A Racket Rant

As we grow old our hearing dwindles:  fact
Electronic gadgetry can help us:  fact
A decent laptop computer
with multi-functional wizardry
costs peanuts:  fact

So why do hearing aids still cost the earth?
They’re tiny, single-use gadgets,
the technology not new.
Materials are worth just pennies,
but the makers charge us thousands.
Should such rampant profiteering be allowed? No.


PS The UK Office of Fair Trading has closed down.

Posted in rants, short poetry | Tagged | 8 Comments

Wordle 171

I dabble in the hallowed art of poesy,
my efforts revealing only shallow skill.
I hunt around for words with greater impact
to give the poem a mighty whack,
a blast of power  to the intellect,
significance beyond the obvious.
The mot juste,  when I find it, brings a thrill,
a frisson at my centre as the wizardry unfolds
wayward, wilful, totally  out of control.

Lots more wordles to read at the Sunday Whirl

Posted in Poems, rhyming poetry, short poetry, wordles | 10 Comments


I can’t believe it’s Saturday already

This week has whizzed by leaving me behind.  

On Tuesday I wrote a poem Renaissance Camp about the most beautiful beach in Britain,  Sandwood Bay.  I picked up next week’s Radio Times to find a trail for Nicholas Crane’s top 5 walks, one of which includes Sandwood Bay.  The series starst Tuesday 29 July, at 7pm on BBC2.

The worst shock of the week has been the price of hearing:  I’m told I need two hearing aids, which will cost 3800 euros, the price of a newish car.   They are tiny.  How can they cost that much?  It has to be a racket – the Secu only reimburses 240. I manage, with the TV on loudish and using the subtitles for dramas with mumbling actors,  and I only miss or misshear about 10% of what is said to me.  It seems absurd to spend so much at my advanced age.

You’ll find other six-worders at 

Posted in life writing | Tagged | 23 Comments

Litter bugs beware, Viv is on the warpath

A really naff poem in response to today’s prompt at the Granada Camp to do a bit of good.

Litter bugs beware
If you go down to the woods today
be sure to pick up your litter
and it’s fair to say
if you pick up some more
the woods will look much better.
Birds and beasts appreciate
no plastic rubbish, deprecate
beer cans, the rings from which can kill.
So take a sack
and bend your back:
get down to it with a will.

Posted in really bad poem, rhyming poetry | Tagged | 14 Comments


A fortuitous conjunction of prompts – Rain from the Grenada camp for wayward poets and a serious attempt to make us use metaphor and imagery at the Poets’ pub led to a confrontation between me and my bête noir, giving rise to this effusion.



Someone up there turned on the tap
and pulled out the plug,
to unleash Niagara on an unsuspecting world.
The ants scurried hither and yon
in search of shelter
under the coverlet of a leafy haven
and dryads danced with naiads
in an ecstasy of nature.

Posted in free verse, really bad poem | Tagged | 19 Comments

My Place


image from imgarcade.com


I rather fancy a beach hut,
with a gingerbread porch painted blue.
A proper bed with a mattress,
and a bright hand-made quilt or two.

It would need a little bathroom -
my days of dew-soaked treks are gone -
a camping stove for cups of tea,
and the occasional meal for one.

It could be hidden among the dunes,
on the coast not far from home,
so when the mood takes me for camping
I wouldn’t have far to roam.

A comfy chair in the porch
to idle the days away
watching the tide as it comes and goes
and the birdlife cabaret.



for Granada Camp for Wayward Poets, Day 23 prompt



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Literary Time Travel

Think of the books
that we could unravel
if we took the train
for literary time travel.

Would Anna Karenina
miss that train
or Laurie Lee not go to Spain?
Should Juliet marry Romeo
if back in time we all could go?

Jane could decline to wed Mr Rochester,
the d’Urbevilles lass
would  fulfil her dream.
At eleven in the morning,
Joyce  might run out of steam
saving us from that long
stream of consciousness.

I wouldn’t mind betting
if he hadn’t met Eve,
Adam’d still live in the garden,
never to leave.

This is a re-blog from 2010 for the dVerse prompt to write about time – any time.

Posted in re-blogs, rhyming poetry | Tagged | 22 Comments

Renaissance Camp


image:  Sandwood Bay from Undiscovered Scotland.co.uk


Sandwood Bay in Sutherland
in days gone by only reachable
after a twenty-mile trek across moor and mountain.
Nowadays a road ties it to so-called civilisation,
a retrograde step.

My renaissance camp would set up there
back in time, like a Tardis,
I’d wander the pristine shore
rejoicing in the sounds of the sublime
the swish of sea, the cry of guillemot
the scream of dive bombing oystercatcher.

Mermaids would whisper their stories
into my ear to re-invent for the children
who’ve accompanied me there -
sturdy trekkers that they were,
receptive to wilderness and beauty.

They’ve picked up the baton
in search of remote places
now that trekking is behind me,
renaissance of the seeds sown so long ago.

