Winter grass lies flat Colour leached, dull and squat On the cold wet plains Winter's hair lies flat Old follicles grey sparse lost From my cold wet pate Strathbogie poetry #strathbogiepoetry
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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.
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
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?
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?”
Winter Haiku 2 for #04
Water over rocks
Cascades into swirling pools
As winter rains refill
Water over rocks
Washes away rocky past
As winter rains refill
Winter Haiku 2 for #03
Wet and muddy ground Winter chill is all around Warm fire must be found Wet and muddy ground Winter chills broken hearts Warm fire must be found Strathbogie poetry #strathbogiepoetry
Winter Haiku 2 for #02
Autumn sees the trees
Losing greenery with leaves
Winter strips them bare
Autumn sees the trees
Losing greenery with leaves
Winter strips me bare
Strathbogie poetry #strathbogiepoetry
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
Winter Haiku 2 for #01
Fallen maple leaf
Colour faded to dull brown
Winter is coming
Fallen maple leaf
Together we fade to brown
Winter is coming
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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 #strathbogiepoetry
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.
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. Strathbogie poetry #strathbogiepoetry
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
strathbogie poetry #strathbogiepoetry
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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 strathbogie poetry #strathbogiepoetry
“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
The trees, the trees are prophesy
Their collective memory grand
equips the trees to well foresee
beyond the reign of man
In forests or in parks or standing on their own if trees of the world could speak as one I know what they’d say before they are gone For happiness, health and wealth For worthwhile survival Save the trees to save yourself re-wilding equates with revival strathbogie poetry strathbogie photography strathbogie cycling
Les Murray, an absolutely ordinary poet.
At the restaurants and footpath cafes diners drop what they are eating, push back their chairs and stand. Football supporters pour out of the MCG and troop up Batman’s Hill to the CBD in club colours, with streamers streaming, flags waving and an uneasy uncertainty about their walking out on the game. Blue singlet wearing drinkers abandon their beers to the yeasty, hop scented countertops, as pubs empty, spewing pot-bellied, stick legged staggerers and nicotine stained, leather skinned, emaciated smoker drunks into the gutters, the lanes, the roads and splashing back up onto the kerbs. Elegant wives, trophy wives and mistresses, high heeled, blow waved, coiffed, dyed and exquisitely buffed, pull down the hems of their brushed silk and linen form fitted shopping outfits as they rise from chaise lounges. They collect hand bags and shopping bags, then step into security guarded vestibules, before finally emerging from exclusive tailoring appointments to join a glamour procession down from the Collins St summit. Word has got around, curiosity brings out the inquisitive, the spruikers, the scavengers and those determined to report every experience to their co-dwellers in the virtual world. There is an irresistible pull on the minds of those interested in whatever might be happening and those interested in being able to say they were there regardless – something is going on. Whispers, tweets, messages and emails, texts, phone calls, video calls, even word of mouth, demand the attention of everyone in town. An unknown known compels complicity and participation. Worshippers abandon their God in the expectation of a religious experience, churches evacuate with pious clergy in tow fully expecting a miracle. Tourists disembark the free City Circuit tram, desert galleries and museums in droves, call taxis and Ubers for immediate pick up, sparing no expense on transport in an unfamiliar city, as long as they can get there ASAP. The toy shops spill small children out of their doorways, dragging parents bemused by this sudden passion for the outdoors, as the pitter patter of little feet turns into hard rain. Teenagers leave park benches and love bites half sucked, holding hands they cross the don’t walk on the grass lawns of springy spring greenery, hoping for a seminally significant event on which to reflect many years later in their relationship. Office staff lean out of windows. Those who have no window they can open press their faces against the glass to display flat fat cheeks and puckered lips full of teeth to the upturned faces of the ever swelling mass of onlookers below. As spectacles teeter on the ends of noses, computers whir away unattended while algorithms and AI action every last input before going to sleep in their very own digital dreamland. Politicians self-importantly stride down