Saturday, June 30, 2012

Shimmer Shot



Maybe I am showing you something from the past,
For decorations on cruise ships are not made to last.
We were on the 'Rhapsody of the Seas' only a year ago,
Captivated by the glitter and the gaudy glow.
Since then there's been a refit and I'm pretty sure
That all these ceiling pieces have crashed down to the floor.
From there they've been taken off for scrap; a lesson to us all.
'All that glitters is not gold' and 'Pride comes before a fall.'


It once was a thing of beauty.
It spread wide its golden wings
As it traversed the ancient palms
And hovered
Over the heads of dinosaurs.
Then came rain.
The deluge beat it to the ground
And stamped on it.
It could no longer fly.
Leaves covered it,
Mud engulfed it,
Time obliterated it.
Mud turned to stone.
The butterfly was locked away inside
For ever.
Aeons later came the little hammer.
The stone was cracked.
The butterfly is beautiful once more.

Old Fashioned Admirer

asks us to write a VERY short story about this picture


Oh no! It's Andy's friend!
Oh dear! It's the end!
He likes girly curls!
He likes curly girls!
However can I impress?
My hair is such a mess!
(140 characters)


They tell me she's my mother and I must be close at hand,
But to me she's just a lady, rather regal, rather grand.
Mama is this strange lady in a lovely dress of blue,
I'm not too sure about Mothers; I wonder what they do.
I rarely see Mama because she's got a lot of money.
The idea of her touching me is really rather funny.
At first I cried and stamped my foot and wouldn't be consoled
The artist said an animal would be the thing to hold.
So they've put a monkey on my arm; it's really rather scary,
With horrid beady little eyes and a nasty face, all hairy.
Why am I here, I wonder! The artist said, with pride,
That I was needed to represent Mama's maternal side.
I wonder what 'maternal' means; 'mother' is just a word;
The thought of ever kissing her is really quite absurd!
My Nurse is a soft and squashy; she has lovely chubby cheeks
And her voice has got a gentle burr; I hear it when she speaks.
She likes to hold me on her knee; I lean upon her breast,
A lovely place for stories and a cosy place to rest.
She washes me and dresses me, and gives me food to eat,
She smells of fruit and honey and everything that's sweet.
One day I'm going to marry her, because I love her so.
But this lady in the crinkly dress? No, no no!

Maritime Optimist



Unfolding like a flower,
See the dolphin grow.
Changing hour by hour,
Putting on a show.
In Mother's secret places
Developing all the while,
And, ready for the big wide sea,
Already wearing a smile.
He'll emerge with a cheerful leaping,
And a great love of the deep,
But, for now, he's sleeping.
And smiling in his sleep.


Well, here it is folks! You've been warned!
My study completely unadorned.
The empty 'page' up on the screen;
Till I started writing, nice and clean.
The straggly wires which are never neat,
Twining themselves where I put my feet.
The calendar open for reference dates;
The rubbish, which proliferates.
Scraps of paper, which I dislike,
And which should be saved on a metal spike.
My chair, with a sort of mesh addition,
Forcing me into the right position.
My keyboard, bought as a gift last week,
Because the old one was antique.
The lead from my camera on the floor,
Where it has been many times before.
Do I feel guilty? Not a bit!
I relish the many hours I sit
In this scruffy study place
Far away from the human race.
I hear, from below, the TV blaring,
Something which I'll soon be sharing,
For soon my husband will call to me
'Come on down: I've made the tea!'


Friday, June 29, 2012


chose the topic

(An Acrostic)

Emotions flow so deep
Making me want to weep,
Placing me in your shoes,
As you win or lose.
The pain you seem to bear,
How much it makes me care!
Your life is enmeshed with mine,
But a glance is the only sign.


I'm sure I'm in there, somewhere.
If I could weave my way between the bodies
I would find myself,
A skinny little girl
Playing with her cousins.
An English summer,
Brief and unreliable.
But, for us, long.
Because my family hired a tent from
May to September every year.
(All that 'hiring' meant
Was chalking one's name on the wall
Where the tent would go.)
We 'lived' on the sands.......
We never used the word 'beach'
In the nineteen thirties.
We would leave school at lunch time
To go down on the sands,
Where the mothers and aunties had prepared lunch.
Sandwiches on a little wooden table.
The mothers and aunties
Set aside their knitting.
They had been knitting our winter socks.
Sometimes the tide was high and we ate
With the water lapping round our feet.
That was oddly exciting.
At the weekends
We spent longer on the sands.
There were donkey-rides,
Maybe an ice-cream,
Maybe the excitement of being 'snapped'
By a beach photographer.
A swim was a test of endurance.
We would run into the water, squealing,
Then fling ourselves
Into bone-chilling iciness.
Once we were numb we could enjoy it.
Then there was the shivering as we dressed.
It was heaven.
There were always thousands of other people
Doing the same things.
Sometimes it was actually hot
And I would lie on a towel,
Letting the sun pierce my closed eyelids.
It was heaven.
I thought it would go on for ever.
But it was England.
It was 1939.
I know I'm in there.......


