The Fisher Child

This is a rewritten version of a poem from my early writing days, in response to a prompt at Miz Quickly’s September challenge to write about fall.  This is probably not the kind of fall she intended, but it is a true story!

The Fisher Child

A fluffy kitten grew rapidly
into a great big Ginger Tom,
voracious for females,
rapacious for fish.
Food was hard to come by then,
just after world war two,
so the child that was me
was set to become
fishwinner to the family.

Each morning, whatever the weather,
crouched over rod at the end of the garden,
float a-bobbing in murky green Thames,
watched avidly by crouching cat,
ready to pounce on anything that wiggled
as it flew through the air to land by his nose.
Quick! Take out the hook as quick as a flash.
Cat will only eat if the fish is not dead.

One winter morning dull and drear
the fragile line had ruptured.
Balance fractured, I fell backward
into cold green water
in smart school clothes
with brand new coat.
I was anything but popular.

The cat didn’t care once he had his fish,
to him nothing else mattered.
Her own little drama as hunter played out,
the child had no thanks from that cat.

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Haiku Challenge day 7

Eight Kielder fledglings,
to reach their winter refuge,
fly on doggedly.

A brief history of the Kielder osprey watch can be found here and three of this year’s ‘babies’ are tracked by satellite and  maps updated most days here.  Two of these magnificent birds were roosting in Portugal yesterday, and one has made it across the Gibralter strait to Morocco.


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Wordle 179 in contemplation of mortality

Searching for meaning
the old man opens mind and heart
to expression of oceanic beauty
keeps alive the golden years of memory
gives hope of a glorious future
when he finally crosses over.

the Wordle prompt is here


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haiku challenge day 6

male eristalis pertinax © Duncan Hutt

The eyes of the male
hoverfly are closely joined.
His mate’s are apart.

 female eristalis  pertinax © Duncan Hutt

does that make the she hoverfly more trustworthy than the male?  Images borrowed from my son-in-law and daughter’s blog

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When Women Laugh


Friends who’ve never met,
a virtual life support system
through thick and thin
of online courses,
come face to face in a distant town
and hug
and laugh
and giggle
Do you remember whens
punctuate and stimulate
more laughter.
On the spot
virtual morphs,
becomes real lifelong friendship.

The lifelong friend can be found here. and the prompt with its collection of images to be used in a poem here




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Six Word Saturday

It’s been a nasty old week

as Jock is poorly-in-bed-under-the-doctor with a severe infection.  The nurse comes every day to give him an injection of strong anti-biotic.  He is recovering a little each day, but it’ll be a long process.  He has at last started to eat a little bit.  Meanwhile I had to take my courage in both hands and get the car out of our very narrow garage (without a scrape!) and take to the roads for the first time in ages.  I didn’t drive for a year after the move, and it’s knocked my confidence for six.

You’ll find other six-worders at Cate’s Place, here.

Posted in life writing | 16 Comments

Haiku Challenge Day 5

To show off the stars
France is going dark tonight.
We’ll see the heavens.

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Haiku Challenge, Day 4

Autumn on the way
changes my mood for the worse.
despite the colour.

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Positive Space

Outward view a changing state -
in summer, corn as high
as an elephant’s eye
obscures a distant prospect
of trees and pastures
beneath a vast sky.
Interior view of books and books and books and books
adorned with light and too much stuff.

Miz Quickly wants us to write a poem about our home, but without describing it.  I found the prompt enigmatic, and am not sure I’ve hit the target.

Posted in short poetry | Tagged | 5 Comments

Haiku Challenge, day 3

After the thunder
came benison for thirsty
plants, birds, animals.

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Victoria Market

I apologise for the re-blog, but dVerse wants travel poetry, and I think this is probably the best of my memoir poems.  Also, I have many new followers who won’t have seen it.

Travel in small doses (as on holiday) doesn’t really allow you to dive into place and culture.  We lived and worked in Seychelles for two years, a life-changing experience.

Victoria Market

The odour repels, yet draws me in
through the grandiose gateway arch in memory
of some bigwig; grubby egrets perched above,
necks drawn in, waiting patiently
to pounce on scraps of meat and fish.