Bourke St from Parliament House looking like they know what is going on. And journalists wave mobile phones in the air, switched to record, in the hope of catching a bite for the evening news or the immediacy of online media, over the speculative hum and bustle of the real-world real-time growing multitude. There’s a poet reciting in Federation Square and they can’t stop him. He looks like an ordinary poet, but he hasn’t drawn breath for three hours and the laughter in the front rows has turned to weeping. His words and each inflection are overwhelmingly evocative, striking the perfect notes for heart felt emotion or humour, eliciting cries of fear, gasps of wonder, moans of misery or whimpering terror at any given moment. Listeners who can hear him are mesmerised as if by Sirens and someone calls the police for fear they might be losing their minds. There’s a poet reciting in Fed Square and they don’t want to stop him. The bookies are marking up a book on him and the TAB has various odds at when he will pause or cease. Gambling apps are rushing to find novelty angles to bet on like when will he make his first mispronunciation? The souvenir shops can’t understand why they aren’t doing a roaring trade in clip on koalas and water filled snow domes of the Melbourne Town Hall – where it never snows – and polyester tea towels depicting the coastal 12 Apostles that are hundreds of kilometres away. The police arrive in paddy wagons and on crowd control horses to find no crime has been committed. There is no disturbance. The city has simply come to a standstill. There is a poet reciting in Fed Square and they want to help him. They remove helmets, bullet proof vests and utility belts, down truncheons, scratch armpits, backsides and chins, gather in small groups, heads bowed toward each other and murmur speculatively about what to do. A police cordon forms organically around the poet so he can continue his recital without being crushed or disturbed by the ever increasing throng. They sit cross legged on the pavers in quiet communion with the people. The Commissioner offers his megaphone so everyone present can hear the phrasing waft through the air above their heads and feel it penetrate their very souls. Each stanza drops like a stone, soars like an eagle or infuses each being present with loving, soothing peace. Police disperse through the crowd to make sure everyone can hear. Hushing those too noisy, asking the more excited to please calm down. People up the back, hanging from light poles or too short to see are assisted by police to positions of access and comfort, reorganising the crowd into a tiered human amphitheatre of enthralled faces, ranked human shoulders and chests so full of heart each one feels it could burst. There is a poet reciting in Fed Square and he is finished. The poet bows his head once to the stilled crowd, gives them a smile of thanks, takes the one step necessary down from his reciting stool, picks it up and folds it flat against his knee. With stool gripped in his right hand he raises his left toward the east and the crowd parts before him as he walks, untouched, through silent lines that close behind him. A police officer raises an eyebrow in his direction, but he shakes his head. He is an ordinary poet who needs no escort to safely leave the place of his work and his work is done. The absolutely ordinary poet blends into the crowd, many see him fade, they try to follow, but he completely disappears. strathbogie poetry
Laura’s d’verse challenge was to select a favourite poet and write a poem either about them (indirect voice) or addressing them (direct voice). Here is the link if you want to give it a try: https://dversepoets.com/2021/05/18/poetics-poems-to-a-poet/
I chose to write a poem about the remarkable Australian poet Les Murray. I hope I honour him by adopting something of his style. Sadly, Les died last year.
The blue sadness of enduring grief
I was asked to read the letters With my father and my sisters Written by my long dead mother Lost words faint as whispers He will struggle to see and read So sharing seems a good idea I will struggle to read and see There's hurt combined with fear Her pony tail her loving arms My sisters in her face - and me What will I learn of her aspirations All the things she wanted to be Sad blue of the paper blue of the pen Blue in each letter written back then There's blue in thinking about her again When will I recover I don't know when 51 years later grief can rise be real Camouflaged it waits in ambush The loss the pain once more I feel I have no trust in life Maybe one day I'll let this blue sadness go Release it to an infinitely clear blue sky I'll stand tall throw back my arms and head And no longer suffer what if or why
A response to a d’verse challenge from Sarah that coincides with an often unexpected recurring sadness / blueness https://dversepoets.com/2021/05/11/blue-tuesday/
New ways of understanding and seeing
I use writing to try to interpret the world around me and understand it better.
I use photography to try to see the world in new ways.