Wednesday, December 1, 2010


30. prompt: "lessons learned (or not)"

they came through a time of great upheaval
oceans rose and fell around them
they stood at the bow, stoic
they left behind a great war
they were catapulted from a new world too small
to contain them

they came when the delusions of security
broke down, when romance produced disbelief
and the families of money made of coal
and slaves turned land into "resource"
they came with eyes blinded by others' greed
they landed and lost themselves
looking for what they knew

their cries of love echoed along the wharves
their tears of frustration were found pearled along high tide lines
they cut their hair and invented trades
this was the era before careers and superannuation
pulled the masses of all classes into line
they sang the old songs 
and they never lost the accents of their region

they were eldest children, too grown up now
to mind the tribe behind
but later, some of the younger set followed
they set sail on their once-in-a-lifetime journey
round the world without a lifeboat

they found themselves equally dispossessed, landless
hungry and haunted

they left behind them a legacy
of mince and tatie stew
bairns who obeyed the poetry
of "dinna fash yerself, lassie"
some carpentry, a broken complete works
of Rabbie Burns and a beautiful drawing
of Beethoven, that master of power
in the face of sensual deprivation 

their grandchildren get seasick taking ferries to nearby islands
for the photographic opportunities and the sheer pleasure
of  finding a new world too small to live in
but large enough to fulfil their promise to themselves
to walk thirty minutes daily, for health

Being Over It

29. prompt: "next steps"

Her next step will be to bind and burn.
It's a jungle out there.
You can't see the wood for the trees.
And that's just in her own back yard!

The step after that will be to buy and bring home
tame plants, ones that know their place.
She hopes to con the couch grass
into submission, or at least denial.

And while she's thankful it didn't rain
cats and dogs, she would have liked
the deluge to bring frogs and lizards
two by two to eat the excited snails.

The next step is to create a clearing
right there where the leucodendrons refuse
to grow up, or even out! Let them be taunted
by her brightly-coloured whirling skirts.

And let the boy over the fence wish
he'd never driven her stir crazy with his Friday nights
of rap and Rolling Stones
as she pushes back against that throbbing wall.


A Lot Happened You just didn't want to talk about it*

28. prompt: "what really happened"

In those days
we always said
"Nothing" in that tone
you use to tell your parent
they couldn't possibly guess
and had better not try.
Then there was a retribution
which made you all the more
clear it didn't matter
what you always said
in those days.

(*this, of course, was before celebritisation
and bloggery)