Thursday, May 31, 2012

Licky-Sticky Prawns

asks us for a 'practical' poem this week

A Rhyming Recipe

Here in Oz a shrimp's a prawn and cilantro's coriander
Keep that in mind when you cook this tasty dish!
The name's don't really matter for it's the taste that counts
And the taste of this is brilliant as you wish!
It's a perfect meal for summer nights (it's winter where I am)
And the prawns look lovely laid out on the plate.
It's a quick and easy recipe that anyone can make
But your guests are sure to label it as 'Great!'
Marinate the prawns in the honey for a while,
Covering with cling-wrap helps a lot.
Then add the garlic, oil and soy and marinate some more,
The lovely flavour's sure to hit the spot.
Skin and chop the mushrooms, cut the onion into chunks,
Also the peppers, one size here 'fits all'.
Thread the lot on skewers, but watch out for the drips!
Some from the marinade are bound to fall!
Your kebabs are set for grilling, with some extra marinade;
Cook them till they curl up at the edges,
Then serve them any way you like, with bread or rice or plain,
With salads or with lots of crispy veggies.
The honey adds a yummy sticky surface to the prawns,
So be sure you  have some napkins standing by!
There'll be lots of finger-licking when you serve these lovely treats!
And your reputation's bound to go sky-high!


3tbsp honey
2tbsp soy sauce
1tsp of sesame seed oil
1 clove of garlic, crushed

175g  prawns, cooked and peeled
125g  mushrooms
1/2  onion
1 red pepper



Quite arresting, the deck-chair slats,
A nice resting-place for passing cats!
All sea-sidy  (and by the sea),
Some restaurant-owner's fantasy!
Hardly comfy! All stiff but sloping!
As a site for leisure it isn't coping.
But a leafy shade has begun to crawl
Over the slats to soften them all.
Cushions would offer a sense of rest.
But leafy shadows are doing their best!

The Pendant

                                                                         Matthew Russell

requests a haiku on the subject of astronomy


Pendant in the sky
A vision gone yet still seen
Miracle of time


Life today is regulated,
Thought about and litigated.
Should these youngsters chance to fall,
From the tree-tops, waving tall,
As they swing from limb to limb,
'Authority' would look quite grim.
True, there's danger, but that's life.
They could, indeed, get into strife.
Hence the 'bonnets', of bright blue,
No doubt called Hard Hats by you.
Harnesses as well there are
So they can't fall very far.
They'll have a great time, there's no doubt,
Learning what height is all about.
But, in my youth, when life was freer,
We didn't have an overseer.
'Go and play' the parents said
And we'd return in time for bed!
I didn't climb; I wasn't tough,
Never adventurous enough.
But I knew boys who'd climb up trees
Easily as high as these!
There'd be falls and cut and gashes,
Bruises, stinging-nettle rashes...
No-one died, as I recall
And everybody had a ball!
What intrigues me, in this regard,
Is, though we labour, very hard,
To keep our children safe and well,
Inside a little protective shell,
We'll be sending them out into 'real life'
Ill-equipped for coming strife!
The crashing cars, the drug addictions,
The many other world afflictions!
When all the supervision's gone
Let's hope they keep their Hard Hats on!



impressionist painting 1

An impression must be momentary,
Passing, never-to-be-repeated.
If I see a static 'impressionist'
Its purpose is defeated.
A bather sleeping on a beach
Cannot be on my list,
For, if the sleeper's motionless,
That's not 'impressionist'.
Monet caught a brief second
As this old steam-train drew in;
We can hear the hissing steam
And the raucous station din.
The colours are so subtle
On this, clearly, rainy day,
And Monet seems to capture
A million shades of grey.
Monet saw something we'll never see,
He looked and it was gone,
Yet, because of his great artistry,
This second lingers on.
With other painters it's rising mist,
Or clouds wind-tossed and white,
Or else there's a movement of a dress,
Captured, however slight.
Maybe the term 'Impressionist'
Means more to the expert eye,
But, to me, it just means capturing
'Beauty that's passing-by'.


