Sunday, March 31, 2013

CDXC - A Terse Reply

Three Word Wednesday requires participants
to use the three words of the week in a composition.
The words this week were lame, terse and co-operate.

A Terse Reply

The lame,
The wounded,
The broken,
The scores
of needless dead—

“Freedom has a price to pay”
That's what the generals said.
“It’s sad we’ve ruined all you had—”

“Some day, the courts will ask you why—“

“Cooperation will be token”
Came back the terse reply.

© J Cosmo Newbery 2013

Thursday, March 28, 2013

CDLXXXIX - Fault Lines

Imaginary Garden with Real Toads had the topic 'Cracked'.

I'm a bit late for the topic but I got there eventually.

Fault Lines

Heaven holds no allure for me,
All sweet and pure and bright;
Containing everything I’d wished,
If wishes can be right.

See—there’s the rub in this for me—
It’s flaws that give delight.
Imperfections should be cherished,
Not tossed into the night.

They are the drivers of all change:
Big things grow from the small,
As grit will give an oyster cause
To make a pearly ball.

When considered, it isn’t strange
That faults should so enthrall:
It is because of nature’s flaws
That we are here at all.

© J Cosmo Newbery 2013

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Not to be Reproduced, 1937 by the Belgian surrealist René Magritte.

The Mag has the above painting as a prompt.
I took a light-hearted route:

The Brick

I met a man the other day,
As strange as strange could be.
It didn’t matter where I stood,
He had his back to me.

Clearly, he was avoiding me.
So good was this evasive trick
That he was in every way
As engaging as a brick.

© J Cosmo Newbery 2013

Monday, March 25, 2013

CDLXXXVII - Future Imperfect

Sunday Whirl (Wordle #101) presents a list of words
that we must incorporate in a writing piece.  

The words this week are:  

disguised, forgotten, country, hurry, tree, wound, 
mind, sand, stirred, jar, across, yesterday

Future Imperfect

We let yesterday control us,
Determine who we are;
Our mind’s forgotten how to try
To look forward very far.

The future’s always disguised thus,
Avoiding wounds that scar,
Like a pretty little butterfly
Kept safely in a jar.

It is a very scary place,
A country that is vast,
The sands of time, once they are stirred,
Fall, relentless and too fast.

And should we find a tree through space,
That can lead across, if asked,
We grasp the safety of the herd,
And head down, hurry past.

© J Cosmo Newbery 2013

Sunday, March 24, 2013

CDLXXXVI - Honour Roll

It's been a while since I have done a limerick.
Mad Kane has a regular limerick challenge.
She provides the first line,
the rest is up to us.

A girl who was terribly bold
Did favours for pieces of gold.
She had a list of the guys 
Tattooed on her thighs.
Or so I’m reliably told.

© J Cosmo Newbery 2013

Saturday, March 23, 2013

CDLXXXV - A Poem for Louise

dVerse Poets has a prompt on 'negative capability'.
What could be more negatively capable than homeopathy?

A Poem for Louise
On learning that you had
homeopathically vaccinated your daughter.

© J Cosmo Newbery 2013

A critic’s review: this is one of the great works of poemeopathy.

Reduced to where it no longer has a single discernable letter, it resonates with the distilled memories of the great lyric poets of yore and beyond and even before.

Underlying harmonics speak to us from the mouths of the giants of philosophical discourse, from the great minds who have crafted words into the most tangible representation of clear thinking, logic and reason and then failed to recount them to others.

Overlaying and, indeed underlaying, this is the essence of the hearts and minds of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood – Rossetti, Millais, Stephens and especially Hunt.   It touches the heart, warms the kidneys, and irritates the sphincter while leaving the mind alone, to echo in quiet repose.

This is a work of great import that will shape and direct the work of other poemeopaths for decades to come.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

CDLXXXIV - Skinner's Pigeon

There are people out there who constantly check their mobile phone
for messages from that someone special.  Not you?  Nah, me neither.

