cockatoo (zejel 2)

Another one for the dVerse prompt “Zéjel”. The Zéjel “is a Spanish form with Arabic influence related to the Qasida and adopted by the Spanish troubadours of 15th century.” It is written in stanzas beginning with a three line stanza with rhyming scheme aaa, followed by four line stanzas of rhyming scheme bbba, ccca, etc.


Put out the seed, and look at who
Has come to feed, it’s cockatoo!
Crest raised he shrieks, at me, at you.

Nature or nurture, from the brood,
there never was a bird so rude.
Look at how the feeder is chewed,
by bloody loudmouth cockatoo.

He’s frightened off the smaller birds,
whose songs bring joy when they are heard.
Their company is much preferred.
And that is why we yell at you!

Yes off you go and fly away,
You and your mates that screech all day
I never wished for you to stay,
I’ve just one word to say, that’s SHOO!



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sayless (zejel 1)

For the dVerse prompt “Zéjel”. The Zéjel “is a Spanish form with Arabic influence related to the Qasida and adopted by the Spanish troubadours of 15th century.” It is written in stanzas beginning with a three line stanza with rhyming scheme aaa, followed by four line stanzas of rhyming scheme bbba, ccca, etc.


Some say “least said soonest mended”,
and thinking thus, so was ended
a chance for what I intended.

Caution’s counsel taken to heart:
harder to end than never start,
if never joined, no pain to part.
So my heart, I thought, defended.

Perhaps we might have been star crossed.
But if you sit and count the cost
there’s no profit in love that’s lost.
To myself, so I pretended.


There’s a bit of graffiti that I really like over the road I drive when I go to work.  I think the way it’s done is really effective, and I also find the message intriguing. It says “sayless”:

I often ponder it on my way to work. We’re in lockdown at the moment, so I haven’t seen it for some weeks, but it came to mind this morning as a starting point for this poem.


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five red tulips in a white pot IV

Holding aloft their fiery cups,
flames they have caught
as they flow from the sun,
they are full now,
filled to overflowing,
their bowls brimming
and their petals saturated.
And yet still they are insatiable,
glowing like greedy coals
that are not dimmed by the sunlight
but fed by it.


Fourth in the “five red tulips in a white pot series” – and yes, there are only four tulips in flower. One was eaten by something. But 80% is pretty good. 


Filed under gardening, poem

less than half the arc

for the dVerse prompt “always in season”:


The last of the summer has been scraped from the jar,
the last of the sweet purple-black stains
are dissolved away in the washing-up water,
and the last of the scent of heat and dust and musk
dissipates in the fresh spring air.

And so the memory of blackberry season is gone.
Gone out of sight, and out of mind,
hidden more than half a year away,
behind more than half the arc of an orbit past.

But the days lengthen,
the brambles unfurl their leaves,
and soon the tiny buds will form and swell.
And as the arc-length ahead shortens,
the anticipation of blackberry season begins.


I finished the last jar of blackberry jam a few days ago, so this prompt to write about fruit felt timely. I’ve written about blackberrying and blackberry jam before. I’ve always loved blackberrying, the irresistible plump, sweet fruit, the musky scent of blackberries filling the house during jam making, and the jars lined up in the pantry holding those summer days safely… just another 5 months to blackberry season!  


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night walk

I walk away from my shadow,
trying to leave it behind,
along with this day –
this day that has drained me.
But it follows me up the hill,
and lingers with me at the gate.
Until, as inevitably as tomorrow,
I follow it home.


Written for the dVerse quadrille prompt, “let’s linger“.  44 words, including the word linger.  

I didn’t think I was going to respond to this one – too big a day at work, it was almost 8pm before I could finally switch off.  But, a walk outside in the bright moonlight – full moon tonight – and I feel refreshed. Shame I now need to go to sleep so I can face another day tomorrow…  ‘night all. Stay safe.  


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five red tulips in a white pot III

How can I describe
these whorls that have risen from the soil?
Somewhere between green and blue,
cyan, teal-green…? Or… yes… Persian-green,
this name so apt for the colour of tulip leaves,
that mountain flower
brimming with the poetry
recited by a young man
ten thousand miles from home,
with a smile like an oasis.
I listened to his words,
though they were not spoken for me,
but for someone else
ten thousand miles away.
And now I find them echoed
in these Persian-green whorls.


I went looking at colour charts to find the right word for the colour of the foliage of the tulips I have in a pot on my porch. And Persian-green was a good match. It reminded me of an Iranian student I had in a post-grad class many years ago. One of the tasks was to give a presentation, and I gave the class free-choice of topic. He recited some Persian poetry, and then provided a translation in English. Like a couple of other Iranian students I’ve taught, he had the most extraordinarily beautiful smile. 

I’ve seen tulips growing on a mountainside in Kazakhstan, small yellow ones, tiny compared to the garden princesses bred from their ancestors that we now grow. And they were beautiful in their own right, and in part because they were unexpected. I didn’t know at the time that tulips are native to Iran and central Asia. The name “tulip” is a corruption of the Persian word “toliban”, meaning turban. So Persian-green seems seems very apt.  


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For the dVerse prompt “creepies and crawlies“, a sonnet about slaters:

When the sun is up and the birds about
you can find them, if you know where they creep
into the crevices, all flattened out –
the slate-grey slaters, all huddled in sleep. Continue reading


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a poem for Marion

I am sending you a clover
for the sake of the stairs
that I imagine you sitting at the top of,
thousands of miles
from where I sit at the bottom of mine
to bring you luck so you never fall. Continue reading


Filed under musings, poem

six strand fence song – variation

Lean close and listen:
to each wire thrumming,
each wire humming
its note in the chord. Continue reading


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a clover for Worms

This is for Worms, and for the dVerse novelinee challenge:

Sometimes among the green, something… stands out,
an imperfection, something that’s not right,
an extra leaf that bends the shape about.
That symmetry – it catches at my sight…
And here it is, four lobes instead of three.
Whatever luck it holds, I give to you, Continue reading


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