Poems by Members - page 2

The First Wife's Tale

I am wiped out.  They do not speak my name.
She has it all now - children, house, the lot.
No contest.  I am dead and have no claim.

She walks in - the surroundings are the same 
pours tea, snaps roses' heads.  And I shall rot.
I am wiped out and they don't speak my name.

Routines go on;  she drives my children home
from school and tucks the baby in his cot.
I won't protest;  I'm dead and have no claim.

She entertains his friends - the ones who came
before my time - smiles, savours all she's got.
I am wiped out.  They do not speak my name.

You hear faint whispers, hints she has no shame,
but it no longer matters who did what,
considering I am dead and have no claim.

The man we loved gets very little blame;
she did, but now she's here, and I am not.
I am wiped out and they don't speak my name,
seeing that I am dead, and have no claim.

Merryn Williams

This is the title poem of Merryn's book (just published). It reappears in Peter Stileman's review of the book.

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Hairy Story

Potatoes in the natural state
have wild and waving sticky hairs,
once thought to keep inviolate
their leaves from aphid predators.

The aphid tribe, of every sort,
tiny beetles, thrips,and mites,
would to this hairy spud resort
to sate their aphid appetites.

But on the leaf, about to bite,
what horror meets the diner's view?
His fellow rovers on the site
in agony and hairy glue

and all around them tendrils thin
whose slightest accidental touch
acts as a noose, a snare or gin
to hold him with adhesive clutch.

In situations such as this
all aphids recognize defeat,
stand helpless in paralysis
before they signal a retreat..

Experiments, since done, included
whole invading armies wrecked.
Botanic scientists concluded
that clearly sticky hairs protect.

But things are seldom what they seem.
New finds uncover truths that fly
way beyond the wildest dream.
There's more to hairs than meets the eye.

The facts are these: when it is dying,
a beetle, aphid, thrip or mite,
having no voice, instead of crying
"danger, help, all is not right!"

ejects into the atmosphere
a chemical - B-Farnesene -
which to any insect near
is not unlike a dying scream.

Just how this warning operates
we laymen may not understand.
Suffice to say it activates
approaching aphids near at hand.

At the potato though enticed
by scent of luscious feasting blown
as if from aphid Paradise,
they'll not approach the danger zone.

And so, we're given to understand,
this discovery arrests
in farms and gardens through the land
the depredations of these pests.

Watch the aphid millions move
when their senses realize
in the air the presence of
B-Farnesene -now synthesized.

Watch the little buggers skip,
banished from each planted site;
aphid, beetle mite and thrip;
beetle, aphid, thrip and mite.

NOW there's no such word as can't.
From the flower to its roots
you free from bugs your choicest plant.
Buy the stuff at every Boots.

But hold! the story isn't over.
B-Farnesene's a pheromone,
a signal of fantastic power;
a chemical that finds its home,

so we are told, in you and me.
We too, like aphids are programmed
from birth by the same chemistry.
We too like aphids could be damned.

A fiendish scent has been devised.
I read in women's magazines
men's make-up is now analyzed
and made to subserve female schemes.

Whate'er his moral views, no male
can spurn a woman far from pure
if she chooses to exhale
the right pheromonal allure.

Conversely, no determined virgin
who inhales HIS pheromone
can resist the crudest urging
of a roaming sexy Tom.

So, living creatures are machines.
This chemical Impresario
has the power and the means
to rule you, me - and even Aunty Flo.

Peter Stileman

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You would pluck out the heart of my mystery (Hamlet)

            Ancient woodland seems to me
            a place of mystery.
            Between the old trees there will be
            rustling and whispering
            or a significant silence.
            Here a passage of darkness
            overarched with boughs
            invites but disallows
            investigation. It guards
            its privacy. No further now.

            It will not show what lies concealed.
            We may not know
            what happened many years ago,
            events not fit to be revealed.
            Presences linger.That is how
            an atmosphere has been preserved,
            despite apparent calm
            and commonness. No harm in me
            the forest breathes and yet ..... and yet,
            it retains secrets that it would forget.

            That whispering!...... Those silences!

Ann Biddle

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September Walk

(when hay bales were rectangular)

   I step through stubby bristle
on the crumbly dry clay earth,
where hay bales heap like hampers
on a shooting-train to Perth.
Lines of corn, cut and drying,
texture patterns purl and plain,
while other fields are blackened
by the burning of old grain.

The town dog - in abandon -
all quivering nose and ears
at partridges' flush whirring,
rabbits' tantalising rears,
and pigeons flapping upwards
in disturbed, branch-hopping flight -
leaps and gallops, pants and grins
at the countryside's delight.

The sun is not September
but a memory of June,
though hips and elderberries
herald winter's crackling tune.
A Lilliputian insect
mountaineers on corduroy: 
his winter comes in minutes -
make the most of summer joy.

Patricia Buik

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