Tuesday, April 27, 2010

CLXXXXIII - A little capricious nonsense.

Susan, at Stoney River has a micro-fiction challenge where you must
write a short story in 140 characters or less. (Is this a Twitter thing?).
Anyway, today's prompt was a photo of a goat (above).
140 characters just cries out for a limerick.

A goat who answered to Billy,

Lived in a field that was flat, not hilly.

To survey his estate

He climbed on a crate
Unaware that he really looked silly.

© J Cosmo Newbery

Monday, April 26, 2010

CLXXXXII - A Sound Choice

One Minute Writer had a topic "Sound"
"Describe the most beautiful sound you've ever heard."

A Sound Choice

There’s the infant that giggles with glee;
There the brook that burbles away;
There’s the bird that sings in the tree;
There’s the forest at the break of day.

There’s Mozart, when played by a quartet;
There’s the buzz of a crowd at a show;
There’s the wave that pummel a shore wet;
There’s sweet nothings, whispered sultry and low.

There’s friends who knock at your door;
There’s the silence when the radio stops;
There’s the dinner guest asking for more;
There the sound when the wine cork pops.

There’s the car arriving home after five;
There’s the magpies chortling to be fed;
There the crackle of a blazing log fire;
There’s the sizzle of bacon and eggs.

There’s the whimper as you nibble a neck;
There’s rain pounding down on the tiles;
There’s parrots squabbling on the back deck;
There’s thunder rumbling, away some miles.

There’s the moon and the baying of hounds;
There’s children in the park, having fun;
The world abounds with millions of sounds,
How can I possibly only choose one?

© J Cosmo Newbery

Sunday, April 25, 2010

CLXXXXI- The Letter


Today, April 25th, is ANZAC Day in Australia.
Ninety-five years ago Australian soldiers were landed in southern Turkey
as part of Churchill’s ill-conceived plan to attack Germany from the south.
Thousands died.


There’s a picket fence and a cottage gate,
An anxious frown, the postman’s late…
He comes at last, he understands,
And the precious envelope changes hands.

The Letter

Dearest Mother, it’s late, it’s cold,
Me and some mates are in a trench,
Huddled for warmth, no food, no smokes.
I can’t begin to describe the stench
Of the bodies we have no time
To bury in any sort of respectful way.
They say the push is on tomorrow,
Never have I so dreaded the day.
It’s a lottery, you know, who gets shot
We shout and holler and run the guns,
To drop and dig all over again.
Greetings from Hell, your loving son.


As every mother ruefully learns
It’s not her son who eventually returns;
There’s a stranger standing in her hall,
If, of course, he returns at all.

Translated from the Turkish.

© J Cosmo Newbery

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

CLXXXX - Coming Out


Australian swimmer, Daniel Kowalski, came out this weekend and proclaimed that he was gay.
I have no problem with that and I wish him well. Indeed, he is an inspiration.
I feel that the time is right for me to come out, as well.

Coming Out

I admit that I have long lived a lie
(Oh Mother, please, there’s no need to cry!)
Since about twelve, a feckless youth,
I have known a dark and inner truth.

As I watched those playing sports,
In coloured tops and football shorts,
A feeling rose (here I must be cautious)
I hid it well but it made me nauseous.

How could I be a male, strongly virile
And not adore football, Australian style?
There I’ve said it and now proudly proclaim
I cannot stand the wretched game.

Actually, I’m an atheist to all footballing,
Their gratuitous thuggery is just appalling.
I detest the game and how they play it,
And it is such a relief to finally say it.

© J Cosmo Newbery

Sunday, April 18, 2010

CLXXXIX - A Sonnet to the Individual


A Sonnet to the Individual

It’s the modern sterile normality
That all should be a social clone;

Eating, drinking, talking banality,
Never individual, never alone.

Oh, yes, of course, we claim we are
But between claims and actions there’s a gap:
Who can, from their phone, stray far
Or pass up TV’s nightly serve of pap?

I , of course, am the complete individual,
Bowing to style but never to fashion.
I know one day we’ll run out of fuel
And our caves will echo with talk and passion.
A truth both worrying and most formal:
If everyone was like me --- I’d be normal.


© J Cosmo Newbery

Saturday, April 17, 2010

CLXXXVIII - S-Bend, Bent Double.

In comments to the last post, Dianne suggested I could write a poem about anything.
I don't know about that but there was a paper clip on my desk...

S-Bend, Bent Double.

The envelope please! And the winner is
The Paperclip! For it’s starring role in biz-(pause)-e-ness!
This little piece of wire, bent in upon itself
Is leading role on the office shelf.

It holds your piles of notes together
Better than string or pins or leather.
It will even catch and hold some pages
And secretly smile as you search for ages
Until you find your wayward notes
Snared at the back of some pile of quotes.

