Quadrille 8

The times they are a-changing

skipping game image via Google

Little girls in frilly frocks
curls and bows and silly socks
played skipping games,
picking sides by calling names
jumping rope for endless hours
running wild and picking flowers.
Nowadays in jeans and tees
they watch screens.

for Quadrille Monday (44 words including Skip) at dVerse

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Cloud Cuckoo Land


I’ve never been to Timbuktu
not even merely passing through
nor visited the home of Fu Man Choo
If I said I had t’would be untrue

I’ve been to lots of other places
including some wonderful open spaces
Switzerland for ski-ing races
Florence and Paris rich with graces

There must be lots I’ve never seen
countries where I wish I’d been
places where you’d need sunscreen
or jungles where the sky is green

It’s much too late to try I fear
unless I find them very near ─
at least within this hemisphere
so maybe I should just stay here.


Carolee Bennett’s final prompt for Napowrimo 2016 asks us to write about a place we’ve never been.

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Why do Saturdays arrive so quickly?

My weeks are uneventful nowadays and I always seem to be writing 6-w-S.  I’ve hardly put my nose outside the door this week, and haven’t a great deal to show for April.   Too cold – more frost than we’ve had all winter.

I’m still embroidering butterflies on the pineapple quilt, so I won’t bore you with that until it’s finished.  The annual penance of doing the tax return is almost complete – just waiting for one more bit of paper to arrive.   It’s the last day of NaPoWriMo  today.  For the first time in years I haven’t slavishly followed poetry prompts, though I have written a new poem almost every day..  

The high spot of the week was seeing Alan Bennett’s Lady in a Van at the Cinema de la Plage at Hauteville-sur-Mer – poignant, funny and beautifully acted.   This comfortable and friendly cinema puts on films in VO (original version with French subtitles) on the last Thursday of each month, with free tea or coffee and chocolate biscuits afterwards, at 4 euros, superb value.  The films are usually new or relatively recent and of high quality, so those Thursdays are much looked-forward-to.

incipient apple blossom 30.4.16

Apple blossom tries
without success to emerge
from winter branches

Posted in haiku and senryu, life writing | Tagged | 6 Comments

Tritina – Shrinkage

As my years increase
choices shrink
slip out of reach

Not quite within reach
frustration increases
as I shrink

As my freedom shrinks
the desire to reach
the top shelf increases

Increase the shrinkage of the world to reach serenity.

Since I wrote this a couple of years ago, my world has shrunk even more:  no more driving, except an armchair, and driving Jock mad.   My world is now a small village and a view across fields and woods in front and small birds eating crumbs on the kitchen windowsill behind.   

Barbara Young proposed the Tritina form for Napowrimo day 29.

Posted in formal poetry, life writing, re-blogs | Tagged | 2 Comments



TAXING TIMES haiga mark 4


No time to sew, there’s much too much to do
with snowstorms of papers and files to go through.
Where did I put that so and so form?
My head’s in a spin but that is the norm
for tax day.  Figures are missing, leaving me wishing
that I were anywhere else but here.

Phone call to tax robot ─ “Press one, two or three”
now, which do I need?  Please somebody help me.
“You have the wrong form, you want 47 K not 47C”
But that’s what you sent me.  I didn’t foresee
mistakes from you as well as from me.

Husband keeps fussing me – time for a rest.
Breaks concentration ─ oh what a pest.─
now where was I? Ah yes, calculation
but which one? I ask ─ it’s all such a muddle.
Does everyone let tax confuse and befuddle?
When it is done I’ll be needing a cuddle.
Once this nightmare is over and I can relax
I shall laugh, and shout loudly,



Posted at dVerse Open Link Night

Posted in haiga, humour, life writing, rants, rhyming poetry | Tagged | 28 Comments

Secret Admirers


dVerse   Poetics wants us to pick a poet from the many customers of the poets’ pub and write a response, maybe in their style or maybe not.  One’s poetic voice after a while becomes recognisable, but write in someone else’s?  A tall order.  No prizes for guessing this one.

