Tag Archives: poem

D H Lawrence Wonders What’s For His Tea – A Poem

Here’s the poem I had published in Obsessed with Pipework back in February. It is published in paper form rather than on the internet, which means I can’t link to it at the time of publication. I’m not sure what the precise etiquette is with quoting it after that, but it seems reasonable to do it once the next issue is out. That arrived this week, so it seems as good a time as any.

It’s meant to be tongue in cheek, but I’m worried that published alongside more serious poetry it might look like I’m being serious. This is not a poem about the dietary requirements of a well-known Nottinghamshire writer, it’s a poem showing that even serious literary heavyweights get hungry, and that they just dawdle about waiting to be served. D. H. Lawrence does not strike me as the sort of man who would make his own tea. I know he was considered advanced for his time but I’m not sure that this extended to housework.

I should read up on him, and as Julia’s uncle wrote a couple of biographies of Lawrence, which we have in the house, I have no excuse.

It has the rhyme scheme of a villanelle, but I couldn’t get the lines to the correct length without adding words to pad them out, so I gave up. It’s probably best described as “modelled on a villanelle” but ” a poor attempt at a villanelle” would also be fair. For a good villanelle, try here, or here.

In the end, as has been said by many people, you don’t finish a poem, you just abandon it. After hacking away at this one for nearly three years, I decided it was time to set it free.

D H Lawrence Wonders What’s For His Tea

The kettle sits on the hearth and sings
and Eastwood seems so far away.
He writes of snakes and other phallic things
and wonders what teatime will bring,
coughing gently at the close of day.
The kettle sits on the hearth and sings.
Dusk closes in on phoenix wings,
with thoughts of mothers and mortality.
He writes of snakes and other phallic things,
thinks of muffins, jam and apron strings,
and crumpets laid out on a tray.
The kettle sits on the hearth and sings
as he stretches out his stiffening limbs.
Could life have gone another way?
He writes of snakes and other phallic things,
ponders the fates of men and kings
and wonders where life went astray.
The kettle sits on the hearth and sings:
he writes of snakes, and other phallic things.

Blood Tests, Relaxed Restrictions and a Peaceful Protest

I had to visit the Treatment Centre for a blood test yesterday. I didn’t need one and I don’t do it for fun but I had been told to have another one in a clear case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.

For posterity, I note the following things.

One – there was nobody on the door with masks, gel, advice or censure.

Two – people were once again drifting in through the door. Some weren’t using the hand gel and some were accompanying patients and didn’t need to be there.

Three – I saw a staff memeber walking round with their mask pulled down under their nose. Admittedly, it was a nose of heroic proportions and they were clearly proud of it (and possibly unable to get it into the mask), but it was still unmasked when it should have been covered.

Four – the cafe is open again, though you can onl;y have one person at a table.

Five – the phlebotomist is no longer wearing a face shield, as noted at City Hospital when I had my last anti-coagulant blood test.

These are not criticisms, just observations noted down for posterity. At a time we are told that a second peak is coming and that it is due to undisciplined social gatherings, it might be germane to note the slackening off of NHS discipline.

The service was excellent, if you ignore the fact the test was not necessary and the telephone helpline had proved to be bloody useless after they messed my prescription up.

On the other hand, I was able to collect a blood form, have the test, get my prescription and be given advice by the pharmacist and still get out of the car park in thirty minutes. Impressive stuff.

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Poppy

Tonight I have started learning the names for my finger joints so I can discuss them on the phone. There must be a poem in there somewhere.

I have also been noting the limits to my peaceful right to protest. It’s made a little more complicated by lockdown regulations but I may seek to defend myself using the Cummings or Stanley Johnson defence – I am too important to allow the law to limit my capacity for arrogance.

I’m also not quite sure about the legality of handcuffing myself to property which may or may not belong to someone else. The internet is rather uninformative on that point.

I now need as group of Suffragette bodyguards and I am ready for action.

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Poppy

There is, as you may suspect, a gathering cloud of civil unrest…

I wasn’t able to source any decent photos for peaceful protest or handcuffs on Pexels so I widened my search. Knowing what happens on the internet I really should not have searched for ‘handcuffs’.

That’s why you have poppies instead.

A Limerick

It grew from a comment Laurie made on my post about scones/muffins. I woke up just after six this morning and wrote a couple of drafts then finished it this evening. It’s not perfect but it will do to spread a little light cheeriness and fill my need for a post a day.

 

A Mainer, who was seldom wrong,

noted winter was nearly all gone.

She’d grown tired of muffins

and decided that nothing

could compare to a Great British scone.

A Haibun

I’m watching TV and typing on my laptop. I am thus able to blog, watch TV and develop a Repetitive Strain Injury at the same time.

Currently, I’m pondering the question of haibun. Having spent ages labouring over villanelles and sonnets, and often discarding the malformed results, it seems like cheating to call a haibun a poem. It is, after all, only a few lines of text and up to seventeen syllables of haiku. The main challenge isn’t the poetry, it’s the brevity.

