Thursday, October 30, 2014

More Poems from the Past

It's been a while since I posted any poetry. Here are some more of my old ones, from 2005. I haven't written any poetry in months. I must get back to it.


Squeezing the last bit out, she realizes
She bought this tube the morning that he died.
An hour before the worst of all surprises
Life had to throw at her. His face was twisted.
As he lay dying, she tried to decide
On regular or minty, unassisted.

They shopped so differently. She bought the cheapest
Of everything. He paid no heed to cost.
Of all the darks she'd known, this was the deepest;
But morning birds still sang exultantly.
How could they understand what she had lost?
She'd need new toothpaste. Toilet paper. Tea.


When everyone else is braving the rush hour roads
She sits and scans report after report.
We live such hours like camels bearing loads
But still distort

The record, memory, so they don't appear--
It emphasizes mornings by the Seine
Blackberry-picking, some far-distant year,
The moon in a country lane.

But lying in hospital beds, standing in queues,
And traffic jams all vanish in life's stream.
We battle time with what poor arms we can--
With memory and dream.

On an Old Man Who Didn't

When you begin to reminisce
About your 'good old days'
I squirm at your invented bliss
And advertiser's praise.
But still I listen just to please
And why should I condemn?
I know the doors, I have the keys,
But I will not open them.

I will not turn the lock to show
Your treasury's a hoax--
Extinguishing your eyes' soft glow
With cruelly called-for jokes.
I finger with fake ecstasies
The glass you call a gem.
I know the doors, I have the keys,
But I will not open them.

Twelve Dozen Men Bad and True

The plaintiff and defendant look the same.
They even share a name.
He stands accused of failure, cowardice
And ratting on his friend in second year.
But there is much to set against all this--
An inner certainty of righteousness
And being vaguely special.

Brought to hear
His case, twelve dozen men both good and true
(Men meaning women, too).
Blood relatives, blood brothers, bloody cows
And goddesses and cards-at-Christmas friends.
Consider his unpalatable spouse;
His four failed driving tests, and how he tends
To fumble the baton of conversation.
In mitigation
His parents loved his sister more than him.
His daughter thinks he's God Himself (she's ten).
He knows all about wine
And still calls on his senile Uncle Jim.

The jury find
The accused not innocent. He is consigned
To endless years of wondering the real
Opinion we have of him.

No appeal.

The Doll's House

Holly has seen the Aurora Borealis,
The Parthenon, and tigers in the wild
But thrilled to none of them the way she thrilled
To find a doll's house standing by her bed
One Christmas morning when she was a child.
That hour was Eden, Paradise unspoiled;
Inside that perfectly proportioned palace
Were tables set, and bedrooms carpeted
And that elusive beauty only shared
With Wendy houses, ships in bottles, and
Toy train stations. What furniture compared
In beauty, with these pygmy plates and chairs?

All raw reality is barren till
The soul has worked it, ordered, loved, distilled--
The real world is raw material
Only a shadow to the world we build.


  1. Thanks! By the way, yesterday a query that found my blog was: "Groundhog Day poems". I do think the presence of poetry contributes a lot to the movie.

  2. A belated thank you for putting these up - they are wonderful, as usual. I find all but the second and final poems rather sombre in tone, as your verse goes - but not so much so that the reader is crushed.

    I really savour the lines 'But thrilled to none of them the way she thrilled...'
    and 'perfectly proportioned palace'.

  3. Thanks for that, Dominic, very nice of you to say. I was pretty depressed at this juncture of my life, and without any spiritual consolation, so most of my poems are sombre from back then. I can see why 'perfectly proportioned palace' might appeal to someone, but I never would have guessed that the line you quoted before that would please anyone! I'm glad it did.

  4. I'm not sure why that line, exactly - something about the movement in it is delicious, it flows off the page onto the tongue, and there is also the feeling that the word 'thrilled' would be read differently the second time... and I do like the word 'thrill' anyway.

    It is very mysterious, this poetry business!

  5. I agree! Lines of poetry often appeal to me for no obvious reason.

  6. Very nice. I especially like the old man poem.