Tag Archives: Senryu

Happy Birthday, Viv!

1 Dec

Our lovely Viv is 75 today!

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Viv is still in hospital but on the mend and desperate to access the internet.

To celebrate her birthday, I have written a simple senryu, to complement the one she wrote yesterday, in her hospital bed, on the spot and over the phone to her daughter, who posted it on Viv’s blog.


Viv has been alive
for seventy-five years.  I
am glad she is here.

Visit her blog and
push her numbers up to
80k.  Make her day.


Happy Birthday, Viv!  We miss you.

For more Six Word Saturdays, go here.




Timing Is Everything

15 Mar
WordPress Logo

Image via Wikipedia

Having informed you yesterday that this blog will no longer support poetry, what does the WordPress Prompter throw my way?

Write a haiku about something that drives you nuts.  Remember: 5, 7, 5. [syllables]

Okay, WordPress Prompter; you asked for it (though technically, what you’re asking for is a senryu; if you want us to do something, at least try and get the terminology right):

In Response To A WordPress Prompt

Dear WordPress prompter,
you drive me nuts.  You can do
better.  Have some guts.


Just a reminder that I have a separate poetry blog now at I’m Not A Verse.  I have added a subscription facility today, so you can have an email to your inbox instead of having to search for me.

Go on!  You know you want to.

Merry Christmas Eve

24 Dec

Apologies for the intermittent nature of my posts this week; you know what it’s like in the run-up to Christmas: shopping, visits out, glasses of wine to drink, visits to us, glasses of wine to drink, turkey defrost calcualtions to maik, glashes of wine to drink, visits to the ductor, washes of gline, preshunts to exshange, clashes of wane to dunk, whine….


The Hub made apple and meat pies yesterday.  Um, let me rephrase that: the Hub made two apple pies and two meat pies and one apple & mango pie, and fifteen large sausage rolls with proper sausages (it should have been sixteen but I stole a sausage when he wasn’t looking).  The Hub was in bed for six o’clock.  He over-estimated his energy level and the time it would take to bake.  Never mind: the CFS might do for him but at least we’ll eat well.

We will have one of the meat pies for tonight’s dinner.  We didn’t have it last night because I had prepared chicken stoup in my slow cooker.  Chicken stoup is what I call it because I’m not certain if it was stew or soup.  Whatever: it tasted good; who cares what it looked like?


You will notice the absence of photos on my blog today: I was going to post a picture of the Incredible Bearded Baby but the computer had a hissy fit and refused to play with me.  When the Hub wakes up, I’ll kick him downstairs to come and sort it out.

The prompt for this week’s We Write Poems was to say what you want.  I want to have some serious writing time, but that’s not happening this week, so here’s a senryu I got as a result of two spare minutes in the bathroom:


What I Want

I want my husband
to be well again.  I want
him to play football

with his children.  I
want our lives back: say what you
want, I don’t aim low.


But that was too grim so I had fun instead:


You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Beauty Queen: I want world peace

Megalomaniac: I want the world, piece by piece


I had planned to write a load more (Old-Fashioned Pudding: I want pease) but I had baking to supervise (i.e. clean up after) so I’ll come back to it in the New Year.


If you want to know in seventeen syllables who will rule the world after a nuclear holocaust, go to my other blog.


Sorry if this post is somewhat downbeat for the season, but today is the tenth anniversary of my darling Dad’s death.  He was 64 and lung cancer brought on by lifelong smoking killed him.

He was a funny man, always joking.  I miss him.  I would post a photo if this stupid computer wasn’t sulking.


That’s enough gloom for today.  Our plans are: a lot of cleaning (me, delegating to Spud); a lot of cooking (turkey & gammon are sizzling in the oven right now); a visit to the cemetery followed by a walk (me, husband, dogs, youngest son); a lot of nail-biting (me: will Tory Boy’s train get through in time?); and a glash or tree of Bick’s Fuzz.

Merry Christmas to you all, or any other holiday you might be celebrating.

Thank you for making my blogging year a successful one!


A Temporary Poem

18 Dec

I’ve got a busy day ahead but I wanted to post something; apologies if you have seen this before.  Today’s prompt for Writer’s Island is triumph.  I hope to write something else so this is a stopgap:

Dog Day Afternoon

Spring day; a walk in
the park: the triumph of hope
over effluence.





