The Photograph

when weary travelling an image of you I look at when I rest
your portrait kept in a locket of gold warm between my breasts
I see the small photograph and am reminded of what I’ve left
with longing I wish to be home again my head upon your chest

For today’s d’verse prompt from Sanaa I chose the derivative Option 2. To think of a word. I thought of “image.” To use a derivative to create a poem. The derivative I chose was “photograph”. https://dversepoets.com/2021/09/07/poetics-dungeons-and-derivatives/

Parting

 
 I know I won’t be missing you
 Because you live in my heart too
 It’s not about having your body here
 In my mind you’re everywhere
  
 You also reside in a time and space
 A place of love of ethereal grace
 That supersedes corporeal and now
 That’s my commitment and our vow
  
 We've shared our lives together as one
 With room to grow, make our own fun
 As I watch you go and that time closes
 I can’t think of what the future poses
  
 Yes it hurts, it’s unbearably sad
 But it’s also a marker of the joy we had
 Of the pleasure in each other’s company
 Of everything that will stay with me
  
 No matter what becomes of us as an earthly pair
 Always in my heart you'll be everywhere
 So rest my darling have a peaceful night
 Tomorrow we’ll see what comes of light
 Though parting is near even in plain sight
 We’ll be together forever come what might 
  
   

Call it a day

Silver linings
Call it a day when you’ve lost hope
There’s new hope tomorrow
Again you will cope

Call it a day when you are ill perceived
When the messages you send
Are not well received

Call it a day when there’s no one around
To help carry your burden
To wherever you’re bound

Call it a day when your heart is breaking
Face losing love
Accept the heart aching

Call it a day so you don’t perish
When those that you care for
Have spurned what you cherish

Call it a day when you’re emotionally driven
Decisions aren’t well informed
When emotionally riven

Call it a day when you have earned your rest
So that come next time
You are again at your best

Call it a day when you can no longer learn
When memory is exhausted
And your brain is burned

Call it a day when your output is down
Not accomplishing much
Just one more frown

Call it a day when you are feeling angry
To avoid big mistakes
When harassed and harried

Call it a day when you have had enough
Call it a day when you are faking tough
Call it a day when everything feels rough

Call it a day because there are silver linings
There’s always tomorrow
The sun never stops rising

This week’s d’verse prompt from Ingrid was to compose a poem in the tradition of oral poetry, without putting pen to paper. I found this quite difficult. We were also asked to try adopting a motif and present with regular metre.

I didn’t elect to tell a story as such, more to pass on a wellbeing message consistent with the purpose of handing down oral lessons to future generations.

https://dversepoets.com/2021/08/31/poetics-oral-poetry/

Conservation Kasa

Many places I have called home 
as around the world I roamed.

But none so full of joy for me
as the Tableland Strathbogie.

With mountain forest all around,
wetlands, creeks, rills and swamps abound.

Native animals can thrive here,
Wombat, Platypus we hold dear.

Vicforest loggers habitat deprive.
We fear wildlife won't survive

Koala are less seen today.
Bandicoots all but gone away.

Greater Gliders still here endure,
but our forest is not secure.

Conserve and re-wild what is left.
Or lose all this to future theft.

This week’s d’verse prompt came from Sannaa. Write a poem using the Korean poetic form Kasa.

https://dversepoets.com/2021/08/17/poetics-exploring-the-realm-of-korean-literature-first-stop-seoul/#comment-307838

Cancer House

When the cancer came to our house
It entered through the back door
It snuck around the kitchen
Down the stairs and straight into 
Our parent’s bedroom
No one saw it arrive
No one knew it was even near
No one knew to shed a tear
 
When the cancer came to our house
We were blithely oblivious
Our father worked away day to day
Our mother taught, thought and sought
Children came first and learnt without hurt
Life was as good as suburban life could

When the cancer came to our house
The doctor said it wasn’t
A young mother said it wouldn’t
A young father said it couldn’t
And the children had no notion of it at all

When the cancer came to our house
Our mother’s pain was hard to understand
Fatigue and irritability unexpected and unplanned
The right way to help couldn’t be defined
We’d often not know quite where to stand 
As she rushed to the toilet or growled as she scanned 
And we still didn’t know the cancer was at hand

When the cancer came to our house
An unborn child, sister to siblings
Was more important than knowing the findings 
Was important to the future of life with the wildlings
Her death bereft being caught in such bindings

