Please do not look at me

Please do not look at me
With coffins in your eyes.

My dears I beg you set me free
From your fear;
Dear Dr Gatherer accompanies me everywhere.
We get on fine.
I don’t bother him
He doesn’t bother me.
It’s more of a Ewan McGregor style
Gwyneth Paltrow
Fake gavotte. A war it’s not.

Last Christmas
I thought Morty Maus
Might drop in but he had
Other ‘thingsadoo’.

I’m one of the big boys;
I know about funerals;
I’ve been to them-
(Too long; too cold)

I like to hope that
For the dude in the box
And the clan and chums around
It’s a marker for the end of a
‘Fun Era’ (do ye get it)
Not a place in the queue
For an awkward limbo.


That little tent of blue that prisoners call the sky

When you’re being tweaked to go in the scanner they give you a handkerchief of microsoft sky to look at. They manoeuvre you by pushing and pulling you to line up correctly. They use magic markers to mark you up so that every zap will be in the right place.

It’s deep blue with wispish clouds. It’s just a scrap of heaven for those who wait to get poloed.

Sometimes they play music. I got a volley of Take That’. ’Just a liddle pationce’ it was. They apologised but I like the way he pronounces ’Pationce’. Pationce that’s what we need.

Zapoturi te salutamus.



Like the green lights on the switchies
At Tarnity Fair –
A matt cucumber –
Pair partnered bulbs
Two per lumbar vertibra
Side by side
Active on 3, 4, 5
Ls 1 and 2 so far no jive.

Reaching a tipping point
They opalesce,
Piezo stress in smooth bone collagen enough to spark them off
(See diagram. Fig 1.)
(that bone thing is a theory)…

Most the gleam – most the pain.
Slight tumescence and they rub together,
A kind of cracking squeak of blackboards.
Should they crack
Would I crack- up?

The tipping point is worst;
No strength, no heft
In right or left.
The warp and weft of movement
Reduced to a duck egg ache
In each bum cheek
– who guessed that
Gluteal glut would get you
Horse de combat.
Why not? We’re talking low down joint.

Perching on the edge of the bed
Pierced to the marrow
Where’s the mattress
Why this rusty harrow?
And who sneaked their shovel round that door
To scatter gravel on this floor?

Gravel! That’s not gravel –
Think I don’t know my aggregates –
That’s a medium price sub base
Particle range .0075 – 50mm;
That mix includes a whinstone dust
That settles the mix and seals
Pure torture on your soles and heels.
(It’s good for spot repairs on a farm road
If you happen to have one.)

Don R Cole
April 2012

Sacro Ileac – Lumbared or Lumbered

Don’t even try to fight back against your sacro-ileac,
(You’ve been lumbered,
Your days are numbered.)
Your bogey’s come off the track
It’s disappearing down a crack
In the road,
(Not a tramline).
Dragging you with it.

Your sly, sleekit, smirking steroids crept up on you,
With such easy relief that you were happy to
Be stitched up like a kipper now your race is through.
They turned your legs from logs and muscle into old hen stew,
(Your saucy face would melt down to make low grade glue)
You have to laugh – there’s nothing else to do,
Well you could cry mate
Or try to pray mate.

Consider the concrete and the clay mate
They neither spin nor do they gyre
They don’t keep their irons in the fire
Ready to goffer a ghastly ruff.
Beneath your feet they beat retreat.

On wakening Thursday 26 April 2012

All praises be
To he or she
Who woke me
With this banality

No oddness no obscurity
Pretending to mask but  
Basking in my fears,
For once, for sanity – mundanity. 

This room is blocked in shades grey
Beyond the sky is also lit that way
No puzzle 
Nary a cross word. 

At half-past six
Simple  geometry 
Craved and delivered.

Bon Accord

“You’d think that people would have had enough of silly love songs.
But I look around me and I see it isn’t so.
Some people wanna fill the world with silly love songs.
And what’s wrong with that?”
Paul McCartney

When we were young and we were pretty
And strolled in the streets of the Silver City
Shrugged-up against the cold
I was the bull with the flaring nostrils
You were the girl from the Bon Accord.

When the winter sun, that mellow fellow,O
Made us squint turned the streets to yellow
Transforming our wintry world,
You were the girl with the caring smile,
I was the boy with the hair so curled.

Dance, we would dance all night.
Dance, till sea shone bright
Dance, till the stars shone down
Over that glistering granite town.

Dance, you held me tight
Dance, you made feel so right
Dance you taught me how to give
Dance you showed my how to live.

You and I were in cahoots,
In skinny red sweaters and monkey boots
We swore we’d break the mould!
Did we make that dream come true?
Or were we steadily, readily, sadly out sold?

Don R Cole
April 2012

Commenting on Poetry Blogs

As poetry blogger I am keen to get feedback from readers. When you print poems in the traditional way and send them out to the world of print you don’t expect instant feedback. The lay-out and structure of a blog seems to request a response in the way of ratings and comments from the reader.

