Wednesday, December 31, 2008

LXVII - To a Friend of Many Names.


I'm cheating a little on this one. It is some years old now
but has not been published in this blog before and seems quite fitting for the end
of what the Chinese would call an "interesting year".

To a friend of many names.

You touched me once,
In passing;
You probably don't remember,
But I recall it well.

You touched me once,
In passing,
And as you continued on your way
Left a special imprint,
A mark upon the clay that you
And others like you
Have moulded into me.
I reacted to your presence,
To your coming and your going,
With suble little changes
That only I can see.
You shaped my thoughts and standards
Then continued moving on;
Probably never knowing
That I could see where you had been
Long after you had gone.

Yes, you touched me once.

In passing.

You probably don't remember
But I recall it well.

© J Cosmo Newbery

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

LXVI - Surviving Christmas, Cold Turkey


Surviving Christmas, Cold Turkey

The table groaned beneath the load
The serving staff had training for their muscles
And to each plate largesse bestowed
(But, darn, no green sprouts from Brussels.)

There was a stuffed turkey, nicely roasted,
And sliced, with an eye to presentation;
On the day our table boasted
Enough food to feed a small but hungry nation.

There were nuts and fruit and fine mince tarts,
Good red wine and condiments enhancing,
Potatoes, salads, shortbread hearts,
And salsas, the closest thing I got to dancing.

The pantry’s still full of this culinary cheer
Long after the guests have upped and gone.
Christmas comes but once a year;
But the leftovers go on and on and on.

© J Cosmo Newbery

Monday, December 29, 2008

LXV - Vertical Expression


riseoutofme asked if I can dance. This is a loaded question!

Vertical Expression

Dancing is said to inspire
An improper horizontal desire;
I find it discrete
To have two left feet,
It keeps me from playing with fire.

© J Cosmo Newbery

LXIV - Word Verification Limerick

Some people love word verification. Not sure why.
I have never used it and not had any problems.
The time was right for a word verification limerick, which I have reproduced above.

Translated, it reads:
Word verification is the pits
When doing a blog comments blitz
To say verification
Is a mild irritation
Is wrong, in reality it gives me quite a lot of bother.


The limerick addiction's a curse,
And can result in dreaming in verse,
It's not the rhyming
It's the da-da-dum timing
That leads to insanity, or worse

© J Cosmo Newbery

Sunday, December 28, 2008

LXIII - Good Clove, Bad Clove

Laura Jayne at Pictures, Poetry & Prose poses a daily writing challenge.
The prompt for this poem was “Garlic”

Good Clove, Bad Clove

Garlic is a thing quite magic
Though its effects can be quite tragic
It’s really not hard to guess
Why it gets so much bad press
When after some garlicky dinners
People smell of cheap paint thinners.


Good clove, bad clove
You’re the one that we love
Use a lot or just a touch
Can there really be too much?

It’s mystical powers clearly will
Address all manner of bodily ills
Against cholesterol, it is a winner
And it makes your blood flow thinner
It helps fight cancer, or so they say,
And even keeps a vampire at bay.


It grows, we’re told, where Satan stood
A force for evil or a force for good?
I don’t care, I love the stuff
It’s very hard to get enough.
There’s one thing God should be knowing
If there’s none in Heaven, I ain’t going.


© J Cosmo Newbery

Saturday, December 27, 2008

LXII - Grounds for a complaint.


Grounds for a complaint.

If espresso coffee can be faulted
It is your inability to consult it;
Unlike tea, with leaves to read,
Coffee’s made from a seed
That's roast and ground until dilutable:
Tea’s Chinese but coffee’s inscrutable.

© J Cosmo Newbery

Friday, December 26, 2008

LXI - Chaos Theory


Laura Jayne at Pictures, Poetry & Prose poses a daily writing challenge.
The prompt (a bit old now, sorry) for this poem was “What does a butterfly dream about?”

This poem looses something in translation;
the butterfly lexicon has over 10,000 words for green,
200 words each for most other colours
but, surprisingly, no words for a piano accordian.

Chaos Theory
or In Your Dreams, Butterfly!

Green thing, pink thing, green thing,
Yellow thing, green thing, quick fling,
Green thing, mauve thing, green thing,
White thing, thin thing, egg thing,
Green thing, red thing, green thing.
Blue thing, green thing, dead thing.

© J Cosmo Newbery

LX - Christmas Offensive

Christmas Eve, in a shopping mall near you...

