Colours of the seasons

My colour was autumn 
in a fading colour kind of way
as I scrambled for more time
as time slipped away

then my colour was winter
cold bleak and grey
the shortening of daylight
gave more night than day

when my colour was spring
and more light filled the air
I felt for a green time
my happiness was there

but my colour became summer
coming in bright yellow hues
til the landscapes went dry
sun extracted summer dues

now my colour is a rainbow
arching over seasons
casting no shadow
coloured joy without reason

Spicing it up

Basil had finally arrived
in Arizona dreaming
of repeating Krakow nights
with his saffron love,
Garam Masala.

After leaving sunny Paris
they had spent thyme 
watching Tuscan sunsets
before mulling spices
into a mural of flavour 
for adding some Aleppo pepper
to their long awaited reunion.

Laced with dill,
pickled appetisers set
a savouring mood 
for their evening

Cumin, coriander paprika
zatar and mustard seeds
ensured the main meal
was saucy, spicy and hot.

Sea salt, lemon grass 
fennel and sesame seeds
added potentcy to the salad

Nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla
heightened their senses
throughout dessert.

By the end of the meal
they were ravenous
for the after dinner mints.

Merril set this week’s dVerse prompt for we poets to spice things up using at least three of twenty-five listed herbs, spices, flavors, and spice combinations. For a bit of fun, I chose to cook up something that used them all.

Any door every door

One of the strange houses of Lee Madgwick

Today’s dVerse prompt was to undertake a very interesting ekphrastic challenge from Sarah. Sarah asked we dVerse poets to choose one of five fascinating images created by UK artiist Lee Madgwick . I chose the image displayed above.

How many times do you step through a door and
that decision changes the course of your life?
How many times?

You step through a door and
whether you know which way you are going or not
that decision changes the course of your life.
Many times.

You look through open doors and glass doors and
the view beyond each threshold can look better
much better with broad vistas of more promise 
than the narrow one in which you are standing.
You are a stand in
many, some days, every time.
How many times do you go through these doors
to where the grass is greener?
Many times.

You look through closed doors, opaque, the cracks and 
keyholes of doors
to wild skies of threatening, black clouds, heavy and 
threatening cloud banks of stormy weather
oppressive and threatening with worse to come
you know it will be worse for at least a time
many, some days, every time.
But still, consider.
How many times do you go through these doors?
Many times.

How do you choose which door opens 
to the best passage for the rest of your life?
The green of desire or of envy,
the passing black of fear or courage?
There are no obvious silver linings.
The lines are not clear.
Can you say your lines?
Your lines are not clear.
There are no obvious wishes to guide you.
Your wishes are not clear.
Can you articulate your wishes?
When will you wish honesty for yourself?
When honesty is a necessity?
Don’t close that door.

When is the right time?
Or the right place?
Or do you bother to choose at all?
When the right door opens for you?
Even when no choice is always a choice and
change will come regardless.
Change will come.
You know this.
Do you know this well enough by
understanding there is only luck at play?
Only luck is at play.
Do you know this?
You might not know this.

How often do those doors that are closed to you and 
blank with no offerings
get ignored because there is no obvious gain for you?
You walk past new worlds of wonder and peril everyday.
All the time.
Any door every door any time every time.
Every step is a decision.
Every decision is one to please, regret, grieve or rejoice. 
At the time or
in time.

But, you never know and
that is the reason for looking at doors
any door and every door
and always wondering about going through
into some place else. 
It should never be otherwise because
time is linear and time is limited.
All doors are only one door 
any door every door
in front of you when and where ever you are. 

And each door has its own nature
protecting you from the elements
or exposing you
locking you in 
locking you out
shutting quietly behind you 
slamming in your face 
creaking with foreboding or
letting in the fresh air.

You my be attracted by doors to the light.
It seeps in around the edges and under the woodwork and
you think to be in the light must be a good
place to be, you cross that threshold.
That threshold will be crossed.
to find a good place to be,
And sometimes it is a desert, a blazing sun, a hot, dry furnace and 
you retreat desperate with thirst, burned and changed.
Other times it is a moonlit field and you run through the soft green grass
before realising you have strayed enough to
never return to be the same person.
Does either door scare you?
Are you scared?
Hope is the latch, fear is the key.
Finding a way to use them
is finding a way to be.
You never have to stray far from yourself to change.
Crossing that threshold is no distance at all.
One that can take you al long way.
Crossing that threshold.
You are changed forever every time.
Many times.