When the cancer came to our house
It was discovered way to late
To deliver our mother from her miserable fate
Of dying without respite 
Of fading from the light 
Of unbearable pain and strife
Of the shameful waste of her precious life

For this d'Verse prompt asking us to use "the house" as a subject for our poem, I apologise for breaking the rules. This is not imaginary, but I felt it had to be my response. 

https://dversepoets.com

Fatalism

 
 When you die
 and there’s nothing left of you
 Not a shape
 Not a thought
 Not even a negative space
  
 How will it be
 to be so
 completely deleted?
 You simply aren’t
 anymore

 It doesn't matter
 not a bit
  
 I’ve seen it over
 and over
 Dying 
 A body replete
 Even when critically ill
 enlivened by …..
 something
 Then a husk deplete
 Empty 
 Empty of everything
 Rendering that person
 regardless of eminence 
 of no consequence
  
 What is it 
 to be nothing
 Universally
 less than 
 no consequence
  
 How can it be
 that a consciousness
 Completely
 Absolutely
 Resolutely 
 Instantly 
 degrades
 to nothingness?
 Nil
 Null
 Void
  
 The fact of existence
 confuses us
 Even more so
 conscious life tends to make us think we are important
 When our rational selves
 are fully aware
 that the sheer scale of existence
 reduces us to insignificance 
 
 This is our  lived contradiction 
 Our denial for survival
 When it doesn’t really make any sense at all
 Existence will end
 There was nothing before
 There will be nothing after
 There is no purpose
 to living in between
 but we do
 Clutching at a senseless hope for meaning 
 or  even something better after

It should be enough 
just to be here for the ride
  
  
  
   

Hades begets Persephone

 
She awoke with a raw sense of dread
A cold sweat soaked the sheets of her bed
The sounds that night were not nighttime’s she knew
A hint of smoke contradicted the dew
 
Shadows danced on the bedroom wall
Where dancing shadows should not be at all
The normal still off white of the paint
Was lively with movement and firelight feint
 
She fumbled with billowing robe and nightclothes
Tying her robe up tight as she rose
Into a world of self doubt and fright
She stumbled out into the cold of the night
 
 She touched the back of the door to sense any heat
 Realised she’d no shoes put on her feet
 Sidestepped and slipped into a pair of sandals
 As her hand reached out for the frightful handle 
 
 When she dared to look through the gap in the door
 Using light flickering lively onto the floor
 From her half awake hazy sleep deprived daze
 She wondered if the place was already ablaze 
 
Further she pushed open the portal
Considered precious life and all that was mortal
Within her tiny flat B number 144
She wondered if she could take the fear anymore
 
And she listened alert for other clues
Thought about the price of paying her dues
She heard the crackle and pop of combusting wood
Her only thought now to get out if she could
 
She peered out into a reddish early morning gloom
To an apparently deserted yet eerie lounge room
But there at the side a large shape sat in a chair
Exuding an oppressive weight of despair
 
 The wood fire aglow had strangely been lit
 It certainly was not her who lit it
 A monstrous head turned to look into her face
 An inhuman form by nature disgraced  
 
 He had discreetly followed her around town for weeks
 In peripheral vision never seen when he seeks
 Creating acute nervousness from endless teases 
 A cat playing with a mouse its tormenting pleases 
 
She knew instantly her time had come
It was not to be as life had begun
No comfort from her mother’s caress
No strength to be found on father’s chest
 
 Hades stood to meet her towering ominously above
 Leering and smug antithesis of love
 She resigned herself to the monster’s arms
 Wishing after horror would come blessed dead calm 

In this d’verse challenge https://dversepoets.com/2021/08/03/poetics-persephone/ Sarah asked us to take inspiration from the myth of the abduction of Persephone by Hades. I saw ancient (and not so ancient) patriarchal rituals and modern parallels as I read Sarah’s summation of the story.