Christmas Offensive

If you go down to the shops today,
You're sure of expensive buys;
If you go down to the shops today
You’ll have a quick demise;
For every store that’s down there will
Have upped their prices and stuffed their till,
For today’s the day the merchants make a killing.

© J Cosmo Newbery

Thursday, December 25, 2008

LIX - To a young lad, forty years past.

"Spring's Innocence" - Norman Lindsay.

Laura Jayne at Pictures, Poetry & Prose poses a daily writing challenge.
This poem is in response to the prompt "Write a letter to your young self.".

To a young lad, forty years past.

I who am ahead by forty years,
And write this peculiar rhyme,
Send you my words, in arrears,
Backward down through time.

I’ll not warn you what to eat
Or what paths your life should take;
Nor a word on lovers you may meet;
These are choices you will make.

But it’s attitude that makes the man,
So be kind to all you meet.
Use humour everywhere you can
And think before you speak.

How shall your life ahead unfold?
I know and yet I don’t, of course
Take heed of everything you’re told
But move on, without remorse.

O friend, known yet beyond my touch,
Sharer of my life and genes
I really cannot tell you much.
I am getting on; you are in your teens.

But since I can never take your place,
Nor lift you when you fall,
I send my love through time and space
To free you. You will have a ball.

© J Cosmo Newbery
It is structured on Flecker's poem "To a poet a thousand years hence".

Friday, December 19, 2008



The Newbery caravan is packing up and going missing until after Christmas.

If you are religiously inclined: have an exceptionally happy Christmas. 
If you are not religiously inclined: have an exceptionally happy Christmas.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

LVIII - Dear Santa

One of this week's writing challenges from Mama's Losin' It
is to write a letter to Santa.

Dear Santa

I know you’ve come through so often before
But the time has come to ask for more.
So, let me be firm and let me be clear
World peace tops my list this year.
And the climate seems to be a mess,
Could you teach us to use a bit less?
And remove animals out of cosmetics
And also take religion out of politics.
Actually, I don’t know, I wonder whether
You could get rid of religion altogether.
Don’t get me wrong, God can stay,
It’s just religion that’s gone astray.
And why not knock off the odd disease
And remove the pirates from the seas.
And stop folk cutting down our trees
And improve the quality of on our TVs.
And rid the streets of hoons and louts
And ban the sale of Brussel’s Sprouts.
But if all this is just a wish too far
I’ll happily settle for a good Pinot Noir.

Oh, PS: It would be a grand finale of sorts:
If you could give George anal warts…

Love, Cosmo.

© J Cosmo Newbery

LVII - A Chilli Reception.


A Chilli Reception

I was feeling like making a spicy sauce;
Something with chillis, with bite, of course.
So I took to the kitchen all fired up
To make a chilli sauce, a hot ketchup.
I boiled a brew with the desired effect;
Satan, I think, would give it respect.
It’s an oddity of English (there are a lot)
That chilly is what the chilli’s not.

Late at night, far removed from the sink,
I tenderly toyed with the moist and pink.
With a scream that surely woke the dead,
My wife exploded from the bed
And stood in the doorway, off in the gloom,
Yelling obscenities across the room.
Remember this friends, that chilli juice lingers
And be really careful to wash your fingers.
© J Cosmo Newbery
For my sweet chilli sauce recipe, see here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

LVI - A Semen's Life.

One Minute Writer had a topic called "Influence".
"Write about the one or two most influential people in your life thus far."

The most important person in my life? Well, me, of course.
But perhaps I should give credit where credit is due.
That way you know who to blame for your suffering, too.

A Semen's Life

A wife will not normally conceive
When her husband’s away on the seas;
The man in the navy
Who brought home the gravy
Was the guy who awarded shore leave.


The following is related and yet unrelated.
It is my limericated version of a radio blooper from the 1970s.
A service wife was being interviewed about her happiest moment.
Let’s call her husband Fred.

A Naval wife, who lived a life bland,
Was the happiest woman in the whole land
When she woke to find Fred,
Standing by her bed,
With his discharge in his hand.

© J Cosmo Newbery

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

LV - The Time of Your Life.


Laura Jayne at Pictures, Poetry & Prose poses a daily writing challenge.
This poem is in response to the prompt "Time".
To be read in a rhythmic tick-tock fashion.

The time of your life.