Any door every door any time every time
go through. 
You change so the world changes
You change me and everyone else irrevocably.
You change us all.
All of us change.
Neither you nor I, neither will we and 
us ever be the same we, you and I.
For passing through any door every time will change 
us here and now in time.
The person you thought I was is no longer mine.
The person I thought was you is no longer in time.
The world changes instantly every time without design.
We pass through many doors many times.

How many times do you step through a door and
that decision changes the course of your life?
How many times?

You step through a door and
whether you know which way you are going or not
that decision changes the course of your life.
Many times.

Choice

this is a prosaic story about choice, choice is thirteen. choice is growing up in a fairly well to do neighbourhod. she has all the things the other options in the street enjoy, a neat house built by free willy (her dad), an allocated amount of pocket money in return for contributing to keeping the house ship shape (as her dad always says), three meals a day chosen by responsibility (her mum), a bike for moving around her immediate environs (which she has never extended) and an obligation called obligation (her pet black cat with a collar and tinkling bell to warn away the birds).

choice likes her life. it is predictable and secure and fun and she never has to worry about what to do next because there is always free willy, responsibility or obligation to let her know.

the other options in the street are pretty much the same. they go to school to learn how to behave away from home, they join clubs and play sport to understand how to be organised and they sleep comfortably tucked into warm beds with soft toys and billowing duvets and down filled pillows and electric blankets for the colder nights.

they all think waffles for breakfast are a delightful Sunday treat and one hour of tv each night is enough to keep them talking all the morning after. it never occurs to any of them life could be any different.

then one night something different happens anyway. choice feels it in a change of the wind, a new taste in the air, she feels it when she wakes at 2.36am to cramps and a bitter chill that makes her turn up her electric blanket. something is not right and she squirms and twists fitfully in bed for the rest of the night such that she wakes to a crisp bright sunny morning exhausted and grumpy for the first time - only to look out her window and see old mr routine next door being wheeled out to an ambulance never to be seen again.

the new neighbours come from some other place. they play a lot of music and always seem to be fixing and constructing in their backyard, their front yard and their house. choice can see an easel in the bay window opposite her room and a mess of paints and palettes scattered around. choice feels very uncomfortable about this. she knows proper people are always neat and tidy, careful and predictable. she and her family avoid these disruptive new people. free willy and responsibility say they don’t want choice introduced to anything or anyone who might be a bad influence.

at school choice sees the new boy from next door. he is in the next year and he also looks untidy, but whenever he is around choice can’t take her eyes off him. he moves differently, acts differently, speaks differently and when he turns her way it feels like he looks into her instead of at her. choice experiences uncertainty for the first time in her life. this boy unsettles her in ways she hasn’t felt before.

days go by, choice making no choices, just being choice, except she finds herself looking for the boy at every opportunity. find him she does like a a bee finds a flower. she finds those deep grey eyes swinging toward her as if he knows she is looking, as if he wants her to be looking.

without knowing it choice begins to find reasons to be outside in the street more often, obligation gets a leash, the bike gets ridden more than ever, a daily constitutional becomes a health necessity, chores start to be delayed or missed altogether, other options are no longer considered of worth.

then it happens and nothing is ever the same. he is waiting for her at the gate after school. would she mind if they walk home together? they are holding hands in minutes without knowing how or when, they are talking without pause, laughing and listening in wonder. at his house to say good bye he brushes her cheek with his lips. his hand lingers. she never wants him to let go and choice finalises the choice she doesn’t even know she is making. every future choice flows from there and then.

This week the dVerse prompt comes from Christopher Reilly. It is about choice. I chose to write a poem, but I couldn’t make it stick. It turned into prose, a short story and that happened, so here it is.

Good Things Only #16

OK, so it’s a beautiful morning. Cold, about 1 degree when I got up. Just a touch of frost. The grass is very green and I can’t see a cloud in a very blue and crisp winter sky. The air is sharp, crystal and the light breeze has a bite that penetrates. Nonetheless (I love that word), it is a beautiful morning with the stripped bare deciduous trees revealed in their all their steak naked glory and the evergreen indigenous trees contrastingly clad in their full, puffed up grey green winter coats. It is a beautiful morning. It is silent except for the gentle rustle of that surprisingly penetrating soft wind. Oh, and the always there hushed background tumbling sounds of water spilling and falling, running and spinning, turbulent and dashing over flat granite shelves into rocky hollows and against small stray boulders pushed along by the intermittent pressure waves of variable winter flows as they surge with irregularity down the creek. It is a beautiful morning.