The paperclip is, surprise!, for clipping paper
But some people want to make them straighter:
Psychologists watch as you unbend them,
The shapes you make and how you defend them.
Some people unbend them as a tooth pick,
Others make them vanish, their party trick.
Some even use them to reset a device
While others just flick them, a habit not nice.

Something to which I lightly aspire
Is to own the patent for this twisted wire.
Several billion are made each week
And would nearly fund the retirement I seek.

© J Cosmo Newbery

Sunday, April 11, 2010

CLXXXVII - Souped-up Saucers


Souped-Up Saucers

Human beings, down through the ages
Have questioned the wise men and the sages,
Wanting to know “Are we truly alone?
Did ET really have someone to phone?”

On a country lane in a country world
A piece of cosmic crockery is hurled;
It hovers enticing, neither plane nor bird,
For photos, of course, but invariably blurred.

For reasons no-one seems to know
We are only visited by the shy UFO.
Treating the cities with galactic distain,
They come to the sticks, then are gone again.

Just as hoons drive to the industrial estate
To burn rubber, drink beer and procreate,
What if these souped up saucers hold the same,
Hoons after a good time on galactic back lane?

© J Cosmo Newbery

Thursday, April 08, 2010

CLXXXVI - Delayed Gratification

One Minute Writer had a topic "Delayed Gratification -Write about a time you had to wait to get something you really wanted."
Now I sort of meandered about the topic - not too sure if I favoured delayed gratification or not.
But I probably wont write any more now until I am back in Melbourne,
so you too can have delayed gratification.

Delayed Gratification.

I. Immediate Response.

I’m not much of a fan of long waiting
To receive what I’m contemplating.
The sooner I get ‘em, the sooner I forget ‘em;
Living life as a form of speed dating.

Remember, to delay receiving rewards
Is a sneaky old trick of the Lord’s.
“Stay very quiet and don’t start a riot
And you’ll receive all that Heaven affords.”

II. Delayed Response.

There’s pleasure in embracing the sensual
And ‘now’ is much better than ‘eventual’.
But I draw the line at drinking bad wine
Or sex with a goat, even consensual.

So, yes, I admit some things I will wait for
Like the dental appointment I’m late for,
And that horrible prancing that goes for folk dancing,
A pastime I have a deep hate for.

Other things that are best long delayed
Are bagpipes, however they are played.
There’s daytime TV and Chamomile tea
And all wars and religious crusades.

More things I’m in no hurry to be trying
Are bunge jumping, carol singing and flying.
Brussel Sprouts should be thrown out
And I’m in no particular rush to be dying.

© J Cosmo Newbery

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

CLXXXV - Four Lines of Garden

Marc, at Daily Writing Practice had a prompt
to write a four line poem about gardens.

Four lines? Well, what say I write a limerick style
and combine lines 3 and 4 into one. (Sorry Percy).

And what say I write two small poems rather than one.
Apart from that, I followed his prompt exactly.



I don’t see the need to work hard in
the democratic jungle, my garden.
Planted seedlings and self-made weedlings
Are all due my equal regardin’.


A weed is not a gardening disgrace,
It’s just living in a most awkward place.
A rose would earn scorn in a paddock of corn
But still smell of old ladies and lace.

© J Cosmo Newbery

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

CLXXXIV - Postcard from Rome

As a suitable end to Easter, I present you with a poem
written by my ancestor J Cosmos Newberrium,
sent on a post-rock from Rome, circa 100AD.

For your convenience, I also provide a translation.

Odoratus piscari.

Extendere tu toga! Iter fibula!
Tractus alteruter. Campus tintinnabula.

Narrare catena? Vestum detrahere?
Bellus vomitorium! Quo vadere?

Aspicere! Magnus harena!
Populus! Sonitus! Musicena!

Aspicere! Caesar! Ave Emperator!
Pollex gravis, Punctun declivator.

Oi! Quo vadis custodia?
Et porta? Cur claudere? Quo sedia?

Ave omnes! Adventare, solum commodus.
Spectare! Longinguus porta apertus.

Bellus feles! Pulcher feles!
Bellus dentes! Haliotoses.


Something smells fishy.

Straighten your toga, we’re going to a show!
Pull the other one, it plays Jingle Bells.
Why are you taking off my leg irons?
Nice tunnel, where will it take us?
Oh look, a large arena! People! Noise! Music!
Oh look! The emperor! Hi Guv!
His thumb seems heavy, it is hanging down.
Hey! Where have the guards gone?
And the gate? Why is it closed. Where are our seats?
Hi everyone! Come on down, the sand’s fine!
Hey look! The far gate has opened.
Nice kitty. Pretty kitty.
Lovely teeth. Nasty breath.

