The birds were everywhere

The birds were not afraid of the guns,
the squabble, the cloud, the gaggle, and cast.
The call of the cuckoo carried on
between each and every deafening blast.

The brown owl ignored the racket of fire
and the kestrel attended her nest unmoved.
The swifts circled the skies still higher
and the stork returned early and proved

as indifferent to the thunder of guns as any bird,
the parliament, the murder, and mutation,
all flocked to stump or wire undisturbed,

a noisy, irreverent congregation.

It’s your turn to do the so-called dishes!

“They are not true,” said my father
upon reading the introduction to my book of children’s bible stories.
Then, with his Staedtler pen, neatly scored through the word with bright blue. true

Granny was furious. “Michael!” she snapped,
but he made her smile in his usual style
“Saint Michael,” he corrected, hands raised, cock-eyed like the Pope.

Granny sighed and remembered her young boy, church leader,
The prodigal son but bound to become a man of the cloth
(until he met my mum), before he had learned for himself

that there was far more fighting inside the Church than anywhere else,
besides he wouldn’t be limited by the old sea-blown merchants of wrath
or their fisher-wives.

He’d always read the books on my required-reading list
long before me. We scoured the second-hand bookshops (no longer searching
for the Famous Five) before ending up in Dillons or Waterstones.

“Education is wasted on the young,” he’d tease,
drooling over Jefferson and Robey or Eagleton’s Literary Theory
and buying an extra copy of M. H. Abrams’ Glossary.

I was half-inclined to agree and happy to see
he’d already underlined (bright blue) all the exciting bits for me.
Mainly, my brother slept at any hour

and queried having to do the so-called dishes. “It’s her turn!”
he yelled, but I was enjoying my new Staedtler pen
and re-underlining the words again.

“Brother, the books are much harder than the dishes.
My books are not, as it were, washed-up dishes,
as you will learn from experience.”

This is a parody inspired by Heather Phillipson’s poem, Relational Epistemology. Read it here along with Carol Rumens’s commentary.


She dug the earth as he did write
The biryd did sing with all its might
The herbs were planted; thyme and rue
and now a song of love for you.

Picture 6

Please read the poem, Bird on a Briar, along with its modern translation and commentary by Carol Rumens here

Words Whirl over The Waste Land

What’s on your mind? Elizabeth shared Eliot’s photo
The view is fabulous. Look at Marie on the sledge. Shock.
Hold on tight, Marie! She’s getting so big. Smile. Like. Comment. Share.
Burma Bridge! 6, no, 7 minutes ago. Write a comment…
Caesar shared Matt’s video. Unreal City. Length 0:59
There are Orcas in Wellington Harbour. No way! (Look out! Fear death by water)
Sharks in Auckland! Shock. What next? Wanted: Product Testers
Receive free samples. 47,064 people like this.
Unguent, powdered, or liquid. Surprise! Dramatic Cleopatra eyes!
Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds. Therein lies
the sweet smell of success. Enobarbus and Tom were tagged
in Antony’s photos with 5 others. 44 minutes ago.
Speak to me, Tom. Why do you never speak?
No Think! Think. Wink.
Tweet. Tweet. Tweet.
Jog. Jog. Jog. Just climbed Snowdon. I’m on top of the world!
Boadicea has added 2 new photos. Woah! 2 hours ago.
Marcus is in Sydney til Sunday. Currently no plans from 4pm Thursday.
3 people like this. Kiss. I’m booking you for Sunday Brunch. I’ll be there.
You have a new nephew to meet. Smile.
We will miss you. Oh God! Sigh. Like. Write a comment…
OK my lad is listening to AB/CD – can’t believe how grown up he is getting.
So proud.
Kiss kiss kiss
Mark likes this. You mean AC/DC? Yeah LOL.
Looking forward to giving this a taste in a few weeks
Pear and apple cider. Me too. Smile. When’s it ready?
24 minutes ago via mobile. Big smile.
Listening to an instrumental set tonight, awesome original song.
So many layers of music. Billie Jean is not my lover.
Woooohoooo! Shall we dance?
Tiresias and 3 others like this. Smile.
Will’s 3rd Birthday. Laugh. 14 people like this.
Got text from the estate agents. Shock. (AUDACITY!) Open home Sunday.
Building inspection Friday. What? Getting sick of surprises every five minutes.
Write a comment… Shit! Shock. Who’s taken my soup ladle??
What are you making? Soup?!
3 hours ago. Essence Beauty Therapy. 102 people like this.
She turns and looks a moment in the glass
I’m so tired of winter! Come on Spring. Sigh. G’night Ladies.
Night. Sleep tight. Bye bye all.
withered stumps of time were told upon the wall
fragments we have shored against the ruins
to like. to share. to write…
Shantih shantih shantih
View more posts?
Where are the notes?

Poem inspired by Poem of the week: The snow whirls over the courtyard’s roses by Tua Forsström on Carol Rumens’s weekly blog. I’ve included quotes from T.S. Eliot’s poem The Waste Land

Modern Love

I wrote this poem in response to The Guardian’s Poem of the Week, – a poem which surprised me with its very modern style and attitude, despite having been written 150 years ago.  The commentary is enjoyable too, “it’s as if the scene bustled with ghosts from the future.”

Now modern lovers like to fill their houses

With character, reminders of the past

Period features and things built to last

Salvaged from those shipwrecked eras. We browse

Through toughened-glass windows of woodburners

And see ourselves reflecting, warm and smug

On planting natives and foolhardy shrubs

Reframing John Constables and Turners

Pleased we’ve unearthed such secrets.  Who else knew

Neutral tones and a glass of Chilean red

Could hide disappointment and thoughts unsaid?

We have mint and thyme where daffodils grew.

The truth is revealed on luminous screens

“Ah, love dies, but wood floors are bound to last

And wine spillages can be mopped up fast!”

You and me shiver now in other dreams.