North West Scotland from Google Earth Edited by Sally Hutt

North West Scotland from Google Earth Edited by Sally Hutt 

For Poetic Bloomings Camping Challenge, day 20   “Camping is an escape, but it could be a chore as well. It’s time to re-invent the experience. Pick the one place where you wouldn’t mind setting up camp . Replace the tent for a cabana, or the woods for a Hawaiian beach front. Give it a fresh face”


Posted in free verse, life writing | Tagged | 43 Comments

A Forest of Flies – wordle 170


A Forest of Flies

Words hang heavy while creatures swarm
and buzz and hum around the room,
storm my citadel; jump
with passion onto my skin; thrive
on my flapping, swatting, clapping;
sneer at my efforts to remove them.
Without an ounce of magic
I’ll never be free of them.


Today’s Wordle words stung me!  Living surrounded by  rural beauty has its disadvantages.  The hot weather has brought a plague of flies.  Do go and see what others have done with these pesky words here.

Posted in free verse, life writing, wordles | Tagged | 21 Comments


 We’ve been on a bender for a week at the dVerse Poets’ Pub, to celebrate its 3rd anniversary.  The final prompt of the week is about what life at the pub means to us.
I’ve already posted twice today, but what the heck, I have to join in this one to show my appreciation of all that the hosts and bar staff do for us.

Motivator, accelerator
stimulator, educator
communicator, resonator,
I’ve run out of tors
to describe the community
which is the dVerse Poets’

of good conversation,
prompts and wisdom,
not to mention

All this keeps us writing
and reading
and enjoying
our Pub.

Posted in really bad poem, rhyming poetry | 19 Comments

Orage in camp

For the Granada Camp for Wayward Poets, Day 19.  They suggest we give thought to the creepy crawlies and other creatures around our camp.  Today has seen us besieged by thunderstorms, so my mind turned to their effect on fauna.

The storm crashes through the membrane
of blue sky, brings booming thunder,
streaky wayward lethal lightning,
machine gun hail  to batter us.

The limb of ancient oak creaks and cracks,
tumbles from force of wind on wood;
perfect habitat of birds transformed
to home for insects, fungi, lichen.

Creatures cower in the undergrowth
fearing the storm as bird of prey
until the drama fades,
and they creep away.

Posted in free verse, nature poems, short poetry | 3 Comments

6 word Saturday


Klervie's playmat


Klervie’s playmat is finished.  Now what?

 I have at last used the fabulous New Zealand fabric Celie sent me, to protect the leather of our armchairs:


I don’t usually like gladioli, but some have appeared beside the patio that are splendiferous, if in rather a strange place!


Do go visit other 6WS-ers here

Posted in life writing, pictures, quilts | 15 Comments

The Three Year Ball

at the dVerse Poet’s Pub

 The most famous view in Florence

I’m invited to a party
Well, more than a party: a ball.
Not any old ball but the ultimate,
in Florence, no less, in Boboli, beside the Pitti,
where I first wrote poetry in company
until two in the morning exhilarated by Italy,
by poetry, by friends.
Will there be poetry this time?
There must be, as all the guests are poets
and when poets get together
there’s no stopping them.

I’m too excited to think straight
let alone to prepare fancy food.
I’ll take  French patisserie, instead,
some champagne and crusty French bread.
Have I time to visit the coiffeur?
Go to Town to buy a new dress?
I’m having such a bad hair day –  a mess.
What the heck do I care,
I’ll just get on that train and be there.

To be continued, with a little bit of luck

 Pitti Palace from half way up the Boboli

Photographs © Vivienne Blake, 2008

Posted in free verse, life writing, really bad poem | Tagged , , | 29 Comments

Ottava Rima – at Kielder


A hatch of midges hovers in a cloud
above the Kielder Water at eventide.
Hungry for human blood they are avowed,
not to disperse until it is supplied.
Despite this hazard, hardy walkers crowd,
for the beauty of the lake can’t be denied.
As complex eco-systems demonstrate,
it’s nature’s way ever to compensate.

The Granada Camp for Wayward Poets prompt yesterday was for an Ottava Rima about a lake.  Normally I love writing formal poetry, but this one nearly had me beat – it took all day, off and on, a line at a time.  You can find a description of the form  and some stunning poems here.

Posted in formal poetry, humour, nature poems, rhyming poetry, short poetry | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Panegyric to Rosie

Celebrating its 3 years of existence, the dVerse Poets Pub wants us to write an ode to a favourite poet.  Odes are not really my style An ode consists of strophe, of complex metrical structure, followed by an antistrophe, which mirrors the opening, and anepode, the final closing section of a different length and composed with a different metrical structure.  I hope I have understood this recipe.


Panegyric to Rosie

O poet lady with a magic touch, you inspired me.
Your poetry’s accessible, succinct and I admire you
Two indivisible poets: the late UA Fanthorpe -
through whose captivating poetry
I met the other half of the pair: RV  Bailey,
fell under her firm but kind spell as teacher and poet.
From her I learned to shrink my words to bare bones,
save readers the task of wading through waffle to find the germ.
Since she told me to shrink my poetry,
I did.

Posted in formal poetry | Tagged , , | 22 Comments