Against the cold I am wearing my favourite jumper. There is no heater on, just the layers of clothes capped by this marvellously insulating and cosy thickness of wool are keeping me warm. Lovingly knitted by my loving wife, it only really gets a look at the world in winter. It is too warm most of the time for wear in other seasons. I think that is what makes it all the more special. The built in love and warmth reflect its specialised purpose.

It is big and old, enveloping, creamy and embossed. These days it is a little on the stretched, sagging and droopy side (giving it a 10 on the affection scale – which as everyone knows is the top score for a jumper). It sort of hangs around me rather than is worn by me. In fact it could be called an affectionate jumper. The first of its kind and a quality to be aspired to and emulated by all knitters who learn of it.

The crew neck now has a cute little “V” shape from under which diverse collars can peek. Otherwise the knitting has held its pattern for years, making it sort of tight and loose at the same time. I love the detail of its repetition. This jumper has character. Maybe it even is a character in its own right. Yes, i think that is right, it has become a character in the story of my life because I have an emotional attachment to this jumper. We belong together. And that’s the way I like it.

Storm wind

 
 Such a turbulent, pitiless, brutal battering.
 This powerful storm wind pushes relentlessly through 
 the defenceless trees of the creek.
 It lashes most at the isolated and vulnerable,
 stripping them bare of grey green winter cloaks, 
 whipping the fabric of canopies to ragged threads,
 blasting layers of protective cladding away into a roaring tempest.

 This scouring wind probes incessantly for weakness,
 fissures in the gnarly bark skins,
 cracks in the very bones of each noble specimen
 mercilessly exposing deficiencies
 as it flails and lays bare its victims 
 with neither remorse nor respite.

Over extended over and over, flawed limbs fail first
fracture, snap and drop.
Crowns too heavy with water shake and quiver.
Sodden feet lose their grip on the world. 
Once stately trunks twist, rock, waver, shudder 
and fall.
And the sound of the final defeat is an explosive crack,
the collapse a mighty crash,
and the thud at the end is dead.

For today’s dVerse poetics Sarah prompted us to think and write about the elements. I chose air/wind because I often find myself contemplating the fierceness of a storm’s breath as it can turn the tranquility of our peaceful riparian zone into a deadly maelstrom.

vicissitudes of life

From birth through growth to the time of decline
From decline to decay such a time is mine
For all that went before for all that went astray
For all that has been given and will be taken away

I see many patterns unfold around my life with the wisdom of hindsight
I see the brightness of knowing through latter years insight
As the past stretches out behind me the future road becomes short
The decisions I have made will shortly come to nought

I take one last chance to pass on the learning of my years 
One last chance to give advice to those to come if those to come have ears
For history is our greatest teacher in handling the vicissitudes of life
For human nature is our undoing when handling the inconvenient truths of advice

Secure your future with love and enough wealth is the best advice I can give
Working to this end gives hope which gives purpose to how you live
Start early and start young to earn a path to joy and be your very best
Don’t deviate from this path but keep it flexible and ensure rest

Loss may strike you without notice grief may rock your solid floor
Grow from your loss for better to turn haunting to past lore
Change will come unanticipated and shake you to your core
See change as opportunity to put a foot firmly in each door

When love comes your way hold it closely to your heart
If love lost should leave you reeling be proud that you took part
Know you have been loved and can love again because love is all around 
If one thing is known it is we all want love with time it may be found 


It all started at the restaurant

I sat
Table set
Her late 
for date

She came
Soup came
Talk flamed
Soup good

Entree
She said
Problem lies
in bed

Main meal
She reveals
I’m heel
Big deal 

Drinks round
Table pound
Curse slur
From her

For desert
Her hurt
Expressed curt
Wants shirt

Stands up
Stamps out
What’s all
this about?

I know
I’m great
Super man
Super mate

Get home
Her stuff
All gone
Enough’s enough

I call
Mobile phone
No answer
She’s done

Oh oh
Really gone?
This time
I’m alone

Misery me
Don’t deserve
This treatment
What nerve!

the natural state

Victoria is a beautiful state
big as the United Kingdom,
but in Australia rates
as quite small.

If you travel in any direction
from capital city Melbourne
there is pleasure and inspiration
in visiting the natural world.