Writer’s Island: Wondrous Senryu

13 Dec

Something sentimental for Writer’s Island.  Don’t expect me to make a habit of it, though:

         ‘Tis Wondrous

                  a loving husband
                         our two beautiful children
                              their hugs and kisses




We Love Senryu

8 Dec

The prompt for We Write Poems this week was various kinds of love.  I didn’t write all of these senryu in response to that prompt, but it’s my favourite form (you might say I love it) and I have enough about love that I can share with you.  There’s also a short poem I wrote as a teenager in love on my South Africa – A Love/Hate Story blog.


Talking Point

My son discovered
he loves Shakespeare: now we have
something in common.


Christmas Eve With Dad

He lived and loved, laughed,
then sighed.  He held my hand.  He
held my hand.  He died.


A Note For My Mum

An old woman passes me,
smelling of fags and
booze.  I grieve, for she’s not you.



Geese guard a stricken
comrade until it dies or
flies again – how neece.


Adult Yearner

Married man longs for
someone. It can never be.
She is his wishtress.


Unconditional Love

I expected to
feel it for my children, but
not for my pet dogs.


Empty Nest

Forlorn housewife. Heart
heavy like wet washing on
the line. Mothers’ fate.


Not-So-Modern Marriage 

Selfish man: your wife
will fetch carry clean feed love
you: stupid woman.


Two Beautiful Things 

A bloody baby
and his brother, screaming their
way into my heart.


Panic! Only 394 Shopping Days To Next Christmas!

26 Nov

I read these in an email doing the rounds:

  • There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.  Ben Williams
  • Scratch a dog and you’ll find a permanent job.  Franklin P. Jones
  • I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult.  Rita Rudner
  • Anybody who doesn’t know what soap tastes like never washed a dog.  Franklin P. Jones again.
  • The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog.  Ambrose Bierce
  • If your dog is fat, you aren’t getting enough exercise.  Anonymous


I got a shock yesterday when I noticed the date – only a month to Christmas!  I have never been so behind in my shopping – I normally start in the January sales and stock up through the year.  My kids are gonna cry come December 25th when all they get is three pairs of socks and a tin of deodorant.


The prompt for this week’s Big Tent was a wordle.  I used all of the words but I could only manage three senryu, and I’m not particularly happy with them.

Cry Baby

A mother cupped
her baby’s face with a gentle
hand: peace was restored.


Inspection Passed

Ash-pit re-surfaced;
ancient boiler fork-lifted
away from the site.


A Reason To Stay Awake

Words clunk from my nib.
Once hung in the air – studied –
lush rhymes will follow.


 For a linked senryu on what South Africa sounded like to me, go to my other blog: South Africa: A Love/Hate Story.

The First Time Ever I Saw This Is A Mad Factor

11 Oct

Red is the new Black.  Half of the text refuses to change from grey to black and I must have uniformity for my sanity, so it’s all red from now on, like the mist before my eyes.  WordPress grey is like a Stockport summer sky and I just can’t do wishy-washy; it’s not in my nature.

Phase Three of the X Factor started on Saturday, with the live shows.  I was disappointed in Matt’s performance; it wasn’t terrible but he’ll have to get better if he’s going to win.  I preferred his boot camp audition.  He starts singing at 1:40.

Mary was fantastic but I don’t think she’ll win. 

Aiden Grimshaw was the stand-out performer of the night.  I hadn’t rated him but the Hub, in his infinite annoyingness, spotted him from his first audition.  Although I’ve loved the song in all its incarnations, I never really understood just how mad a world it is until I watched his interpretation.

Perhaps the song needed a teenager to bring out the real meaning: it seemed to me that on Saturday Aiden was channelling Monday-morning Spud.  Today’s Drama of the Week was initiated by odd socks.  If my boys are anything to go by, grunge fashion extends as far as the feet; my sons never wear matching socks if they can avoid it.

 I’ve another pair at home just like it.

Spud has to wear black socks for school on pain of being expelled, but I compromise by buying multiple pairs of the same pattern so he has matching socks but they are not necessarily from the same pair.  Aren’t I clever?

This morning, he had a hissy fit because he had no school socks – and he had brought down his washing basket at eleven o’clock last night.  I can only assume I should have set my alarm early and got up at five to wash them.  I don’t have a tumble dryer but that’s not a problem because the morning screaming I do would provide enough hot air to send him off to school with the toastiest toes in Stockport.


Perhaps my child’s descent into typical teenagerdom inspired this bleak senryu, which came from the latest Writer’s Island prompt, ‘envision’.  It was five stanzas long at first, but you need to know the Book of Revelation to appreciate it, and it was so grim I couldn’t bring myself to post the rest.


Envision a world
where fowl gorge on the flesh of
kings, and hope is dead.


Well That’s A Relief; Now What?

