three-way [ 3(C2H2) -> C6H6 ]

Yesterday’s dVerse challenge was to write a trimeric poem. I thought “cool, a chemistry topic! My chemistry is a bit oxidised, but I still remember what a trimer is… right, here we go:

Oh ethyline, oh ethyline
you pretty little thing,
oh my darling little monomer,
from you I’ll make a ring!

You pretty little thing,
Let me loosen all your bonds,
No, leave on your hydrogen…

Oh my darling little monomer,
look, I’ve brought a friend for you,
hold hands and dance along of her!

From you I’ll make a ring,
all that’s needed is a third
to which you both can cling.

Oh ethylines, oh ethylines,
you pretty little things,
my darling little trimer,
now a lovely benzene ring.

…reading on, I realised that a poem about a molecule made from three other identical molecules was not in fact what was wanted.  And that I’m probably even more of a nerd than I realised.  Damn. Oh well.  Time for some ethanol.



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0800 biochemistry lectures

This is for the dVerse Monday quadrille prompt “smudge”. A quadrille is 44 words exactly, and must include the prompt word.

I have tried,
I have tried so hard!
I have drunk coffee,
wiggled my toes
sat in the front row
holding my eyes open…
Only to find myself,
woken at the lecture’s end
with drool and
a smudge of ink on my cheek.

A lot of my poetry is at least semi-autobiographical. This is definitely autobiographical. Despite quite enjoying biochemistry at uni, I did sleep though almost every 8am lecture, no matter how hard I tried to stay awake. And I woke up more than once with my face stuck to my smudged notes. I don’t know what the poor lecturer thought of me sleeping in the front row with my eyes propped open.  


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remembering summer

I remember heat,
day after day, relentless.
I remember the air,
thick with smoke and fear,
bags packed by the front door,
waking to check the fire maps,
startled from sleep by every new alert.
I remember this,
like I remember a dream,
as I wake to frost,
to grey winter skies
and wet earth.
What urgency can there be now
to go out into the cold,
wield the chainsaw,
clear the ground,
when the threat is so dreamlike,
so hazy and unreal?
I need to remember the heat.
I need to remember the smoke.
I need to remember the fear.


I read Ren’s poem about relentless heat recently, and it reminded me of the summer heat which is now half a year away here. And I thought, I should write a winter poem, to remind me of the cold when it is summer again – a poem like a ball of snow tucked away in the freezer for six months, to be dropped in gin&tonics on the hottest days, to remember that it wont be hot for ever. But then I thought, no, perhaps what I need to do is remember summer right now.  


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Please be assured…

I have not been guarded or wary enough.
I have gone running naked, laughing, down the corridor,
and I have sat in the corner and cried,
without remembering to close the door.
I have shared too much of myself –
what is behind the eyes
as well as what I see through them –
And I didn’t calculate the risk
in letting down my guard,
in dropping the ghillie suit,
in taking off the mask
that hides how I feel.
Please be assured it won’t happen again.


Written for the dVerse prompt “take a risk”


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five red tulips in a white pot

Today I am planting tulips.
I am planting five red tulips in a white pot. Continue reading


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I started writing this because it’s almost marking season, and with the shift to online teaching and assessment there is a big focus on preventing and identifying plagiarism. It’s a sector wide issue, not particular to where I teach. And getting up early and seeing the dVerse prompt MTB: To turn again, about turn again. with the instruction to use epiphora (end of line repeats), and examples from Eliot, I thought it must be time to post it. So, with a nod to Macavity (Eliot, 1939):

Integrity, Integrity, there’s nothing like integrity,
it keeps you well within the law, and does it with sincerity,
but it’s power to inspire trust has gone and here instead
is a scene of academic crime – Integrity is dead!
Do not presume the authorship of anything you’ve read,
for Turnitin is telling you – Integrity is dead! Continue reading


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Another late one for dVerse, this time a fruity one inspired by “the way to cut a pomegranate”.

I’m bingeing on persimmons at the moment, while their short end of autumn/beginning of winter season lasts. The way to cut a persimmon, unless you eat the skin, is 4 cuts and then pull it into 8 segments like an orange as shown in the picture of my breakfast. 

Glowing orange with
all the light of autumn caught
and stored as sweetness
beneath that smooth glossy skin –
four cuts for a winter feast.


I wrote a tanka because I thought they were native to Japan, but just checked and discovered that they’re actually native to China. Ooops.  


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need, greed or curiosity?

I’m a little late for the dVerse Monday quadrille, but here is my take on Curiosity:

What drives you?
What gets you out of bed,
out the door,
out of your comfort zone?
Is it need?
Or greed?
Or curiosity?
Need got us out of the trees,
greed got us across the seas…
And curiosity?
Curiosity got us to Mars.


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the kangaroo and the ute

It’s OLN at dVerse tonight (this morning), and Lisa has provided, for our inspiration, Edward Lear’s “the duck and the kangaroo”.

With apologies to both Lear and Lisa: 

Said the kangaroo to the ute
You’re a fine looking automobile
To travel with you would be beaut,
Strewth, mate, that’s how I feel.
I’m not asking you for a seat
On account of my ginormous feet,
I’m a macropod to me boots,
Said the kangaroo to the ute. Continue reading


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Obliquity III

Following on from “lower right cheek”…. 

So I’m hearin’ how way, way up north,
spring has sprung – flowers, so forth.
Well down here on mum Earth’s bum cheek,
it’s flamin’ freezin’, the sun’s gawn weak.
She’s gettin’ up, each day, more late,
still, she’ll be apples, no worries, mate –
no dunny budgies up me nose,
yeah, and all them bloody mozzies froze. Continue reading


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