A Hero – Collins Sestet

image courtesy of Google


Champion of the right of men
to dignity and freedom, when
his evil enemies prevailed,
imprisoned him, his work reviled.
Captive for so many years
his people mourned with bitter tears.

Around the world opinion sweetened,
wicked autocrats were beaten
the will for justice overcame ─
their hero freed to start again,
to fight for right, to reappear,
enjoy his people’s happy cheers.

He steered his people through the storm,
lived long successful years, performed
feats of reconciliation,
merited the adulation.
When at last his end was near,
his people mourned with grateful tears.

This was written for two prompts – at dVerse yesterday they asked us to write about or in the persona of a human sculpture.  And as I’m a sucker for an interesting form, I leapt at the chance to experiment with the Collins Sestet as described in detail at Poetic Bloomings.  This form is usually written in heroic couplets which I thought would be appropriate for my subject.   I found it much harder than I expected.



Posted in formal poetry, rhyming poetry | Tagged , | 13 Comments

Scrap Happy Quadrille

scrap bin

Guilty Quilty Quadrille

I confess,
to buying fabric yesterday
though my oversized scrap bin
spills a glorious coloured fabric-fall
crying out for use in another scrap quilt..
I couldn’t resist the siren lure
of the jewel hues of textile
shouting at me from the
quilt shop shelves.

new fabrics 14.6.16

Kate at Tall Tales from Chiconia hosts a Scrap Happy Wednesday challenge, and although I am in fact busy quilting a weird and wonderful hexagon-shaped quilt at the moment, the Quadrille poem above is absolutely true, and conforms to the dVerse Monday Quadrille challenge to write a 44 -word poem containing the word “spill”.

wonky hexagon quiltI must have made a dozen scrap quilts in the last couple of years, in an attempt to eliminate the pile, but it still keeps growing!   This one is dafter than usual in that the entire quilt is hexagon-shaped!


Posted in life writing, Poems, quilts and pictures, short poems | 19 Comments

A true love story


Waiting for Jock
in Leclerc car park
the other day,
an old lady
caught my eye
on the escalator
in front of me.
Tight white permed curls,
apron, anorak
and sensible shoes
she turned her head,
pursed her lips
and landed a kiss
on the cheek
of the bald old man
pushing the trolley
beside her.
It brought a smile
to see their love
so unashamed
in such a mundane
setting – real romance.

for an explanation of Anacreontic poetry, and some great examples, go visit Poetic Bloomings

Posted in formal poetry, free verse, love poetry | Tagged | 10 Comments


Small walk on the wild side

I haven’t been walking much lately, but as summer has finally put its head round the door, the least I could do was go out and welcome it.  The grassy path earns its name,

grassy path againthe grassy path earns its name foxgloves by the grassy path  more grassy pathroadside bank Elderflowersbank by the house
the bank below the house has recovered from over enthusiastic scalping.

Summer Doggerel

I trundle feebly as a babe
stumbling, stopping, starting again.
Flora, varied, catch my eye
to snap, to print, to verify.
Accompaniment of birdsong blithe
makes me glad to be alive
Since last I walked the grassy path
dreary winter months have passed.
Now in glowing days of June
I emerge from my cocoon
to glory in the summer boon
of flowers.


and I’ve started to quilt the wonky hexagon scrap quilt, though I haven’t a clue what to do with it if it’s ever finished.

wonky hexagon quilt

Posted in life writing, nature poems, quilts and pictures, really bad poem, rhyming poetry | Tagged | 23 Comments

Another room I have known

Anse Baleine
The housing lady told me it wouldn’t do ─
far too small, not posh enough.
I mean, dear, it’s only a little flat.
But the first time I saw it
I was hooked.


I stood on the balcony outside,
peered across minimalist decor
to the Indian Ocean sparkling
through louvred windows opposite
Wide folding doors joined bed
and living rooms
into one great party space,
clean and bright with sparse furnishings –
beds, table, two wooden-armchairs,
concrete shelves pretending to be a fitted kitchen.



Flimsy print curtains with mason wasp nests clinging behind
couldn’t hide the theatre beyond ─
turquoise backdrop,
wings of casuarina trees,
coconut palms and  Calice du Pape.
Centre stage a tiny beach
with whale-shaped rock that gave the bay its name.
A foreground pawpaw tree brushed
the little balcony,
where giant spider webs,
dutifully mopped up pesky flies.

Oh yes, it would do.



Written for dVerse Open Link Night – not so much a poem, more a happy memory

Posted in life writing, prose poem | Tagged , | 29 Comments


Anchored to the ground
going round and round
on earth’s axis without moving

Same view from where I am
grass and sky and trees
Please let me travel elsewhere
to see the sea

Must get off the globe
to find a better road
so we can choose to go

Only see from here
same grass and sky and trees
Please let me travel somewhere
to see the sea


Anchored to the spot
distance covered not a lot
but the mind still wanders free

Desert, plain or mountain
man-made cityscape
or nature’s wilderness
Now I see the sea



Poetics at dVerse Poets’ Pub has us in a song-writing vein to seek the music in us.  My music is somewhat stifled since my piano and clarinet went travelling back to England four years ago, but I can still hum!

