Say not the struggle naught availeth

Yesterday I was struggling with a single Dresden Plate block for Kate in Queensland, finished today.   Never has so much time, effort and angst produced such a pathetic result. I will send it off anyway, in case she can cannibalise it into something useful.


I have found some different templates, and will attempt to redeem myself with another attempt, but don’t hold your breath.

Posted in quilts and pictures | Tagged | 2 Comments


Inbox crammed with rubbish – clearout needed

It’s taken me an hour just to tidy up the computer, but I feel better now!

pineapple child's quilt finished

I finished the pineapple child’s quilt last night, and am now mulling over another design in my head.  Meanwhile, I’m supposed to be doing a Dresden Plate block or two for Kate Chiconi.  She is doing a mammoth project called Time for Teal, in aid of an Ovarian Cancer charity.  She sent me templates, but I must have done something stupid, as my first plate has a big pokey-up-bulge in the middle.  Now the pineapple quilt is out of the way, I shall start again from scratch.  Concentrate, Viv!

Posted in life writing, quilts and pictures | Tagged | 12 Comments

Nonce-sense poems

Miz Quickly, aka Barbara Young, sets some quirky prompts which tickle the imagination, and here are poems sparked by two of them.  Firstly, to write with Chutzpah, a favourite word of mine; and the second is an invention test, to write a Nonce poem, at least ten lines, with at least two words to the line. She gave us some seed words, telling us to use a minimum of two:   blue pose fell glass five letter essential 



Is not diffident, hesitant or self-effacing
doesn’t lack confidence
is not backward in coming forward
but is sure of itself,
impudent and audacious
above all, full of fun.
I hope I have it, just a bit.



A Nonce Poem 

A nasty word is nonce
to use in any poem –
I’ll say this only once:
five letters to describe
the butt of prison rancour,
a sex offender or otherwise
the lowest of the low
just like a City banker
who merits another rhyming word
I can’t bring myself to use
(at least I pretend I can’t)
but that is just a pose.
And now it is essential
I end this nonce-ish poem
of words inconsequential.


Posted in formal poetry, nonsense poems, rhyming poetry | Tagged | 6 Comments

Amuse me, my muses.


Where are you hiding, Calliope?
Terpsichore, Erato, I need you, too.
I see you there, lurking in the fog
of muddled thought,
jinking in and out of consciousness
like  naughty children.

Please, won’t you come out to play?
Play properly, with real words
and no small contribution from Euterpe.
I promise I’ll be good
and write to your dictation
so that we can all dance and sing,
tell epic stories,
and pay passionate court
to our lovers.

My muse is AWOL just now, so for dVerse Open Link Night I’m linking this poem written for a National Poetry Day and posted here in October 2010.

Posted in free verse, re-blogs | Tagged | 20 Comments

Hello, Goodbye

notre-dame-spire_orig-ps straightened by Neil



Thankful the day’s about to end ─
goodbye to pain and irritation
farewell to cold precipitation
deplored in May, when leaves,
new grown, pretend
it’s summer.

I thank the Lord the day is come
to banish restless night
with lingering mist soon to succumb
to meagre sunshine, not so bright
bringing illusion of summer.


sunrise-8-3-16-ps straightened by Neil


This is Abbrah’s final prompt as host at the poets’ pub  dVerse.   She asks us to write a farewell regretted poem, and we do regret saying goodby to her;   while at Poetic Bloomings they ask for an Aubade, a dawn poem.  I have combined the two.

I’ve straightened the spire sunset pic umpteen times, but each time it goes back to leaning to the left.  Perhaps when it was replaced after the hurricane of Christmas 1999 it decided to lean to remind us of that calamitous night.  Or perhaps it’s my own inability to use the software properly, as the sunrise pic is also sloping.  The spire was taken from our kitchen window at the front and the sunrise from our patio.

PS  Neil Reid very kindly straightened the pictures for me.  Thank you, Neil.


Posted in pictures, rhyming poetry | Tagged | 29 Comments

Haibun Monday … Relaxation Class

Visualise twenty horizontal ladies in various stages of bulge, spread out on mats across the village hall.  “Now ladies, empty your minds; starting with your toes and work up towards your heads, tense each muscle in turn, then let it go floppy.  Breathe deeply in through your nose and slowly out through your mouth.  Now, toes … ankles … calves … …”  By this time most of the ladies are fast asleep, some snoring.

Relax, keep calm, breathe;
happy ending nearly here
but first you must work.

Written for Haibun Monday at dVerse  The prompt took me back more than 50 years to learning a technique that has stood me in good stead in many a dire, painful or frightening situation.

Posted in haibun, life writing, prose | Tagged | 19 Comments

Haiga for Celie

If you don’t know Celie and her wonderful blog at The Kitchen’s Garden, you haven’t lived. Here are two of the characters you  will find:  an anonymous piglet – those destined for the table are not named other than as generic plonker –  and a hopefully pregnant Aunty Del.Celie's plonker  haiga
Plonker needs to borrow Aunty Del’s tongue

Celie's Anty Del  haiga
If Aunty Del can do it why can’t the Plonker?

Posted in haiga, pictures, re-blogs | Tagged | 5 Comments


Turgid dreams make a colourful night
but at least I slept.

image by my son, Robin James Smith
image taken by my son, Robin James Smith

A quiet week, but for the high spot on Tuesday: a lunch with four old friends at the bistro in the village – les Gars-melles.  The name is a pun, as it’s run by a couple of chaps (gars), and gamelle means a cooking pot.  Tuesday is barbecue day – one of the gars stands on the pavement outside and cooks sausages, merguez, entrecôte  steaks and pork chops.  He has an umbrella on rainy days.

