The Watercolour and the Oil


Lake District as a painting:
envisioning watercolours,
pretty, pastoral pastels,
a place for peaceful lovers.

Innocently beguiling
the rambling nature seeker,
for those jutting crags
can fell those less meeker.

Snowdonia as a picture:
brushed and layered in heavy oils,
so oppressive and ominous,
walking the land is to toil.

What appear to be mountains
are really sleeping dragons –
watch your English footsteps
they protect local Welshmen.

Beauteous nature’s two scenes
appear so contrasting:
one charming, one threatening,
yet both ultimately arousing.

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Not drowning, but waving

A reversal of Stevie Smith’s poem “Not waving, but drowning”

Everyone sees her, the teenage girl.
But she continues shouting:
I’m doing okay really
And not drowning, but waving.

Poor girl, she looks so pathetic
A real waif and stray.
We’d better get her some help
right away.

Hey, just like swimming through life
(The girl tries to keep shouting)
I’m loving the thrill of the waves
And not drowning, but waving.

The Listener in the Writers’ Circle

Working class effort
he wears a suit
amongst smart casual.

He listens
with no impulse
to tell his story.

It is there
in the hard lines
face etched, and

the hands with
faded blue symbols
homemade – jail made.

He lives alone
save a mouse, sharing
crumbs of solidarity.

The writer can’t fathom
his passive presence –
she likes her mice dead.

She questions him
and his motivation,
whether he belongs.

The writer fails
to read his story
written in body clear.

She forgets that
every writer needs
a listener to care.

© Rowan Taw, 2012, © Dechen Lhamo, 2012

Foreign Fern’s English Frost

Fern of the Southern hemisphere,
your destiny should have been tree bound.

Alas, you’ve been exiled to a colder clime,
where your growth is hindered.
Not even the man-made jacket around your trunk.
can relieve you of the misery of winter.

Frosted cruelty stunts your plant life:
fronds that once ached to unfurl,
now curl themselves like tightened muscles,
as they try to retain their heat.

Your homeland would have nurtured you,
but no matter what your will or desire,
you’ll never see New Zealand,
and it’s koru welcome again.

© Rowan Taw, 2012, © Dechen Lhamo, 2012