A Long Hard Night

A long hard night we had of it,
throwing our nets over the side,
then hauling them back to our boats.
Empty.

He came when we were mending nets
the next day. The carpenter’s son
called us by name, Simon, Andrew,
John and James,

come, follow me. He told us tales
of weeds and wheat, of coins and sheep,
and sons returned. With just his words
he healed

the sick, gave sight to the blind, raised
the dead to life. We hoped that he
had come to set Israel free. Then
he died.

A long hard night we had of it,
lying awake, unable to sleep,
afraid of the knock that would mean
we were next.

© 2014 A B Maude

It’s been quiet around here for a long time – too long.

Tonight it’s my turn to host Meeting the Bar at the dVerse Pub. I’ve written an article inviting blank verse where the focus is on the rhythm of a poem rather than any specific form or other poetic device.

Playing a Round

golf ball

 

His round began with a badly hooked drive.
His ball flew deep into the thick left-side
rough; not what happened in his dream the night
before. A long search, then “Found it,” he lied
and told his caddy that his whole day’s wage
depended on saying nothing. He saved
par at the first with a ten foot putt, made
against the odds. At the next tee the face
of his club sliced his ball. He had to nurse
his pride when his shot found sand, as he had in church
all those years ago. “Oh well, it could be worse,”
he sighed. “I can afford to lose the purse
today.” The caddies said, when they came back,
“It’s never good to see golf played like that.”

© 2014 A B Maude

Over at dVerse I’ve (re)introduced a Pub game invented in 17th century France It’s called bout rimés and you can read the article I prepared about it here. The above poem is just a bit of fun using the series of rhyming words that I challenged the dVerse community to use in their poems today. Why not head over there to see what other poets have made of this? Perhaps you could try it yourself?

Are You Sure, Dr Williams?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
It is clear
to see
that there
must be
an absence
of plums –
delicious, sweet
and cold –
in the icebox

and I know
how dangerous
it can be
when patients
call
for a doctor
out of hours
on a winter’s
night,

but I have
never fathomed
why
so much depends
upon
a wheel barrow
beside white
chickens,

nor have I
understood
why
it has to be
red.

© 2014 A B Maude

I’ve been away on holiday – we had a great time thanks … smiles – which is why things have been quiet around here, but as it is Open Link Night at dVerse, where we are welcoming a new bartender, Anthony Desmond, I thought it about time to break the silence. For those who are not poetry aficionados, the Dr Williams of the title is William Carlos Williams and the references are to his poems This is Just to Say, Complaint and The Red Wheelbarrow.

Ode to Squash

black-knight-quicksilver-tc-squash-racquet-2

The air
is sliced
by Ashaway
strings
held taut
in
the Black
Knight’s
carbon-fibre
frame.
The court
resounds
to the smack
of rubber
missiles
fired
against
concrete walls.

The squeak
of soles
on the wooden
floor speaks
of the cut
and thrust
of battle:
One all.

The next
rally begins;
serve, volley,
lob, drive,
boast,
drop
and lunge.

Stop!
the referee
calls.
The ball
was down
.
Two, one.

Tension mounts
as the match
continues,
every point
closely
fought:
Let.
Nine, seven.

The dull
thud
of ball
on tin
signals
a point lost;
Ten, seven.
Game ball
and the play
begins again.

The players
collide
mid-court.
The referee’s
decision?
Stroke.
Two games all.

The decider
follows
the same
pattern
until
the score is
Ten all.
Player
must win
by two
points
,
the referee
reminds
the combatants.
They
play on:
Eleven, ten.
Match ball
Eleven all.

Unable
to watch
any longer,
his mother
turns away.

Twelve, eleven.
Match ball,
but she
no longer knows
who’s ahead.

Game
and match
to …

Did he
really win
?
I nod,
and she
can breathe
again.