Gerald is no longer with us;
Gerald died not long ago.
I only met him out in Blogland,
But I always admired him so.
One day Gerald thought of 'Devon',
Held the picture in his mind;
Played with it and mixed his vision
Till it was thoroughly defined.
Then he used his favourite medium
To save the picture from his brain;
Maybe altered it and tinkered
Time and time and time again.
When it was finished he drew pleasure
From the picture he could see;
The 'Devon' in his mind was transferred
To the brains of you and me.
And now I see it and think 'Devon'.
His thought, my brain, the journey's done.
Your life, dear Gerald, may have ended,
But immortality's begun.


we are asked to use the words in blue


He was a jingle-writer; he wrote inside birthday cards.
He could never aspire to being one of those great Shakespearian bards.
He churned out 'merry' with 'berry' and 'funny' with 'sunny' as well,
And all his words were easy ones that any fool could spell.
His words had a ladidah rhythm, with rarely a mind-blowing phrase,
And other poets pointed out the error of his ways.
They said he should try writing sonnets, and iambic pentameters too,
And he very nearly believed their words and felt that they were true.
He grappled with 'proper poetry' but it really left him cold;
He published his own little booklet; not a single copy was sold.
He asked other proper poets if they earned any money at all
And each one replied 'Not really', all of them looking small.
Then he went into some card-shops and there was his work displayed!
Row upon row of the jingles for which he had been paid!
At last he felt vindicated! He felt quite smug and content.
Proper poetry fed the soul but it didn't pay the rent!


Ladies of a certain age, out for a docile stroll,
Saw the playground equipment and said 'Well! Bless my soul!
I feel like having a go at that! There's nobody here to see!
I'll pretend that I'm a monkey in the branches of a tree!'
So there and then they all skimmed up, some quickly, some sedately.
(It was easy to see, among the group, who hadn't exercised lately!)
Of course, I'd have been the most agile, climbing high as a giraffe,
But I was otherwise occupied, taking the photograph!
Yes I know it's Second Childhood, but, when all is said and done,
We ladies of a certain age still have a lot of fun!

Bush Turkey

                                          Brenda Bryant

letter 'B'



Today he walks across our path with equanimity.
For in a world of frozen meals he's overlooked and free.
And so he strides with ballet grace and looks us in the eye,
Not afraid of anything and not destined to die.
Bush turkeys were a staple food of the Aborigines.
They'd stalk them as they strutted in and out of shady trees.
For they were plump and tasty and made a filling meal
Whereas for us they merely have an artistic appeal.
How well those ancient peoples lived! The rivers ran with fish
And 'bush tucker' abounded, as much as they could wish.
In summer it was balmy for half of every year;
Storms came and went but skies were left unabashed and clear.
In winter there were furs to wear and caves to shelter in;
And they had the treasured company of others of their kin.
We feel rather sorry that they've lost the life they had;
But not this old Bush Turkey......
It's gone and he is glad!.


I write this in the cause of science; be quite aware of that.
I myself am far above caring about thin and fat.
I live on a very much higher plane, where body-size doesn't matter;
Normally I don't notice who's thin and who is fatter.
But cave-women came into my mind  by chance the other day.
(My mind moves in mysterious ways and this was a mysterious way!)
'When people went completely nude living in caves and such,
Letting everything hang out, did figures matter much?
Did women from the dawn of time look extremely glum,
Saying to their dearest friend "Have I got a big bum?"
Did they criticise each other, saying "Look at Elsie's neck!
How can Ernie tolerate living with such a wreck?"
They hadn't a hope of hiding flaws when they were in the nude
But did they go on diets and eat less mammoth food?
Or were they all oblivious to the differences in size,
Never thinking of comparing Rita's with Elvira's thighs?
All the cave-paintings I've seen showed people middle-sized;
Maybe no-one noticed, maybe no-one criticised.
How refreshing it must have been when we weren't all fashion's slaves!
Let's flaunt all our wobbly bits! Let's head back to the caves!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Time Travel