You could probably write a blog post, add a haiku and call the whole thing a haibun. In fact, I know you can, because that’s what I’m about to do.

 

waking stiff

too old to doze in chairs

another sign

 

 

 

 

A Haibun about Editors

Editors

In my mind’s eye I see them sitting in their turrets, pale creatures with staring eyes, their unkempt hair laced with cobwebs.

Muttering, they read my submissions and slash at them with their editing quills, using ink mixed from the blood of kittens and the bitter tears of disappointed authors.

The rejection stings, but it does no lasting harm. Ten minutes later the urge to write a witty but insulting riposte has gone and the feeling of worthless failure has faded. In my mind’s eye I now see someone much more respectable and less likely to be cruel to kittens.

We need editors and as I mellow I begin to feel grateful for their efforts in running magazines. 

I start work on another submission, but I can’t quite shake the feeling that if I was to send a gift-wrapped unicorn it would turn into a donkey under the scrutiny of editors.

 

editor’s email

opened with hope

read with dismay

 

I don’t generally publish my own poetry and I will, later, write about my thoughts on self-publication, but I thought I’d give it a shot this time as this one is unlikely to be accepted. I like haibun – they are like writing a normal blog post and adding three short lines of poetry. You can add more, but I didn’t want to spoil you.

(Sorry about the double spacing in the haiku – I don’t seem to be able to get rid of it. Come to think of it, it’s actually a senryu not a haiku. Ah well…)

Street Furniture (2)

I’ve been struggling for inspiration over the last week, though some days (such as the visit to Bakewell and day of the sunset) have been easier than others. Here are a few more pictures on the street furniture theme, following on from the first post of a few days ago. I’ve managed to fit in a post about a Senior Moment and 20 Questions since then.

Part of the problem has been a lack of photographs as I haven’t been getting about much. I also buried the camera a couple of days ago whilst decluttering. In the initial stages I seemed to do more cluttering…

The bin, which you may remember from a previous post, is quite dull, despite having a Litter section and a Recycling section, and I only took the picture because Julia spotted the squirrel.

The bin in the gallery below is from the village centre at Heckington – it was on the buried camera when I wanted it so didn’t get used when I wrote the last piece or the post about visiting the village.

 

There are ten waymarkers on the Pendle Witch Trail, with verses from Carol Ann Duffy. This one is in the grounds of Clitheroe Castle.

 

Next, we have more pillar boxes.

The Victorian one is in Stamford, the Edward VII in Orton Longueville, just outside Peterborough, and the one on the post is at Worston, at the foot of Pendle Hill. The final one is a George V box from the end of West View in Clitheroe – my family lived in West view in the time of George V and may well have used the box.

 

However, this doesn’t always work. If my family had lived in the village of Orton Longueville, just outside Peterborough, in the time of Edward VII (or Edward I of Scotland, as Tootlepedal will no doubt remind me) they would not have used that fine Edward VII  pillar box. It was only installed about 20 years ago, but they last a long time, and are often re-used.

Strangely, if you type “Edward I of Scotland” into Google you get information about Edward I of England, who was known as the Hammer of the Scots. This is not very sensitive, and I am not at all amused by this. Naughty Google!

That, it appears, is why current post boxes in Scotland have the Scottish crown on them. When some were installed in Scotland with E II R on them they were vandalised (one actually being blown up) by people who objected to the cypher, as the current Queen was the first Queen Elizabeth of Scotland – or E I R.

As an aside, we had three kings called Edward before we had Edward I, as the English number kings from William I in 1066. We just don’t complain every time we have a new Edward, or blow up post boxes.

England and Scotland have had the same monarch since 1603, when Elizabeth I died and James VI of Scotland became James I of England. You’d have thought the Scots would have  let it go by now, but as P. G. Wodehouse said: “It is never difficult to distinguish between  a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine.”

It never rains, but it pours…

More pom-poms.

More dance rehearsals.

Creative differences with the big song.

Plus rain.

A visit from Social Services.

An accusing phone call from the Safeguarding Team.

Four weeks left and we are going to struggle to end on a high at this rate.

 

 

If that was a poem (and it could be, given the short lines and lack of rhyme) I’d call it Wet Wednesday Blues.

In fact, let’s have a go at that.

 

Wet Wednesday Blues

More pom-poms.

I wind wool in my sleep.

More dance rehearsals,

And rain on wet sheep.

Creative differences with the big song…

The sound of belly-dancing bells,

Give me dreams of being stalked by Santa.

If I had been a good boy, I would have presents, not 

A visit from Social Services

And an accusing phone call from the Safeguarding Team.

We are running out of luck,

But with just four weeks to go,

Do I give a fig?

 

I’ll be looking for at least one new career next year. Maybe I’ll cross poet off the list…

(Just to make it clear, we are in trouble for sorting something out ourselves and not involving Social Services and a ream of paper. Can’t really give much more detail – just to say that two weeks ago somebody not connected with the project made a remark that one of the group considered unacceptable and Julia sorted it out that day. It hasn’t happened again but it was reported to Social Services yesterday so they have to investigate.)