Archive for the ‘Poetry Thursday’ Category

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Here is my last contribution to Poetry Thursday. It’s not a response to the prompt but is a villanelle I’ve had around for a while and have just got round to finishing. I’m still not entirely satisfied with one or two lines. I realise that ‘Humankind cannot bear too much reality’ is a slight variation on a line from Eliot’s Four Quartets, but, what the hell, he filched enough lines from other people!

Time unwound

Time unwound stretches to eternity;
Paradox is the calculus of space;
Parallel lines meet at infinity.

Humankind craves longevity
With new body parts, a new, young face;
Time unwound stretches to eternity.

Some want more – immortality;
Years with a loved one in the same place.
Parallel lines meet at infinity.

Others place faith in an idol or divinity,
Doing good works or depending on grace;
Time unwound stretches to eternity.

Try not to think, avoid banality,
the dynamo of time is picking up pace
Parallel lines meet at infinity.

Humankind cannot bear too much reality
But also fears to vanish without trace.
Time unwound stretches to eternity;
Parallel lines meet at infinity.

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The Other

At dawn, spies saw her stomping
the promenade: eyes straight ahead;
hair shaped by drizzle to a skullcap of curls.

As the afternoon breeze ruffled the shoreline,
she danced in a shower of rain,
placed her toe in the pock-marked sea…

At dusk, a solitary dog ran back and forth
close to
the water’s edge
trailing its lead in the sodden sand.

The fisherman snug in sou’wester and oilskin

never noticed the bundle of clothes
abandoned to the
ebbing tide.

© Carole Alexander,2007

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Inside, the large ceramic bird
at the top of the bookcase,
swoops to devour the miniature shark.
Outside, my eucalyptus tree

sheds pink leaves all summer long.
People are shedding their skins
and my cat is shedding fur coats.
A man with a van collects
the leaves, skins, and coats.

The bird gets bigger,
in its mouth the shark,
which it flings through the window
into the arms of my eucalyptus tree.

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I’ve been thinking about voyeurism in connection to Seamus Heaney’s poem, ‘Punishment’, which contains the poignant lines:

I almost love you
but would have cast, I know,
the stones of silence.
I am the artful voyeur

I was prompted to write this poem by a newspaper article about a man who jumped from his hotel window, taking his two children with him whilst on holiday in Greece. I felt guilty about making poetry from someone else’s tragedy. I think there is a part of all of us that is drawn to the dark side of life.


He was a quiet man
a placid man
a caring man.
He hated any form of cruelty.
He had not been drinking.
His wife was out buying
baseball caps for the children.

She returned to see
police cars and an ambulance
outside their hotel.

The policewoman
spoke little English;
she spoke no Greek.
A hotel porter translated:

Your son is dead.

Your husband and daughter
are being taken to hospital

When she left,
he was sitting
cross-legged on the floor
playing with the children
he took with him
when he jumped
from the balcony

© Carole Alexander 2006

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I started blogging on 23 September 2006, just over seven months ago, as I was coming to the end of a creative writing course I’d been doing. I think that blogging is a great way to share writing, be it prose, fiction or whatever. Part of me would still like to break into print but I seem to lack whatever it takes to keep on trying despite the rejections. There are so few of my poems that satisfy my own criteria let alone anyone else’s. I was, however, disappointed when one I do like didn’t make the short list for this month’s Guardian Poetry Workshop. The exercise was to write a triolet and I still think mine is as good as some of the ones that did get published. I suppose it’s all down to individual taste in the end.

There do seem to be signs that set forms in poetry are making a come back. This weeks totally optional idea over at Poetry Thursday is the villanelle. This is a re-working of one I made earlier (as they used to say on Blue Peter).

It’s not for publication that I write,
in order to bring in my daily bread.
To wrestle with words is a worthy fight.

Hunched at my PC until deep in the night,
bucking the need to take to my bed.
It’s not for publication that I write.

This is for poets. It doesn’t seem right
to apply it to fiction. As I’ve said,
to wrestle with words is a worthy fight.

By playing with words, I hope that I might
learn about language and thoughts in my head.
It’s not for publication that I write.

To expect to be published is the height
of delusion. I may never be read.
To wrestle with words is a worthy fight.

Emily Dickenson kept out of sight;
her poems were published when she was dead.
It’s not for publication that I write.
To wrestle with words is a worthy fight.

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