Category Archives: Poetry

My Second Poem, a Ghostly Tale

One night in 2006, when my son was small, I was lying on his bedroom floor waiting for the little monkey to go to sleep! Feeling a certain chill in the air I let my mind wander and before long, I had the beginnings of a poem complete with rhyming pairs and a clickety-clack railway rhythm. I sent it to my Dad, he said, “Good” (I’m tempted to send him something dire to see what he says then) and then I filed it away. Until last October. Writing Magazine had a poetry competition with a ghostly theme and I decided to send it in.

The rules stated that winners would be notified by February 15th and if we hadn’t heard by then, we could safely submit our work to other competitions/publications. February 15th came and went and I heard nothing. I also knew that runners up would get a mention in the magazine but I assumed that they would be informed and I still didn’t hear anything. So I resigned myself to the fact that my clickety-clack hadn’t impressed.

A few days ago, the April edition of the magazine plopped onto the mat. I ripped it open and went straight to the results page to see who/what had won and there, on the bottom left-hand-corner, was my name! It felt really good! I have decided to try it somewhere else and, due to the “previously unpublished” requirements of many competitions, I can’t publish it here but I will just share my little bit of joy with you.

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On Poetry

Like opera, I have come to poetry (relatively) late in life.  When I was a teenager, I didn’t “get” either of them.  When I turned over the page on my English Literature ‘O’-level, I had that sinking feeling that we adults still get sometimes when we dream that we’re sitting an exam we haven’t prepared for.  For me, however, it was reality.  I passed, thank God, thanks to a set of pass-notes (read before the exam I hasten to mention) and, I’m sure, a little bit of talent.

Then, I got it into my head that rhythm and rhyme were bad.  I think this is a fairly common misconception as I’ve seen people panned for work that seemed to have no rhyme… or reason… just random words and phrases.  Perhaps they should have just written things they’d like to read, which is what I’m doing now.

I’ve entered two poetry competitions now, won neither, but have had my work acknowledged both times.  As a novice, this is a fantastic start to my foray into poetry and I hope that my success continues!

Here is the first, a story about two fat cats (based on nobody in particular of course.  It is entitled, imaginatively, “Chester and Soli.”  My Dad might call it “A Tale of Two Kitties.”

Chester and Soli

The garden fence fell down today,
Not solely caused by wind and rain;    
With thirteen pounds of former stray,
The trellis couldn’t stand the strain.

When Chester climbs the yucca tree,
It wobbles like an old man’s knees,
And when he stands aloft I see,
His belly flapping in the breeze.

His brother hunts without remorse,
Not using sleight of hand (or paws),
For Soli, there’s another course:
Awaiting bird with open jaws.     

You may expect me now to write,
Like Blake, of tigers, burning bright,
Though I must say that of a night,
They’re more like tree sloths, sleeping tight.

Published in Animal Antics (ISBN-13: 978-1844184729), January 2008