                                                                           Matthew Russell


Do you wish to travel through Time?
Look out on the velvet sky.
But never look with everyday eyes;
Involve your inward eye.
Switch off the looking-and-seeing
We enjoy in our daily lives,
And imagine Light when it's leaving,
And Light when it arrives.
It may be all stars have perished,
And we're alone in the dark,
For it's not the Present we're viewing,
When we gaze at this pin-wheel spark.
Twenty-five million Light Years
This view has been travelling to you!
Yet we marvel at this beauty
And treat it like something new!
This star may now be a Nothing,
In a Black Hole or turned to Gas!
It may have shrunk to a tiny dot
Or be an enormous mass.
Had men been around when this star blazed,
And we know that they were not,
They could never have gazed at this certain star,
This shimmering diadem dot,
For they'd have been looking at something else
Already incredibly old!
They might have looked at the Big Bang 
(Which didn't exist, we're told!)
When Cavemen looked up at the starry sky
What wonders did they see?
For they, too, were Time Travellers,
Much like you and me.
And what of intelligent creatures
Gazing, now, from on high, at our earth?
They don't 'see' us as we are now,
So what is their viewing worth?
If they could see an enlargement
They'd find very different creatures!
Just elemental living things
With very different features!
So what do we know about anything?
Precious little it seems.
But we can Travel in Time right now,
And enjoy the Land of Dreams.
I know that I'll die not knowing
What the whole damn thing's about.
It makes my head ache just thinking!
I'll leave Matthew to work it out!

Matthew Russell is my cousin's son and I have just re-met him on Facebook. There I discovered that his astronomical photographs are considered very fine by those in the know. This is what he wrote to accompany this shot:

Last night's quick photo of M51 the brilliant iconic gem the Whirlpool galaxy! How ace is it! 2 galaxies M51a and M51b colliding, the white dust around the smaller galaxy is actually millions of stars being flung around! I don't really know what would happen to the planets that surround these stars, the scale maybe soooo huge that they don't really feel it! Strangely even though their are billions of stars in a galaxy when they collide it's highly unlikely a star will hit another star! much more likely is gas to interact and make new stars, and supernovae, So with galaxy collisions you get more heavy elements therefore more chance of complex life!

My poem is a feeble effort to make some sense of it all!

QUOTE "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players"


If all the world's a stage
With an audience of One,
Is He sitting there in judgement
From the time the play's begun?
Is He holding his auditions
And declaring who will act
And is He doling-out the roles,
On a stage which is tight-packed?
And are we merely players
Like puppets hung on strings,
And is He in charge of properties,
The crowns, the shining wings?
Since He has sprinkled attributes
Among the fawning players,
And sorted men and women
Into variegated layers
With successes at the very top,
The mediocre in between
And the failures at the bottom,
Not allowed upon the scene,
Achieving even a walk-on part
Is like crying for the moon,
Even if we act quite well
And can even hold a tune!
And if the 'audience' likes the play
Will there be a standing ovation?
Will He thunder-clap his god-like hands
In a heavenly proclomation?
It's all too hard for me, my friends,
I feel much more at home
With those very human, squabbling, lying,
Gods of ancient Rome.


