Cacophony in the Second City


I amble amongst the snake trail
of crowds and loud streets
of consumer rights and political fights.

Then he came and  asked me
whether I had any faith at all
and I shook my head in a lie
while he thrust a pamphlet
of salvation into my hands.

And he said “Are you religious
as I am not and never was because
it binds you too tight but do try
as you might to turn to God my love.”

And he wished me a happy life
and a good day before he took
shelter in Subway as he was now
more than hungry enough.

Then I turned to a man who
had a plan through Islam
offering me an English copy
of the Quran while the busker
sung and smiled that he was
loving angels instead.

And my ego smiled back
and for that one moment
he was the prophet
that I sought amongst strangers.

Meanwhile, beside the homeless
and tomeless a lady mediates
in the rain for human rights
among the remains and pain
in a city of mistaken identity.

And I cannot hear any sound
of despair above the crowds,
but here in the air the
call to prayer is everywhere.

But paradise never comes.

©  Katypoetess 2016





Sed non Satiata (Unslakeable Lust)


Strange goddess, brown as evening to the sight,
Whose scent is half of musk, half of havanah,
Work of some obi, Faust of the Savanah,
Ebony witch, and daughter of the night.

By far preferred to troth, or drugs, or sleep,
Love vaunts the red elixir of your mouth.
My caravan of longings seeks in drouth
Your eyes, the wells at which my cares drink deep.

Through those black eyes, by which your soul respires,
Pitiless demon! pour less scorching fires.
I am no Styx nine times with flame to wed.

Nor can I turn myself to Proserpine
To break your spell, Megera libertine!
Within the dark inferno of your bed.



Charles Baudelaire

A Poison Tree


I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears,
Night and morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine.
And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

William Blake

The Wolf and the Witch



You are mine, he said as she was leaving,

Half remembering – she turned within her grieving

And throwing the line back to the shore,

Called out – “not any more”.


Sometimes there is a darkness that roams me,

I am the wolf that bleeds within empty breath.

You are the wild, untamed witch that goads me,

And now snared I jar and rage against my certain death.


She saved me, and has let me be what I have sought.

Freed me from the confines of my cage.

She has risked herself in sharing secrets she has brought,

And in freeing me turned another page.


We’ve finished putting words and pictures in the book,

The journey and the story still untold.

Together the wolf and witch will find the way towards their peace,

And as their love remains so their story will unfold.



Anthony (edited by Katypoetess)




© Katypoetess 2013







Lie Still, Sleep Becalmed


Lie still, sleep becalmed, suffer with the wound

In the throat, burning and turning.  All night afloat

On the silent sea we have heard the sound

That came from the wound wrapped in the salt sheet.


Under the mile off moon we trembled listening

To the sea sound flowing like blood from the loud wound

And when the salt sheet broke in a storm of singing

The voices of all the drowned swam on the wind.


Open a pathway through the slow sad sail,

Throw wide to the wind the gates of the wandering boat

For my voyage to begin to the end of my wound,

We heard the sea sound sing, we saw the salt sheet tell.

Lie still, sleep becalmed, hide the mouth in the throat,

Or we shall obey and ride with you through the drowned.


Dylan Thomas




Poetic Pilgrimage



“After 39 years, this is all I’ve done.”

Dylan Thomas (his final words before his death)


Today I went to visit Dylan Thomas’s boathouse in Laugharne, a poet who I love and inspires me.

I touched the floorboards where he trod, saw the view across the estuary where he would have seen, and heard the same sounds of the water and gulls he would have heard over 65 years ago.

I am sure many poets have ebbs and flows of confidence, and I do too, but when you examine a poets life, it tolls a warning of your own poetic morality. Being there made me realise that there is so much I need to do, and how important it is not to wait for the flow of confidence, but to write when confidence is at it’s ebb too, before it is too late.   Dylan Thomas accomplished so much in his short life, and my envy of that is a vital driving force to succeed.

