a double sword

the beginning
and fire the end

the means of forging
the Omega and Alpha
that surround us
day by day

surrounds us
but leads us

we must create
our own path through

to the life beyond

so many things
to save from

so many things
to be consumed
by fire and flame

Comment: Fire is a raw poem, written this morning, based on two other posts by two other writers, Meg Sorick and Mr. Cake. It is nice to receive a creative spark from other bloggers. Thank you both. Here are the links:

Meg Sorick

Mr. Cake

The Dancer 6,7 /11




high above us
the ghost of a melody
shaking its head
wringing its hands

we return at last
to light and air
the moon’s vacant face
scowls in an empty field

someone has plucked the stars
one by one
and threaded them like a chain of daisies

now there are no sky flowers
to adorn the night


noche de rábanos
someone has taken a knife
and peeled an enormous radish

this cartoon moon face
this full skull hanging from nothing
this lantern lighting from above

now my lover sculpts time
and space
into small chunks

each sacrifice
a jewel between her fingers

I pin to my chest
three small notes
and a skeleton of words

The Dancer 3,4, 5 /11




when she makes her music
familiar spirits return to the earth
dancing in a sash of moonlight

she recreates an ancient spell
gold letters plucked from dark scrolls
no wands no words
just water’s purity
flicked fresh
across lips and face

she binds me with the string of notes
she undoes with her hair
our bodies form an open altar
we worship with mysterious offerings
drawn from wells set deep within us


rain falls from the sky
Moon turns his face away
suddenly in darkened alleys
clouds hold hands and dance

dense streamers of light
dangle from street lamps
shadows remember their forgotten steps

gently she draws me to her
I try to follow
frail whirlpools of withered leaves
fragment weak sunshine
in light’s watery pool


her magic grows
I take my first step
an unmapped journey
into desert space

we move to old rhythms
across moon flecked clouds

raindrops fall more slowly
faltering drum beat
diminishing water

The Dancer 1&2 /11


The Dancer and the Dance


she comes here to dance for me
only for me does she dress this way

she shows me her dreams
unfolding them one by one
silk and cotton garments
drawn fresh from her scented closet

thin copper bracelets
carved wooden mask

only her eyes reveal
subversive flesh and blood


she orchestrates her story
skin drum
rattle of seeds in a sun-dried pod
single violin string
stretched across an armadillo’s shell

I too am tense like an instrument
waiting to be played

the bones of my love
reach out towards her



Five deer!



I glanced out of the bedroom window, and there they were. So silent. “Five deer,” I whispered to Clare.


We watched as they moved through the trees at the garden’s foot. Step by step, silent, slow, ears pricked, cautious, the little ones up to their bellies in snow.


They couldn’t see me as I took these pictures, but I am sure their sharp hearing caught the click of the camera. The one on the left is looking right at the spot where I am sitting.


Sound and movement surround them: the clicking of branches, the whispering wind. They are so careful, so cautious, so suspicious. We look: but we can’t see anyone out there. Certainly we cannot hear the neighbors’ dogs.


There must be something, there. They start to turn. Will they go back the way they have come?


No: they continue to the road and we catch a last glimpse of them through thin branches as they prepare to cross the tarmac and vanish into the deeper woods beyond.

Poem from the Cree

Poem from the Cree

The Cree have retreated from the streets.
Their violinist has taken time out, leaving
his last notes dancing from a street lamp.
Only the Fire-Brave remains, inhaling thick
black oily smoke. He juggles twin balls of fire.

Bones gather together to gather dry dust. Hollow
metal buffalo: a cold wind blew and plucked out
his heart. Five climate controlled pedestrian
walkways cross the prairie, linking building
to building. A glass wheat field shimmers
and tinkles to the rhythm of air conditioning.

The black cow, cast iron hide set free from rust,
ruminates behind its plate glass window.
The night wind whisks white buffalo bones
pale across the sky. Oskana ka asasteki.

With these words, I will leave you, suddenly,
abruptly. A light going out. Now I am here.
Oskana ka asasteki. And now I too am gone.
Comment: Another Golden Oldie, re-discovered. I wrote this in Regina back in the nineties, last century, last millennium … how long ago is that? In our kitchen, an ear of wheat, purchased in the glass wheat field museum, still shelters in its gilded frame, a memento from that trip. So many memories, so many pictures, drifting … just drifting.

Losing It


Losing It

When you lose it,
whatever it is,
your fingers pick at seams,
hankies, skirts, shirts, jeans,
or strip a label from a bottle,
or crumble bread, or …

There are so many things
you can do,
personal things.

On the table:
a vacant cereal bowl,
a silver teaspoon in a saucer,
an empty teacup
returning your round
moon-face stare.

Comment: I would like to thank everyone who joined in this discussion today (blog, e-mail, and Facebook). The poem transcribed above is the final version, subject to later consideration of course. Earlier versions, with selected comments, are set out below.


Losing It

When you lose it
whatever it is
your fingers pick at seams
hankies skirts shirts jeans
or strip a label from a bottle
or crumble bread or

there are so many things
you can do
personal things

on the table
a vacant cereal bowl
a silver teaspoon in a saucer
an empty teacup
returning your round moon stare

your hands
twist and pull
your nails
click together

blunt needles knit
then unpick stitches
trying to unravel
then to repair
this ball of empty air

 Comment: This is a Golden Oldie. It dates from the final illness and passing of my mother, thirty years ago next month. When I wrote it, I wasn’t punctuating my poetry. Nowadays, I prefer punctuation as it guides the reader in terms of the rhythm and flow of words. Leaving it exactly as I wrote it means you, as reader, have to wrestle with the meaning, the order, the pauses, the rhythm. My guess is that this over-complicates the poem. However, it was a difficult time, so the poetry I wrote at that time was also difficult. I will be interested in any comments on the following question: to punctuate or not to punctuate?

Comment from Judy: An out there idea: what if  for Losing it – you ended poem with first stanza?
Reply from Roger: What if, indeed? Then it would need a tweak or two, something like this: the poem changes, but does it gain or lose?


Losing It

blunt needles knit
then unpick stitches
trying to unravel
then to repair
this ball of empty air

your hands
twist and pull
your nails
click together

your fingers
pick at seams
hankies skirts shirts jeans
or strip a label from a bottle
or crumble bread or

there are so many things
you can do
personal things

on the table before you
a vacant cereal bowl
a silver teaspoon in a sauce

an empty teacup
your round moon stare

Comment from Jan: Play it again, this time with punctuation. This time I have returned to Judy’s original suggestion, and just placed the last stanza first. Then I have punctuated the poem. Revision and re-creation time: this is fun! I punctuated the above version, then cut it down to the first poem published at the start of this article. Tank you all for the help.