Poetry

I enjoy writing poetry. My favourite style is doggerel, not highly literary but great fun to write. This blog is littered with my poems but I thought I'd collect a few of my favourites together. 

The first poem is a doggerel piece of verse.

What do you mean, 'It's only a teddy'? by Rosalind Adam

It’s ok to chat with a cat, so I’ve heard,
Cause you know that a cat can hear every word
But you don’t want to talk with inanimate things,
Like your teddy, whose stuffing is held in with string.

Just a minute! A cat doesn’t care about words.
He would much rather chase after dormice or birds.
The teddy, however, absorbs all you say.
He collects up your words in his kapok each day.

So your teddy bear holds all your wishes and thoughts.
He knows all of your hopes, all those demons you’ve fought.
Please ignore those who say he’s a toy. It’s not true.
He’s the one true custodian of all that is you.


This next poem is an example of my free verse experimentation, a retrospective view of life.

You ask how I am? by Rosalind Adam

I glance at a reflection of a face.
There's a family likeness, my mother perhaps.
My face is not so pale, or
tired, or lined.
I'm right… aren't I?

Ask me about the back of my hands.
I know them.
They're wrinkled, liver spotted.
They work hard.

Ask me about my feet,
The corn on my little toe,
The aching arches,
The thickened nails.

But don't ask me about me
If I dwell on who I truly am
I will be reminded of my fragility,
My transience.

So let me busy myself with daily tasks,
Fill my mind
with the banal,
The cats, 
The cooking, 
The cleaning,
anything

To avoid a space in my head
To avoid being aware of me.


This third poem is a family history bio and a tribute to a very dear aunt.

To a Truly Great Aunt by Rosalind Adam
[The Yiddish is translated below.]

My Great Auntie Lena Cohen
Born in RigaLatvia, date unknown
Died in LeicesterEngland, February 1971

A refugee, she escaped to the East End of London
Unpacking her culture along with her feathered Russian bed,
Was she comforted by the Yiddishkeit that surrounded her?
Or did she feel the sting of black-shirted anti-Semitism?
I'll never know because she never said.

An evacuee she escaped to Leicester,
To an English world as far from the East End as it was from Riga.
Was her heart still in bombed-out London?
Or had it never left Latvia?
Did she fear these Midlanders with their strange accents?
Or did she appreciate the peace of a provincial town?
I'll never know because she never said.

In my memory she was always smiling,
Always cooking,
And I was always at her side,
Watching as she made blintzes with cheese from the hanging muslin,
Kreplach filled with meat from the metal mincer screwed to the table edge, 
Kneidlach rolled into balls so swiftly I could hardly see her moving hands,
And my treat; 
Gribenes glistening in the tin after the shmaltz had been rendered.

Was her life richer for having seen so many ways?
Or poorer for being a stranger in every place?
I'll never know. I never asked and she never said.
I only know that I was her little girl, her shayna Maideleh,
And my life is richer for having been touched by hers.
Yiddishkeit – Jewish way of life
Kreplach – Meat-filled dumplings
Kneidlach – Dumplings for soup
Gribenes – Fried onion and crunchy chicken skin left after making schmaltz
Schmaltz – Chicken fat used instead of butter with meat
Shayna Maideleh – Pretty little girl

I'll finish this brief collection with another doggerel verse. Like I said, they are so much fun to write. This one is 
based on an amusing scene that I stumbled across one day. I've changed the location description to maintain a certain amount of anonymity.

Our Local Keep Fit Class by Rosalind Adam

Loud music roared out from our local church hall. 
I walked in through the graveyard to pry.
To coin an old phrase, it could waken the dead 
And in this place they'd better not try.

I crept to the window to have a quick peek 
But a sign said, “All welcome. Come in!”
So I peeped round the door as the Lady Up Front 
Shouted, “Left, right and bend!” What a din!

I looked round the room at this new fitness group. 
Not one would see sixty again.
Each moved as if hearing a different tune. 
Each winced as a turn caused them pain.

The group were dressed up in all manner of clothes. 
Some wore jumpers, some even wore hats.
One lady wore gloves and a pair of suede boots, 
Then I looked at the exercise mats.

There was no way this lot would get down on the floor. 
If they did they’d need help getting up.
But the Lady Up Front didn’t give it a thought 
As she shouted, “Left, right, bend. Keep up!”

So this was our council’s new keep fit idea 
To stop old folk from turning to sloth
But I worried that rather than helping them live, 
They were likely to kill them all off!

No comments:

Post a Comment