Wednesday, December 27, 2006

XXIII - In Absentia I

In Absentia
A villanelle.

The place they once filled is now cold and bare;
What was immutable crumbles away;
It’s hard to believe they’re no longer there.

The glint in their eyes, the smell of their hair,
The feel of their skin, the things they would say;
The place they once filled is now cold and bare

Nothing could have been done to help prepare
For the sadness destined to fill you this day.
It’s hard to believe they’re no longer there.

In the harsh light of dawn you can but stare;
What burned so bright is now shades of grey.
The place they once filled is now cold and bare

No one promised that this life would be fair
Nor did they warn they would be taken away;
It’s hard to believe they’re no longer there.

Friends look awkward and are afraid to say
It always was destined to end this way.
The place they once filled is now cold and bare
It’s hard to believe they’re no longer there.

© J Cosmo Newbery

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

XXII - A Dream

A Dream
.In memory of Joan Heys.
I dreamt about a distant place,
All white, yet strangely warm;
Where all was elegance and grace:
There was presence but no form.

Into this quiet and peaceful scene
A man stepped into view;
He was both strong and cut quite clean.
A woman stood there, too.

He looked at her, and with a smile,
Remembered when they’d wed;
“I’m glad you’ve come. It’s been a while.”
“A friend sent me” she said.

Happy with the eons spanned
They embraced and gently kissed;
Then they turned, and hand in hand,
Slipped off into the mist.

© J Cosmo Newbery

Friday, July 21, 2006

-- Night --

(Click to enlarge)

XXI - The Puppeteer.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, for your amazement,
I present, for the first time on the Newbery stage, a terzanelle.

The Puppeteer

In the overall scheme of things
We are but puppets on a stage
When other people pull our strings.

Rather than asking we ‘act our age’
Remember, or better, don’t forget:
We are but puppets on a stage.

Keep it in mind, while on the set,
Such relations can pull both ways;
Remember, or better, don’t forget

That with which the puppeteer plays
Are fixed to him as well as you;
Such relations can pull both ways.

Strings that pull you, as if on cue,
(Very few things are as they seem)
Are fixed to him as well as you.

Self control is a wishful dream
In the overall scheme of things.
Very few things are as they seem
When other people pull our strings.
© J Cosmo Newbery

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

XX - Burning Brightly

Burning Brightly

We present a skin unto the world
That protects us from harsh exposure
But all the while beneath the layers
An inner fire is burning brightly
And throws long shadows of the players
Dancing around the warm enclosure
An inner pageant, tightly furled.
© J Cosmo Newbery

Sunday, July 16, 2006

XIX - The Poetry Challenge

An Agony in Four Fits and a Poem.

Where the players are introduced to the crowd.

There was a time when there was peace throughout the land
And life was milk and honey
When all things were considered, it was rather grand
And well done eggs were runny.

A fair young Maiden entered this idyll
And hearts went all aflutter
She grabbed their attention and had a fiddle
She melted them like butter.

Like hapless candles fluttering around a moth
The Gumshoe was first to break
He threw down a glove made of the finest cloth
Which the Knight was loathe to take.

But take it he did, their relationship terse;
They waited the Maiden’s decree.
Fidelity was the given task; plus a verse
About some harmless drudge named Lee.

Where the players are jostling for position.

The Gumshoe fretted while the Knight sipped his wine
But others had entered the ring
The smart money moved onto the Rottie, K9
Fidelity already his thing.

But the stumbling block that was causing most grief
Was the mandatory topic, Lee.
“To be writing about him is beyond belief”
Said the Knight. The others had to agree.

Lillie and Lux came to play. “We want to know:
Can we take Lee when it’s over?
The Maiden can go to the cop or Cosmo,
She can even run off with Rover.”

So, dear reader, the lines are drawn, words have been said;
We are slowly progressing the scenes;
Fidelity remains to be hit on the head;
Does anyone know what it means?

Where the Knight writes on fidelity.

The Knight looked down at his blank serviette
And wondered what to write
Help me Sancho! There must be some angle to get
On the others in this fight.

The Gumshoe, said Sancho, will view it felonious
That’s what policemen do.
Perhaps you should heed the words of Polonius
And “To thine self be true”?

Now, the dog of course, is an outside chance
While Percy’s chasing robbers;
But really what woman gives a second glance
To a hairy beau that slobbers?

It was Percy, for Mayden, who started this fight,
A copper for a gal;
Under the circumstances, it sounds right,
If I use a villian-elle.


The Poem


Curled up beside him close at night,
She was contented as a lassie could be.
And the flame in her heart burned bright.

She adored him deeply, with all her might
In the place that she most wanted to be,
Curled up beside him close at night.

