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when I die
if they say of me
she lived her life joyfully
she lived it utterly
she made the most of every day
she didn’t fritter time away
she was habitually free
they lie

too many books
is why




When I Am Dead: A Poem That Made Me Think A Little

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When I am dead,
think only this of me:
there is a corner of
some kitchen drawer
that will be
forever mingled.

I know I’ll leave a mess.
I’ll be dead.
I couldn’t care less.


I read When I Am Dead, My Dearest by Christina Rossetti, and my brain went, You should parody Rupert Brooke’s The Soldier, because that makes no sense, being inspired by one poem to write a pastiche of another (a pastiche is a text that imitates/is in the style of another text).

Here’s the thing about any writing: each mind is unique and makes connections that other minds don’t.

Here’s another thing about writing: it’s okay to write what you like; don’t ever feel obliged to write something just because someone says you must (creative writing classes excepted, of course, otherwise you’ve wasted your money).

Yet another thing about writing is that you should always write your truth; hence this poem about my sloppy housework.

Pea Scoot

You may remember Tuesday’s saga of the flying peas; here’s a pea’s perspective.

The Big Guy sent us flying
and I’d be lying if I said
I wasn’t scared.

Afraid of being squished,
I slid under the fridge,
peeked around: all I could see was dirt.

I risked a closer look:
years of ignored dust was surely
propping up the whole back side.

Dust is disgusting to a pea
so it was it or me:
time to call it quits;
this pea must RIP.

Her housekeeping derided,
she was going with me, I decided:
I stormed under her left foot
and gamely died.


They should exhume this sad legume,
a pulse without a pulse,
for whom there was no standing room –
poor podless pea who chanced
upon the enemy to advance;
it’s all so fundamental:
this lentil should have chosen to revulse.


The great thing about poetry – or fiction – is that you can write about anything you want, from any perspective you like. A dropped bowl of peas has given me two poems already this week; there may be more. The mundane can be fun; you don’t need to write about the epic.

The perspective we write from is known as the narrative voice, so the annoyed person on Monday and the brave pea today are their respective poem’s narrative voices. Put simply, the narrative voice is the person telling the story, the narrator.

A fun writing exercise: choose a non-human object or animal – for example, a piece of furniture or your pet – and write about an ordinary experience from their perspective. And please share in the comments if you do; I’d love to read it.


NOTE: I plead the fifth on the true state of the floor under my fridge.

George Leigh Mallory in Summary

Tomorrow would have been George’s 136th birthday.

(Mallory on the Mountain, Book, Music & Lyrics by Oliver Mills)

One wife. Three kids. Author. Teacher.
But most of all, a hill besieger.
Climbed Mount Everest because it was there;
Broke his leg when he fell through the air.
A man who never knew when to stop,
Could he have been the first to reach the top?
We’ll never know because he died alone.
Took 75 years to find his bones.
Though he’s a footnote in history,
His legend’s one of great mystery.


If you don’t know this story, it’s fascinating: Mallory died on Everest in 1924, twenty-nine years before Norgay and Hillary made it to the summit. He promised to leave a photo of his wife at the top when he got there. His body was found in 1999 and most of his possessions were in good condition. The only belonging missing was a picture of his wife…did he make it to the top and leave it there? We’ll never know.

Read more here.

I first heard this story through Oliver Mills’ outstanding musical, Mallory on the Mountain, as my son happened to be playing Mallory. You can see a couple of videos here.

What Bill Could Not Stand

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What Bill could not stand was to sit too long
When Bill sat too long his bum went numb
His back would crack
One foot give up
His knees would creak
His eyes would leak
He could not speak
His will was weak
His shoulders felt like boulders
Legs expressed discontent
And his ears feared folk nearby
If Bill sat too long he would cry
I’m going to die
And that’s no lie
Please tell me why
My life passes like molasses before my eyes
It has been so dull
My accomplishments: nil
My hope was all
A good night’s sleep
And a belly full

Of nice things to eat
If my life was a song
It would be a dirge
And so I urge each person here
To take stock of their personal career
Look at your lives anew and let them be ballads
Ditties and hymns
Weird jazz rhythms

The can-can
The cha-cha
Catchy ad jingles
Country music – no! Never! Pay me no matter
For we all know country songs end in disaster
Be a pop song
A rock song
An indie tune obscure
Be any kind of music that makes life feel like
Instead of a death march
That sad, sad lament
Don’t be like me
This man leaving life soon
Whose music is wrong
Not even a song
But an elegy to emptiness
A requiem to wretchedness
My music was wrong
My music was wrong

These were his thoughts
When Bill sat too long
So here is the moral
(Excuse if I shout)
Don’t be like Bill
Get up
And walk about