A one trick pony, but what a trick ─
she comes in from time to time

like the lady who once lived in Bath
she leads us straight up the path
in impeccable metre
she asks us to treat her
with laughter and fun and a glass

Who’d a’ thought a simple limerick
could be so versatile?

Posted in formal poetry, llimerick, rhyming poetry | 19 Comments

A twofer for Haibun Monday

Haibun Monday at DVerse wants us to use a photograph by Susan Judd – her ethereal pictures look like watercolour paintings. But first, a picture from my son:

 Robin's Twisted Sisters reduced for haiga

This mysterious photograph was taken last weekend by my son, Robin James Smith, at a secret location somewhere in Hertfordshire, England ─ secret to protect those bluebells from marauders.  In another month there will be a sea of blue beneath the twisted trees. The deformity may have been caused when the trees were released from an ivy prison at some point in their growth.


Twisted tangled tree
trunks, teasing ─ tempting light to
twinkle through the twigs

And here’s one of Susan Judd’s pictures with an embroidered story from my youth.



Belinda wanted to please her mother, so she gathered daffodils from the gardens passed on the way home from school.  Mum was far from pleased
with the gift.  She told little Belinda to take the flowers back to their real owners.
The terrified child hadn’t the chutzpah to knock on the doors, so she simply re-planted the broken stems among the leaves from which they’d been torn.

Paper thin petals
harbinger of warmer days
cheer us every Spring

Posted in haibun, life writing, nature poems | Tagged , | 19 Comments

Ode to a Mouse

Pickle's Mouse  No, not you.

 computer mouse    You!

O feckless fubsy piece of plastic
capricious device of devious devil ─
discipline your rebel arrow
wildly flying ‘cross the page.
You fail to stop at amber signal,
hide so coyly  in the margin,
sending poet red with rage.
O silent gizmo, rolling beastie,
what ails your cruel unsteady march?
You give conniptions to the user,
believing she should be in charge.
Ah, now you fail me, dourly dying,
slowly, slower, stopped.
I fumble with another plastic ─
nightmare packaging defies me
as contents roll along the floor.

O double A saviour, do your duty;
rescue me from wordless Word,
propel this rodent on its way
around the screen with fluent movement
pausing at the lightest click.
Allow manoeuvres slickly chosen –
copy, save, delete and stick,
Quickly, poet, use the lull.
Tap out words before you lose it,
use inspiration to the full.

O joyful creature, you have done it ─
allowed the words to flow,
albeit clumsily, with pauses,
but now it’s written, do I love you?
Comes emphatic answer:  NO.


Carolee Bennett gives us a prompt to write an ode on “practice” for Napowrimo day 25.  I know this isn’t quite what she’s asking for, but thought this one might amuse a few readers.   Since writing this  cri de coeur, I have invested in a new mouse, and all those problems are a thing of the past.

Posted in formal poetry, humour, story poems | Tagged | 19 Comments

What’s in my pocket

Josephine Corcoran hosts a new challenge to write about “What’s in my pocket” (or bag)


A lady’s handbag must be stretchy
to hold all she needs today.
Mine’s home-made in patchwork
with a very long strap.
It holds
a hanky,  red leather purse, cheque book,
pens galore and note books;
fully charged Kindle
in blue crocheted bag,
or failing that a paperback
in case I have to wait;
red passport, scruffy bits of paper
with ‘phone numbers but no phone,
old till receipts and shopping lists
but not the one for today ─
that one’s at home on the table.
Small point-and-shoot camera
in a red crocheted bag;
Natispray in a grey cotton cover
in case my heart plays tricks.
That’s all I can remember
but if I could be bothered to get up and look,
I’d probably find much more.


This all reminded me of a song I learned as a child.  I can’t find the words on line, and there’s a small gap in my memory …,so if anyone can remember the missing bits, I’d be
very grateful. 

Mister Brown went out of Town along with Mrs B
and all the little Browns too,  for a fortnight by the sea.
It’s quite absurd the luggage Mrs Brown would always take,
you’d always hear old Brown exclaim  as they went out the gate …

…. Why not at all my dear, she said,
There’s just a large trunk a little trunk,
the youngster’s trips and spades
a leather bag, a carpet bag, a box or two for the maids,
brown paper parcels – there were only two or three ─
and five little girls and boys and they all belong to me.