I am 42 this year, and this is all I’ve done.  But I’m not done yet. I’ve only just begun.

Dylan Thomas's grave




Hidden Agendas


My husband’s lover is jealous of me
My husband is jealous of you
I am jealous of your wife
And she doesn’t have a clue

Truth has no part to play
In this old fashioned game
All liberated and encapsulated
The blood still runs the same

© Katypoetess 2013


The Definition of Love



My love is of a birth as rare
As ’tis for object strange and high;
It was begotten by Despair
Upon Impossibility.


Magnanimous Despair alone
Could show me so divine a thing
Where feeble Hope could ne’er have flown,
But vainly flapp’d its tinsel wing.


And yet I quickly might arrive
Where my extended soul is fixt,
But Fate does iron wedges drive,
And always crowds itself betwixt.


For Fate with jealous eye does see
Two perfect loves, nor lets them close;
Their union would her ruin be,
And her tyrannic pow’r depose.


And therefore her decrees of steel
Us as the distant poles have plac’d,
(Though love’s whole world on us doth wheel)
Not by themselves to be embrac’d;


Unless the giddy heaven fall,
And earth some new convulsion tear;
And, us to join, the world should all
Be cramp’d into a planisphere.


As lines, so loves oblique may well
Themselves in every angle greet;
But ours so truly parallel,
Though infinite, can never meet.


Therefore the love which us doth bind,
But Fate so enviously debars,
Is the conjunction of the mind,
And opposition of the stars.
Andrew Marvell

Wedding Day


Stood alone
Grounded by grey rock
Papoosed safe in your arms
An altar before the Atlantic
commanding, tumulus ocean
serves as our priest

Two rings
Brought from sandy shelter
Where we consummated our love
the shells holed, complete a
fraught, fragile commitment
regardless of reality

You whisper
Echoed by breaking wave
“Just you and me against the world.”
Behind us storm clouds descend
tomorrow’s darkening hills
but for now, we vow

We are strong
We are deep
We are beach


© Katypoetess 2013


Love is thicker than forget


love is more thicker than forget

more thinner than recall

more seldom than a wave is wet

more frequent than to fail

it is most mad and moonly

and less it shall unbe

than all the sea which only

is deeper than the sea

love is less always than to win

less never than alive

less bigger than the least begin

less littler than forgive

it is most sane and sunly

and more it cannot die

than all the sky which only

is higher than the sky


E.E Cummings

Our Berlin Wall


Your east side


Behind the times

Poverty stricken

Oppressed and undone


My west side


Moving the future

Abundant laden

Oppressed and undone


In our dreams

I run

In our memories

You run

Towards the wall

I thought I heard

You thought you heard

The other call



Checkpoint of illusion

Guns down

Bird of freedom

Dutiful suicide

Shell shocked minds

Clamber, find

Road to Damascus

On the path of least resistance


© Katypoetess 2013


Exit Stage Left


There’s a curious superfluity

of characters

in this play

forgetting the lines

missing the cues

wrong costume changes

a story confused.

Played out in performance

the audience hisses

the writer cringes

the curtains drop

on all of them

inside you.


© Katypoetess 2013


The Sun


When you show yourself to the woman you love,

you don’t know your fear is not fear, itself.


You have never been good,

but now you are so good,


who are you?  Is it the liquidity of her skin

that bathes the world for you,


or her face, captured like a she-lion

in your own flesh?


This summerbed is soft with ring upon ring

upon ring of wedding, the kind


that doesn’t clink upon contact, the kind

with no contract,


the kind in which the gold is only (only!) light.

Cloud covers and lifts,


and sleep and night and soon enough, love’s

big fire laughs at a terrible burn,


but only (only!) because pain absorbs excess

joy and you shouldn’t flaunt


your treasures in front of all day’s eyes.