6 Oct
Peripheral blood film of a patient with iron d...

Image via Wikipedia


Good news, sort of: there is no sign of cancer in the Hub (though they didn’t look at his soul; I don’t think they have a camera for that).  They biopsied a polyp but they tell us that’s routine.  However, if no news is good news, it’s still no news; there’s no explanation yet for the Hub’s anaemia.  He will be called back for a discussion at some point and he just has to keep taking the iron tablets. 

It was a long day yesterday.  The Hub was to be given a sedative and had to be accompanied home afterwards; I don’t drive so we had to get a taxi to the hospital: two buses and a fair bit of walking are two buses and a fair bit of walking too much for the Hub at the moment.  He’s not breathing well – a combination of the anaemia and a chest infection; his pallor gives the word ‘grey’ a bad name; he is in more pain than usual because he had to come off the anti-inflammatories; and he has the ongoing CFS/ME, of course.  He is one sorry little puppy.  He’s so unwell, we haven’t had an argument in days; never thought there’d be a day when I missed his pig-headed shouty view of the world; but I do. 


Still, enough about him.  I had a horrible day too, but nobody wipes my brow.  While I waited for him, I had to read two books and the paper, drink tea, eat crisps and chocolate and sit on a chair deemed too cruel for use by the Spanish Inquisition.  That was a long three-and-a-half-hours.  Well, it would have been, if I hadn’t had two books, the paper and lots of snacks to keep me going.  Why don’t hospitals add a library or a tv room or something for family & friends?  Even a comfortable chair would help.  But no, it’s all spend the money on the patients; look after the patients; make the patients comfortable while they wait two hours for their procedure. 

We arrived twenty minutes early, so that bit was our fault.  They took him in early and made him wait over two hours, so that was their fault.  They prodded and questioned before the Big Probe and gave him paper boxers to wear under a girly gown.  You check in your dignity along with your valuables when you go into hospital; luckily for the Hub, he’s used to that, appearing in my blog every day.  He said they pumped him full of air and he lay in a ward at some point, having a fart-off with the other testees.  He swears he did one four minutes-long.  At last I have competition!  


Pardon my vulgarity; I was not brought up that way, as Rizzo would say that Sandra Dee would say.  Of Irish Catholic descent, I come from what my mother called the capital of Ireland, Liverpool; and we are a refined lot.  We always say ‘please’ when we ask for your wallet and jewellery; and we never steal your tyres without resting your car on even piles of bricks.   


It must be the Mancunian rubbing off on me after all these years, though I don’t think it does take years: Tarik the taxi driver, who told us he hasn’t been here that long, had a fund of horror stories to share about his life in Levenshulme; most of which seemed to involve being on his break and eating pizzas and kebabs while he watched young men knock out their drug addict girlfriends and youths insult grannies and generally behave in an anti-social but all-too Mancunian manner. 

The taxi driver going home was Stockport-born and bred, but he talked just as much.  So much, in fact, that he forgot to turn on his meter until we were halfway home, and had to ask us how much he should charge.  I gave him a decent tip.  I wouldn’t have normally, what with being Scouse and knowing the value of a penny; but my husband had just been told he was cancer-free and I was in the mood to celebrate.  Now, if I can just rile the Hub so he yells at me, we’ll all be happy. 


The prompt for this week’s We Write Poems is What’s for dinner?  I haven’t been in the mood to write poetry this week, so I dug up some old ones on the same theme. 

A Recipe For Torture 


Too many cooks
Not enough broth

Main Course: 

Four planes
Dead thousands
One paralysed nation

Stir until hatred reaches a peak. 


One concrete cell
One bucket of water
Two bare feet
A dash of electricity

Throw together and watch carefully
as your suspect surges the walls.
Look on in satisfaction.
Extract information.
Discard waste.

Please note: No guarantees can be given that
following this recipe will produce the desired results.



Recipe for Contentment  

Ingredients: food,
good film, children home, husband,
dog.  Mix well.  Relax.


How To Bake A Cake  

With care and good scales
or you’ll fail.
You’ll burn it;
flop it; scrape
it off the
plate and pop
it in the bin,
   to your children’s accompanying wails.


A Billion Interesting Facts

25 Sep

I read this today at Mike LaMonica’s Blog and I thought it was so interesting I had to share it:

A billion is a thousand million. If you wanted to count to a billion, it would take 31 years, 251 days, 7 hours and 39 seconds (if you counted one per second). A billion seconds ago, it was 1958. A billion dollars is 266 small U-Haul boxes jammed end-to-end and floor to ceiling in crisp $100 dollar bills. So you think a billionaire has a “ton” of money?  Well, a ton of $100 bills is about only, $90,800,000. Chump change. Most commercial jets fly about 7 miles high.  If you took crisp, new $1,000 bills, it would soar 63 miles high.