asks us to play with an old fairy-tale


Bertha was an ugly lady with a daughter twice as bad.
She'd inherited the worst bits of her mother and her dad.
Her nose was long and pointy, with a pimple on the end;
Her teeth were too black and broken for any dentist to mend.
Her feet were flat and smelly; her bosom hung quite low;
She'd been offered to some suitors but every one said 'No!'
This vision of girlish beauty was known as Ermintrude.
Not only was she ugly but her turn of phrase was crude!
Bertha went down to the local pub for a little tipple one night. 
She'd put on all her glad-rags but still she looked a fright.
Sadly, a charming gentleman had had too much to drink
And the glasses through which he viewed her were definitely pink!
'Come up and see me sometime' Mum said suggestively,
And the charming gentleman hiccupped and said 'Toodle-oo! Yippee!'
Alas, he woke next morning lying next to a nightmare face;
He was covered in confusion, and aware of his disgrace.
'You must make an honest woman of me' cried Bertha with intent,
Feeling that Jim, the gentleman, was something heaven-sent.
Jim ( he was known as Gentleman Jim) agreed to pay the price
And he said he'd marry her, for sure, against his friends' advice.
'I'll be bringing my sweet twin daughters to live with us as well'
Said Gentleman Jim before, aghast, he crept back in his shell.
Bertha didn't turn a hair; she was needing some more staff.
The thought of two extra servants brought forth a cruel laugh.
After the sumptuous wedding, Jim's daughters both moved-in.
(And don't forget that Ermintrude was twice as ugly as sin!)
Rose and Petal were beautiful, with skin like peaches and cream;
Their eyes shone like the pebbles at the bottom of a mountain stream.
Their waists were small and delicate; their voices soft and sweet;
And smelling of barley-water were their pretty little feet.
Bertha took one look at them and sent them both downstairs.
'I can't have silly little upstarts putting on any airs!'
She took away their pretty clothes and replaced them with old rags,
Trying to make the lovely girls look like decrepit hags.
But could she? No! Their beauty shone forth like the morning star.
As for Ermintrude she looked even more below par.
However, she was invited to a barn-dance at the Palace
And she told the twins of her good luck with more than a hint of malice.
'You two must help me get ready! I really must look my best!
The Prince is looking for a lady and I want him to be impressed!'
Well, they couldn't do much with her, with all her lumps and bumps,
But she soon set-off for the palace, wearing her dancing pumps.
No sooner had she departed than a fairy, Tinker Bell,
Swooped into the kitchen to cast a fairy spell.
'Double magic!' cried the fairy as she fluttered in the door;
'My magic will be diluted. I've never 'done' twins before!
One can have the pretty dress, and one the pretty shoes!
But the coach I'll be supplying is of a size that two can use.
You're going to the Barn Dance. You won't look too crash hot,
But sadly, one pretty outfit is all that I have got.
Off you go, my darlings, and have a lot of fun,
But do make sure you get back here by the time the clock strikes one!'
So off they went to the Barn Dance, looking pretty tacky, I guess,
But, fortunately, the other guests were wearing fancy dress.
No-one noticed their odd garb, only their glorious faces
And all their quite delicious curves in all the nicest places.
The Prince was quite besotted; he danced with them all night
While Ermintrude stood, unwanted, her face suffused with spite.
First he'd dance with Petal, and then he'd dance with Rose,
First one and then the other, that was how he chose.
When the clock struck one they hastened home and returned to their former life,
Both of them fervently wishing they could be the Prince's wife.
Petal, the shoe-wearer, dropped both shoes on the floor!
And when the Prince found them lying there he shouted 'I adore
The girl these shoes belong to! I'll search both far and wide!
Though she may be a commoner, she will be my bride!'
When he arrived Chez Bertha, Ermintrude tried a shoe,
But though she tried her hardest her big feet wouldn't do.
'I'm aware of a lovely feminine scent drifting up from the servants' quarters!'
Declared the Prince. Said Gentleman Jim, 'That perfume is my twin daughters.'
Well, of course, when he looked at them and found both fitted the shoes
He was only to eager to announce his Princely news.
' I cannot choose between them!' he declared ' And, since I am loathe
To hurt either of these ladies, 
I intend to marry them both!'



