Ode on a curious object

I’ve been staying with the most wonderful and generous friends in Bideford, North Devon. One night, while enjoying a few drinks, we discussed the urn-like-object in the photos here. The next day I tried to capture the experience by writing an Ode loosely based on Keat’s “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, and here I dedicate it to Chris & Bill.

The weight of curiosity I bear:
this bottomless bronze urn of mystery
keeps its identity and will not share,
so we make do and guess at history.
Hooks turned upward speak of tassels blowing,
red, weaved, oriental thread decorates
my mind’s eye in its imagination,
and yet there is no true way of knowing,
my confabulation I chide, berate,
but still there is endless fascination.

Swooping adrenalin rush in motion –
perpetual. Wings folded back forever
rigid in talon sharp preparation,
salivates for prey to be caught – never,
eyes locked on defensive, scaly morsel,
eagle perceiving food in grounded foe,
like carrot and stick – always evading,
out of reach, it ultimately forestalls
the hunger satiating final blow,
in air fixed firm, formed of metal casting.

This serpent’s death would be a sweet release
from inescapable anxiety;
caused by sky born threat that time fails to cease,
his body anchored, wrapped around a tree.
What secrets does this serpent then keep hid,
as his hissing deflection forks a plan
to avoid predator’s domination?
Steely eyes kept under non-blinking lids,
may reflect a tortured soul who is banned,
exiled to continual confrontation.

On the other side, cooling willow shade
brings peaceful respite to sheltering birds,
whose webbed toes dip in river’s glassy glade,
where free of conflict they remain preserved.
An earth bound pair of storks observed by kin,
flying overhead on warmed feathered wing,
flounder in empty beaked eternity,
ignorant of cause for petrified sin,
their calls fall silent with no song to sing,
but in their beauty stands infinity.

Whiskey flows during examination –
ornamental. Tales slip off wetted tongues,
asking questions with determination,
our chatter rapid from excited lungs.
Good company brings this bronze urn to life,
our sozzled speculation bringing smiles,
knowing we won’t establish provenance.
Tonight, there is no sign, no sound of strife,
these moments rare along so many miles,
we’ll ask no more – leave it to providence.


A Royal Baby Limerick


I have no particular love of royalty, but I feel no ill will either. However, I’ve heard that the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy is on holiday and unavailable for Royal Baby writing…and to think she gets 700 bottles of sherry for the role (mind you, Wordsworth didn’t write a single poem when he was Poet Laureate), so I thought I’d offer a wee limerick instead:

There is a new royal baby called George,
whose destiny is already forged:
he is to be king,
so let us all sing,
before the press attack and then gorge.

Gagged and Bound

[photo credit: Brian Nash’s “Bound gagged and nobody’s listening”]

Adrenalin and anxiety course through her –
dull stretching jaw ache almost unbearable,
electrical tape binds and seals, pulling
hairs with each movement she makes.
Trying not to suffocate on her own spit,
she struggles for breath – her nose
flaring, expanding to take the air.
Despite the dank, stifling confinement,
she strives to utter and reveal her location:
“mmm……mmm, mmm……mmm”.

I hear her, I hear her..

An unlikely scenario..

a more likely explanation is that the
train’s speaker is loose, sending
muffled messages vibrating through,
as the automated announcement tries to
tell me the next station stop is:

I know it’s another public transport poem – just bare in mind that I have today endured two cancelled trains, and one delay, taking my commute to six and a half hours!

The day I became superstitious


A classic, clichéd family holiday:
British seaside, Butlin’s chalets,
fairground rides, candy floss, and
Donkey Derbies.

Sun shines – not on me:
I stand in adults’ shadows.
Dad urges me to pick
a number for the bet.

There’s little time before the race.
Too small to view and appraise,
I’m left to discriminate one number
from all the other numbers,
with 50p at stake!

Time against me,
I feel the weight of the burden,
so I forgo sagacity,
and suddenly jettison a “4”,
I don’t know why.

I catch glimpses of rider and donkey framed
by spectators’ legs and thighs.
The happening is a mystery, until Dad
presents me with my winnings.

All then becomes clear:
of course I knew,
it had to be 4,
4’s a good number,
and from then on
it was mine.

I’m linking into dverse numerology. I’m still busy traveling here and there, but I’m trying to seize the motivation whenever it comes along, and I hope to catch up with reading all my fellow poets’ works soon as…

Two limericks

20130720-181507.jpgI traveled to North Devon, and my old hometown of Bideford to stay with dear friends, where we visited Damien Hirst’s “Verity” in Ilfracombe (photo above) and went swimming in Hartland, I was again amused at public transport + men + heat, and these two limericks were the result of the visit (with poetic licence):

There was a woman from Devon,
who found public transport heaven:
the guys liked to flirt,
and when she met Bert
it took the total to seven.

There was a couple in “Cranbrook”
broke everything in the rule book,
guests had a good time,
frequently with wine,
and laughter that made the house shook.

After Lunch

20130714-214532.jpg [Patrick Caulfield’s “After Lunch”, 1975, Tate Britain (fair use)]

“After Lunch”
ZzIzPzPzIzNzG neurons
their p-l-a-s-t-i-c-i-t-y.

to veridical illusions
scram/bulls to establish

Graphic lines
(Where I can’t exist)
pretend, mock, with
their blunt impressions.

Mind then SEIZES
on the still-
life elements in
trompe l’oeil,
wanting to make
photo-realism home,
safe existence
in the seemingly
solid RE-ality.

Tripwire mind –
caught –
falls into
how things really are:
empty of absolutes.

Click – ClicK
A moment of insight.
ClicK – click
shh…sugar into water dissolution.
One hell of an energy rush, and all
“After Lunch”.

I was too late to visit dverse, so I’ll drink alone with the reality/mirage blend prompt, and join in open link night (celebrating two years). Patrick Caulfield’s work is currently being exhibited at Tate Britain – it blew my mind!

Public transport novice waits expectantly for breakdancing Jesus at Stapleton Road Station.


Sunlit station shimmers.
Seeking shelters’ shade
teenage girls discuss
“flamboyant and fabulous”
dress codes.

Resting my eyes, awaiting the four minute
train journey to Stoke’s Croft street art,
a guy saunters in.

A gap either side of me,
he chooses the tighter space.
Interpersonal distance challenged,
but I practice reverse racism,
and stay-put.

Gold teeth smile with the sunshine,
he hangs cool in crisp, clean, casual
black track pants and white T,
corn rows ventilate his scalp, as he
strikes up Jamaican accented repartee.


Later, I wonder…was he:

Opportunist –
just trying it on,
looking for an easy lay?

Sensualist –
just enjoying the sun,
the reefer (I declined),
and a woman at the station?

Or, was it just so unusual for a white
woman in that part of town, to not edge..
away, when a black man came near
(let alone to find one who
engaged in conversation)?


Which ever it was,
I really hadn’t expected him to get the horn and
rub up against my thigh.
While I admit he was kind of cute,
and he did understand “no”,
I ponder whether women less
confident would have felt as secure,
and whether they’d so easily and
politely have said