She was pure as the snow is crisp and white
‘Til the day she chanced upon Lee;
And the flame in her heart burned bright.

Her happiness soared to reach new heights
Never before had she felt so free.
Curled up beside him close at night.

She asked with an accent, passingly slight:
Did you say you would marry me?
And the flame in her heart burned bright.

The depth of her love was easy to see;
Some things we learn are meant to be;
Curled up beside him close at night.
And the flame in her heart burned bright.


Where the circus leaves town.

Sancho, the poem is writ, our job complete,
We can but win or fail,
And having stayed long enough to compete
It is time to hit the trail.

You have been so loyal, I must thank you so,
You helped me stay the course
Good luck, my man, you are free to go
And, yes, you can have my horse.

There’s nothing so sad as a circus ground
When all the crowd’s dispersed;
The grass is trampled, the bunting’s come down,
But what’s become of those ‘versed’?

Percy is strutting the policeman’s domain
K9 is entering dog shows,
Poor Lee has slipped into obscurity again
Mayden is posing for photos.


Saturday, July 15, 2006

XVIII - Modified Rapture

Modified Rapture

Fair Mayden wonders where I've been!
In recent times, behind the yoke,
Plough tines in my field of dreams;
My situation reminds me of a joke:

A sailing ship was plying icy waters,
But sprung a leak and sank, in a trice.
Swimming to an iceberg, at close quarters,
The sailors climbed on the mount of ice.

On this tomb, would their names be engraved?
Time passed by and they began to panic.
All at once they cried "Look! We're saved!"
"O joy of joys, here comes the Titanic!"
© J Cosmo Newbery

Thursday, July 13, 2006

XVII - Lost in the woods.

[The scene] Some woods, a knight sits at the base of a tree, arms crossed on his knees, head resting on his arms. His faithful manservant, Sancho, stands looking at him, hands on hips.

xxxx Master, you have sat alone for so long,
xxxx Shoulders slumped, head on your knees;
xxxx Pray tell me what is wrong,
xxxx Perhaps I can put your mind at ease.

[The Knight]
xxxx Sancho, thank you, your heart is pure gold,
xxxx If the truth be known, I have lost my way.
xxxx I’m a “fawning old man”, or so I’m told.
xxxx Is that how I’m to be viewed at the end of the day?

xxxx But Master, that’s only one woman’s view;
xxxx Perhaps said lightly, as if for effect.

[The Knight]
xxxx I’m sad to advise, but there are two,
xxxx One is but nought but one I respect.

xxxx O Master, please give such feelings the shove,
xxxx You must rise above them and continue the fight!
xxxx Take up the challenge! Pick up the glove!
xxxx Ride into battle for what is right!

[The Knight]
xxxx This quest could give me more pain than I want
xxxx I leave myself open to be smacked again.
xxxx But what is misery to a knight errant?
xxxx Sancho! Come quick! Bring me my pen!

© J Cosmo Newbery

Monday, July 10, 2006

-- Sunset --

"Come, Sancho!"

"Does this mean I don't get the horse?"


XVI - The Dove, Reprise.

The Dove - Reprise

A kind of peace returned to me
Despite my soul being laid bare
The day I set the white dove free.

It felt as if it was meant to be
Released and free, far from my care
A kind of peace returned to me

I held my hands aloft to see
It taking joyously to the air
The day I set the white dove free.

It settled in an old oak tree
As I watched it resting up there
A kind of peace returned to me

It was as happy as could be
Children sang at the country fair
The day I set the white dove free.

Even though it was so hard to bear
I know I'd pleased a maiden fair.
A kind of peace returned to me
The day I set the white dove free.
© J Cosmo Newbery

XV - Persian Gambit Declined

Persian Gambit Declined

There was a reluctant white knight
Who was challenged to enter a fight.
"I have an aversion
To tackle the Persian
And have decided to call it a night."
© J Cosmo Newbery

XIV - The Quilt

The Quilt

Variety, we’re told, is what gives life pep;
It puts a smile on your face, bounce in your step.
It makes you keen to face each day,
With it comes spice, or so they say.

Our meals are varied, our clothing too;
Our music diverse, and the things we do
At work, at play, when hearing and seeing
Each give us a swatch for the quilt of being.

Variety is good, as the dreamcoat shows,
It’s bright and cheery and everyone knows
It’s variety that warms us like a mother;
Why can’t we accept it in each other?
© J Cosmo Newbery

Sunday, July 09, 2006

XIII - The Challenge

[The scene] The young upstart, Percy Bysshe Silly, has issued a challenge to our hero, the Knight. He stands in a clearing with his faithful manservant, Sancho.

xxxx"You must take up the glove, of course.
xxxxSuch challenges must be met.
xxxxI'll be there beside you, with my horse.
xxxxWell, it's pretend really; it's all that I could get."

