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.

The art of deception

 
 To be deceived by art
 Is where the pleasure lies
 As Oscar Wilde said
 When the finished work dries
  
 Art unexplained
 Awaits reference in time
 For art to have context
 Someone must find
 An intrinsic meaning
 An enchantment or spell
 A hard fact or history 
 That explains it well
  
 So ethereal
 This imaginative bent
 Where art creates product
 But may not pay rent
  
 The elusive success
 Of an artist such as me
 Depends on the work
 And conveying what we see 
  
 To be reminded of something
 That may not be there
 Is the way we see art
 Reminiscent or bared
  
 The artist displays 
 What the artist portrays
 The observers creates
 What the observer says
  
 And the feeling is surreal
 This fraught disconnect
 Must artists defer 
 To the critics subject
  
 Is it in artist’s deceit
 Where the pleasure lies
 Taking the work 
 and working it wise
  
 Psychological or literal
 The interpretation applied
 Is anything worthy
 In a meaning belied
  
 With all the definition in 
 Every artists hand
 The lines of description
 Are at critics command
  
 The intensity of design
 Or depicting a glance
 For artist and critic
 It’s the art of chance
  
 Is ugly ugly
 Or is it brave and true
 Is beauty beauty
 Or a sop to me and you
  
 Only the artist knows
 Where the artist goes
 But as deception grows
 Across art shows
 The artist bows
 To the stories faux
 As the critics row
 And the sponsors crow
 And the buyers coo
 Gallery owners woo
 speculators too
 Attempt to choose
 The number 1 pick
 That makes art slick
 To turn a buck
 Art by the truck
 Instead of art refined
 As in the artist‘s mind
 But only the artist knows
 Where the artist goes

The Gambler

 
Precedence
is chance
The roll is a fast
chaotic dance

The die is cast
numbers spin
Will luck outlast
the spin I’m in?

The dotted faces
turn and prop
bounce and hop
My future turns
on fortune’s stop

Excitement
Anticipation
Fulfilment
or suffocation

Desperation
Indecision
High risk taking
recidivism

Bound for glory
is my folly
Wracked and ruined
that’s my story

Highs feed lows
on pure vainglory

Today’s dVerse prompt from Ingrid was for a subject of each poet’s choosing. This one came from a draft I had on gambling, a subject I have been trying to get my head around.

Their hands

 
Their hands when they touch
Flow from rolling of wrists
Each touch is a signal
Each touch is a kiss

Their fingers are folding
On whispers and secrets
Cupped hands are holding
All ahead that will be

Their fingers trace circles
On their palms telling futures
Tender are the touches
Of their hands as their tutors

Their hands rest together
One on top of the other
Their hands mark their measure
Their harmonious hands

Their hands spread out
Open and true
Telling each story
Each soul on view

Hands hold each heart
Supporting each core
Their hands do the learning
Of what more to adore

The extension of hands
The parallel lines
Pads of sensitive fingers
Their dreaming defines

There are fists and shaking
The are dips and rise
There are quivering fingers
Before flickering eyes

When hands arc with arms
To gracious embrace
The lovers say nothing
As hands touch each face

Delicate lines are drawn
Across soft skinned cheeks
Then with touches to lips
Mouths start to seek

Two seeing hands
guide the blind
Sensuous and caressing they massage
to unwind

Four hands synchronise
to breathe in kind
in waves of love
entwined

life is to death as tears are to rain

Bright is the light that shines on me 
as I dwell finally
in deathbed reverie
the doctor he talks
and talks and he talks

my wife she weeps
and weeps and she weeps
and time it creeps
and creeps and it creeps

what is this light that shines above
lights pallid face of death
to my love
the darkness it resists
and resists and it resists

in brilliance it glows
and glows and it glows
in radius it grows
and grows and it grows

this light that calls me as my light fades
this light that draws me
to the night of shades
with death it walks
and walks and it walks

my feeble hand I raise and wave
I waver and it waves
faces watch uncertain so grave
grave and so grave

I see my hand stir dust in the air
second last thing I will see anywhere
the dust it wafts
and wafts and it wafts

my brow is mopped
and mopped and is mopped
my hand drops
I drop and it drops

as dust I settle back onto deaths bed
into the pillow sinks my head
life’s weight I shed
I shed and I shed

looking down into the room
I am surprised it is lit
by only gloom
the husk has collapsed
collapsed collapsed

hollowed of life
of life and of life
beside my wife
my wife my beloved wife

the dust dispersed draws my spirit in
and back to dust
I go again
the gift I leave is small but complete
I was loved and I loved
I am replete

Today’s dverse prompt is from Laura, to write words of departure based on your choice from a set of quotes. I chose the quote from a favourite and most remarkable movie – “All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.” Roy Batty, Blade Runner.

