Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rules of Engagement

Banquet Scene with a Lute Player by Nicolas Tournier, 1625
Posted by Tess Kincaid for Magpie Tales

Engagement rules of war are written down
to help ensure that fighting men are just,
irrational encounters never must
result in lust for blood or mere renown.
We knew in times of peace what seem outgrown:
accepted codes of conduct we could trust
to keep away a sense we are unjust
to wish for faded values - overthrown.

If all we can accomplish through our words
is distance from our friends and family,
why do we not keep still, not speak, just smile
or learn to paint, or write – sing like a bird;
a cardinal who praises, “pretty, pretty”,
an engaging rule of love, meant to beguile.

Poem is posted for

Monday, May 16, 2011

Burnished and Bruised

Photo by Tess Kincaid for Magpie Tales
An old story, like pheasant under glass;
rich, succulent, tantalizing taste buds
on mahogany perch of high polish.
Foliage swirling, twining in fingers,
bold hands caressing faded gold letters
on the Bible’s old words with new meanings.

A feast in a fire-lit room full of sparks,
ticking clocks and old leather, burnished
and bruised; pressed together, forever in
indent of stars, stamped in gold, with a cross
sealed in a century, haunted and thrilled
by whispering chant and bells of descent.

Spring wakens, it harkens, rises to call
of the birds, so enticing, enchanting,
deceived by the song of a gamekeeper,
smothering hearts in her lady’s dark woods,
flushing the birds from a cover of gorse
to grow grace in the soul of their mistress.

Poem inspired by Tess Kincaid's photo prompt.
Visit the Magpie Tales blog to read more poems.
Also posted for One Stop Poetry's
One Shot Wednesday
Go to their link to read more poems. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Photo by UK photographer, Fee Easton

There you are

on that little boat

working hard

as always,

even on your days of rest,

moving towards a goal.

Like the wind

blowing soft on clouds,



painting ripples in the sand,

shadows of today.

An anchor

locking on the shore,


the dreamer

to a sea wall at land’s end,

warding off the tides.

See other poems inspired by Fee Easton's beautiful photograph at
One Stop Poetry's One Shoot Sunday.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


High window,

 shadow in the glass,


branch of thorns

scratching a code of escape -

an old temptation.

A cart path

winding in lilacs,

open gate


oven bird haunting at dusk,

sunset glow on grass.


flowing in old stone,


shy dark ferns,

brushing at a window pane

whispering to me.

Poem posted for One Shot Wednesday at One Stop Poetry

Monday, May 9, 2011

Off Stage

 This Poem is posted for
from Tess Kincaid's
Magpie Tales #65

I love the curve of Lilies’ leaf-green skirts
Before the flower show begins in June;
All flowing grace and modesty in tune,
Disguising future glory, and the hurt
Of living only for a day on earth.
What stage direction calls for such a scheme;
A flashing preview of our human theme
As innocence and beauty fade to death.

I wait each year for encore of white stars
On Autumn Sweet Clematis to recur
Beside the Burning Bush that marks the fall.
Bright walk-ons blaze to briefly hide the scars;
Bring fleeting comfort to my garden door.
Peace waits off-stage, in wings, for curtain call.

St. Francis
in my garden
eating a cherry tomato.

My daily prayer for the ideal
I rarely accomplish.

Words and Music

at Bishop FM Radio, Bishop Auckland, County Durham, UK 

Many thanks
to authors Wendy Robertson and Avril Joy for spotlighting my poetry and novel on Wendy's community radio program, The Writing Game, a monthly, hour long, radio program aimed at both writers and readers, broadcast on community radio station 105.9 Bishop FM, County Durham, UK.

I met Avril online in January, 2011 as we participated in "The River of Stones" project on our respective blogs. Avril, author of  The Sweet Track, presents writing workshops in  Durham County, England and is co-hostess on Wendy's community radio program. I was thrilled when she proposed reading some of my work on The Writing Game. If you'd like to listen to Avril's reading, the podcast of the program can be heard here at :

Episode 13 of The Writing Game*

* Avril's reading of my poetry is the last item on the podcast:
she has chosen "Capture" and "A Place Apart"
and from Notes on my blog, The English Laundress,

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Black Gold

This Poem is posted for
Smoldering Fires, Clarence Holbrook Carter, 1904-2000
Columbus Museum of Art

Framed in black and gold, stifling in her blouse
of sweet flowers, sharply creased and sooty.
Her hair washed fresh and tightly bound to show
a dignity and pride she treasures still.

Her eyes a black, like coal; mirrors of the
Soul she tends with prayer and supplication
To her God of hope - and light, and mercy;
She craves sweet rain, fresh breeze to clean the air.

Her child, dressed in sunny yellow, coated
With the soot of black porch boards
He tread on, barefoot, to come to Mother’s
Arms, his feet in folds of dark burnt umber skirt.

Across the tracks where rumbling coal cars roll,
Fires burn perpetually in seams
Of rich black gold, snaking through the mountain,
Smoking mounds of refuse coal abandoned.

A stilllife of America’s old dream:
New vision of a future without oil.
She has more coal than any place on earth.
Change, too, will wear a frame of black and gold.