Be that as it may...

B.F. Skinner, patron saint of poker machine addiction,
studied it all many years ago, using pigeons.

The form is a villanelle; it’s repetitive structure ideal for the topic.

Skinner’s Pigeon

We are conditioned to persist,
For reasons Skinner could explain,
To check for text we may have missed.

Like pigeons fed a random grist
To push a lever for some grain,
We are conditioned to persist,

Freewill is there, some will insist,
But we’re driven by an inner vein 
To check for text we may have missed.

It doesn’t matter how we twist,
The facts are clear and still remain:
We are conditioned to persist,

Always chasing what may not exist,
The need is there within our brain
To check for text we may have missed.

Enamoured, like a lover kissed,
Checking the screen again and again:
We are conditioned to persist,
To check for text we may have missed.

© J Cosmo Newbery 2013

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

CDLXXXIII - The Street To Nowhere

Sunday Whirl (Wordle #100) presents a list of words
that we must incorporate in a writing piece.  

The words this week are:
master, street, change, share, train, die, calls,  stretch, march, words, places, create, faint

The Street To Nowhere.

The street was dark and lightly wet,
The wind had quite a bite.
The walkers kept their collars up
And pulled their jackets tight,
The whistle of a distant train
Rolled glumly through the night.

Puddles of light spill out from shops,
As places to find heat.
And there they create little flocks,
To stand and sadly bleat;
Unable to change the weather,
Afraid to cross the street.

Some fail to master how to walk,
Some march as on parade,
Some stretch their legs and make a dash,
Others wait in the arcade.
Calls, words unclear, echo down the street
To die away and fade.

A couple share a bag of chips,
Against the chilly blast.
I watch with remote bemusement,
As from another caste.
A faint smell of vinegar lingers
Long after they have passed.

© J Cosmo Newbery 2013

Sunday, March 17, 2013

CDLXXXI - Idle Green Thoughts

dVerse Poets asks us to write something that draws on the colour green.

Idle Green Thoughts
St Patrick’s Day

“It isn’t easy being green”
Said a frog of some renown.
But then most frogs are a different shade,
A motley type of brown.

My compost is another case,
It’s ‘green’ but clearly ain’t.
Dulux would say it’s ‘Tuscan Plains’
In gloss and low sheen paint.

Some things really should not be green,
Like leftovers and their ilk,
Found several weeks later on,
Way back behind the milk.

My grass is green, a lovely green,
And taller by the hour.
Except when dried and crisp and brown
Or the weeds are all in flower.

The Irish love to raise a pint
On March the seventeenth.
Imagine how much dye is used
To turn a Guinness greenth.

© J Cosmo Newbery 2013

Friday, March 15, 2013

CDLXXX - The Parting

dVerse challenges us to write a 'cinquain', a five line poem with
2, 4, 6, 8, and 2 syllables in the five lines.  

None of the examples rhymed but no-one said that they couldn't.

The Parting

I’ll go away,
Shield myself from dismay.
It seems a better choice than stay.

© J Cosmo Newbery 2013

CDLXXIX - The Witch's Kiss

In my last post I was pressured to change a reference
to a cold 'spinster's kiss' to a cold 'witch's kiss'.  
I felt this may be unfair to the witches.

The Witch’s Kiss

The cat watches dispassionately,
The tail flicks to and fro.
It is, it feels, for deviants,
To merge their faces so.

The Kiss
It promises much more than this;
And hold me in her spell.
Transported so affectionately,
The cat can go to Hell.

© J Cosmo Newbery 2013

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Three Word Wednesday requires participants
to use the three words of the week in a composition.
The words this week were careful, hug and mistake.

I got a bit excited and did a second submission.

Excited also by thoughts of passionate hugs
I made a mistake and left 'mistake' out.
So does that mean it's really in.  By omission?

I liked the work so I change the title.

A Mistake.