A seethe of screeching, bustling, busty women
armed with huge plaited palm-leaf bags
jostle me in friendly fashion.
I can’t buy food here … ? can I?

An explosion of colour grabs the eye,
such fruit I’ve never seen.
‘Go on, taste it Madame.’
I do, gagging at the reek of whole jack-fruit,
drooling at the divine taste of its inner flesh.

Give the stinking, unsavoury butcher’s row
a very wide berth.  Ditto the fish stalls -
those fish must have been caught
as long ago as yesterday.  Look, their eyes
are cloudy.

II Figures in the Market

Like Piccadilly Circus, stand there long enough
and you’ll meet everyone you know.

Anne of the long black rippled hair and gentle nature
voice like a screech owl.  We chat about choir,
the problems we have
with intonation and finding the note,
the disaster dynamics -
all they know is fortissimo.

Margaret, big and bouncy,
very Grand Blanc, rather posh,
booms on about plantation days
and when can you come for bridge?

Tiny sparrow, sari-wrapped Susan.
Surprised, I am, to see her
in the middle of the morning, away
from her windowless sweat-shop kitchen,
preparing the twenty or so pungent dishes
on a roaring primus, to feed Dev,
aged mother-in-law, sons,
arranged daughters-in-law,
and hangers-on, but not herself.

Scavenging dogs in packs
weave through the rickets-bowed legs
of idle gossiping men, crashing dominos
onto a stone slab table.
In a land of abundant fruit and fish
why would they bother with jobs?

III Aftermath

Driving home, loaded with exotica -
fruit and veg, herbs and spices,
fresh as all get out, I pass a beach.
A pirogue just landed, fresh
fish spread on the sand.
The babble of bargaining draws me in,
A huge bourgeois  for five rupees,
about fifty p in real money, a feast for ten.

Notes:  Victoria – capital of Seychelles
              Bourgeois – local name for a red snapper
              Pirogue – small slim boat with turned up ends, poled or paddled.


Posted in food, free verse, life writing, re-blogs | Tagged | 14 Comments

Sunshine Through the Buddleia Bush

The workshop at le Moulin the other week was on the theme of a sense of place, and this poem was written in response to an exercise asking us to write about a loved object in its place.  The Buddleia bush of the title was beside the French windows of the sitting room, in the house where I was born. 

Dancing light spot flickers, random ,
to pull my focus here and there
from wall to  glint of glass on picture;
settles briefly on  household god -
brightens the Hilversum-Luxembourg-tour -
heightens my grasp of the wider scene;
comes to rest on the small glass slipper,
emblem of romantic love,
proof that fairy tales come true.

Grumpy Great-Aunt Rosa left it
to my mum – forgotten the imagined slight,
that time I echoed Mum’s ‘good riddance’
before the Aunt had left our sight.
I had believed it a valediction,
a fare-thee-well, in terms polite
and formal, as befits so grand a figure.
I was wrong and wrath erupted round my head.
Ears were boxed to my amazement,
supper denied me,  sent to bed.

That glass slipper, loved, for ever
lost to me when Mum was gone -
older sister claimed the right
to favourite object – hers as well as mine.

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Haiku Challenge, day 2

After the Indian Summer  

The long high has gone.
A tangle of troughs and fronts
will bring welcome rain

Posted in haiku and senryu, nature poems | Tagged | 1 Comment


to The Listeners by Walter de la Mare

…and the plunging hooves were gone.
The listeners resumed their sleep
as the Traveller rode through the night.
But next morning when the forest
saw the Traveller once more
trying his luck on the sunlit door,
at last the listeners decided
such persistence should be rewarded.
They opened up and let him in
to feast and tell his story.

I had chickened out of responding to Mz Quickly’s prompt to write a sequel to a famous poem, but some words popped into my head of a poem learned in childhood – one that I always found unsatisfying because it didn’t finish the story.  Now I have given it a happy ending.

Posted in ekphrastic poetry, short poetry | Tagged | 4 Comments

Haiku challenge

In a miasma of non-creativity, I have challenged myself to write at least a haiku every day on a nature theme, in preparation for OctPoWriMo and in  thanks for Mz Quickly’s diligent daily prompts.  Here’s today’s attempt.

Weariness and pain
but the sun still shines all day
and birds sing their joy.


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