Tick tock
Old clock
First cry
Mothers sigh
Solid food
Photo nude
Mother heard
First word
Wings spread
Own bed
Fun play
School day
Young love
White doves
Hot kiss
Near miss
First time
Gold ring
Choirs sing
Passion wild
First child
Second spouse
Third house
Kids grown
Own phone
Soul mate
Over weight
Joint wear
Grey hair
Work spent
Back bent
Rest home
Nursing care
Rocking chair
Church bells
Tick tock
Tick tock

© J Cosmo Newbery

Monday, December 15, 2008

LIV - Not eccentric, just off-centre.


One Minute Writer had a topic called "Nuts".
"In what way are you a little (or more than a little) crazy?"

Not eccentric, just off-centre.

A concept that does not well serve
Is normality, as shown by the bell curve.

The sensible folk, this curve puts between
Two standard deviations from the mean.

The rest are outliers, eccentrics and defected
Who are either feared, or worshiped, or elected.

I take umbrage at this, hurt and slandered:
My deviations are unique, far from standard.

True, I have faults but, withhold your smirks!
They are the essence of me; I love my quirks!

And I proudly declare, upright and formal,
If everyone was like me, I’d be quite normal.

© J Cosmo Newbery

Sunday, December 14, 2008

LIII - The "Do-Over" Button

One Minute Writer had a topic called "The Do-Over Button".

"If you had a "do over" button, what one event in your life
would you like to have a second chance at doing better?"
It reminded me of that old joke about an Amish man and an elevator.

The "Do Over" Button

An inventor by the name Hutton
Created a 'do-over' button;
He had the time of his life
When he did over his wife
And now enjoys lamb and not mutton.

© J Cosmo Newbery

Saturday, December 13, 2008

LII - The Dark Ship

Laura Jayne at Pictures, Poetry & Prose poses a daily writing challenge.
This poem is in response to the prompt "Grief".

The Dark Ship

What ho, my Captain! What lies ahead?
He stood a while, as savouring the brine
Before turning and locking eyes with mine.
He spoke and, with a hollowness, said
“I sail the dark seas in inner dread,
Dark is the world within my head”.
And the ship sailed on through the night-o,
The ship sailed on through the night.

What ho, my Captain! What hope is there?
Surely there’s hope the dark will lift
When your vessel is strong and travelling so swift?
Wont you progress past the seas of despair?
He reached and gently touched my hair
“We’re going at speed but I know not where.”
And the ship sailed on through the night-o,
The ship sailed on through the night.

What ho, my Captain! Can you be saved?
This took him aback and he thought a while
“I can” he said “but the voices beguile.
Our thoughts are to darkness enslaved,
No matter how much release is craved,
We are on a trip that cannot be waived.”
And the ship sailed on through the night-o,
The ship sailed on through the night.

What ho, my Captain! Can we turn back?
“There’s no going back, what’s past is done.
The only way’s forward once it’s begun.
And this is why things look so black
And things weigh heavy upon my back
But I look for some light, the barest crack.
And the ship sailed on through the night-o,
The ship sailed on through the night.

What ho, my Captain! When comes the dawn?
“For every dawn, must precede a night
Passage through these cold waters is a rite
That lives in you, it is never gone.
At best, the dark is just withdrawn
And we can but bravely struggle on.”
And the ship sailed on through the night-o,
The ship sailed on through the night.

© J Cosmo Newbery

Friday, December 12, 2008

LI - Communication Gap


One of this week's writing challenges from Mama's Losin' It
is to write about what you would say to a mouse if it could talk.
There is a basic assumption here...

Communication Gap

In a cloth draped cage he came to my house
A magical crittur, an articulate mouse;
The Sharman promised me, hand on heart,
"He’ll answer all questions, he's very smart".
The only requirement from me in this deal
Was to feed the small rodent a really good meal.
When the meal was done and the mouse replete
I lotused myself before his small feet.
“Speak to me Mouse, from your wisdom inside!”
“Είναι αυτός μια γάτα πίσω από σας”* the small mouse replied.
Sadly my cat devoured the pipsqueak
Before I had managed to teach myself Greek.


* More or less: "Is that a cat behind you?"


© J Cosmo Newbery

L - Humanity


Laura Jayne at Pictures, Poetry & Prose poses a daily writing challenge.This one is in response to the prompt "What makes us the same?".
I've drifted a bit off course and am a bit late but..


The news tells us of a death
Of someone we never knew.
Cold, clinical, matter of fact;
Reported and over in a moment or two.

But that person, quickly dismissed,
Will have had a mother and father,
Maybe a sister or perhaps a brother
Friends, neighours, a significant other.
Colleagues, storekeepers and so on
All increase the living sphere
Of people who knew this news item
In a way that’s deeply, painfully, dear.

