Monthly Archives: December 2014

A challenge


I received this challenge, ‘create a poem on the following picture’


my response:

When Hope was captured in a jar

Pandora set her free

But not before she had unleashed

Every evil that could be.


Some would set a caged bird free

To fly unfettered in the air

And some would say that keeping it

Safe, shows that you care.


But Hope and birds and butterflies

And bats and spirits too

Artist’s hearts and writers’ dreams

Must soar and never rue


The strictures and the structures

Of form and shape and size

They must explore the wider world

Of fiction…

And the poetry of lies.

The Relationship Bazaar


I was greeted this morning with a Whatsapp message that was really moving and expressed in an almost Gibran-like ‘voice’. It was written in Hindi, and another friend, whose Hindi has fallen into disuse, couldn’t read it as fluently as he would have liked to. So I made a quick and hasty translation.

But, as with a lot of poetry, once something starts buzzing in your head, until you sit down and actually write it it won’t leave you. So, of course I did just that, and here it is:

The Relationship Bazaar

As I was walking in the marketplace

My feet stopped at the Relationship Bazaar.

I looked around and saw it filled

With kinship on sale for near and far


Relationships of every kind

Were offered everywhere

‘Relationships for sale’ they cried

‘Come buy a few to spare’


Each seller had a lively trade

And I walked up to one

‘Aha!’ he cried, ‘What will you buy?

I have everything under the sun!’


With trembling lips I asked the seller

‘How much and what’s for sale?’

With a flourish he said

‘Most everything and some beyond the pale.’


‘What would you like? What will you buy?

I have a wondrous range

Special ties with a son, or father

I have all good, some strange.’


‘Choose from a sister or a brother

Dear shopper what’s your choice?

Humanity or the love of mother

Faith? Pray, where is your voice?’


‘Come, come,’ he cajoled me,

‘Come, come, don’t hesitate!

Ask for something, anything

Your silence on me grates.’


With fear and sorrow in my voice

And with a great unease

I sighed and asked him, whispering

‘Do you have friendship, please?’


He stopped mid-sale, he stopped and stared

As if I’d lost my mind

Then tearfully he turned and said

‘Ah that is hard to find.


‘For friendship is the relationship

On which the world depends

It’s not for sale, it has no price

No price that can be named


For friendship is worth everything

This earth and then some more

It is a pure and selfless thing

And this you can be sure


The day that friendship’s offered

For a price and put on sale

Why then my dear, dear shopper

The world it will have failed


This globe will be uprooted

And lose its orbit quite

The day that friendship’s offered

And can be quoted for a price.