Falling birds

 
 All those birds
 falling from the sky
 Some birds live 
 More birds die
 So consider
 Why oh why?
 We poison
 food chains
 and nature deny
 We pave 
 We divert
 We scrape the sky
 We take 
 too much
 don’t comply
 heat the planet
 watch it dry
 Then only
 crocodile tears
 do we cry
 As our legacy
 becomes
 the worlds biggest
 lie
 That we care
 action says
 we deny 

What I said to the other animal on my journey to the end of the world

 
I think you might eat me
I‘m scared that you will
If I run you beat me
No light on the hill
In the hope of appeasement
Still desperate to run
I appeal for lenience
For my trashing your home
So I’ll say I’m sorry
That we humans are dumb
I’ll say we forgot
Where we’ve been and come from
You don’t need to eat me
Because we’ll eat ourselves
Let me go quietly
From the home where you dwell
Humans all will be leaving
It’s our destiny
There will be no grieving
And your world will be free

Pressing the accelerator

 
  
 Flying into Melbourne 
 On a private jet
 Bouncing off ideas
 With the business jet set
  
 Closing every deal
 No matter what it takes
 Ethical or shonky
 As long as the world quakes
  
 Driven by ambition
 Minister or CEO
 Really only two choices 
 About which way to go
  
 Pressing the accelerator 
 When I should have touched the brake
 How fast am I going to go
 How much more can I take
  
 Slamming down the spirits
 Soaking up the wine
 Things are a little beery
 But everything will work out fine
  
 Climbing the hardest rock face
 Dodging the greatest fall
 Pushing to the limit
 And giving it my all
  
 Burning the midnight oil
 Up until all hours
 Burning both ends of candles
 To see how much time devours
  
 Shooting a little heroin
 For all the joy it brings
 Snorting a little cocaine
 It’s coke that makes me zing
  
 Then I lost my partner
 I leaned on her I admit
 Then I lost my friends
 Who won’t see me in a fit
  
 Wondering why I need her
 Wondering why I need it
 Wondering who l am
 Any why I’m called a shit
  
 A few dodgy deals later
 I’m sure that I’ll be rich
 But a punch up with a waiter
 Left me in a legal stitch
  
 I crashed the car last Wednesday
 Into six or so I’m told
 Realised I couldn’t pay
 Forgot insurance in the cold 
  
 Sick with hepatitis
 Broke from drugs and booze
 Living the high life baby
 Sure can make you lose
  
 Eating throwing up
 Hearing voices in my head
 Where are my friends and family
 I might be better off dead
  
 Claiming every benefit 
 Sponging every favour
 Grabbing every freebie
 Before my resolve wavers
  
 Sitting on this pavement
 Holding up my sign
 I didn’t plan to be here
 It just came in time
  
  
   

The reality / truth paradox

The only reality is in one place, at one time,
as a fleeting perception of what a truth may be.
That is to say, no reality at all.
Reality is a thought of a truth in the here and now,
only ever understood by one mind in one instant,
only internalised by one heart for less than one heartbeat.
Then lost forever, to ever evolving interrogation, explanation and dissertation.

External attempts at understanding another’s reality and truths are just that, attempts.
Interpretations of another’s reality are creative, transient similitudes at best.
Knowing of another’s truths can only be attempted by association.
Association by its very nature denies the accuracy reality and truth demand.

History is a barely valid interpretation of past reality and its truths.
Yesterday is reappraisal of reality, mere perception of memorable truths.
The future has no reality where truth is elusive and aloof.
Tomorrow is simply anticipation based upon expectation come proof.
Proof is a contextual misnomer ignoring the reality question, what is truth?

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#strathbogiepoetry

A response to this week’s d’verse challenge regarding the Hemingway quote, “There is nothing else but now. There is neither yesterday, certainly, nor is there tomorrow.” - For whom the bell tolls (1940). https://dversepoets.com/2021/06/22/dverse-poetics-one-true-sentence/

These first two lines of the quote cited immediately drew me back to a repeated personal exploration of what I call “The Reality / Truth Paradox”. If the word “certainly“ had been “certainty” it would have been a perfect fit.

I think this is a discussion Hemingway would have willingly engaged in with me if we had met. I would start with the question, “Do you apply fundamental realities and truths to your characters at the time of their creation?”

The Risk

I cheat, I lie
I backtrack, deny
I obfuscate and complicate
anything to hide the truth

Misinformation 
I cowardly
spread forwardly as ordinary
as conspiracy to larceny
as policy to conspiracy
I function in complicity 
in social media anonymity
Where I apply to truth misuse

The risk to me individually
that I can see
is virtually
small enough to be risk free
to spread hurt mischievously
to revel in power disproportionately

Vengeful at my oversight
my insignificance 
my empty nights
my blighted existence, my trampled rights
my lack of insight
into doing what’s right

I have devolved 
to taking what’s mine
no responsibility, my time to shine.
Basking in screen light I refine
my hatred of others 
for having what isn’t mine

No obligation to the social contract
I make my way with abuse and hack
I twist words and views - take that back!
Take that back!
Attack, attack, attack, attack!

