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.

The first sunset

When you go out of your way to pay a special visit to a reputedly special place to await what is reputedly the best sunset atop the best vantage point in the country to watch
What do you expect to see?
The first true signs of the end of days the man with the straggly long hair and dropping moustache stated categorically
Glory in all its vividly obscene dissipating layers said one
A solid shaft of pure golden light representing the pathway to heaven said another
The small group sitting in the rock beside said it was the last sunset they always came to see, but they hadn’t seen it yet
A couple on the other side of the hill crest said they came for the purity of love they experienced every evening together under the setting sun
A man and his dog told me they found in the descent of lonely Sol a parallel with their own existence dying each day and reborn alone each morning no matter how splendid each even looked to others
There was a small girl in rags come up from the squalid town below. She saw hope in the sunset of an escape into a world of bright light and enchantment away from her stolid grey existence
There was an off duty policeman present. He came to wish all the bad things he saw done every day depart below the horizon before he could sleep at night
A woman all dressed in white told me her life was colourless and joyless except for this moment every day where she could finally grasp the meaning of true beauty before she forgot what it was in the black of night
A priest in his hot black tunic and white collar was saying a prayer as I passed. Bless this world with the light of another day
An aged pensioner said he came to pay his respects to the newly dead as they left this life for the darkness and left him one day more alone
A trail runner had run all the way to the top because it was there, but he had to get back before nightfall lest he stumble or lose his way
A groups of drug affected alts were there to optimise the effect of their high in natural harmony with the earth the sun the solar system and the universe as their synthesised meds could take them
An artist was there to capture the waning beauty of Ra’s life giving fireball on a canvas 2m square
An astronomer and a night watchman came together not for the sunset, but for the starlight to follow. Their interest was in the understanding and security of the afterglow.
A marketing businessman came to follow the money wherever opportunities for advantage might be found, he was always up for a look at a business opportunity wondering how he could leverage the sunset to his financial advantage.
I found a spot of my own right beside the stony summit and looked with the other people sitting there across the broad brown plain below, the towns with their lights blinking on one by one, the smoke rising from eternal hearth fires, stubble fires, waste fires, methane columns and coal pits I saw the permanent haze along the curvature of the earth, the grey brown band of smog climbing into the atmosphere the sooty stain on the sun and I realised there was no magnificent sunset here every evening. It was a man made illusion comprised of the load of filth pumped incessantly into the air
I knew then I had come to view the sunset and witness the tangible manifestation of sinking decline.
So I left that summit for cleaner clearer view summits and my journey took me around the world.
I saw the sunset on other plains hills mountains lakes oceans and ice caps
I met talked and planned with others who with me wanted to rediscover the first pristine sunset and resurrect it forever
At the last summit I attended I met just one man and one woman who had been at that place sitting walking watching and talking about the same sunset together forever
I asked them what they had learned?
They said it will come.

Stops

The lock stops access
The clock stops time
The drug stops abscess
The organ stops rhyme
The boot stops turning
The period stops lines
The water stops burning
The cleaner stops grime
The valve stops pressure
The jar stops brine
The ruler stops measure
The law stops crime
The plug stops water
The wave stops sine
The truth stops laughter
The pump stops prime
The grass stops growing
The bottle stops wine
The gardner stops mowing 
The devil stops divine
The food stops hunger 
The hunger that is mine
This stop goes no longer
Than this very last line

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

Peer lust Peer sorrow Regrets I carry into Every Tomorrow

Rum tum tum Rum tum tum
I succumbed
Rum tum tum
When the words were flung

Saw the bait Saw the bait
Thrown to peers alust with hate
Saw the bait 
Do its work to humiliate

Watched his face Watched his face
Cloud to the many shades of disgrace
Watched his face 
Laid waste by such bitter taste

Witnessed the scorn Witnessed the scorn
For one different and elsewhere born
Witnessed the scorn 
As with thorny crown he was adorned

Turned my head Turned my head
When more weaponised words were said
Turned my head 
Away from watching as his heart bled

Felt my shame Felt my shame
As passive part of this vicious game
Felt my shame 
My deathly silence my silence to blame

I still regret I still regret 
No one’s eyes to have met
I still regret 
Complicit inaction I can’t forget

Where is he now Where is he now
Is he high or is he low?
Where is he now
Does anger in him burn aglow?

Santa asked we poets to explore the issue of peer pressure for this week’s dVerse prompt. I expect there are few people anywhere who can claim complete innocence. Have you got anything to say for yourself?

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

Said Prospero, “Every third thought shall be of my grave.”