Since I started to blog my friends have responded in different ways. One intends to print the poems out so that they may be ‘read properly’ – I’m not, as a digital immigrant, totally out of sympathy with that. Reading for 20c people is still about physical paper and words on pages.

A confident few get in there and comment, aware that I will do the same. Some don’t know what to say. They would comment but don’t want to appear superficial. They feel they don’t have appropriate vocabulary to make meaningful comments. One put it to me this way. ”Seeing word expertise makes you feel like a word amateur. You don’t have to respond to a great painting by producing a painting or to a piece of music by composing another one.” Responding on the blog, on the other hand, does require one to use the same medium as the work i.e. writing. So what could you write about that would make sense.

Here are a few ideas I have considered when thinking about how one might respond to poetry and which the reader of poetry blogs may find useful.

Things to write about

1 What is the writer trying to do?
A good starting point for examining a poem is to consider what the writer is trying to achieve in writing it. Even if you initially don’t like a work, using this framework allows you to give it a fair assessment. (For example: I usually don’t respond well to the kind of poems that are written to celebrate big state occasions (‘occasional poems’) but I can see why they are produced and I can evaluate them and make a judgment about which are more successful than others.) There are many reasons for writing poetry but the most compelling and the one which is likely to be there alongside any other purposes is the need to explore ones own feelings.
‘One writes in order to feel’
Muriel Rukeyser, ‘The Life Of Poetry’ 1949

2. A good poem is like a puzzle, it is something to savour and solve.
Even when it appears simple there may be hidden elements, alternative explanations and possibilities about which even the writer may be unaware. For me, most of the fun of reading a poem is the effort to make sense of it. (As High School English teacher I found introducing young people to this idea was very rewarding.) If understanding a poem is like trying to solve a puzzle you won’t expect to ‘get it’ instantly; you will expect to read it more than once and do that in a reflective way.

3. A good poem works on the feelings of the reader.
These may be clear and obvious, but often they are oblique, confusing or multi-layered. Exploring these feelings and writing about them is valid way of writing about a poem. Your own response as a reader is important…what are the feelings you get when you read it.

4. A good poem has a shape and structure.
Some forms of poetry use very strict forms and patterns of rhyme and rhythm. (An obvious but useful paradigm would be the limerick with its strict pattern of rhymes and rhythms –
Dee daddle dee daddle dee da,
Dee daddle dee daddle dee da
Dee daddle dee dit
Dee daddle dee dit
Dee daddle de daddle dee da.)

In my own work I have noticed a tendency to use more formal structures when I am writing more humorously and to less formal when I am writing about more serious matters. Having a look at how the writer sets out the poem out is a good way of understanding the poem. You can refer to a whole range of building blocks such as rhythm, line length, use of rhyme, shape, verse length, punctuation, and regularity of structure when considering this.

5. Good poems use language in an interesting way.
Considering why the poet chooses particular words can help you get an insight into the poet’s thinking. Commenting on the poet’s choice of words would be a useful way of responding to the poem. Poets love inventing words or shifting their purpose. (This is a good example: In writing his poem Paradise Lost John Milton was looking for a noun for Satan’s sidekicks at work in his infernal capital. He couldn’t find one so he invented the magnificent ‘pandemonium’ a much-loved word in our family and still widely used in ordinary discourse.)

6. Your own personal response
In making comments on the blog your own personal response is very important too. Even when read to groups or performed to music poetry is essentially a one-to-one communication between the poet and an individual reader.

Don R Cole

(We’re waiting for the) The Man with the Memo

We’re waiting for the man with the memo
Even if the man’s a she
We’re waiting for the man with memo
To tell us how it’s go to be

We’re waiting for the man with memo
Bulleted and numbered down the left
We’re waiting to hear the right answer
That truly hits the warp and weft

(the nub of the problem…)

Don’t want hilarity
We want polarity;

We don’t want cheery
We just want theory
– Well rehearsed and argued through.

– No Bob Marley
We just want Karli
To tell us what we have to do.

(No padres…just cadres)

We’re waiting for the man with the memo
Even if the man’s a chick;
We’re looking for shite tight agenda
Every box that we can tick.

March 2012

1 It’s a humorous reflection on a discussion about Leadership. How can the those well rehearsed in theory share leadership with the new reactive ‘personal is political’ ‘occupation’ types who are less likely to have wrestled with meaning or theory

2.The man with the memo: My mother was a great committee woman and always went with the belief that the man with the memo always won the day. (She incidentally was always a ‘chairman’ never achair, chairwoman or chair person.)

3. Sorry about ‘chicks’, but in the early days women’s contribution was very constrained by the laddish culture of the left – ‘chicks’ as an ornament to the struggle. I thought the issue was dealt with accurately in the recent BBC show ‘White Heat’.
It seems that we still need the women’s movement and indeed it is growing in terms of numbers of groups (see )