard, a point
of leaf stretches
its lignin bones.

In darkness, guests
in their cells waken,
click their chemical
cascades, breathe.

A mess of flesh
deep in the bulb
forms: sepal, petal;
stamen, pistil.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

NaPo 07 #10: The Obligatory AZ Poem

This marks the one-third-way point of the annual stupidity. Enjoy:

The Obligatory AZ Poem

April blossom comes
down early, fragile gloves
heaping into jaundiced kerb-lines;
my Nikes overstep pink queues,
rotting scars that undulate; vans
waft xanthic yardangs zoic.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

NaPo 07 #9: Decisions at Midnight

Snowdrop (the 53rd part):
Decisions at Midnight

"What new horror is this? I see the knife
my Gran was using when I saw her last
here in my hand. What magic trick has passed
this blade through fogs to me? Maybe my life
is truly done and I'm in heaven, hell -
wherever. Maybe I'm a coma corpse
in hospital, my Gran beside me. Thoughts
have power here: I know this tower fell
before the Normans came, and yet it stands
as proud as men before the beer can choke
their pride away. Did him downstairs remake
it just by thinking it? I need a plan -
I need to learn to use this gift, so folk
will help me out of here for their own sake!"

Monday, April 09, 2007

NaPo 07 #8: The Gift of the Mist

Snowdrop (the 52nd part):
The Gift of the Mist

"He saved me, you know. My brother was dead
already from ague, shook
his way to his grave - the Marsh's own Gift
they call that disease. I took
to bed soon enough with shivers that spread
my bowels with pains. And then
it stopped. I woke up to night, mind adrift,
alone on a hill somewhen."
A wall surrounds the roof's flat edge;
the flagstones rough on her feet. Her gaze
absorbs the sight of the surreal tide
covering the Marshes. Her mouth is loose,
yet closed in a line, careful to let
not a single whisper or whimper escape.
Around her the mists mutate, rendering
collections of shapes: a shoe, a lamp,
the face of a woman whitewashed with age.
"He found me and brought me here to this place.
The tower and town - they're all
he knows, or at least accepts to be true.
He's Roman, I think. He calls
the ruins Lemanis, makes it his base,
defends it against all ghosts
and beasts and such fears. The last of his crew,
adrift on our Saxon coast."
She stares at the stars that stud the wheel
of the skies above the sunken lands -
something is happening to her: a thought
takes form in her mind, and forms in the shrouds
around the tower. She reaches and takes
the hilt of a knife in her hand, allows it
to cool and solidify, to craft its blade
to a line of sharpness. The line of her mouth
bends and tenses, bunching the tiredness
in her eyes to the edge of her anvil face.

Watching her learn, the lad backs away,
his foot-treads slow, unsteadily feeling
for the hollow of steps to safety below.
"He taught me that trick as well. But I'm not
too good at the learning. Still,
you probably need it more than I do.
Take care of it, though: your will
will need to be strong; the power can rot
your soul. It can snare your head
in nets that will send you mad and screw
you senseless, defenceless. Dead."

NaPo 07 #7: On the Nature of Things

Snowdrop (the 51st part):
On the Nature of Things

"Aulide quo pacto Triviai virginis aram
Iphianassai turparunt sanguine foede
ductores Danaum delecti, prima virorum."
The Captain answers her cry for help:
His eyes are closed, recalling the words
and lines of a poet long ago dead -
to her, at least. She hears the latin
in colours and shades crowding her skull;
flickering frames of figures and shapes
collected together to grapple cadences
into scenes of a film performed just for her.
"Cui simul infula virgineos circum data comptus
ex utraque pari malarum parte profusast,
et maestum simul ante aras adstare parentem
sensit et hunc propter ferrum celare ministros
aspectuque suo lacrimas effundere civis,
muta metu terram genibus summissa petebat."
A girl dressed in white walks to the temple.
Her hair is braided with beads, her steps
are slow and precise; there's priests before her
and behind, chanting a hymn to please
their Aphrodite. The hour has come
for the girl to honour the goddess, to ask
for victory in battle: she unveils, abases
herself on the steps that stack to the altar.

Beyond the girl, the gathering waits:
a goat is hauled by its halter towards
the slaughter space. A silent priest
brings the coppery blade he concealed
in his shawl out; its sharpened edge
looks dull in the rust of the rosy dawn.
Murmuring prayers, he moves the knife
to the veins in the neck of the victim. The goat
still chews its cud as a column of blood
pistons from the cut he creates in the skin.
"Nec miserae prodesse in tali tempore quibat,
quod patrio princeps donarat nomine regem;
nam sublata virum manibus tremibundaque ad aras
deductast, non ut sollemni more sacrorum
perfecto posset claro comitari Hymenaeo,
sed casta inceste nubendi tempore in ipso
hostia concideret mactatu maesta parentis,
exitus ut classi felix faustusque daretur."
A mask of shock meanders across
the virgin's face. Her fingers grope
for the cut beneath the nob of her jaw.
Her eyes widen. A whisper of scarlet
dampens her lips. She levers her hips
and sits on the step, stares at the knife
and the man who holds it: 'how can this be?'
her forehead furrows in a final question.
"Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum."