 
What Prospero said should not be decried
Give death a rightful standing in our lives
As a lens through which to view the good for which we strive
To ponder temporal versus eternal that is always nigh
To elevate appreciation and despondency defy
 
And so, when vibrant youth immortality implies
When healthy vigour makes the future glisten in our eyes
When happiness is at its peak with all that it supplies
When prosperity creates opportunity many are denied
When security is such that all our fears it belies
Take a moment to remember it is only life that dies
 
Value life through death as on times fleeting wings it flies
The mind that honours death values life on high

Plum eating

pick
I will 
go collect a bucket
of plums

see
purple plums
outside
red plums
inside

bite
taut elastic skin
snaps and recoils
under pressure of
sharp incisors
burst

taste
exploding plum
tartly sweet
firmly juicy 
with sticky feet

feel
the texture 
anticipated
chewy soft
an eating 
sensation
never 
lost

wet 
with flavour
deep and true
dribbles assured
all the way
to the 
end 
of 
it

swallow
the energy
immediate
hit

spit
pit

ah plums

Today we https://dversepoets.com poets are playing with food. Thanks Misky for a prompt that has me re-savouring my favourite fruit.

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.

The darkness 01

In the darkness there is fear of 
what we do not know where 
moonlit silhouettes change 
frequented pathways through
accustomed landscapes 
to unfamiliar tunnels hooded 
by shadows obscured 
by gloom alive 
with the colourless and hidden

In black night confusion 
and disorientation assert 
themselves by seeding doubt
Insubstantial surroundings draw an
inky deception across the known 
world where that latent but 
ever present dread of
losing our way will always prevail

Today, the dVerse challenge was from Linda to pick one line from a Jim Harrison poem and use it as an epigraph for a poem inspired by that line. I chose, “Yes, in the predawn black the slim slip of the waning moon.”- Remote Friends, Jim Harrison. https://dversepoets.com/2022/01/25/poetics-songs-of-unreason/

Gotta Get Out

Sustenance, sustenance
The needs of my family, the very future
depend on my
Hunter’s skill
Tracking is the game
ignoring the baubles for the meat
persevering when hope is lost
When perseverance is the
only hope to find

As I cross the threshold
between sunshine and artificial light
where my flaming torch
of knowledge and experience
must keep me lit
alert to fallacy and trickery
Nevertheless it dulls
against intensely bright competition
These high ceilinged vaults
as if starlit with halogen and diode
I find it hard to distinguish whether
inflamed or extinguished
my very own light flares
or fades
As does the light of knowledge
or critical elements of judgement

This is a brilliantly ominous
hole in real space
This dead centre of comsupmtion
Of glow worms on mirrored walls of
perverted fairy lights created by evil spirit
I cross a
sinister boundary
into a world of corruption
temptation
and reduction
The world is rendered thus

The cavernous halls of this space
daunt
Its glittering stalactites drip
luminously
sweet waters
impure as added sweeteners can illicit
over gem encrusted
subterranean alcoves and niches
Where false gods are worshipped
Where diamonds turn to glass
Where purchase is neither
with foot nor by hand
But by extraction and brand
Burning into pockets
through means of exchange
where the purpose of this cave
becomes revealed
Although,
still not
to the naive, the gullible and the willing

Yet I stand strong
Resolute by my informed knowing
I conquer foreboding
fear held at bay
by the most fragile resilience
and I buy in

I buy big I buy small
I buy all the things I want at the Mall
Until I can but no longer
As these halls previously mapped
have seen the bounds of my credit card zapped
Gotta get out
before ruin befalls
My Christmas spree buying
One day for it all

Today’s prompt comes from Dora. In the context of the Crazy Christmas season she suggests, ….. “imagine a moment of pausing, a still point of epiphany.” dVerse

Good Things Only #15

River Red Gum Forest at Shire Dam Swamp

Shinrin-yoku or forest bathing. When I first read about forest bathing the cynic in me scoffed, “Jeezus, how many gimmicky ideas can humanity come up with?” As curious as it may appear, I have reevaluated the matter. Why? Well, it was an accident really.

In reading the aforementioned book by Bill Bailey I learnt more. It was the Japanese Government that validated shinrin-yoku in the 1980s. After research confirmed the hypothesis that forest walkers experienced significantly less stress and anxiety than urban walkers, the idea became a public health policy. Hence the very real, legitimate and officially mandated practice of shinrin-yoku, forest bathing or put more simply absorbing the atmosphere of the forest.

I learnt this with a little embarrassment because I have clearly been a shinrin-yoku practitioner for years. Walking and cycling in the bush have long been favourite pastimes, as soothing to the mind and cleansing of the soul as anything I can imagine. I realise now I have practiced forest bathing and even refined the practice. My own specialised sub discipline will now be called forest basking. This is where I find myself paused, stationary, sometimes mid step, sometimes sitting, sometimes lying down looking either up, across or down, grinning, goggling or gasping or all three at once, in awe at nature’s beauty and evolutionary accomplishments.

I am no shirin-yoku guru or forest bathing shaman, but I am an advocate by default because I do my best to promote these wonderful activities publicly and widely. Why? Because if they are good for individual lifestyle and well-being they are good for societal wellbeing. If shinrin-yoku encourages people into positive low impact forest experiences those people become advocates for the forest and habitat gets improved as well. And who doesn’t want such a desirable set of outcomes from the simple act of taking some time out in the forest?

