Boats

Boats

At night the boats arrive to carry you
away to the lands in which you dream.

Each boat carries a different cargo. Each
boat means a different size and shape.

To find out what they carry, you must climb
on board, raise the hatch cover, and descend
to where the riches rest in the dark below.

Ancient maps, formed by Freud, then redone
in the symbolic imagery of Jung, point out
the perils the traveler may meet as he sails away.

“Here be monsters, here be dragons, here be
anything you wish to configure in your dreams.

And here be the spice lands, emerald isles
embedded with their scents in a turquoise sea.

But steer clear of Scylla and Charybdis,
the pool that whirls, the rocks that close and
crash to crush you with their grinding teeth.”

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
Boats

To be a writer (Revised)

To be a writer
revised version

To be a writer ….

Those who would true valor see,
let them come hither.
One here will constant be,
through foul or fair weather.
There’s no discouragement
will make her once relent
her first avowed intent,
to be a writer.

Those who beset her round
with dismal stories,
do but themselves confound:
her strength the more is.
No blank page can her fright,
she’ll with a sentence fight,
and she will have a right,
to be a writer.

Rejections nor false friends
can daunt her spirit.
She knows she at the end
will a book inherit.
So critics fly away,
she’ll fear not what they say,
she’ll labor night and day
to be a writer.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
To be a writer

revised version

Comment: I first wrote this poem in January 2021. It is, of course, a rewriting of John Bunyan’s hymn / poem, To be a pilgrim from Pilgrim’s Progress. In the original version, I kept the male pronouns. However, after collaborating as the only male participant in [Quick Brown Fox] Brian Henry’s Advanced Writing Group of 13 fantastic women writers, I realized that the female pronoun was, in so many cases, the most appropriate one. I therefore made the necessary adjustments. You can find the old poem at this link – personally, I prefer the new version! https://rogermoorepoet.com/2021/01/11/to-be-a-writer/

Tangled Web

Tangled Web

“Oh what a tangled web we weave
when we first practice to deceive.”


But who are we deceiving, us or them,
ourselves for believing our own propaganda
or them for being deceived by what they hear?

Propaganda, properly goosed,
and the goose wrung by its neck
and strung up to dry before
we pluck it, season it, and cook it
in its own grease
for a heavy Christmas dinner
so much cheaper than a chicken
or a turkey, unless
we breed them ourselves.

Or would you rather duck?
What’s that flying over there?
I don’t know.
Here comes another one.
Flying low.
“Duck!”

Or, as the duck said at Christmas:
“Peace on earth:
but put an end to peas,
please.”

Portrait of Moo

Moo by Fin

Finley has left. She has left me with a selection of her art and instructions to ‘show it to the world’. S o, here we have the Portrait of Moo by Fin. I guess many of you don’t know who Moo is, but don’t worry about it, neither do I and Fin has been busy for three weeks, trying to work it out for herself. Oh dear – what can the matter be? Finish the song for yourself, if you remember it in any of its many versions.

Meanwhile, I go back to my old friend, Robbie Burns, with whom I spoke only yesterday. He spoke to me through my eyes and, as I sat there talking, I digested his words of wisdom: “Ah would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us.” The giftie gie us is, as you well know, the Scottish dialect for what comes out in Standard English as the gift give us.

So that’s how Fin sees Moo. When I next meet him, if he cares to show up chez nous, I will show him Fin’s portrait and ask him what he thinks. Until then, his identity – and I am assuming he is a he not a she – must remain a mystery as mysterous as this mysterious painting that appeared on my desk.

Ornithology

Ornithology

Time to celebrate the seasonal – and totally unexpected – arrival of the Orange Crested Red and Yellow Butter Bird. Magnificent isn’t he-she-it? I know, I know – birding is serious. And no, I am not serious. Just enjoying myself with a red here, a yellow there, a brown underneath, and lovely black outlines.

When childhood meets second childhood, things like this happen. Just sit back, enjoy them, and think of Canada. And yes, I am amused. Why shouldn’t I be?

Oh yes – and Happy Birthday Old Salt – Vive l’Acadie et bonne fête d’Acadie – and don’t forget Stella Maris and the Blessing of the Fleet.

Bas Bleu

Bas Bleu Clair à Pieds Nus

This has been a time when words have failed me. Thanks to the presence of Finley in the house, my painting and drawing has been restored and I have once again begun to see a new world of shape and color through the eyes of a small child. Small? She is tall for her age and very, very visual. This morning we did online jigsaw puzzles – all art and patterns – and fractals!

Words may fail, but they are ever present. Bas bleu, well we all know what that means in the world of French academia where I once lived, a long, long time ago. Bas bleu clair – well they are light blue, aren’t they? And, like the revolutionary sans culottes, my figure walks barefoot, à pieds nus, that is to say, without shoes, sans chaussures.

I don’t know who started playing with words and cartoons, but Goya was a master at doing so, in his etchings. So words and visions linked, all in a playful game of allusion / elusion. What a wonderful world, that of the childlike, playing mind.

An Experiment Gone Wrong

An Experiment Gone Wrong

Not everything turns out the way you want it to, and some experiments are total failures. Just look at the poor snowman in these cartoons.

On the left – “I won’t believe in global warming until April or May.”

On the right – “April May be too late.”

Oh dear – all those crows and doggy dump time. How embarrassing.

As for me, I tried painting today with my paint and draw kit on my computer. What a disaster: I handle a mouse even more clumsily than I handle a paint-brush. I was going to publish the ‘first attempt’ as a warning to others. But it wouldn’t convert. So I looked for a better idea: no innovation and back to the tried and true.