Otherwise, I’ve quilted most of this grey and chilly week. Good progress, but not enough to show you in a photo.

Posted in food, life writing, pictures | Tagged | 25 Comments

Palindromic palimpsest etheree


those folk,
some of them
more than once, happily,
have visited this blog
read my writing
viewed photos,
Thank you,
my faithful friends
for coming



Posted in concrete poetry, Poems, short poems | Tagged | 21 Comments

The Father of Inspiration

My propensity for writing doggerel
is all my father’s fault ─
a funny man, a punny man
of temper unpredictable.

Sitting down to Sunday dinner
the chat was fast and furious.
He’d say a line or maybe two
and wait to see just who
would respond in manner curious.

The sillier the rhyme the better
“Holly, holly mistletoe
Sit the baby on the po  … chair.
When he’s finished wipe his … er … face
and send him upstairs to the other place.”

Turn and turn about we’d go
the lines becoming scurrilous
rude or scatological
but careful to retreat in time
to disarm his temper perilous.

And so you see before you
the result of my father’s genes,
writing really awful poetry
(but careful to avoid obscene)
and always having fun.


Walt Wojtanik is guest hosting at dVerse, with a request for a character study of someone who has influenced or inspired us..  Oops, I’ve just spotted that we’re not supposed to identify our character…too late now.

Posted in humour, life writing, really bad poetry, rhyming poetry | Tagged | 12 Comments



Never Satisfied


Through grim grey months of winter
I long for the rebirth of green,
complain at the late arrival
of birds and bees, leaves and flowers

In May, overwhelmed
by half-remembered greens
in  diversity to blind us,
I complain at rapid growth of the lawn


For dVerse Monday Quadrille – 44 words using green

Posted in free verse, Poems, short poetry | 29 Comments

Six Word Saturday

It’s been a funny old week

Foggy mornings and evenings with mist, low cloud and drizzle in between.

Wednesday afternoon was special:  a poet friend brought another poet friend on the spur of the moment and the three of us workshopped our  poems while Jock waited on us with tea and hilarity.

Mister Foxy head

I am besotted with the embroidered Mister Fox which Jock has just finished, and he’s started another using a photograph taken by my son of a Canada goose with goslings.


I’ve been fairly productive too this week – I’ve finished the three  embroidered butterflies on my pineapple scrap quilt, sandwiched it with help from Jock.  The cramped state of the workroom made it almost impossible to get round the tables, one of which will have to go.

Minimal hand quilting  is started in the central blocks and I’m hoping to quilt smaller butterflies in the side triangles to echo the embroidered motifs.   These photos are included for Kate’s Scrap Happy/May blog at  You will enjoy a trip over there when it goes up tomorrow.

pineapple child;s quilt sandwich_pe

 pineapple child's quilt sandwich 2

That’s been my week.  Do pop in at Cate’s Place to see what other six-worders have been doing.


Posted in Jock's projects, life writing, pictures, quilts | Tagged | 24 Comments


Now let us consider  the joining words,
our teachers called conjunctions.
I think they are important words
to link phrases, things, relations.
Thread and knots or stitches
fashion clothes to keep us warm.
Cement, glue, and staples,
dovetails, nails and screws
join furniture to give us rest;
bricks, stone and timber
make homes to keep us safe.

Now let us consider friendship:
chance-met acquaintance,
colleague, lover or kindred,
cherish those connections,
supportive networks;
despite their imperfections,
hold them in affection.
Use roads, railways and tunnels,
seaways and airways
to maintain their fusion.

Whether real or virtual
or even metaphorical,
when joints and links fail,
as seems to happen
on a colossal scale,
the world goes kerflooey
in chaos, conflict and confusion.
Nurture those links
for a happier conclusion.


Ms Quickly suggests we consider a list poem à la Christopher Smart’s Jubilate Agno.  Years ago I wrote a pastiche of his lines “for let us consider my cat Jeoffrey”  but I can’t find it.  While looking for it I came across a small poem called Conjunctions, which set me off on this track, incorporating bits and bobs from the earlier poem.  I don’t suppose Ms Q will feel that I have obeyed her instruction to play, to be wacky, to rejoice, but I did have fun writing it.  It’s a bit rough and ready, so critique welcome.


Posted in longer poems, rhyming poetry | 10 Comments

Absence of Mind


Last night I went to bed bookless –
a calamitous killer of sleep.
I’d searched the car,
the bathroom, the bedroom,
and down the back of the sofa –
but the novel had vanished in smoke.

I am always losing things:
hearing-aids and handbags
but this afternoon I hit rock bottom
when husband was making the tea:
he yelled at me across the room
“Why is your book in the fridge?”



Posted in humour, really bad poem | 21 Comments

Where are the Bees?

Where are the bees?

our apple tree 12.5.16
Our apple tree, 12.5.16

We’ll crunch no apples this autumn
for the blossom will  not be transformed
by the work of our friends the bees.

I haven’t seen a bee this year ─
last Spring the farmer did his worst
One Sunday on the quiet
he turned his lethal illegal spray
onto the growing corn.
The corn it grew and grew and grew
but I haven’t seen a bee this May.

We’ll crunch no apples this autumn
for the blossom, late appearing,
will  not be transformed
by the work of our friends the bees.

Posted in nature poems, prose poem, rants | Tagged | 18 Comments