Dreamland

 
Ah, my chimeric and fanciful place
A world to inhabit when I displace
Where food is abundant and water is clear
Where choices are free I’ll ne’er shed a tear
Where sharing is normal no money spent
Home is a shelter without mortgage or rent
Ideas are born to be actioned for pleasure
Actions occur for outcomes or leisure
Thinking is respected intellectual pursuit
Everyone loves and all follow suit
Where judging is absent because no one judges
Where grudges are absent because no one grudges
Where religion only follows the Gaia led path
To planetary health such joy makes me laugh
My friends are my friends conflict unknown
We simply marvel at how friendship keeps growing

Juliet and Romeo

Juliet
is all slick and wet
her long hair in her eyes
she has been hit
by an idiot
drunk driving by 
bye bye

Romeo
roams idly by 
sees the girl on the ground
He looks at her 
quizzically 
then realises what he has found

Juliet
breathes in gasps
as blood pools under her back
She looks up sees Romeo
last look last love
as limbs go slack

Romeo’s
not much you know
but this time 
things are different
He wipes the hair from glazed eyes
and wonders where 
her life went

Juliet
rises above the scene
She watches Romeo
He cradles her head
gently in his lap
He whimpers out a moan

Romeo
struck by love’s full fist
his only love has gone
He whines he weeps
at his loss
Death into his soul creeps

Juliet 
bears final witness to 
Romeo’s last testament
“Did my heart truly love till now?”
he whispers
For the first time 
he knows what love meant
“Good night Good night”
“Thus with a kiss I too die”
He declares to her 
death pale face

Romeo 
bends his head down
tenderly brushes her cold lips 
with his own
he lets her head down 
lightly beside him
as he lies quietly beside her
takes her right hand
with his left

Romeo
from his pocket
retrieves a knife
meant for other men 
he eases the blade
between his ribs
it finds his broken heart
As blood pools under his back
his life is also gone

Juliet 
utters one last cry of grief
before she disappears
or was that one last cry of relief
in hope he reappears
for never was there a story of more woe 
than this of Juliet and her Romeo

Ingrid’s prompt for this week’s dVerse poetics was “Homage to the Bard.” I chose to write a poem approximately on the theme of Romeo and Juliet. https://dversepoets.com/2022/04/26/poetics-homage-to-the-bard/

Okra

Two women sit under a thatched roof 
supported by rafters
coarse wood brown
smiling and chatting together
Chickens scratch at the edge of their shelter
a bold shiny colourful rooster
a big shiny black hen

Their surroundings are a circular patch
dry dusty earth red
small mud brick dwellings
define a perimeter orange
The late autumn day is lit by a cold sun of
clean blue light

One woman sits above the other higher
she is perched
Her long thin legs hang over a shallow edge
a rug covered platform
She is the older in a thick faded purple
dress a pullover yellow
is topped with a scarf white around her neck
Her head is swaddled in a woollen wrap crimson
it frames a face sun
lit, weathered and aged by decades of labour

Spaces such as this
fields such as she can choose
to see at anytime
will forever be green and brown
She gazes pensively across
open communal space
She ponders her past with pleasure and regret
she speaks of things new
old, deep and trivial
Her arthritic hands clasped in a lap
of gratitude flesh
Her battered Nike sneakers peek out from
the long layers of fabric above grey and yellow
her face is calm
Her future as it will be

The younger sits cross legged
a woven mat under her strung tan
Together cultivating lines of okra
drying under sheltering eaves ragged
shadows of indigo host
hangings vertically in bright green
coloured lengths
unclasped necklaces ornaments
of metres adorn the space with a decorative
interior that creates a sense
coming festivity
The drying shed colours the day, the place
it’s people making
according to the crop
a pride of place for transient
prettiness and implications
security, work well done

