Val Dering Rojas on VerseWrights

Val Dering Rojas poetry appears on VerseWrights and I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to record her poem “When The Morphine Wears Away”; have a read and listen here.


Coming soon..

Recently, I’ve had the great challenge and privilege of recording others’ poems. It is nice to pause from my self-indulgent coverage of my own poems and spend some time “wearing” and interpreting others works. One recording is for VerseWrights and I will link to it once it’s on that site, and the other is one that I will be posting shortly. So, I hope you enjoy my attempts to honour fellow poets words..more soon..

Phoenix transforms


The Phoenix writhes in agony:
where they once fanned flames of defiance
her floundering wings now beat the ground,
smouldering with the last thought of
charred defence.

The ice has melted,
the wall has crumbled,
the time has come..

She looks back on her feathered embers,
stretches out her wingspan to shake
shimmering, whimpering amber ashes,
discovers she doesn’t want to fly this time:
and with vulnerability transformed

she simply
let’s her heart soar.

Office boy

20131109-110308.jpg [School portrait – series no.8 by Gavin Hurley]

From the moment he joined the office
  he stared.
I thought it was a phase that would pass
  he’d give it up once I was
but it’s been nine months, and


he stares.

Every time I pass the floor
  from water cooler to desk
    his eyes peer – fixed on me from
     underneath his Lego haircut.

I’ve tried smiling,
I’ve tried ignoring,
I’ve tried warning:
     “It’s rude to stare!”
        “There’s such a thing as work place harassment, you know!”


he stares.

It’s got so bad, I’m tempted to nut him,
  (as I walk, unavoidably, pass his station.)
I probably would have done it already,
  but one thing deters me:

the lawsuit from the James Wallace Trust
  for destroying their portrait.

His eyes have more of a pinky look than can be seen here, and I do have to pass him to get to my office, but I would of course never really condone nutting the animate or inanimate!

Snowflake death

Just as dreams
      take many forms
            (infinite in variety)
so comes my death.
It may be sudden
      leaving little time
            to realize.
It may be sudden
      leaving little time
            to say goodbyes.
It may be sudden
      leaving little time
            to see loved ones’ cries.
More likely
      my death
            will linger
                  -S-L-O-W –
Lord Yama a guest
      who doesn’t just call
      in for a cuppa and a chat.
He chooses the best
            (my body),
and doesn’t state
      – THE-
            time of leaving.
Time in urgency
      a carrot dangling
            hastening my preparation:
                  -Will in order ?
                  – Phowa in order?
Time in urgency
      a panic button
            tripping, dripping distractions:
                  – did I leave the house tidy?
                  – fear/frustration
                  – concern for loved ones
                  – and what about that fly?
“What fly?” they ask.
      “THE fly” I say.
They stare blankly –
dementia nervous.
“But there’s always a fly”
      I add, but lack
      for explanation.
I’m thinking Shunryu Suzuki’s
      fly (buzz, buzz),
I’m thinking Emily Dickinson’s
      fly (buzz, buzz):
                  “With Blue – uncertain – stumbling Buzz –
                  Between the light – and me –
                  And then the Windows failed – and then
                  I could not see to see –“
If only I can
                        at the end,
                  (the fly a gift to me).
But as my inward
they tense
      at the sight of
            snowflake death.
      A snowflake death
            (no one the same).
      known, except that
            it will –
But I’m not
      Dorian Gray;
I’d have it no
      other way.
So I’ll look for the clear light,
      yet settle for
            showing others
            death ‘s alright!
Poem written as a pre-exercise for my Chaplaincy course. Emily Dickinson quote comes from: “I Heard a Fly buzz—when I died” in The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, edited by Thomas H. Johnson. Lord Yama = death, and Phowa = Buddhist practice at time of death.

Lamppost sniffing mind


Like a dog
  sniffing a lamppost
  (Master oblivious
  to the attraction),

Like a dog
  straining on the leash
  (Master wants to pursue
  just one direction),

Like a dog
  shaking water from his coat
  (Master sprayed
  with droplets),

  to fresh curiosities.

This lack
  of discernment
  occasions me to note:
  Mind can be a bitch sometimes.