[The Knight]
xxxx"Sancho, I really doubt it wise.
xxxxWhat does it show of me, a virile male,
xxxxTo lower myself to such enterprise,
xxxxAnd what if I was to fail?"

xxxx"But Master, don't forget the prize!
xxxxThe lovely maiden: pure and sweet and chaste!
xxxxOf course, you may do otherwise
xxxxBut I beg of you: Accept! Post haste!"

[The Knight]
xxxx"But would a maid who sorts her beaux
xxxxBy way of pre-dawn thrust and parry
xxxxBe the sort of maid I'd want to know?
xxxxIn a biblical sense, maybe. But marry?"

xxxx"O Master, do not worry so!
xxxxWith your skills, your opposite is quaking!
xxxxEnter! I beg of you; there's a week to go
xxxxAnd the prize is worth the taking!"

[The Knight]
xxxx"To protect the young maid's honour I'll
xxxxRespond to the taunting of this clown!
xxxxTo fight in such a tawdry way is vile
xxxxBut if declined, how would I live it down?"

xxxx"Thank you Master! I will be your second!
xxxxI expect you'll trounce the cad, of course.
xxxxBut if things don't go as I've reckoned...
xxxxDo you think I could have your horse?"

© J Cosmo Newbery

Friday, July 07, 2006

XII - The Dove

The Dove

Stop a while; I’ll tell you a tale
Of how your defences can fail.
On a bright sunny day
I was carried away
When the white dove looked at me.

From among the great crowd
She stood defiant and proud;
The rest of the flock
Were just common stock
When the white dove looked at me.

What words can carry my passion?
I was swept off in a glorious fashion;
What a wonderful feeling!
My senses went reeling
When the white dove looked at me.

My friends wonder how I can bear it;
I admit their case has some merit.
It sounds quite absurd:
I fell in love with a bird
When the white dove looked at me.

Now I sit here internally bleeding
Unsure where it all is leading;
The world fell apart
And I lost my heart
When the white dove looked at me.
© J Cosmo Newbery

Thursday, July 06, 2006

XI - Sunflower

photo by Katinka Matson


I saw her standing on her own,
When strolling out one day;
She caught my glance and with a frown
She quickly turned away.

“Wait! Wait! I cried “Don’t turn away!
You really fascinate me.
You’re a lovely lass and if I may,
I’d be honoured if you’d date me.”

“Go, Sir” said she, “It would be best;
Your affection is misguided.
My head is big, my clothes a mess,
The relationship one sided.

“That is not so! It cannot be!
You are tall and full of grace.
You are a radiant beauty
And the sun shines from your face.”

“You would need a ladder to kiss me
And your nose would start to bleed.
Go now Sir; and never miss me
When my face has gone to seed.

She would not budge or even bend,
For reasons I’m not knowing.
We parted friends but now and then
I wonder how she’s going.
© J Cosmo Newbery

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

X - The Technicolour Pumphouse.

The Technicolour Pumphouse
(To the tune of the Teddybear's Picnic)

If your life is in shades of grey
You're sure of a big surprise.
If your life is in shades of grey
It could to be otherwise.

For ev’ry colour that ever there was
Is celebrating today because
They love the way the
The Bluesmama paints the pumphouse.

Bits of stuff stacked everywhere
In need of a coat today.
There's lots of marvellous stuff to paint
And squidgey things of clay.

Beneath the eaves where nobody sees
There’s Myrtle the Turtle with painted knees
'Cause that's the way the
The Bluesmama does the pumphouse.

If your life is in shades of grey
You'd better not go alone!
It's lovely down in the shed today,
But hardly monochrome.
© J Cosmo Newbery

IX - The Butterfly Windblown.

The Butterfly Windblown

Her touch is light,
Her heart is white,
She flits among the flowers;

If, by chance,
She comes to dance
It drives away the showers.

She gives us love
From skies above
And happiness to share;

Once, for a laugh,
She came to bath
And danced upon my hair.

She didn’t stay
But flew away
Continuing to roam;

That lady fair
Who skips the air:
The butterfly, windblown.
© J Cosmo Newbery

Monday, July 03, 2006

VIII - Who are you, Sea Child?

Who are you, Sea Child?

One day when walking along the water
I chanced upon King Neptune's daughter;
Whether I found her or she found me
Matter not; she spellbound me
And hand in hand we whirled around
In a mad, mad dance without a sound -

Just the lapping of the sea,
Laughing at us and laughing at me.

O, how we danced on that sandy shore!
We span and we whirled, then back for more.
Up and down the edge of the water
Puffing and panting as the day grew shorter.
Until, at last, she stopped and said:
"Thanks". That's all; and turned and fled
Back to the sea from which she had come
And left me standing: quiet, and numb.