Posted in rhyming poetry, song lyric | Tagged | 31 Comments

Haibun Monday – joy in the daily round

Second crop of hay cut 4.6.16 and carted 6.6.16

Second crop of hay cut 4.6.16 and carted 6.6.16

Prevented by frailty from striding across the fields or down the hidden tracks, if there were no means of looking out over this rural landscape when I wake each morning, I should indeed be a prisoner.  The tasks of the farming year roll daily by my bedroom window and I am thankful for the glass that reveals the outside world to me in all its beauty.


After the haying
all is calm and very green
in the meadows


For Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets’ Pub

Posted in Poems | 23 Comments


Each year on the Sunday nearest to 6th June, a simple and touching ceremony is held beside the memorial to the multinational crew of a Lancaster bomber downed in a nearby field. Today local families and expat Brits gathered as usual.  I think this is the first time we’ve had such  non-summer weather for the occasion, but all went well, with messages from some of the airmen’s families, fanfares and national anthems from the village band. Poppied crosses are laid with reverence beside each name.  It’s hard to believe that it is 72 years since the events of that night.

The ceremony concludes with a “vin d’honneur offert par le maire de Cerisy la Salle” and the chance to catch up with friends.

Posted in pictures, Poems, prose | Tagged | 8 Comments

Quilt Gallery 2 up

with rescued and re-photographed pictures of early quilts from before the  computer crash  – see header bar.

Posted in quilts and pictures | 12 Comments


Been nowhere, seen nothing, what’s new?

Actually, I lie.  On Thursday I had a nice gossipy crafty afternoon at our friends’ new house – Jo is reviving our long-term habit of what Jock calls Stitch and Bitch.  The tradition goes back 25 years to when we were first here, when about a dozen of us, mostly Brits, would crowd into Marian’s living room to share our crafting:  knitting, sewing, quilting, crochet, tatting, etc.  When Marian went back to UK, we transferred to my house, but people disappear and do other things and by the time we moved here, it had dwindled to two or three.

From way back:  

Sewing Group

A blether of female friends
gathered round a well-laid table,
nattering, laughing,
filling faces with cake,
sipping tea and gossip –
this is how we
gratify our  need
for company,
satisfy our greed.

or this haibun from even further back

Seven ladies of uncertain age, knitting or sewing and chatting around my table, demolish my apple cake and several mugs of tea.  Not much needle work is done.  The gossip is usually of the kind kind.

Babble of Babel
tri-lingual sewing bee
English, French, drivel

I couldn’t find any pictures of us worth repeating, though you might enjoy the cake

Posted in life writing | Tagged | 15 Comments


Loss of mobility
…..freedom gone
……………living done
…………………….grieving on-going

Wait a minute.   Think.  What am I doing?

Immobility of body
…..leaves freedom for the mind
……….to wander at will.
……………..Creativity exploited
…………………….Words to leave behind.

Meeting the Bar at dVerse Poets’ pub asks us for an elegy for a loss – with three stages, sorrow, appreciation, acceptance.  My little poem is  something that has crept up on me, dominating my consciousness of late.      I hope it answers the definition of an elegy.  

I couldn’t make the staggered layout work without putting in the dots, because the ability to make them colourless has disappeared from the toolbar – WordPress gets harder and harder to use properly.

Posted in free verse, life writing | Tagged , | 23 Comments


Irene Toh at Red Wolf Poems is asking for poems about gardens.  Here’s a three-year-old poem about the days when we had a proper garden:

The Cream of the garden

The bank, left wild for birds, insects,
and January primroses,
before violets, bluebells, nettles,
cow parsley and foxgloves.
The hedge, murdered every few years
for winter logs and kindling – a motley thing
of alder, hazel, chestnut,  ash,
wild cherry and baby hedgerow oaks;
there’s a hollow stump sprouting hazel hair,
where a blackbird raises a brood in Spring,
becoming hideaway for summer children.
Its brambles give us jelly and crumbles,
sweetness from undergrowth.
Sweetness, too, behind the shed
where grass cuttings, weeds and waste,
moulder undisturbed into compost,
loved by vegetables, flowers, fruit, and me.

or this one

To All the Lazy People

You who can’t be bothered to dig up weeds,
who use noxious chemicals instead.
You whose gardens are tidy and sterile
because all the bees are dead.
Instead of working out in a gym,
work outside if you want to be fed.
Get fit to save your daily bread.

Posted in Poems, re-blogs | 8 Comments

Quadrille 10 – Breeze

Mirror Dinghies racing, image from Ullman Sails

Flat calm and no-one’s going anywhere
First ripple in the glass, we start to hope
The shadow of a squall stains the surface
A boom swings out, sails  fill, haul on ropes.
The gunwales dip and we are flying on the breeze.


44 words for dverse Monday Quadrille

Posted in free verse, Poems | Tagged | 23 Comments

Goose and Goslings

Jock's goose and goslings 30.5.16

Another Jock embroidery of a goose and goslings – from a photo taken by my son, Robin James Smith.  I don’t envy him doing such close work on a black background!

Posted in Jock's projects | 12 Comments

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 | 5 Comments