Underneath that old pink gown,
She's wearing her best scanties;
Little whisps of silk and lace,
The briefest bra and panties!
'Just relax while I mix my paints'
Mr Vallotton has said,
So she's donned the old pink dressing-gown
That was thrown across her bed.
She's got herself a cup of tea;
(The day is rather chilly
Not the sort of weather
For anything brief and frilly.)
And while she's sitting waiting,
She's imagining her pose;
Very sleek and sinuous
In hardly any clothes.
She pictures how she'll 'sit' for him,
Maybe draped across a chair.
Her shoulders should be delectable;
Voluptuous and bare.
She'll think of something sexy;
That should do the trick!
She'll probably get goose-pimples
If the artist isn't quick!

'Hurry up' she calls to the artist;
'Waiting here is not much fun!'
'Relax!' calls Mr Vallotton
'The painting's already done!'

Doing a Stretch

asks us to write on the subject of 'stretch'


I'm doing a stretch in prison.*
I'm living on bread a gruel.
There are arrows printed on my shirt
And I do feel a bit of a fool.
I walk round the yard in the morning,
With my eyes on the back in front,
And all because I decided
To pull a silly stunt.
I'm not going to fill-in the details,
In case you copy me.
All I'll say is I had a go
At shaking the money tree!
I sleep on a board when I'm tired
They've thrown away the key.
Let me be a dreadful example.
 Never do a stretch like me.

* Not really!


Pride, they say, comes before a fall
And a shadow proved that true.
Here am I, looking very small,
Photographing a view.
See me in the centre,
That pathetic little dot?
I thought I was important.
This shadow proves I'm not!


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fish Hoek


Pronounce the 'hoek' as 'hook', my friends,
And then you'll be correct.
The name is an Afrikaans one
As I know you must suspect.
Fish Hoek is near Cape Town
In Africa, in The Cape.
It's the place to where, in summer,
Urban dwellers escape;
Escape from the heat of the cities
When they can't take much more,
To laze around on the beaches
And savour the sandy shore.
It's a charming place to visit
And we did so quite a lot,
Finding the 'fishing-village'
A very pleasant spot.
I had a friend called Isabelle
And in our younger days
We used to rent her family's flat
For seaside holidays.
So my two little children 
Would gambol on the beach
Whenever we came from Cape Town,
Which was in easy reach.
Two years ago I was back there
After forty years or more
And Isabelle was still there,
In a house nearer the shore.
We sat over tea and chatted
About times so long ago.
And here are some photos of Fish Hoek
Which you'll enjoy, I know.
Position near Cape Town.
Isabelle's family flat was just above the central palm trees.
Visits from whales were common.
The road between Cape Town and Fish Hoek.
There is protection from falling boulders all the way.

View from the mountains.

Have you seen Max?
Why! No! Have you?
Well, what do you think we ought to do?
Do you think he's run away?
When we tell his mother, what shall we say?
He was here a moment ago!
I think you were in charge!
Hey! No!
He was holding your hand! You are to blame!
He's been with you ever since we came!
Poor little Max. He's not yet three!
How very lonely he must be!
Fancy losing a little child!
His father will go really wild!
His mother will get in an awful tizz!
Gales of laughter! There he is!

Out To Lunch



A crowd of us went out to lunch......
To Stockton, on the ferry;
Some white wine was imbibed, of course;
We were relaxed and merry.
The breeze was blowing blustery
But still I ventured out
To take a shot of the seated  group;
The within from without.
But I fear my skills were 'out to lunch';
All I can see is me,
With a view of passing cars
And a little scenery!

(A Poem for Little Children)

Polly Poodle saw a dish
As full of food as she could wish
And the dish said, clearly, for all to see,
The magic letters D.O.G.

Tilly Tortoise said 'Me too!
I want a dish of food like you!'
But Polly said 'Take it from me;
Tortoise doesn't start with D'

Rory Robin said 'Tweet Tweet!'
I want some tasty food to eat!'
But Polly said 'Take it from me;
Robin doesn't start with D'

The food was tasty, nice and hot,
And Polly Poodle ate the lot!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Threat

asks us to use the words in blue


I was halfway down the alley when I saw him;
He loomed up from the shadows, dark and tall.
My blood ran cold, I almost screamed in terror;
I flattened myself against the nearest wall.
As he approached I saw his head was shaven;
I saw his arms were covered in tattoos;
He was scowling as he moved in closer to me;
This was a fight that I'd be bound to lose.
Would he hamper me as I tried to pass him?
Would he taunt me with a cutting turn of phrase?
Would he pulverise me with a fist of iron;
Would I end the night half-dead and in a daze?
Nearer he came; my legs had started shaking.
I felt faint as though my blood had drained  away.
Nearer he came! And now, oh God, he'd reached me!
'Good evening' he said.....
And wandered on his way.