The beginning of a life together

We first lived together below Tawonga Gap beneath mountains capped with snow
In a Happy Valley cottage by a valley threading creek, the Happy Valley flow
Where trout could be watched hunting or basking below the surface
And rocks were smoothed and sandy beds were lit by sunny luminance
It met the Ovens River at the bottom of our hills
Joining other tributary waters of mountain rivers, creeks and rills
Where the crystal waters ran clean, clear and bright 
Where the snow melt chilled the river deep to summer’s great delight

We shared an abandoned cottage dusted off for our loving residence 
After approaching the farmer about its rental and to make his acquaintance
That small cottage at the bottom of a gully became our first home
With surrounding hills and mountains our romantic place to roam
Where the land about us and its occupants were both so ancient and so old
And the farmer who was born there had so many stories to be told

The days were long our backs were strong as we stepped outside the door
And the fruits of our labour on the block fed us more and more
We took the offered chook manure from the empty runs out back
Enriched the soil, dug the beds, sowed farmer’s seeds, we did not lack
The planted seedlings turned to vegetables as if by magic overnight
Their abundance when we harvested fed us and friends heartily every night

The dairy herd had long since gone and beef were the local stock
But one house cow remained for butter and milk beside the dairy block
Daily hand squeezed from her teats was milk so creamy and rich
It was hard to drink, and harder to say we thought we couldn’t stomach it 
We had to tell the farmer not to deliver each and every morn
But he was good he understood stopped delivering without scorn

At days end an historic long tin bath bathed us once water was heated hot
Soothing us and cleaning us of grime and sweat gathered on the plot
The back step was the place to sit for weaving, sewing and repair
The hammock was the place to hang and relax either alone or as a pair
To hear the wind, to feel the still, to think and to contemplate
To reflect on the newness of life together, the pleasures to appreciate

And now forty years on I still think back gratefully to that time
With certainty of knowing here were the foundations of a life together
This life of yours and mine

Today’s d’verse prompt came from Laura, to write a pome recalling some specific thing or things from the past. https://dversepoets.com/2021/11/09/poetics-in-the-light-of-other-days/

Yakking

Yakking yakking
on the phone they’re lacking
basic social grace
they are in your face
if wanted or not
their conversation is everywhere
like a worm that twists deep inside your ear

Yakking yakking
shared across public space
on public transport
in public parkland
throughout Halloween
with not a thought to public courtesy
private calls aired I do not care to share

Today’s dVerse prompt is from Lisa. She asks us to present a Quatorzain poem (a 14 line poem not necessarily a sonnet) in Duodora form as follows: 2 septets for which Line 1 repeats. Syllable counts per line are 4, 6, 5, 5, 5, 10, 10. Quite tricky! The subject is to speak to a human attribute that is particularly irritating to you with a Halloween or Samhain theme.

Good Things Only #13

Drying baby’s clothes and a Minna Leunig print hanging out together with potted plants

Oh happy day, coming out of lockdown to gather for the first time with three generations of our newly extended immediate family. Seeing the fatigued but over the moon parents adoring and learning every minute something new about their days old daughter. Witnessing the unbridled happiness of the new Grandma and Aunties as they emotionally engage with our immaculate new cherub.

We all hold her and smile at her and laugh at how fresh and sometimes awkward and beautiful we are with this tiny new presence amongst us as we make funny faces and soft cooing and baby talk noises and hold her out and hold her in looking her up looking her down oohing and aahing with blissful amazement.

And she takes it all on her own terms dozing, occasionally peering into our faces (we like to think), practicing various facial expressions for future reference, gracing us with something we like to call a smile, mouthing for the breast when she is ready and crying if delivery isn’t fast enough.

Seeing our children with a grandchild, their mother and their partners happily together after what feels like an age apart, talking, smiling, laughing, just loving each other all over again. I smile on the outside, smile on the inside, my very pores turn into micro smiles.

Good Things Only #11

Sunrise

Peer Gynt Suite: Prelude to Act IV (Morning mood), Edvard Grieg (1843 -1907). This mesmerising classical music masterpiece captures the romantic aesthetic of a sunrise so completely it interrupts whatever I am doing when I hear it. Immediately the flute begins I experience the beginning of an aural dawning as if present. This calming, tranquil expression of the golden period in a new day is profound.

Good Things Only #10

Her right hand at Day 4.

Nursing a days old baby in my arms as she practices for the perfect sleep to come. Her pastel skin small nose soft lashes and milk mouth filling my eyes with intermittent tears of joy and wonder. Her irregular breathing coming in short rapid shallow bursts followed by deep sighs of contentment as she snuffles and ruffles and stretches back and reaches out and flexes fingers and kicks legs and crinkles her nose and dreams baby dreams with eyelids aflutter while her eyes move this way and that underneath. Her lapping tongue unconsciously works at nipple traction in automatic rehearsal. The little lips open and shut pucker and pout refining the sucking technique in readiness for the next lactation latching that will draw milky nourishment and unqualified love from her besotted mother supported by her smitten father and adored by the rest of us in this small family bubble. Her smooth brow un-furrowed by concern or worry she is the very picture of innocence.