Brenda Shaughnessy



Deep.  Deep in thelemic thought, her

words spill sour, salted by a power

that cowers and spits, shoaling rocks

into desolate fetch, coveting a polyandry.


Exiled.  Exiled she lies, and lies. Coursed

and cobbled. Smooth blissful pebbles

that awake wrecked memories, and hopes

of calm oceans being neither here or there.


Caught. Caught in a squall ‘twixt two seas,

that tempt this temptress to summon tempest,

blowing gorse to prick blood of lust from the

rogue wave that shoals below forbidden crag.


Turning. Turning to hear sand sing a surge,

an erg of serendipity. Chilled by heat of dense

dust that rises, she’s surprised by the slide down

a slipface that holds charm of a desert denied.


Awaiting. Awaiting a disgrace, shapeshifting

of the shoreline brings dark and light to fight.

Through inevitable stoning, pebbles disperse –

doing their worst. Does she drown, or does she burn?


© Katypoetess 2013




Adam’s Curse


We sat together at one summer’s end,

That beautiful mild woman, your close friend,

And you and I, and talked of poetry.

I said, ‘A line will take us hours maybe;

Yet if it does not seem a moment’s thought,

Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.

There have been lovers who thought love should be

So much compounded of high courtesy

That they would sigh and quote with learned looks

precedents out of beautiful old books;

Yet now it seems an idle trade enough.’

We sat grown quiet at the name of love;

We saw the last embers of daylight die,

And in the trembling blue-green of the sky

A moon, worn as if it had been a shell

Washed by time’s waters as they rose and fell

About the stars and broke in days and years.

I had a thought for no one’s but your ears:

That you were beautiful, and that I strove

To love you in the old high way of love;

That it had all seemed happy, and yet we’d grown

As weary-hearted as that hollow moon.


William Butler Yeats



A Bed of Forget-me-nots


Is love so prone to change and rot

We are fain to rear Forget-me-not

By measure in a garden –plot? –


I love its growth at large and free

By untrod path and unlopped tree,

Or nodding by the unpruned hedge,

Or on the water’s dangerous edge

Where flags and meadowsweet blow rank

With rushes on the quaking bank.


Love is not taught in learning’s school,

Love is not parcelled out by rule:

Hath curb or call an answer got? –

So free must be Forget-me-not.


Give me the flame no dampness dulls,

The passion of the instinctive pulse,

Love steadfast as a fixed star,

Tender as doves with nestlings are,

More large than time , more strong than death:

This all creation travails of –

She groans not for a passing breath –

This is Forget-me-Not and Love.


Christina Rossetti


The Moving Finger



The moving finger writes; and, having writ,

moves on: nor all thy piety nor wit

shall lure it back to cancel half a line,

nor all thy tears wash a word out of it


But helpless pieces in the game he plays,

upon this chequer-board of nights and days

he hither and thither moves, and checks….and slays,

the one by one back in the closet lays.

Omar Khayyam

The Oak Tree III


Sanctuary turned cemetery

On late November afternoon

Your kindred spirit rises as I pace forwards

I giggle as you grumble

About mud on your boots

No tea to takeaway from the café today

I avert all others eyes

Was it through here,

Or a little further perhaps?


The birds scatter in welcome as I arrive

Without our blanket to break my fall

An abundance of acorns and twigs suffice

Memories tangled in ipod wires

scrunched tissues and muted mobiles

I won’t stay long as you are not here

to keep my heart warm

I can exist without you

but I cannot live without you


Lying down and looking up

I call for your return

The golden leaves catch the breeze

And entwine in those red threads

You created and held so gently long ago

The wind sways the branches

And far away it stirs your poetic soul


I cannot leave myself here

stain this golden brown beauty

rooted here holding spell unbroken and still

Enshrined in the fading sunshine

A leaf flutters down and I scramble

to catch the wish that is so precious

Thanking the sturdy wisdom of trunk and branch

I hold your hand while walking to my car

in my deluded secret insanity


© Katypoetess 2013