Sonata or sonata?

As you know, when I’m eating the starter,

I like to listen to the Moonlight Sonata.

But you, I discovered a little later,

Would rather be with the Moonlight Sonata.

Must we call it off? Does it really matter?

Can’t both of us listen to the Moonlight Sonata?

I love you so much, your smile and your laughter,

I want to be happy with you ever after.

But it’s clear to me now, if I really haveta,

I could also be happy with you ever after.

The prompt for Matt’s latest Flash Fiction Foray was Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. There was a hint of an invitation to link it to the events in Paris, but that was so strong in my mind that I did it last week, and this week it’s defiantly flippant, owing more to George and Ira Gershwin than Beethoven. I hope he won’t mind (Ludwig, I mean, not Matt – I know he won’t mind). Thanks, Matt, for being a great host, and… What else can I say? Roll over, Beethoven!


Sunday Poem: No More

Sunday Poem

The Sunday Poem will be no more

At least until September,

But I’ll be back with rhymes galore

(As long as I remember).

Though like a bird that sings on high

I warble and I coo

I need to make some shepherd’s pie

And work on my haiku.

Do not despair or faint or fume

Nor let this spoil your slumber.

The weeks to count till I resume

Are very few in number.

Sunday Poem: First Words to Grammar


Rounding up the current series from the collection Poems Inspired by Second Hand Books on Sale on Amazon:

Though babies bawl and puke and smell

And generally have little glamour,

The marvel is they learn so well

The passage from first words to grammar.

The language matters not, forsooth,

From Almaty to Alabama

It grows inside like their first tooth

As they progress from words to grammar.

And we as parents watch with pride,

Despite the odd mistake or stammer,

Our offspring take within their stride

That magic step – first words to grammar.

Sunday Poem: Statistics


Number three in my collection Poems Inspired By Second Hand Books On Sale On Amazon:

I’ve got the data, but can’t do the analysis.

Deal with it later? Statistical paralysis!

I ponder this over coffee and biscuits

And realise then I need Starting Statistics.

Or perhaps, I think, wondering where my gum is,

Better still would be Statistics for Dummies.

Sunday Poem: A Tale of Two Cheeses


I have Oscar Relentos to thank for pointing out a remark by G.K. Chesterton: “Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.” I didn’t know the quote, and nor had this unfortunate state of affairs even struck me. I believe Oscar has his own plans for rectifying the situation, but in view of the urgency, I thought it vital to  make a start at least.

Britain’s cheese renown is built on

Little more than blue-veined Stilton

(Though Wensleydale could have a say

And should Caerphilly come your way

Do not refuse – on wholemeal bread

It’s tastier than Leicester Red).

‘Tis sad to say, but by and large

There’s so much more to French fromage.

And as a footnote, another cheese quote from General de Gaulle: How can you govern a country where there are 258 varieties of cheese? According to a recent finding from France Soir, this figure, advanced during the war, is obsolete – today there are 1200 varieties. This obviously explains why François Hollande is in such dire straits.

Pic’n’Post: From Snow to Snow


‘We did have a lovely time, didn’t we?’ Dorothy patted his hand, a faraway smile gracing her lips. ‘That man who took the photo of us on the beach, I do hope he sends it to us.’

Frank didn’t know what man she meant, nor what beach for that matter. How many beaches had they been to since they met? You lose count of things like that. ‘I’m sure he will,’ he said.

‘Could you fetch me a glass of water, dear? And my book? I left it on the kitchen table. From Snow to Snow.’

She was right. Both the title and where she’d left it. Frank was always pleased when she got things right. She was reading everything Frost had written, savouring the resonance of the words. ‘Here you are.’

He’d startled her – she jumped. ‘What do you want with me?’ Her eyes, lit from within, blazed with malice and dread. ‘Don’t come near! Get out!’

He wondered whether to give her the book in any case. It was a hardback with an olive-green cover. The cover had a pleasant feel, firm and grainy. He stood there, running his finger across it, a circular movement, several times, before taking it back to the kitchen.

Though I posted my own picture (Aberystweth beach), the story was actually inspired by this one on Theo’s photography blog (look around – it has lots of other of amazing pictures too). Although the picture is beautiful, the bleakness of that snowy road stretching into the distance made me think of the landscapes of the mind all too often inhabited in old age.