A careful hug is a doleful thing,
Cold as a witch's kiss;
It neither excites nor consoles,
Where is the joy in this?

Give in to the passions held within!
Controlled embraces will not get you thanked:
They’re like sitting, unpushed, on a swing.
Or being politely spanked.

© J Cosmo Newbery 2013

For a alternative view of witches' kisses, see here.

CDLXXVII - Snakes in the Grass

Three Word Wednesday requires participants
to use the three words of the week in a composition.
The words this week were careful, hug and mistake.

A limerick, of sorts.

Snakes in the Grass

It can be a grievous mistake
To hug a bad tempered snake;
If you're not very careful
Your mates will spin their bull
To console your wife at your wake.

© J Cosmo Newbery 2013

Monday, March 11, 2013

CDLXXVI - The Curtain

Sunday Whirl (Wordle #99) presents a list of words
that we must incorporate in a writing piece.  

The words this week are: 

paint, use, sprees, outsider, away, fearsome, 
part, reserves, body, intimate, written, window

In writing this, I was thinking of all intolerances:
racial, religious, political, sexual, even football fans.

The Curtain

Why is an outsider fearsome,
Demonising the unknown?
Why paint the unfamiliar 
As best if left alone?

The press just thrives on panic sprees
To make us shy away
From thoughts of being intimate
With those with different traits.

Why do we believe what is written,
Afraid to use our mind?
Timid and behind a window,
Scared to part the blind.

The reserves of the human race
Show great diversity.
If we joined this larger body,
How much richer would we be?

© J Cosmo Newbery 2013

Saturday, March 09, 2013


Three Word Wednesday requires participants
to use the three words of the week in a composition.
The words this week were brutal, grope and transfer.

The form is a Herrick's Stanza.


Viewed from it’s most brutal aspect,
Life is a constant fight
For food and a possible chance
To transfer our genes like
A baton
In a race is passed on:
To the back reaching hand,
Groping for contact and connect,
To know and understand.

© J Cosmo Newbery 2013

Thursday, March 07, 2013

CDLXXIV - A Charming Fellow

A Charming Fellow

A fellow felt quite destitute
When told charm was not his strong suit.
To see what he could do
He bought a book on Hindu
And a cobra and a small wooden flute.

© J Cosmo Newbery 2013

Sunday, March 03, 2013

CDLXXIII - A Song of the Moment

Sunday Scribblings has the prompt 'Moment'.

A Song of the Moment

The heart bursts forth in glorious song,
As the sun, embracing the dawn.
It’s as warm and rich and sweet and strong,
As the inspiration from which it’s drawn.

But the heart and brain are oft at odds
In this song of inflated proportions.
The heart will try to ignore the prods
Of a brain that counsels caution.

There comes a moment of leaden pain,
When wild exuberance is slowed,
When the heart concedes to the brain
And chooses the other road.

That doesn’t mean the dream was wrong
Nor stop the heart from humming it’s song.

© J Cosmo Newbery 2013

CDLXXII - Thoughts from a Massage Table.

Three Word Wednesday requires participants
to use the three words of the week in a composition.
The words this week were douse, naughty and pale.

I have been off at Daylesford, Spa Country, for a few days,
where amongst other things, I had a 90min massage.

The optional last stanza relates to those ladies in Thailand
who also offer a massages but with the hook:
“I will give you happy ended.”  
No prizes for guessing their intent.

Thoughts from a Massage Table.

Douse your thoughts of naughty things,
Expel the licentious and the lewd;
Enter into the dim-lit world
Where no daily cares intrude.

In this pale and subdued world
Of light music and of heady oils,
Hands work their magic to dissolve
The aches and pains of workday toils.

Optional third stanza:

In this soporific state, work thoughts,
A validation project chiefly,
Enter into my pampered brain
But only stay there briefly.

Optional last stanza:

The masseuses are a serious lot:
Professional and unoffending.
The massage is both warm and deep 
But there is no "happy ending".

© J Cosmo Newbery 2013