Tag Archives: language

Tomatoes – poem

Credit: Couleur via Pixabay

Fruit & veg, toms, salad, mayo, salmon, ½ loaf … I’ve not yet managed to write a shopping list in Dutch even when the words are shorter (sla) or similar abbreviations (gr & fruit). It’s too much hard work late on a Thursday evening when I’m sitting with a glass of wine (wijn) and contemplating the moving project: flooring, top-down & bottom-up blinds, two chairs – ordered; research on fridge/freezers needed, also a new GP practice and pharmacist.

Here in the Netherlands the distance is important: the GP must be able to get to your home within 10 minutes. That doesn’t mean it’s easy to register. In Scheveningen (where I spent the winter) three practices did not take on new patients or had a four-month’ waiting list. A tomato a day may keep the doctor away …


I am stepping away from my life,
my life as short as a haiku.
I have turned biographer,
am writing vignettes,
pale green, the length of celery.

My vignettes may concern
elderly mules with dental decay,
the struggle to remember
maternal aunts. I am numbering
my vignettes 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D –
narrow seats in the small airplane
Aer Lingus would use
on the late Saturday flight.

I could write a vignette
about the plastic dummies
they use in ambulance training.
Today I’m going to focus on pretend
tomatoes. My invisible friend
has started her new diet.

Perfectly eggspressed: Easter brunch

A great many thanks to my fellow poets who responded splendidly on Facebook to the George Perec ‘e’ challenge. It’s a feast. I hope you enjoy the selection. I send them and you warm Easter greetings.

Steve Smythe:
Send me every gem she ever kept.
Steve Smythe:
Beef, beer, weed: perfect.
Helen Kay:
Helen expects eleven eggs every week. 
Sarah L Dixon:
Every beret fells seven men even when they tend seeds, mend fences, then recede. End.
Steve Smythe:
Best strengthen the steel sheep  pen
Hannah Mackay:
Chew seven spelt seeds. Renew every few weeks.
Steve Smythe:
Feel the breeze; expect red cheeks.
Hilary Robinson:
Send me the new bed, fresh sheet-bedecked.
Janet Sutherland:
She expects her energy ends here.
Barry Fentiman-Hall:
When Ben went there Jen went red.
Sarah J Bryson:
He knew every beech tree grew free, the breeze renewed, endlessly.
Katy Evans-Bush:
She’d never pre-empt these seven, then exempt.
Angi Holden:
Envy the clever shepherd – the twelve speckled sheep he secretly keeps chew where the endless greenery stretches between cherry tree edged beech crescents.
Sue Kindon:
The Beer Fest swells the seventh tent; breezy revellers emerge, three sheets teetered.
Oz Hardwick:
The elect erected dressy needles, yet clerks scythe empty chests.
Pam Thompson:
We’re held, spent – thresh sleep/speech event, feel stress.
Rachel Davies:
When we’re elderly trekkers the knees need rest
Sarah Mnatzaganian:
Eyes drench every element when they weep.
Stephen Payne:
He prefers terser sentences.
Vanessa Lampert:
Yes the egg never left me, yes the elf then wept, even better, he grew mettle greener, severed the tree then tweeted the red hedge news.
Sally Evans:
she emerges even when she expects endless reverses.

By way of bonus, here is poet Rod Whitworth’s contribution – using only ‘i’ and ‘y’.


I mind (with liking) this child
imbibing milk.
Lit with infinity,
it insists it is big.
Bit by bit — spiting
my might, my right —
it fights my will.

I find sticks in bins
igniting nightly,
kindling my
illicit still.
Timing it by twilight
I skip by drinking
whisky, singing
in high winds, rhyming,
rhythmic. By limp light
I’m writing mythic signs
my child might find
inspiring. I sigh.