Saturday, April 07, 2007

NaPo 07 #6: "Please Stop"

Like an old dog returning to its vomit, Rik runs out of inspiration and turns to his neverending Long Poem to provide some NaPo lines.

Snowdrop (the 50th part):
"Please stop"

"Please stop! You talk in riddles, all of you!
The sailor with his song of cartoon cats;
the man who spoke of doom and hell. The acts
of madness I have seen: a sea that grew
to flood the Marsh, a church that built itself -
this tower! How the fuck am I to cope
without the facts? There's big black dogs that lope
across the haunted wastes of this cursed shelf
of land - I saw my mother! Spoke to her;
well, argued, anyways. I need to know
about the Tallyman today, like where he hides
and how to stop him. Should I burn the furs
on which he sits, or mumble verses? Show
me what to do so I can jump this ride!"

Friday, April 06, 2007

NaPo 07 #5: Joy

'kay. So I'm running late with the poems. Sue me!


You're funny! Not as funny as the time
we went to the gay bar and watched
the drag act set off a toy cannon
which had, as his performance proceeded,
slowly drooped until its mouth
was level with the audience. "That
will teach queens to douse in hairspray
on a Friday night", you said. I burned

your hair, once, when we played
with candles and ropes. In those days
we used to play twice a day: we'd pounce
each other for instant gratification.
Nowadays gratitude comes in tea bags
and interrogations. I should have given
you up a decade ago, but somehow we found
a slow burn that keeps us chuckling still.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

NaPo 07 #4: Hemingway Ate Here

Today you get two poems, because I was just too damned lazy to write one yesterday. Complain to the appropriate authorities, if you must.

Hemingway Ate Here

He starts to build the fire before the sun
sneaks out of the country. Two great beams
liberated from the railway track form the base
on which to balance the oil drum. Boys
from the school down the street watch him
break sticks for kindling, run when the aunts
take to pasting magazine strips onto strings
to weave between the balconies.
"The weather continues
hot and humid. No
hurricanes today.
Wishing you were here
in place of me. Beggars
and hustlers drain
all fun from this place."
The new-wrought iron edging my balcony
is a border post: behind me, a tourist
destination, where food is delivered
with a surly smile and guides take us
in coaches to beaches. I have a maid.
Men with gold teeth would sell me
a woman - or a boy - as long my pockets
rustle with convertible pesos, enough
for them to bribe the officer with the gun.

Downstairs is a different Havana; one
the authorities have not yet fixed up
for my eyes. I smile at the fat woman
when she waves to me; she has not moved
from her couch for a week, her teeth
almost as rotten as the panels of her door.
"Today we went
to a beach where
nobody tried
to sell us cigars
or sex. Men
with peak caps
and guns patrolled
the sands. I miss
the sound of motorways."
The smell of roasting goat miracles
the fat woman from her couch, to lean
her heavy arms on her rust-woven
balustrade. You ask: "are you hungry?"
I nod my head in time with the salsa.
"We can eat at the Bodeguita, and take
a pen to sign the walls." I smile
and agree, though I know they whitewash
the restaurant annually. They serve goat
there too, which makes a change
from chicken, or pork, or fish.

NaPo 07 #3: John


I heard your news. There were birds
on the twigs of the sycamore today
where the spring has cracked the buds
to ease new leaves into the wind.
The sun was playing catch-me
with the clouds, who roiled images
of battles across the canvas. I kept
a photo of you from your war days
by my computer; I can look at it
while I type, but I never knew you
then and this fight will take
your breath away, too soon.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

NaPo 07 #2: Lych Woman

This one comes courtesy of an article I was reading in the Fortean Times on the way home from a farewell party. It's an old joke, but the old ones are the best (or so my 81 year old friend told me while he was trying to chat me up).

Lych Woman

They've carried grandad Clegg across the stiles
and down the hill feet first, their misty arms
a sheen of moonlight joined around his box.

Eyes closed, she watches future histories
parade along the road, each witnessing
a source of strength. The bench beneath
the churchyard gate is damp against her legs,
now numb from sitting still. Old Clegg was good
for sharing gossip over steepened tea -
she'll miss his wisdom when he goes, she thinks.

Another coffin tops the hill, so small
a man can carry it alone. Her John
was four when Jesus called him home
so unannounced, an autumn drowning. Thumbs
of fog massage her shoulders; time to leave
the witnessing and take the straight road home.

The last to pass is fuzzy - just a shape
of light above the muddied path. A voice
behind her whispers: 'Tis yersen, old wife.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

NaPo 07 #1: Renewal

And thus another National Poetry Writing Month commences: If you don't like poetry, then steer clear of this blog for the rest of the month. Then again, if you don't like poetry, what the blithering hell ar you doing here in the first place? Huh?


We severed the band together, took a saw
to its dulled sheen and rasped atoms
of metal into the air. Soap had failed

to ease its passage. Later we shopped
for a larger token. I would not sacrifice
a single digit of yours to a mere symbol

of our expanding love.

There. Didn't hurt at all.