If I had a billion I might finally be able to put a dent in my credit card bill.  Or up my stats (£5 for you each time you read my blog or get a friend to read it).


The prompt for Writer’s Island this week takes longer to explain than the senryu that came from it: 

The twenty-second prompt for 2010 is in honor of American poet, singer-songwriter, musician, composer, cartoonist, screenwriter, and author — Shel Silverstein. Today would have been Shel’s 78th birthday…Today’s prompt will be both a word and an image, you choose which you want to use as inspiration. The appropriate word I feel is WHIMSY, to reflect Shel’s style. The image offered as a prompt follows here:

So you can let yourself be inspired by today’s word, and write anything you wish, light or serious in nature — just try to approach it in a whimsical, humorous, Shel-ian or Seuss-ian way…Or let the wonderful, whimsical image above evoke in you the inspiration to write. It is from Shel’s excellent book “Where The Sidewalk Ends”, and was drawn by Shel — but that need not influence your take on the illustration. You take it in and see it uniquely through your eyes, then whatever it is that strikes you as you view, express it.

Simple again this week, the word whimsy, or Shel’s illustration — whichever sparks your muse, let it move you to write.

So what moved me to write wasn’t ‘whimsy’ or the illustration but the title of the book, Where The Sidewalk Ends.  That’s the muse for you.


When the pavement ends,
opportunities begin:
leap before you look. 





In The News

3 Sep
Postcard picture for New Year's; eBay store We...

Image via Wikipedia

In spite of continuing stories about British binge drinking, a report out today says that we are drinking less:

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said 2009 saw the sharpest year-on-year decline in alcohol consumption across the board since 1948. 


Sky News had a roving reporter out in the pubs:

***********************************Reporter: Are you drinking less?

***********************************Old Man: I’m drinking more now I’m old. 

***********************************Reporter: Than when? 

***********************************Old Man: Than when I was younger.

Looks like all that booze hasn’t impaired his common sense.


I assume it was an old man because he sounded like one; I had my back to the telly so I don’t know.  Technically, then, I overheard that conversation, which brings me to this week’s Big Tent prompt: eavesdrop on conversations and use the words in your poem.  As all I have done this week is stay home, that didn’t work for me.  However, I dug out this old senryu from a few years back: 

Hindley’s Dead 

‘Well, at least one good
thing happened this week,’ I heard
an old lady say.


 Two senryus for the price of one today: this one is for Haiku Heights, the prompt being resurrection.

The Good News

The Resurrection:
God breathing new life into
an old religion.


It Doesn’t Take Much To Make A Wife Annoyed

7 Jul

The Hub, Toby and I returned to the scene of yesterday’s crime. The Hub told me it was important that Toby get back on the horse; I replied that only happened in circuses. When the Hub had finished scowling at me, he said that, actually, it wasn’t Toby’s confidence he wanted to restore so much as mine. When I got over how sweet and protective he was, I felt that I was overdue a box of Maltesers and re-enacted yesterday’s dog chase, with the Hub as Toby and me as the furious hound in pursuit.

He won’t make that mistake again.


If this is Wednesday it must be Rallentanda’s prompt. This is the prompt:

I managed a senryu. The photo made me think of how children look through both ends of a kaleidoscope, and how perception is all relative.

Kaleidoscope Child

Colour is beauty
until you are taught to change
patterns: see ugly.

My Work Here Is Done

25 Jun

My four-week work placement ended yesterday, so now I can give you all the gossip: they were three lovely people who made me feel a part of the team and bought me chocolates and a 50 books you must read before you die bookmark as a thank you.  Sorry, I don’t do gossip; I’m too busy talking about myself.

I had a great time; I learned a lot about Excel; and I know that I can go back to work after twenty years without too much adjustment.  But for now, until a job comes along, I can go back to doing what I do best: eating Maltesers and playing on King.com. 

I’m giving myself next week off and then I am going to paint the downstairs toilet.  As this will be its third outfit, it is officially the most-decorated room in the house.   It needs to be, as it has played host to many a guest, including a rat (uninvited) and a postman (self-invited).  There was a hole near the pipes and a rat came up for the winter and squatted in my house.  The council exterminator did his job but the rat must have crawled inside the wall instead of doing the decent thing and throwing himself into the outflow, and the house stunk for months.  We spent half our grocery budget on air fresheners but we saved loads on the heating bill – no point warming a house that has every door and window open for three months.  No cold came in through the toilet, though: the Hub made sure to cement that hole.