© 2014 A B Maude

Today at dVerse we are invited to write to one of the Meeting the Bar/Form for All prompts from the past 6 months. I’ve chosen to write in the short-lined ode form popularised by Pablo Neruda.

This week my wife’s nephew has been competing in the Scottish Junior Open Squash Championships where he finished 3rd in his age-group. This poem is for him.

Snow

Water light
as feathers,
pure white,
each of us a unique
display of six-fold
symmetry,
a network of frozen
hydrogen bonds.
But what will we be
when we fall?

Will we lie deep on the ground?
Will we deaden the sound
of traffic? If we fall at night
will we be the waking delight
of children anticipating
a school-free day to play?
Or will we be the cause
of unwanted delays
to impatient commuters?

Will we be lifted by hand,
moulded and thrown,
or rolled around and around,
thousands upon thousands bound
together, given black button eyes,
a carrot nose, a hat for our head,
a pipe for our mouth
and a scarf for our snowman neck?

Or is our destiny
to melt as we fall
and be only tears
of winter rain?

© 2014 A B Maude

The Bar is open again at dVerse after our winter break; it’s Open Link Night over there where you’ll find a wide array of poetry offered for your delectation. Why not head across and read some of the work presented by poets from across the world? I’m sure you’ll find something to your taste. Or maybe you could write a poem yourself and join in the fun?

Ode to Andrés Segovia

andres_segoviaAndrés Segovia Torres (21 February 1893 – 2 June 1987)

Estimado Andrés:
I presume
I may call you
Andrés
after all
we have done
together,
though some
address you as
the 1st Marquis
of Salobreña
and others
call you
Master.

I lie
cocooned in
a maroon
felt-lined
tomb,
cold and lifeless,
waiting.

I long to hear
the click
of clasps,
to be blinded
by a sudden
burst of light,
to feel
the touch
of your strong
hands
on my
curvaceous body
and long
slender neck,
the push
of your
abdomen
against my back.

You come
into the room,
take your place
on the stool,
lift me
from my case,
and place my waist
across your thigh.
Your right elbow
lies on my
hips,
your right hand
poised above
the black O
of my sound-hole.

You slide
your left thumb
along my spine,
curl your fingers
into place
then press them
onto my taut
strings,
behind my frets,
and rest.

In other hands
my amplified cousins
are used
to bludgeon
the air with
power-chords;
wild axe-men chopping
staccato rhythms
into the night,
but that
is not for us.

You strum and pluck
my strings
and I sing
of a sun-baked land
burning with pride
and passion,
of life and love
and loss,
of yearning
so strong
it could make statues
weep.

The last note
rings
into the arena;
there is a pause

and then –
oh rapture –
the thunderous
applause.

© 2013 A B Maude

Today’s Form For All prompt asks us to write an ode in the style of the famous Chilean poet and Nobel Prize winner, Pablo Neruda. Head across there to see what other dVerse poets from across the world have written in response to this invitation.

Ode to the Internet

My desire
is overwhelming.
I must
know
now,
so
I flip
the lid
of my
laptop,
push
the power switch
and grind
my teeth
while Windows
installs
the latest raft
of updates.

I identify
myself,
enter my
username
and password
at the machine’s
command.
At last ….

But no.
the network’s
down,
the wireless
broadband box
is off;
some clown -
was it me? -
unplugged
it.

I fumble
for the plug,
push it
into the wall socket,
flick another switch,
wait
for the server
to warm up;
orange light
flashes
from its face,
then turns
blue.

My connection
to the world
restored,
I open
my browser,
sending
electromagnetic
pulses
across
the room,
along
bundles
of copper
wires
and fibre-optic
cables,
then through
the atmosphere
to orbiting
satellites
and back
to Earth,
leaving me
free
to browse
at leisure
through
the infinite
expanses
of human
ignorance.

© 2013 A B Maude

It’s Open Link Night again at dVerse, where Claudia is our hostess. You’ll find a veritable feast of poetry from all corners of the globe linked up there.