chose the topic



Do not mourn too much
Life is a celebration
Even when it ends


I've never been a commuter,
For which I thank my lucky stars!
I've never driven nose-to-tail
Behind a thousand cars.
So I can look at this photograph
And think to  myself 'How pretty!
The lights resemble a neckace
As they travel from the city!
All those shining yellow jewels,
Threaded on a chain!
So much more attractive
Than traveling by train!
And doesn't the snow enhance them!
They're really picturesque!
Worth the journey into town
And working  behind a desk!'
But, if I were a commuter,
Those might not be my thoughts!
I'd have many other views
Of many different sorts!
'Shes going to be really acid
If I'm home late again!'
'Drat! I'd be doing better
If I'd chosen a different lane!'
God! This seat's uncomfortable!
My bum has gone to sleep!'
'If that chap in front slows down
 I'll give him a loud beep!'
'I'm feeling lots of aches and pains
In parts I dare not mention!'
'Oh my aching neck again!
They say it's caused by tension!'
'I've got pins and needles!
I need to get out and stamp!'
'It drizzled as I walked from work;
Now my jacket's really damp!'
'I'm ravenously hungry!
I'm longing for my tea!'
'Hours and hours and hours and hours
And I'm desperate for a pee!'
I've never been a commuter,
For which I thank my lucky stars!
I think I'd rather catch a spaceship
And head off out to Mars!'

The Chair

supplied the illustration


He always demanded to 'take the chair' whenever there were meetings.
He dominated everyone.We learned about the cheatings,
The devious machinations  and the frauds he perpetrated
After his death, when his tenure was finally debated.
With his boardroom beard and shiny pate he always held the floor.
He could modulate his cultured voice to a whisper or a roar.
With meat-plate hands and piercing eyes he allowed no argument.
'I have the chair!' he'd bellow, and we all knew what that meant!
Many a reputation he had carefully destroyed.
We all knew we had cause to quake when he shouted 'I'm annoyed!'
Never was any man hated so much and for so long!
He thought his memory'd be revered but he was very wrong.
We stole his heart from the mortuary, where his stiffening body was laid
And we buried it in the statue that was soon designed and made.
He's seen as 'taking the chair' indeed, looking more alive than dead,
And everyone stands around and laughs when the birds poo on his head!

All people sing around the world,
But they all sing different songs,
Warbling away about the land
 In which each group belongs.
National anthems for each spot,
Are belted out with zest,
In praise of the little bit of dirt
Each group considers best.
They sing in different languages,
They adhere to different creeds;
They have their different customs
And they have their different needs.
Even singing all together
In a great almighty choir,
They'd still all be at loggerheads;
Self-interest would inspire.
The Tower of Babel once was built;
We live in it today,
And, far into the future,
We'll go on the same way.
I'd like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony,
But I haven't got a hope in hell
As far as  can see.


                                    David Marshall



I have ten fingers and I have ten toes.
They splay out like the branches of a tree,
And, barring accidents, the whole world knows,
Repeated tens express conformity.
Now nature gave us digits, as we know,
Upon the hands and also, on the feet.
It tried it once and, having seen them grow,
It went ahead and fashioned a repeat.
An abacus was at our finger tips!
That's why we always use them when we count.
When counting buttons, cars or paper-clips
We count in tens, whatever the amount.
You'll notice, time and time again
That there is magic in the Power of ten.


Words like 'gnaw' and 'gnat' and 'gnu',
(And, thankfully, such words are few),
Really make me hit the roof,
Since they give us certain proof
That our language is quite crazy!
After all, that 'g' is lazy!
It just sits there like a blob
While other letters do their job!
What if I added 'g' to 'nod'?
'Gnod' is a word that's simply odd!
What if I added 'g' to 'never'?
'Gnever' doesn't look too clever!
Would a 'gnose' be even wearable?
Wouldn't 'gnonsense' be unbearable?
Could you bear to write your 'gname'?
Would 'gneighbours' make you blush with shame?
Gno, gno, gno! It's 'out damned spot!'
Accept your gnonsense I will gnot!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Three Cheers



Three cheers for a female body, that's not like a bunch of sticks,
One that's not been skinisized by clever photography tricks!
Oh, maybe in her later years she'll grow a trifle stout
But, by then, all her admirers will be suffering from gout.
For now she's blooming with female health, with good child-bearing hips;
She clearly likes a glass of wine and maybe a packet of chips.
Her skin is honey-coloured, her curves are generous;
She's not the 'latest model; she's clearly one of us.
That face has never been botoxed! That would be a sin.
She even has the beginnings of a dear little double-chin!
Junoesque they call her and she bears the name with pride
For Juno was a goddess; her plumpness was deified.
In her brilliant red bikini, this lady walks the line;
She's comfortable in her body and knows that she's looking fine.
Here is Juno, in all her glory, being thoroughly adored!
Enjoy your curves. Take my word for'll never be ignored!