Here for generations other
younger women have
sat for hours
days post harvest preparing
sustaining products of manual fieldwork
multi hued
for deep grey winter consumption
Her dress is brighter golds
magentas her hands are as yet
unaffected by the gnarly
growths destined by labour
She repeats centuries old weaving
patterns confidently efficiently unhurried
listening quietly thoughtfully respectfully

Tales of the past wash over her black and white
through her as water of life in delicate pastels
as hope as comfort
She knows here there are will be
still lessons to be gleaned
conversation the reflections of her elder
The younger a willing learner of
a quasi meditative state borne soft pink
by the methodical repetitious
nature of her work it is was as surely known
the best way for learning lessons
by the word of her people
successes and failures
myth legend
retelling that never ceases to inform
warm warn entertain and delight

There is comfort in the learning
a knowing that all the natural obstacles over
which there is little control life
will continue on on on
There is no question about how
time is to be spent
day by day this is dictated
by seasons culture necessity
green yellow brown grey

There is no concept of time ticking away
each day is known-quantity where
choice is limited but colour rich
life is sometimes unpredictable dangerous
set fluid simple
giving and taking with impunity
Time has no measure
life itself opaque

Two women commune as did
two before them
back it goes into the dark
blue of distance
where many women become every one
sitting together, stringing up green okra
another part of every year’s never ending
rainbow

The Tall Brown Woman in Green

They told me about her hair
before I met her.
It was green.
I thought it the best hair
I’d ever seen.
The fall of her locks
topped long flowing frocks
that ran neck to toe
as they swept the ground clean.

In bare feet
so she walked
or sashayed
I should say
her hair bounced away
like gentle waves of the sea.

In long flowing robes
from her head to her toes
luminous bright green
and shimmering a sheen,
she moved as one
supple, undulating dream.

Her hips that were square
rolled sensually there
under rippling fabric I deemed.
Her shoulders carried smoothly.
Her pose held beautifully.
Her skin smooth as polished gold.
Her head held proud,
and defiantly bold.

Her face was of grace
framed in fine green lace
at the edges of the green hood
folded around her neck.
From the dripping sleeves of her gown,
where long hands emerged brown,
slender fingers completed the scene.

Bright brown eyes
looked curiously around,
‘til she stopped,
tall and sure
image of a noble queen.
She had turned toward me.
I, the watcher was seen,
and I found myself bound
to the tall brown woman in green.

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.

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
#strathbogiepoetry

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

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

strathbogie poetry

strathbogie photography

The Last Butterfly

A Common Brown photographed at Jubilee Swamp
 
 When the last butterfly flutters by
 your seat on the grass
 When the sun moves overhead
 in one more timeless pass
 When the creek’s empty water
 flows by and on
 When the creatures of the bush
 all around you have gone
  
 Will you sit and reflect
 on what could have been
 When you knew it was coming
 it had been foreseen
 Will you ask why you didn’t 
 when there was time and you could
 While you sat on the grass
 thinking I must then I should 

This is how I love you

You know how much I love you – much

I love so much to touch you – touch

Let’s not make a fuss about it – fuss

Just live and love together – just

I adore you I am all yours – adore

The more I see you the more I want you – more

Let’s spend our love together – love

Above the mundane we’ll rise – above

Be as one known one to – one

Like sun you light my world – like sun

Love’s gauntlet

Here once on this path love’s torment

Found me quietly pleading in fear

Then twice by this way love’s sonnet

Helped me to see my way clear

As I thrice put my case love’s comet

Struck me, rendered me seer

Four times in the midst of love’s torrent

My heart stricken by love beyond peer

A fifth run to the end of love’s gauntlet

Win or lose shapes my life on from here

for eternity

Image

image

A poem for thine eyes to see
Words that speak of love for thee
A verse from where my head doth rest
Upon thy softly rising chest
A breath
A gentle tender plea
To bind our hearts eternally
To state our love is rich and rare
An intimacy that none can share
I’ll stay with you through eternal life
My friend my lover my eternal wife