Oh Moo of little faith.

This isn’t a poem, so there’ll be no sound track with this one. “Oh brothers and sisters I bid you beware – of giving your heart for a snowman to tear – especially when the sun is warming the air.”

“Do you like Kipling?”

“I don’t know, I’ve never kippled.”

Cats and Dogs

Cats and Dogs

I remember my mother and father fighting “like cats and dogs” as my grandparents used to say. Now, my grandparents had a cat. It was black and white and striped like a zebra. They called it Spot. My parents had a dog. It was an English Cocker Spaniel, gold in color, and off-spring to a famous sire. They called it  Wimpy but it was by no means a wimp and fought with everything in sight, especially the cat.

So when my father and mother fought and the family cat and dog fought, I thought, quite reasonably in my opinion, that dogs (with their short hair) were male and cats (with their long hair) were female, and that was the reason why they fought like cats and dogs. And “never the twain shall meet” as my grandparents used to say about my mother and father and the cat and the dog. I guess it was too early to learn about the birds and the bees when, young and all too innocent, I was learning about the cats and the dogs.

And of course it’s only natural that the twain should meet. My mother and my father, the cat and the dog, had to meet somewhere, didn’t they? How else would I be here? We weren’t the sort of family that practiced contraception by throwing stones at the storks to keep the babies away. But I could never work out why the cat always had female kittens while the dog had all-male off-spring. That was a bit too much for me, and nobody ever explained anything in those days.

And look, in spite of the differences between them, even cats and dogs can sometimes live together in peace. And opposites can and do attract, don’t they?

Teeth WFNB 5 March 2022

Teeth WFNB
5 March 2022
This is the story I was reading last night when Island View suffered its brief power outage and I was cut off from the WFNB Zoom reading. My apologies for the break in communications. First the text and then the live reading.

Lunchtime.
            I open a can of tom8to soup and heat it on the stove. I slice the remains of yesterday’s loaf of bread into one-inch cubes and fry them in olive oil and garlic. Tom8to soup with croutons. Then I put two slices of bread in the toaster. My father will only eat toast soaked in butter and layered with Marmite when he eats tomahto soup.
            “Lunch is ready,” I call out.
            The black American Cocker Spaniel, bought by my mother in a moment of madness, by telephone, unseen, camps in the kitchen. It nests at the far end of the table, by the stove, and defends its territory with warning growls and a snapping of yellowed teeth. I do my best to avoid the dog.
            “Dad, your lunch is ready,” I call out, a little bit louder. Dog, as my father calls it, growls and clatters its teeth. It has hidden a treasure in the folds of its old, gray comfort blanket, and guards it with the fierce, loving worry of a dragon protecting its golden hoard.
            My father enters the kitchen just as I place the soup on the table.
            “I’m not ready to eat,” my father growls. Put it back in the pot.”
            “What’s wrong, dad? I thought you were hungry.”
            “My teeth,” my father mumbles through a mouthful of pink gums. “I can’t find my teeth.”
            “Where on earth did you put them?”
            “I don’t know. If I knew where I’d put them, I wouldn’t have lost them.”
            My father circulates round the kitchen opening drawers, lifting saucepan lids, and shaking empty yogurt pots to see if they’ll offer up the rattling sound of lost teeth.
            “I can’t find them anywhere. I can’t eat lunch without my teeth.”
            “But it’s only soup, dad, tom8to soup.”
            “I don’t like tom8to soup. Your mother always made tomahto soup. Why can’t you be more like your mother?”
            “Sorry, dad. I’ll call it tomahto soup, if that will make you feel better. But it’s still made out of tom8toes.”
            “Don’t be so sarcastic. Help me find my teeth,” my father stomps towards the stove and Dog growls fiercely from its blanket as it guards its treasure.
            “Take that, you dirty dog,” my father pokes Dog in the ribs with his stick and Dog howls and spits out what it is chewing.
            “There they are,” my father’s voice trembles with excitement. He bends down, picks up his teeth, still hairy from the blanket and bubbly from Dog’s saliva, and pops them into his mouth. “That’s better,” he says, sitting down at the table. “Now I can enjoy my lunch.”

Click on this link for a ‘live’ reading of the story,
complete with Welsh accent.

Dawn Chorus

Dawn Chorus

On a sunny morning, the sun lights up
my bedroom wall. Each day he arrives
earlier and earlier, a minute a day.
Now days grow longer, a sure sign
that spring is on its way.

As I lie awake, waiting for the sun,
I sing my morning sunshine song.
It keeps me warm and comforts me.
I also count the birds that fly across
the garden in search of sunshine and food.

Crows come first. They perch atop
the highest trees and watch and wait.
Mourning Doves come next
and their dawn song is a mourning chorus,
“Who-who-who’s next?
called from branch to branch.
With the sun come Chickadees,
Pine Siskins, lazy Blue Jays, Juncos.
These are all regulars.

Irregular are my neighbor’s Cardinals,
orange and red, American Goldfinches,
two small woodpeckers, a Downie
and a Hairy, a Nuthatch.

Gone now are the Gray Jays,
Gorbies, Whisky Jacks,
those ghosts of the woods.
Lost too are the Greater Pileated,
the flocks of Grosbeaks, Evening,
Pine, and Rose-Breasted.

They may come back,
but somehow, I doubt it.
For now, the Blueness of Jays,
the Blackness of Crows,
and an unsubtle dawn chorus
of Caw-Caw-Caw-Caw-Caw.

Click here for Roger’s reading.
Dawn Chorus