Deep, deep, deep down, do I know this is wrong?
This never ending destructive ultra-self-interested song
this perpetual wallow in despair 
this unrequited desire to belong 
begetting this relentless desire to bring everyone else down
to my level
My oppressed throng.

Do I dare the admission?
Will I take the risk?

Aargh!
The shame of it
The pain of it
The wrenching, gutting bane of it
The creep, the dragging chain of it
The cowering, snivelling, 
ever repeating refrain of it
I am disdain, the disdain of it.
Will I take the risk?

The d'verse prompt for this week came from Tricia, a challenge to explore risk. Join us at 
https://dversepoets.com/2021/06/08/poetics-take-a-risk/

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Sunshower

 
Today I saw the sun come out
From behind a veil of rain
But still the drops
Fell all about
As rain fell just the same

The sunlight formed
Into golden shafts
Vapour lit illumination
The earth shattered the falling drops
I watched with fascination


Strathbogie poetry
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Every day is an orange day

there are many shades of orange
there are many shapes of orange
there are many types of orange 
there are many flavours of orange
every day is an orange day

the routine is largely the same
my wife, who is always up before me
puts out the half blood pressure tablet
and magnesium for the terrible cramps
maybe she worries I won't remember
and she will suffer once again 
for my negligence

it is the half tablet I cling to 
that half tablet as a perverse 
talisman of health
ho ho only half I guffaw and say
plenty of life in the old dog yet
I hope but don't pray

I grind to mill groats
while the kettle goes on
for 80 degrees of green tea
to be taken from a thin light
porcelain cup
well, mug really
beautifully decorated 
delightful indigenous flora
always a pleasure to see
to raise to my lips
ah the little things .....

there is skim milk 
to get from the fridge
and sultanas come from 
the cupboard under the bench
to add to the oated groats
oats sultanas and water 
to add to the microwave
120 seconds then stir
120 seconds once again

while oats and tea rearrange 
molecular speed and structure 
on my behalf
I transfer everything else 
from kitchen to table
I set up for reading
news, photography, email, poetry
whatever takes my fancy 
on a given day

I look out the windows
across garden and creek 
across craggy old swamp gums 
and wattles
to hillside pasture
and hilltop sky
to sunshine or rain or fog or frost
occasionally to snow
and I say to myself, "Ah, there it is".

then I walk 
back to the fridge
transfer an orange 
from the bottom drawer
to face cutting board and knife

every day is an orange day
but not all orange days are the same

valencias available in the warmer months
can be quite unreliable
anything from sweet and juicy 
to horribly dry and pithy
I top and tail
slice smoothly into quarters or sixths 
depending on what I can get my mouth around
evaluating the internal quality of the fruit 
giving rise to the first 
pleasure or disappointment of the coming day

the navels of the cooler months
are more consistent
at their best oozing sticky zesty tart 
juice across the cutting board
following skilful bladed removal 
of the sometimes uncannily human like navel bulk
usually in promise of a very good breakfast finale

I look forward to my orange start to every day
Full of all the goodness 
orange juice alone will always leave behind
full of the possibility of each new day
some days have their disappointments
to be relegated to the compost bin
some days have their nuisances 
with more seeds and pith 
to deal with than is preferable
most start sweet and juicy
and stay sweet and juicy
all day long 


strathbogie poetry
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Today’s d’verse poetic prompt came from Kim. She introduced us / me to Imtiaz Dharker’s poem “How to cut a pomegranate”.I loved it! See the link below. The challenge was to think of a fruit, how it looks before and after it has been cut open, and how it tastes. Think about where and how it grows, and what it makes you think of. You may choose to write a poem in the style of Imtiaz Dharker, or you can explore the fruit in another way and in any form you wish. Whichever you choose, your poem should appeal to the senses.

https://dversepoets.com/2021/06/01/poetics-how-to-cut-a-pomegranate/

https://www.poetrybyheart.org.uk/poems/how-to-cut-a-pomegranate/

Fledglings of fear

The dawning was a slow one
we were fledglings of fear
victims of illness,
Children of Lir

Number 1 was long strong.
Her job to protect.
Strong for a long while,
until proven imperfect.

Number 2 was a mess,
times hard as hard
for that little girl,
our fractured shard.