1/2 hour short distances,
8 hour long distances,
extremes of snow or desert,
amazing bushland instances.

Every place I choose to go
provides a kind of joy.
No two places ever show
the same kinds of joy though.

But also losses are mounting.
I see it in most places now.
Degradation is a haunting.
Yet to fix it we know how.

Let’s do something about re-wilding
as Attenborough says we should.
Let’s stop the carping and the chiding
and talk about how we all could.

Written for the W3 on The Skeptic’s Kaddish Britta prompted for a poem that included the name of a city, town or village.

Translucence

She was translucent in that you could see her much as you could see anyone else in the reflected light of the sun. But even more so because that very light, the light of the sun, seemed to penetrate her flawless fair skin as if the silky smooth surface was entirely opaque. It gave her a subtle inner incandescence, slightly phosphorescent with those self emitting hints of blues and greens that warmly peaked in her eyes and the waves of cascading hair.  Her teeth showed it gently sparkling through in a radiant white smile, as did her fingernails and earlobes adorning hands and face with beckoning ripples of a delicate halo. Also, it appeared to come out the other side of her as a a soft white aura. One that flowed behind her like a short comet tail. Present, but never quite seen. Gently wavering before your eyes fully caught on. A ripple across space. In such a way you knew of its definitive presence despite its elusiveness. 

Everyone wanted to know her. Absolutely, and me more than most.  She gave me a feeling of desperate hunger - for what I could never be quite sure. It felt like I could be satisfied with just ..... a look from those penetrating eyes, a touch with those sensuous long fingers, any form of acknowledgement. However, I also recognised unreality when I saw it. In reality I wanted everything she would never give and that scared the shit out of me. 

For a long time I had longed for her from afar. Drained of other interests, preoccupied with dreams of passionate love and warm companionship. Yet whenever I got close I found I had only a faded shadow of myself to offer. Dulled.  Stultified by her imposing mien. 

Standing in a dark space she exuded a glowing presence.  Her very own unique light. Standing in a light space she somehow overcame the ambient lux with her very own lustre. She could not be unseen.

So, I watched from a distance instead. The best thing I could ever have done as I saw one friend, champion, lover, partner, suitor and sycophant after another get irreparably burned. Scorched to the point of disfigurement by a desirable body and a vital heart, a quick brain and a ruthless mind, an unsolvable enigma beyond anybody’s ken. Eventually, I understood that for all the attraction of that internally lit, beautiful, vibrant, illuminated woman, her translucence meant no matter how close you got, no matter how hard you tried, no matter what you applied - I and no one else could or would ever see into her, just right through to the other side. 

This was an infatuation I would survive, but even today, years later, the mystery, the hope, the longing, the anticipation and speculation have never fully subsided. 

Dead Calm

The dead are calm for a while
In complete stillness immediately after death
Whether lying at rest or contorted in pain at that last moment
Matters not
The dead are calm 
As they anticipate the gathering of themselves for the final stage
When the very very last tiny surge of remaining energy is harnessed 
Every wisp of spirit every tendril of soul every puff of being has to be marshalled together from all the distant peripheries
Centralised into a quiet holding pattern 
Somewhere deep within the dead heart

And stilled
This is necessary to ensure nothing is missed
Not a dream, not a belief, not a skerrick of moral fibre not an essence of being
It all has to be there

In one place quieted settled and at peace
Before the final ascent
Where a last breath of essence is expired into the void
Up through the chest
Into the nose and mouth
And outward to mix with the other floating souls 
That make up the ethereal worlds around us 
That quiet calm puff of elemental existence 
Dissipates into nonentity
As a becoming of everything once more
It serves the purpose of unity
Without serving any purpose at all

something in the water

immersed in water
luxuriously suspended in space
cut off from the entire breathing human race

reflecting on water
so much to consider
when water as commodity goes to the highest bidder

tumbling in water
battered by an abused life giving sea
will i survive this wave crunching of me?

drinking any water
found on a scorching day
too many of these are making the earth pay

freezing in water
a break in the ice
i pull myself up, but just fall in twice

drawing down water
bought for the farm
having to buy water represents harm

a well full of water
a sense of security
an empty well brings fear to my family

river bed water
evaporates into the air
when will i see it again? i can’t up there

everywhere water
after drought comes flooding rain
our homes went under last year, then again and again

methane in the water
turn the tap and it burns
fracking structural layers causes geological churn

water suspension
plastic on every scale
next on the weather agenda - plastic hail

toxic water
neutralises fishing skills
no good fisherman can live on massive fish kills

ocean water
systems anchor for the world
danger warning flags ignored although they’ve been unfurled

wars over water
beginning and the end
is your water consuming neighbour enemy or friend?