I still feel guilty about that rat – what is it with me and rats? – who was just doing what rats do; I sometimes wonder if future archeologists will excavate my home and find a four-legged skeleton next to a paw-written note in the dust: I was poisone…

The postman was a less troublesome visitor.  Our regular postman was away and a temporary postman knocked one day, to deliver a package too large for the post box.  He was young, new and nervous.  He was fumbling through his bag, talking all the time, trying to find our parcel.  He finally located it tucked under his arm.   I only knew he was a postman by his bag, because he was wrapped in a huge black parka, fur around the hood and all I could see were his eyes until he smiled.  I heard his accent and asked if he was South African.  Imagine a strong accent: ‘No, I’m from Ghana.’  I told him we had lived in South Africa and he took my hand and shook it warmly and lengthily. 

Still holding my hand, he asked, ‘Can I urinate here?’  I have always wondered what postmen do when they need to go, and now I know.  If you live long enough, all questions will someday be answered.  I replied, ‘Yes, of course.’  What else could I say? 

I opened the toilet door, switched on the light, and he went in, unzipped, and did the business.  I know this, because he didn’t bother to close the door while he did it.  He must have really needed it because he was ages.  He came out without washing his hands, shook my hand again, asked for directions to the next address, and left me to clear up the puddle on the seat and floor. 

What a nice young man.

At least he wasn’t a dopey young man, which is my clever segue into the saga of Son of Dozy

Bad Heir Day

Spud was out playing football at the park downhill from the house, when the dog decided he wanted another walk.  He mithers and mithers and it’s just easier to do as I’m told.  As it was cooler, the Hub offered to come with me up to the park at the back of the house.  The Hub went on ahead while I locked up and it was just then that Sulky Spud arrived, furious to have lost his £15 World Cup Football (paid for with his own money, hence the fury).  He and his friend had spent forty minutes looking for it in the mass of bushes where he had kicked it.  He was quite upset and when I told the Hub, we decided to take Spud and go look for it with him.  The Hub waded into the bushes and found it within a minute, uncharacteristically forbearing to admonish his silly son for searching with his eyes closed.  Spud had a kickabout while the Hub and I chatted to another dog owner; the Hub then gave Spud some advice on back-heeling the ball; had three touches and a heart attack; and we meandered home.  Poor Hub: it was uphill all the way.

We had just arrived back when Spud clutched his pockets, anguish in his face and cried, ‘Where’s my phone?’

He was ordered back to the park with my phone to call his phone to locate it and every ten minutes called the home phone to report that there was nothing to report.  Making unnecessary phone calls is what teenagers do best.   The last call reported that there was no money left on my phone, so the Hub and I were ordered to come down to the park with the Hub’s phone.   I insisted that the Hub drive down this time as he would never make it back up the hill, and Toby couldn’t believe his luck at going out for a third time that day, especially in the car, which he loves.  Alas, the Tobester was destined to be disappointed; we had just pulled out of our road when we saw Spud running and waving his phone.  He couldn’t call us to tell us not to come because making necessary phone calls may not be what teenagers do best but they need credit on their phones when they do do it.

At least he ended the day in possession of the things that matter most to him: phone, ball, dog and doting parents.  He was most grateful but I wouldn’t bet on him remembering this day next time he’s mad at us.  Being mad at parents is what teenagers do best.


I have been so busy this week that I haven’t had much time to write, though I did manage this reverse senryu for Writer’s Island.  The prompt is ‘change’.

Afghanistan, 21/6/10

Three hundred dead, and counting:
no change there, then.  Brave
men, women, all: no change there.


I want to end on a sunny day note so here is something someone posted on Facebook that I thought you might like:


15 Jun

The June issue of Four And Twenty has come out and it has two of my poems in it.  If you have the time, check it out here.

Two Senryu For You

11 Jun

I didn’t write any poetry all last week and most of this week, but I managed to squeeze these two senryu out last night.  The first is a response to the prompt at Writer’s Island to write about something that happened that you find unforgettable; it refers to the 1994 South African election.  It might not make sense out of context but I have a whole book dedicated to my SA experience and it will slot in nicely:

An Unforgettable Day

Queue twelve hours.  One
stubby pencil.  One cross.  One
exchange of power.


The second comes from watching too many fillums (sorry; still in South Africa in my head):

Love In The Movies

The moment a strong
woman surrenders to a
powerful man: mmm.


You won’t be hearing much about the Hub from tonight, for the following month; I’ll just write this next sentence and you can copy + paste it to your memory and say it to yourself each day: the Hub is watching the World Cup. 

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