© J Cosmo Newbery

Monday, April 05, 2010

CLXXXIII - Cups of Joy


Cups of joy

Seldom in the daily rush of life
Do you meet with such perfection;
Beautifully displayed, with love and care,
They arouse a deep affection.

Such vessels are a joy to hold
And warm the cockles of your heart.
Lovingly filled, sweet and warm and milky,
They are a most wond’rous piece of art.

O glorious porcelain saucer and cup
I swoon, en route to fainting,
Now, if the woman will kindly step away,
I can look more closely at the painting.

© J Cosmo Newbery

Sunday, April 04, 2010

CLXXXII - The Modern Alchemist

Sunday Scribblings had a prompt about Alchemy.
Here is my take on it.

The Modern Alchemist

In his dark and moist and danky room,
The alchemist pursues his ancient trade:
To find the famed philosopher’s stone –
How the change from lead to gold is made.

Amid the cinnabar, galena and aqua regia
Pyrites, potash and smells infernal
He has two other research goals;
Ultimate wisdom and youth eternal.

Through the centuries, in malodorous labs,
The alchemist has been in honest pursuit
Of things now sold in monthly doses
By weaselly men in pinstriped suits.

The modern publisher, multinational,
Has turned type-metal into share gold
With magazines selling distilled wisdom
And lotions for eternal youth, or so we’re told.

© J Cosmo Newbery

Saturday, April 03, 2010

CLXXXI - Postcard from Sydney

Postcard from Sydney

Sure, they have the Opera House
And a coat-hanger for a bridge,
But really, that’s the end of it,
Just a postcard for the ‘fridge.

The roads are just a parking lot,
The drivers can't relax;
Not a straight road anywhere,
Just covered bullock tracks.

They speak a different language:
A ‘middy’ holds their beer,
Their potato cakes are called scallops
And their scallop’s name’s unclear.

Their ladies are too precious,
The men all oil their pecs,
Their shock-jocks are all morons
And their footballers have no necks.

Sure, they have the Opera House
And a coat-hanger for a bridge,
But really, that’s the end of it,
Just a postcard for the ‘fridge.

© J Cosmo Newbery
Graphic adapted from Zazzle.com

Friday, April 02, 2010

Lest we forget (the train sauce).


I found that there are 25 or so of my poems on a Russian blog.
I don't mind, quite flattered really. They credit me but don't link to my blog.

One of my more sombre poems is about the stupidity of war.
Here is the original and the Russian translation.
For Dan, the original Russian is here.

Lest we forget

Lest we forget the heartfelt pain
Of needless death for pointless gain.
We should be closer to the gore
To see what horrors lie in store
For victims of this terror game.

Rockets are fired at far terrain
And bombs are dropped from a plane;
People aren’t people any more.
Lest we forget.

The leaders would do it all again
They love to clap the band’s refrain.
It’s been truly said, oft before,
There are no winners in a war.
Except, of course, on the gravy train.
Lest we forget.


Lest we forget the heartache
From the useless death for senseless gain.
We should be closer to the gore
To see what horrors await
For the victims of the terrorist game.

In the rocket firing distant landscape
And bombs dropped from aircraft;
People aren't people do.
Lest we forget.

Leaders would do it all again
They love to slam band's refrain.
It's really said often before,
In war there are no winners.
Except, of course, train sauce.
Lest we forget.

© J Cosmo Newberyski

I am heading to Sydney for a week.
Look out Sydney. All others relax.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

A Tolstoy moment: Words and Peas


It's my birthday and, innocently roaming the internet, what do I find?

A Russian translation of some of my poems!

I have visions of a monk in a monastery, slaving away by candle light...

The following is about Peas and was originally put up March 3rd, 2009:

The original is in black, Google's translation is in green:


Peas sit in their pods
Like commuters on a train.
They rattle round the sink
Before rolling down the drain.

Pea sitting in their pods
As residents of the suburbs by train.
They roar around the drain
Before you scroll down the drain.

Peas are very pretty,
They are, well, pea-green little balls;
Flick them out the window,
Or bounce them off the walls.

Peas are very likeable,
They are, well, in general, green as a pea small balls;
Click them out the window 

Or rip them from the walls.

Peas are little bullets,
A veggie like no other;
You can drop them on the cat
Or shoot them at your brother.

Pea - small markers
Vegetarian like no other;
You can lower them to the cat
Or shoot them at your brother.

Peas are most forgiving
No matter how you treat them;
Some folk love to mash them,
Some will even eat them.

Pea is the most forgiving
Regardless of how you process them;
Some people like to puree them,
Some even eat them.


Well, that was a birthday present I hadn't expected!