The gentler things of life appeal;
The web of silken thread,
The tracery of winter branches
Moving overhead.
The lisp of waves upon the sand,
When the air is mild;
The murmured breathing in the night
Of a little sleeping child.
I prefer the touch of a soothing hand
To a grip that's firm and strong;
And a mother's whispered lullaby 
Means more than a strident song.
Let us go gently through our days
Amid the noise  and strife,
For sanity and peace live here,
In the gentler things of life.

By Any Other Name.

asks us to call something by a different name


A rose, they say, by any other name
Would smell and look, without a doubt, the same.
But 'rose' is a softly charming little word!
Calling a rose a 'zonk' would be absurd!
'My love' the ardent sweetheart would declaim
'Your beauty puts the very zonks to shame!'
And what if another gentleman should say
'I'm bringing thee a blood-red zonk today!'
Methinks there wouldn't be the slightest chance
Of patter such as this building romance.
If a lover of mine gave me a zonk
I'd more than likely bonk him on the conk!


If ever proof were needed that humanity doesn't count,
(Well, maybe just a little,  but not a large amount)
A shell like this must give that proof in a very pertinent way.
The fact of our unimportance is clear, as clear as day.
If a God had made the earth for us to treat as our special toy,
He'd have made this glorious whorly thing for humans to enjoy.
He'd have fashioned it to lie around in grass, all earthly green,
To catch our eye on a country walk; he'd h ave made sure it was seen.
But no, it lies beneath the waves, where humans rarely go.
Only a few brave divers ever see that world below.
Nor is this lovely object alone beneath the sea.
Creatures of dazzling beauty  and great complexity,
Deep sea fish with wondrous tails and luminous bulging eyes,
Lie there beyond our normal ken, far from our airy skies.
Beautiful colours, crazy shapes, tendrils, and whorls and loops!
They lie and float and frisk and twirl and arrange themselves in groups.
And some are there in the blackness of the unimaginable deep,
Where they switch on little torches and bare their teeth and creep.
But not for us! No not for us! They'd live if we did not.
Their relationship to us isn't part of a heavenly plot.
We are organisms and so are the deep sea fish.
And nothing's going to alter that, however much we wish.


asks us to filch words from Shakespeare and continue with our own.
(I have used the first line of Sonnet 17.)

(A Sonnet)

Who will believe my verse in time to come,
Or even care to read it any more?
My sentiments will be ludicrous to some,
And reading them a quite abysmal chore.
Ephemeral, this writing on a blog;
A 'here today and gone tomorrow' thing.
My poor old Muse, whose hide I daily flog,
Has only just one day to have a fling.
The moving finger taps, then presses 'Click',
The words fly off into the who-knows-where.
And every little verbal party-trick
We hoped that half the world would want to share
Has disappeared, like all our yesterdays,
With only 'comments' to enjoy as praise.

(An Acrostic)

Caution! Chemicals in the air!
Release your cargo with great care!
Over the fields the 'duster' flies
Preventing 'nasties' from the skies.
Doubtless we're needing such prevention.
 Unwelcome diseases need intervention.
Still, we shudder at the thought
That chemicals of a lethal sort
If released on the open air
Noxiously settle everywhere.
Go carefully with your killing dust
Only releasing it where you must!




Are you a Xanthippe? Go on! Admit
You sometimes are.... a little bit.
Don't tell me you are always sweet;
All composed and calm and neat!
Don't tell me you don't ever swear,
Raise your voice or tear your hair.
Don't tell me that a soothing smile
Is, one hundred percent, your style.
When you're frustrated on the phone,
Don't tell me that you never moan,
Snarl a bit and lose your cool.
I'm an angel as a rule;
Everyone says I show restraint
And have the patience of a saint.
Insults? Well, they're never hurled;
I'm almost too good for this world.'
But even I have been known to falter
And prove that even saints can alter.
I've been a Xanthippe once or twice
Although I know it isn't nice.
'A bad-tempered woman'..... it's absurd
To think that's the meaning of the word.
It's quite a gentle-sounding name
For something which only earns us blame.


'Have you heard?'

'What! Where was his wife?'

'Well I never!'

'As they say, that's life.'

'I wasn't surprised'.

'Don't pass it on'.

'I heard it from Elsie.'

'And then he was gone'.

'The same dress exactly!'

'Well, it was absurd!'

'I just couldn't credit it!'

'Don't say a word!'

'The innocent party!'

'It just didn't fit!'

'Well, I never gossip'.


'Well, maybe a bit'