Category Archives: poem

Feathered philosopher

Image credit: Tristan Ferne

Philosophising woodpigeon
poses existential questions
each and every morning, without …
fail:

Who do-you think you-are?
Who do-you think you-are?
Who do-you think you-are?
Who?

My very sense of selfhood’s
undercut repeatedly,
I really doubt I ever …
knew.

Before I make my own quietus
feathered Plato shifts next door,
interrogates our neighbours …
who

will too, in their turn, have
identities belittled by
his nauseating bill and …
coo:

Who do-you think you-are?
Who do-you think you-are?
Who do-you think you-are?
Who?

Ode to the moon

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I can’t bathe in your seas,
No cow jumps over you;
No Man here takes his ease,
You’re still old when called ‘new’.

But I’ll still bow to you
When they say you are new,
Silver coins I’ll thrice turn
In my pockets, to learn
If more money I’ll earn
And more riches discern.

Then thanks for good fortune
I shall give to the Moon!

© C A Lovegrove

Written for a Twitter readalong of Philippa Pearce’s Tom’s Midnight Garden

By moonlight

© C A Lovegrove

O moon, it’s time
I wrote a rhyme
to you, Selene,
pale-faced genie.
But rhymes for Moon,
like June and spoon,
make me go slack-kneed,
they’re so hackneyed,
so I’ll just praise you
for each phase you
go through, Tide-queen,
Earth’s mate. Thus my paean.

© C A Lovegrove

Written for a Twitter readalong of Philippa Pearce’s Tom’s Midnight Garden

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night has come when some say ill-luck
will come to some souls and go running amok
if their baubles and candles still hang, and bright tinsel
and such dingle-dangles which they’re saying long since will
have lost their immediacy, attracting the spite,
malevolence and such-like of brownie and sprite.

So take down the décor, the fairy, the lights
which shine there from Advent to Christmas; Twelfth Night’s
the end of the season — or so it is said.
But what says one Herrick,* a poet long dead?

DOWN with the rosemary, and so
Down with the bays and misletoe;
Down with the holly, ivy, all,
Wherewith ye dress’d the Christmas Hall:
That so the superstitious find
No one least branch there left behind :
For look, how many leaves there be
Neglected, there (maids, trust to me)
So many goblins you shall see.

Then let us follow Herrick, who knew what must be known,
and keep our Yuletide greenery up till darkness has all flown.

* Robert Herrick (1591-1674): Ceremony upon Candlemas Eve.

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The Ant and the Elephant

or, Tony and Lofty

Tony the Ant 🐜
he just wanted to rant,
so he climbed up the plant 🌿
to talk to an elephant 🐘
whose first name was Lofty,
and ever and oft he
was seen as a softy
till one day he coughed. He
said, “Don’t underest-
imate me, ’cause it’s best
you don’t.” Then he confessed
“I’m not wearing a vest.
This skin is my own,
I don’t want to moan
but it’s not mine to loan.”
Then he hung up the phone.
Poor Tony the Ant 🐜
then climbed down the plant. 🌿
He sighed, “You just can’t
ever rant to an elephant.”

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Crit

Armed with the fabled fine-toothed comb, thinking verse should work well as a prose poem, I offer this crit as a well-meaning skit if it’s sure to convince all and hit home: write all serious verse out in long form if you want to weather the shit storm which goad online trolls; make them score only own-goals by asserting that stanza’s the norm.

Aftermath

Instead of compassion
you gave us competition;
we needed principles,
not career politicians;
we wanted social justice
yet you opted for selfishness;
we urged voting with conscience,
you preferred tribal loyalty;
we wished for inclusion
but you relished division;
where we fought for truth
you peddled lies,
when we yearned for hope
you fed us fear.

We’ve seen the dawn of despair.

The party’s over

Hooray! The bright flag bunting now is out,
fluttering festively in a light breeze,
festooning the branches of the trees,
lemon, bronze, beige, hung about
the path that winds through the wood.

Now, though, they’ve become dry brittle pages,
their supports the bars of strong stout cages.
Ageing paperbacks falling apart would
trail across my vision in such a way.

Beneath my feet they crunch and crack,
the golds and scarlets spread across the track
mingling with tan, and dun, and grey.

Soon early winter’s drizzle will send a brook
cascading down the slope, the stones and sludge
a dreary carpet on which to trudge.

The party’s over; autumn’s done, so close the book.

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Cronk

A speck in the sky
cries its single note.

Cronk.

I shade my eyes against the sun
to spot, if I can, what’s made
this rude clarion call
to a mate I cannot see.

Cronk.

Resonating bell-like to my depths:
a glimpse of eternity,
a sense of rightness,
a gushing of love
from a precious fountain.

Cronk.

A reminder that
we’re alone
and yet not alone.

And now it’s gone.

Planks

Llwyn Celyn outhouse walls

Wood and water, whitewash, iron,
rust spreading into cracks
and splits and grain;

history beckons, chronology shouts
In what order did these planks get laid,
what re-used, what good as new?

Llwyn Celyn, the Holly Grove,
had outhouses like these,
built in the six centuries since
the farmhouse was raised

What eye gauged, what hand fashioned,
what ears heard the thump of hammer,
the ring of nail,
the echo resounding?


Exercise written to this photo prompt for a creative writing class on attentiveness and feeling

Susurration

Dungeness shingle beach, Kent

When the noise of inner city
— siren, shouts, traffic, trains,
door slams, blues parties —
gets too much,
when sleep is shut out

then seashore susurration
of surf sucking shingle
— irregular yet interminable —
shushes out of speakers
from blessedly ambient CD,
soothing the stresses and strains
of a jangled day


Exercise written for a creative writing class on attentiveness and feeling