drowning in water issues
battling exhaustion
this marks the end of my allocated portion

My first attempt at responding to David’s W3 where PoW Sylvia Cognac’s prompt is “water”

I always try not to

I missed you from the many everyday and milestone events in the life of a child and mother’s son
Although I always tried not too
The other deaths in the family to come
I always tried to avoid them as well
The ailments, injuries and recoveries
The aspirations, failures and victories
The exploration of new learnings
The celebrating of new skills
The sharing of self discovery
The chore taught domestic fundamentals
The sharing of hopes and sadnesses
The soundings decision sharing
The turmoil of adolescence
The breakdown of family
The need to talk when there was no one at home
The anonymous housekeepers who worked on their own
The living with grandparents who couldn’t understand
The attempts to erase your death
The problems and joys of schoolboy life
The holidays in your absence
The welcoming of new friends and girlfriends to our empty home
The experimentation
The wonder of a loving wife who might have been your friend
The graduations and award ceremonies
The choices about where and how to live
The arrival of children you would never know and who would never know you
The financial advice and life counselling
The support during child raising
The new jobs and directions
The sadnesses and hopes
The welcoming of our children's partners
The arrival of grandchildren
The transition to retirement
All the things we could have enjoyed together, but never got the chance
I missed you in all these times
And every now and then I still do
Although I always try not too


August

the long grass dead brown
the short grass stunted green
faded blue skies
with no summer bright sheen

grey come the clouds
hanging low overhead
heavy with moisture
that will drop like lead

the air has a bite
bitter snaps each night
and each day frosted crisp
icy as any day has been

the cold sodden earth
awaits its rebirth
fresh food supplies
border on lean

as breath mists the air
those rugged up don't care
but the strugglers
blanch at the scene

winter cold eats budgets
of those who can’t afford it
where constant warmth
is but a seasonal dream

homeless under bridges
in doorways and niches
families living in cars
huddle away unseen

as others drive over bridges
secure in their riches
to homes warm inner glow
where no want has been

The dVerse prompt today came from Sanaa. She asked we poets to recognise August. We in the southern hemisphere may see it in a different seasonal light to that which Sanaa had in mind. However, one sad thing we do have in common around the world is the widening gap between the haves and have nots.

Fooled

 
I saw a creature in long shaded grass
Apparently brown and moving fast
It turned and twisted while trying to pass
Through slender grain of yellow cast

I looked some time at its bobbing head
At its swinging tail strange pointed red
The smooth curved back came round again
Fluidly rodent it looked up at me then

To my surprise it turned out to be
Not a snake or rodent looking at me
But of avian descent with full head to see
A juvenile rosella stared knowingly

Who’d have thought such bright disguise
Could cloud the vision of observer eyes
On the ground coloured plumage denied
Flashy brilliance so vivid in the sky

magpie

that magpie
has been
sitting on that bough
for half an hour
black and white
against the crying sky
it chortles and carols
from time to time
i watch and listen
biding my moment
despite the march of time
i look up and down
magpie looks left and right
we witness the crying sky
present and separate
each in place
some kind of joy
and the sky cries on

Lessons in love

 
Yearning
Devotion
Tenderness
Disturb your equilibrium
 
Ardour
Amorousness
Attachment
Just let them come
 
Endearment
Affection
Move in your direction
This movement can’t be smothered
 
Sweetheart
Dear heart
Give your far and near heart
Wherever to your beloved
 
Hold it
Extol it
Embrace, enfold it
The desire for your one and only other
 
Give it
Take it
Taste it
The passion for your lover
 
Freely love
Don’t measure love
Pleasure your love
Give no reason for redress
 
Miss your love
Kiss your love
Bliss your love
Speak your love, confess
Trust love
You can love
Appreciate love lost
The benefits you will see
 
In love
Of love
For love
Love was, is and will be

enclosed

today i am wrapped in a cloak of rain
enclosed in my own world
the smallest of human worlds
rain’s grey shawl renders me invisible
everything around me, invisible
the sky is invisible
the only thing i know to be true is that my feet are on the ground
i can almost believe
i am the only person
to ever have been here and now
then i realise i am
and it is kind of nice