Just the lapping of the sea,
Laughing at us. And laughing at me.

© J Cosmo Newbery

VII - The Lad and the Maiden Fair.

The Lad and the Maiden Fair

The lad and the maiden fair went to play
Some cards on the sand at the sea;
They took some wine
And planned to dine
On crusty bread and on brie.
On brie,
On crusty bread and on brie.

The lad took hold of the offered hand
And pressed it to his heart
“The hand on my breast
Makes me long for the rest,
But I am sure it will do for a start
For a start,
I am sure it will do for a start.”

She pulled away in shock and dismay
“You men are all thinking the same.
You think if you flirt
You’ll get up my skirt
We maidens are wise to your game.
Your game,
We maidens are wise to your game.”

“Oh maiden do not think of me so
Your judgments come too quick.
The hand in my mind
Was the Crazy Eight kind;
I can’t even win a trick,
A trick,
I can’t even win a trick.
© J Cosmo Newbery

Sunday, July 02, 2006

VI - A House of Cards

A House of Cards

Trust is splintered to so many shards;
How can we know what to believe
When we blithely build a house of cards?

The world can so quickly fall apart;
The price we pay when we deceive;
Trust is splintered to so many shards.

Denying the truth we station guards;
What are we hoping to achieve
When we blithely build a house of cards?

The game can turn and spiral backwards;
At last, alas, we can perceive
Trust is splintered to so many shards.

Empty buildings watch our vacant yards;
Too few trumps remain up our sleeve
When we blithely build a house of cards.

We get no time to mourn and grieve;
We can but pack our bags and leave.
Trust is splintered to so many shards
When we blithely build a house of cards.
© J Cosmo Newbery

Saturday, July 01, 2006

V - Behold the lily.

Behold the Lily

Amid the multicoloured quilt I see
Upright, a pure and proud erection;
The honeysuckle, stocks and peonie
All bow in face of its perfection.

Regally rising, and insistently so,
Demanding we marvel it’s giving
Such beauty as we are blessed to know,
Is one of the joys of good living.

The purity it bestows the world
Gives pleasure to the attender.
Silken and smooth, a funnel unfurled,
It’s ambiguous about it’s gender.

But whether it’s male or whether it’s not
Is ultimately not the question;
What matters most, or at least quite a lot,
Is how you view the suggestion.
© J Cosmo Newbery

Thursday, June 29, 2006

IV - Ode to a soft cheese.

A local paper, writing about soft cheeses, suggested that they evoked visions
of being rolled on the thighs of virgins in the moon light.
Apart from probably being confused with Cuban cigars,
such imagery demands poetry.

Ode to a soft cheese

Can love be any more innocent than this?
The sublime adoration of the pure;
Silken smooth, the essence of all we wish
To be ours: virginal, white, demure.

Heady aromas carry us a far
To where, moonlight awash, visions vestal,
Roll and squash, legs a tremble; thighs ajar;
Food of angels on a plate celestial,

Heavenly cheeses, to make someone swoon.
The ladies then wash, their work is well done;
In bathed innocence they dance in the moon
Oblivious to the magic they’ve spun.

Beneath the trees, with my glass of wine,
I enjoy at ease what cannot be mine.

No apologies. © J Cosmo Newbery.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

III - To The Virgins, To Make Much Of Wine

To The Virgins, To Make Much Of Wine

Harvest ye grape vines while ye may,
The fruit are not for keeping:
And this same vine that droops today,
Tomorrow will be sleeping.

The glorious wine of Heaven, the one
That’s made of Pinot noir;
The sooner is the harvest done,
The party can be start.

That wine is best, which is the first,
When taste and sense are warmer;
But being drunk, the worse, and worst
Wines, will succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but take your wine;
And while ye may, go drinking:
For having lost but once your mind,
...whatever were you thinking?
Apologies to Robert Herrick.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

II - Daft Idylls

Daft Idylls

I wanted only for a wine
That lifts me up and takes me far,
When all at once I saw a line,
of posts, of glorious Pinot noir;
Beside the lake, beneath the wattles,
Dreaming, but not dancing, of my bottles.
Apologies to William Wordsworth.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

I - Vines


I know that I shall never think
A poem lovely as a drink.

A drink whose luscious taste presents
High praise to sweet earth’s nutrients;

For a drink that brings on thoughts divine,
You can n’er go past a good red wine;

A drink that may in summer bring
A maiden to your side, to sing.

Now, on a bosom, my head’s content;
The pillow of choice for the rhyming gent.

Poems are made by fools like moi,
But a damn fine wine is a Pinot noir.
Apologies to Joyce Kilmer.