(A Poem for Little Children.)

The Kitty twins were feeling down,
For Mama Cat had gone to town.
They were missing her soft fur,
Gentle tongue and soothing purr.
The Dutchy twins were passing by,
And heard the kittens’ mournful cry;
Saw them mewing, looking cold,
A sorry picture to behold.
The Dutchy twins said ‘Our big hats
Make lovely nests for little cats!
We’ll take them off, then you can hide,
Warm and cosy down inside’
The Dutchy twins said ‘You’ll be warm,
Sheltered from the wind and storm.
When Mama comes, then you can boast
That you have been as warm as toast.’
When Mama Cat came home that day
She thought her twins had run away!
But soon she found them way down deep
In little Dutch hats, lying fast asleep.

Monday, May 28, 2012




I sit here at my window;
The dusk is drawing down.
The lights are twinkling yonder
In the tantalising town.
My mother treats me as a child,
With no motives of my own!
But I feel like a woman
Already fully grown!
Nanny's gone to bed next door;
Her night-light has been lit.
'Bed at nine!' says Nanny
'And that's the end of it'.
Beyond her room's the guest-room
And guess who is in there!
It's my cousin, Anthony......
The answer to a prayer!
Last year he was a little boy
When he came to stay,
But he didn't act like a little boy
In the rose-garden today!
We've planned to meet at ten o'clock,
By then it will be night.
I've never been out late before
But he says we'll be all right.
He says he has adventures planned!
And I can hardly wait!
Oh dusk, oh dusk, be dimming!
Why! It's only half past eight.


Oh dammit! I've lost them again!
The instructions on how to get back!
I'm terribly sorry!
They were lost in this quarry
And I'm going to end up with the sack!

We'll be stuck up on Mars for all time!
Just because I was careless again!
In our tractors and trucks,
We are just sitting ducks
For those damnable Little Green Men!

The Leader Led

asks us to consider leadership


I am the Leader and the Led;
Does that sound contrary?
I like to be in charge of things,
And yet my feelings vary.
I like to take a stand on things
And make my feelings known;
I like to be up on the stage
Confident and alone.
I love to hold an audience
In the palm of my little hand,
Nervousness and modesty
I just don't understand.
But I'm speaking now of a Little Life;
My circle is quite small,
And what I consider Power
Is really nothing at all.
When I compare the life I've lived
With that of the truly great
I realise I'm a nothing,
And my power-play doesn't rate.
I'm one of the many faceless ones
When it comes to important things;
I hum along in the back row
While the Prima Donna sings.
My life has made no difference 
To the way the world's turned out.
I know it's managed with me,
But it could have done without.
So am I Leader? Am I Led?
I suppose it all depends
Upon the prevailing point of view.
And there my poem ends!


These were my Father's sisters
Sitting on a wall.
I only met them once or twice,
Hardly knew them at all.
Ollie, Emmie and Caroline;
My Dad was their only brother,
And he rarely visited his family,
After he married my Mother.
In those days distances seemed vast,
And we never had a car.
Travel from Kent to Devonshire!
 That would be too far.
So these Aunts were shadowy figures,
I hardly seemed related,
Family likenesses to them
Were never contemplated.
And yet, my sister, Mollee,
Shines out of Ollie's face,
And there are other likenesses
That I can clearly trace.
The way Ollie sits and holds her head,
The way she places her feet,
Are all reminiscent of Mollee,
And yet they would rarely meet.
Ollie, she's the one sitting on the left,
Was called Olive, but her name
Is so reminiscent of  'Mollee'
That they both sound just the same!
All this I'm only noticing
As I sit and blog today.
There's something almost magical
About our D.N.A.