Pic’n’Post: blogging event open to all, any time. All that’s required is a picture and a text (not necessarily fiction). Round ups every fortnight. See the new, flexible  rules here. Have fun!

Sunday Poem(s): If Your Matter Could Reform


As you can see from the picture, that’s not my title, it’s Robert Okaji’s. His was among the first poetry blogs I came across, and the best, so today I thought I’d give a shout out to those who don’t know it (he does, deservedly, have a lot of followers). I downloaded a copy of the collection If Your Matter Could Reform for the modest sum of 0.95, which makes the price of each word pretty good value for money. (Actually my wife downloaded the whole of Proust for €2.00, so that’s even less per word, but the thing is she gave up on it. Not saying it’s unreadable, mind, but…  well, a great choice for Desert Island Discs, put it that way).

Anyway, what I like about Robert’s poems is the precision of each word, the concision of the whole. Just one brief quote, from Nine Ways of Shaping the Moon:

Weave the wind into a song.
Rub its fabric over your skin.
For whom does it speak?

See? There’s a fuller review here if you want. Alternatively, you can just download the book. It’s the sort of poetry that you want to come back to, that makes you realise what poetry’s all about.

Pic’n’Post event n° 4

p'n'p results

Two participants for Pic’n’Post this time – thanks go to Tiny Expats, whose evocative picture taken outside a Czech castle, Kuneticka Hora, is accompanied by a text, Defenders, about preparing for a siege. At the end there’s a link to another post about the castle – looks like a great place to visit!


Thanks also to Izzy, who artfully combined this event with Jennifer Nichole Well’s One Word Photo Challenge (Copper) and the Daily Prompt (“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”) to produce A Hearty Haiku inspired by her family’s traditional New Year soup.


The new, flexible Pic’n’Post rules can be found here. Contributions welcome any time!

cuneo 029

Sunday Poem: Heli yangu nihuvhendzao

Capture gaucher

Here is a poem by Gaucher Pitsuri, teacher of our weekly Shimaoré language class. Since I don’t revise enough between classes, I wouldn’t understand it without the French translation provided, and for those who prefer, the English translation is below. But as much as the meaning of the words, I like the sound of them being read by Gaucher with such feeling.

My way of loving you: as when the clouds disperse, as when the dusk of a southern summer arrives, as when the moon’s first quarter appears,

My way of loving you: the soothing air brought by a fan, the calm and cool of the sea, the pupil’s application to learn embody my love for you

My way of loving you: he who doesn’t know you cannot know it, he who doesn’t see you cannot see it, he who doesn’t hear you cannot hear it, it is known only to the heart that feels it.

You have the serenity of Gandhi, the patience of Mandela, the empathy of Diana, the generosity of Mother Theresa, you soothe and quieten my heart. This is why I love you.

You are unique, comparable to no other, the hope of a better life, tranquillity, peace and offspring. God has heard my prayers, this is why I want to marry you.

My treasure, you and I, like the finger and the wedding ring, till death do us part, may God protect you and the hope that we will marry.

Thursday Interview: L.I.Merick


– Now, Mr. Merick, you claim you’re a poet, but how do we know?

– There once was a poet called Lear, who in poetry had no peer, till I burst on the scene, and since then he has been incessantly quaking with fear.

– You’re seriously comparing yourself to Edward Lear, the uncontested master of the limerick?

– My name alone should suggest the skill with which I’ve been blessed. So I don’t mind stating without hesitating, I’m clearly as good as the best.

– Lionel Ignatius Merick. I see. you think your name alone is enough to put you up there with Lear?

– It is my intention to call a limerick contest this Fall. Though the entrants may plead, they will have to concede, L.I. Merick has beaten them all.

– Right. Not one given to false modesty, I see.

– Big-headed, you think? It’s much worse! My ailment is truly a curse. All my thoughts are a pain, and they drive me insane, for they come out only in verse.

– Oh, dear, that’s terrible! You can only think in limericks?

– How I wish I could call a halt to this illness that’s not my fault! For it upsets my wife and can lead to much strife when I ask her to pass me the salt.

-But is there no cure?

– The doctor looked inside my head, then he gave me some pills and said, ‘If you take some of those and keep touching your toes, you will think in sonnets instead.’