We’re all statistics and yet we’re not;
We’re people, we’re family, we’re all together;
We’re beings that laugh and cry and bleed;
We’re more than a news item before the weather.
© J Cosmo Newbery

Thursday, December 11, 2008

XLIX - Some Limericks


This week's writing challenge from Mama's Losin' It
is to write about allergies. OK, there are other topics but I chose allergies.

And I was in a limerick sort of mood.
My allergies are more mental than floral:
There are politicians, acting immoral;
And boorish louts;
And Brussels sprouts;
And any piped music, choral.


One Minute Writer also had a couple of topics that appealed.

In what area of your life do you tend toward excess instead of moderation?
Well, that's a given for me.

It’s true, I have to confess,
With wine I prefer more over less.
A glass is fine
But a bottle is divine:
Nothing exceeds like excess.


Write about an "online-only" friend you have not met in person.

On line, she was bright and quite pert.
I lusted to explore up her skirt.
I was shocked to discover
That my internet lover
Was an interstate trucker named Bert.

© J Cosmo Newbery

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

XLVIII - Six Signs of Success


I have been given an award, a manly sort of award, all black and blokey (see below) by Diane.
Do visit her blog, it is always a good read
and, as she says nice things about me, I can't help but love her.
You will too.

As is their wont, these awards come with conditions.
I must, well should, say something nice about a man in my life
and then list six signs of success, as I see them. As always, a poem.

Six Signs of Success

A poem is a placard, a banner unfurled,
Where I can shake my fist at an uncaring world.

It uses words and pictures to tell
a story in a manner that looks good as well

Poems, for me, are all the sweeter
When they display flow and metre.

And while free-form has its place, I know
I prefer things to be rhyming, it just feels so --- fine.

A poem is mine, I can say what I like
A bonus reward, the more chords I strike.

When all is writ and the wording is fine
The final reward is a glass of wine.

© J Cosmo Newbery

Oh, the nice thing about a man: Good bye George.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

XLVII - The Snake

Laura Jayne at Pictures, Poetry & Prose poses a daily writing challenge.
Too much for me to do daily but occasionally? Why not.

The Snake

Forked tongue, stoic face,
Flicker, flicker, flicker.

Steely eyes survey its space
Flicker, flicker, flicker.

Tension coiled for a chase
Flicker, flicker, flicker.

Threatening cold embrace
Flicker, flicker, flicker.

Sinuous moves, unctuous grace
Flicker, flicker, flicker.

Oils away without a trace
Flicker, flicker, flicker.
© J Cosmo Newbery

XLVI - Little Donkey

Stu Pidasso, indicated that Freebird's burritos are something to die for.
I expressed some reservations at this wanton waste of life
and Stu has written an ode to the burrito. This is my response.

Little Donkey

The reasons are many I drink wine for,
And there are women I would gladly recline for,
But when I die, the reason wont be a
Meal wrapped in a tortilla;
A burrito is something to dine for.

© J Cosmo Newbery

Thursday, December 04, 2008

XLV - I'm Not a Gypsy.


I'm Not a Gypsy

I’m not a gypsy, I’ll tell you that up front;
A man of wisdom leaves the psychic to his spouse.
But let me read the tarot cards and rashly take a punt
On the sorts of things I’ll find, lying round your house.

An old electric ‘thingo’: useless, antiquated;
A box of photographs, waiting to be sorted;
Medicines in a cupboard, hopelessly outdated;
Yellow paper clippings, where a wedding is reported.

A box of Reader’s Digests, stored beneath a bed;
A clock that’s broken, waiting to be fixed;
A casserole from the days when orange replaced red
And a door or drawer that always, always sticks.

The ladies will have several solitary earrings
And more shoes than they absolutely needed.
The men have a tool shed full of dear things
And a woollen suit or two, in sizes superseded.

I am really not a gypsy, that should be clear to all
But when I ‘sense’ I know what I will find.
Never trust a psychic, friends; I have no crystal ball
But I confidently predict they will gaily rob you blind.

© J Cosmo Newbery

XLIV - Nicky


This week's writing challenge from Mama's Losin' It
is to write about a chaotic incident involving a pet.


Nicky was a bulldog
Nicky looked a pug
Nicky had no braincells
Nicky was a thug.

Nicky bit the lawn mower
Nicky loved to brawl
Nicky took the neighbours son
And pinned him to the wall.

© J Cosmo Newbery