Number 3 was me.
Death to the fiddle!
Hate for love.
None in the middle.

Number 4 was Baby,
always our most precious.
Watching and suffering,
the indiscriminate malice.

Mother was mad
as mad could be.
Inside we knew,
outside, 
none could see.

House to school
school to house
all running scared
each quiet as a mouse.

Freezing bath water,
heads held down.
Gasping for breath.
No sound,
lest you drown.

Smothered in cereal, 
honey as glue,
naked on the floor
kicked black and blue.
 
We lost our only friend.
Older sister on the verge.
Took flight literally.
Our life and death dirge.

To young to know.
To young to do.
I first noticed the down
while cowering, we few.

Necks stealthily extended,
to get a better view
of punishment to come,
forewarned by cue.

Heads tucked under wings,
to avoid each other’s pain.
Our wings were getting stronger
unobserved by our bane.

Three remaining cygnets
together finding voice
seeking strength together,
a transformative choice.

Reddened eyes were normal,
the feathers came next.
Black, as our experience
lengthened our graceful necks.

Then came time to speak
with red bloodied beaks
making plaintive warning sounds
ugly ducklings began to sneak.

Eventually, we broke out of bounds,
braved an outside world,
the hurt, the rage, the hopelessness,
to unravel and unfurl

And when we told our story,
of years of abuse and neglect,
no one knew a thing
out of privacy respect.

Together we remain fragile.
Together we remain strong.
Together we mourn our sister.
Grief upon hope upon wrong upon wrong.


For Sinead O’Connor.


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Mountains old

Strathbogie Ranges
 
 Mountains old
 worn down
 by time and weather 
 Peaks 
 smoothed
 Summits 
 rounded
 Rocks  
 broken to
 new
 beginnings

 Stones to gravel
 sand to granules
 dust to mud
 growth to decay
 decay to soil
 
 Inclined to 
 slippage
 Declined to
 fertility

 Treacherous
 nurturing
 home of the 
 tenacious

 Boon to the
 potency 
 of flood plains 

 Mountains old 
 are so much more alive 
 than the hard 
 sharp ridges 
 and strewn 
 craggy defiles 
 of the young

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You complete me

When I’m suffering you are comfort
When I’m gross you are delicate
When I’m angry you defuse
When I falsely accept you refuse
When I’m tired you are energy
When I’m stupid you think for me
When I’m injured you like to treat
When I’m messy you are neat
When I’m hard metal you are gossamer soft
When I’m the basement you are the loft
When I’m cold you wrap around
When I’m noisy you make no sound
When I’m down you cheer me up
When I’m timid you play rough
When my boat is sinking you bail me out
When my voice is weak I hear you shout
When I’m dull you are sharp
When I’m empty you fill my heart
When I fight you patch my wounds
When I’m near reefs you take sounds
When I’m defenceless you fortify
When I am passive you defy
When I make sense you mark my words
When I don’t you shoot barbs
When I sketch you paint our world
When I'm straight you are curled
When I’m at bottom you are the tops
When I am crime you call the cops
When I’m sweet you are sour as lemon
When I’m sour you are sweet as heaven
When there's rocks in my head you are sphagnum moss
When I am matt finish you are gloss
When I’m woodwork you are craft
When we struggle you find a raft
"You complete me"

seanmathews.blog
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“You complete me” from Jerry Maguire1966, is my chosen quote to write to for this week’s d’verse prompt. Mish challenged d’verse poets to select a movie quote and incorporate it into a poem. https://dversepoets.com/2021/05/25/poetics-go-ahead-make-my-day/

The shallow of looking deep

 

I’m still drowning in the water of you
My feet can’t find the bottom
I don’t know what to do
It’s like all we’ve done’s forgotten

I know it was a blind step
A leap into the dark
When straight after we met
I let you leave your mark

Now I wonder what that time was worth
Those years since spent together
Now I give a wide berth
To your dark and stormy weather

I still don’t know you, I never did
What is it that I was missing?
Disappointment of which I’m never rid
A deflating balloon, ever hissing

When I reflect on you as a person
You’re surrounded by a wall
As I watched our relationship worsen
You never heard my drowning call

Was your silence about making a choice?
Or were you incapable and you couldn’t?
Could you not hear my pleading voice?
Everything about you said you wouldn’t

Did I simply miss you’re shallow?
Because I was always looking for the deep
Is it there was nothing to really know?
The wasted years make me want to weep

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