Posted in free verse, life writing | Tagged | 9 Comments

Red Shoes


You’re not having red shoes
In the shop Mum was cross
Please, Mum, they’re gorgeous
Red shoes no knickers, Mum’s mantra
Look, the heels aren’t that high,
I could dance all night in those
Oh, no you won’t – you’ll be back by ten.
Does that mean you’ll buy them then ?
We’ll see.  Try them on.

Comes next Friday, excited
twirling this way and that
in front of the mirror.
First bra, first nylons
sticky-out petticoat
swirly circular skirt
frilly blouse, waspie belt all the rage.
And those shoes …

Dad takes one look and hits the roof
What were you thinking?
She’s only fourteen
Out of the question to go out like that.
But Daaaad …
For once on my side, Mum sticks it out
She’s only young once
let her go.

So I did,
at the school Christmas hop
had a breathtaking time
as I danced with a prefect
the new cricket captain,
red shoes danced all the way home
on cloud nine.


This is a re-blog from way back in response to Irene at Red Wolf  Journal who asked for a poem mentioning footwear.  The poem was originally written for Annell Livingstone’s book, Red Shoes.

Posted in free verse, life writing | 10 Comments


First butterfly embroidered on pineapple quilt

butterfly pineapple

two more large ones to go plus several smaller ones.  Working with the hoop makes my back hurt, so I do it in small instalments.

lunch at Pirou  21.4.16

We had a delightful lunch party at Pirou Plage on Thursday with good friends.

The sun had shone constantly for the early part of the week,
enabling the farmer to get his hay cut, dried and carted in 4 days. hay going 20.4.16 As the last load trundled away, the clouds started to pile up and it’s drizzled ever since — un crachin Normand, as that kind of rain is known hereabouts.  We were still able to enjoy the panoramic sea views at mid-tide
and to watch the strange tractor/boats collecting mussels and whelks ready for the Festival des Bulots this weekend.  Pirou plage

This picture was taken last year, in kinder weather.

Posted in life writing, quilts and pictures | 9 Comments



Despoiled by crass stupidity,
greed and carelessness, earth damned ─
to sterile desert life condemned ─
assured by man’s cupidity.
Will we survive obliquity,
rebuild, recharge, re-discover
simple ways and so recover
everything we used to value
live our lives in days less shallow  ─
symbiotic, help each other?

Written for dVerse Meeting the Bar, the Decima  is a 10-liner with 8 syllables (octosyllabic) per line in the following rhyme pattern: A B B A A C C D D C
Coincidentally, today is Earth Day, and Elizabeth Crawford gives us a prompt to write about nature, life or this planet we call home.  

Posted in nature poems, rhyming poetry, short poems | Tagged | 15 Comments

Haytime in April?

On Sunday, the farmer cut the big field opposite the house.  He came and turned it at dusk on Monday and Tuesday.  The sun shone and the wind blew just enough to dry it beautifully.  I suspect he will collect it this evening.
hay  - rowing up 10pm 19.4.16

PS 3 hours of sunshine later, the hay is going fast.:hay going 20.4.16


Last week:

fallen tree haiga 16.4.16

Posted in haiga, pictures | 7 Comments

Quadrille 6


The taste for the superfluous holds sway
over those who are still unacquainted
with the necessary.
Twist and turn as we may,
true contentment
will remain out of reach for
those who are ignorant of the difference
between want and need,
sufficiency and greed.

 44 words using the word twist for dVerse.  I came across a quote from a Russian text in a Donna Leon book, but have lost the reference, so my poem is a paraphrase.

Posted in formal poetry, free verse, short poems | Tagged | 19 Comments

Sport versus necessity

“The Indian never fishes or hunts for sport, only for food.  Granpa said it was the silliest damn thing in the world to go around killing something for sport.  He said the whole thing, more than likely, was thought up by politicians between wars when they wasn’t gittin’ people killed so they could keep their hand in on killing.  Granpa said that idjits taken it up without a lick of thinking at it, but if you could check it out — politicians started it.  Which is likely.”

Another little snippet from The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter


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