Category Archives: Poetry

Ode to an Idol

I wrote some really terrible poetry when I was a teenager. In amongst all the mawkish dross there are only a couple of poems that I’m prepared to own up to having written, and this is one of them. I’m not exactly sure when I wrote it, but I think it was around the age of 18. The idol of the title is John Taylor of Duran Duran, whose poster I had on my wall for a while. Well, okay – a few years. What was I thinking?! 😀

*

There he hangs on the wall of my bedroom,
Incomplete, just his torso and head.
And in case one dark night magic brings him to life,
He’s strategically placed by the bed!

Up ’til now he’s remained unresponsive
To the kiss he receives every day,
Yet I still find him strangely attractive,
In a flat, two-dimensional way.

What would be the reaction, I wonder,
Of this man, who’s seen models undressed
Glimpsing me in my bri-nylon nightie?
I doubt if he’d be too impressed.

He’s unlikely to get all excited
At the sight of my goose-pimpled skin
Clad in heavyweight undies from Tesco’s
As I squeeze out a spot on my chin.

And he’d hardly be thrilled to discover
All the terrible secrets I keep,
Like my habit of picking my toenails
Or the way that I snore in my sleep.

But hold on! Just a sec! Wait a minute!
Even heroes can have feet of clay,
And if flesh could be moulded from paper
All my daydreams might flutter away.

I could find him a self-centred moron
And his cool conversation a bore.
He might suffer severe halitosis;
Leave his smalls in a heap on the floor.

So I think I’ll stop dangerous dreaming,
‘Cos I really prefer him like this –
A tongue that is nothing but pixels
Can’t get stuck on my brace when we kiss.

 

(C) Helen Lewis, 1983(-ish)


On the Whanganui River

I grasp the moment
the way I grasp this paddle –
as lightly as I can,
knuckles still white.

The weight of time
is my ballast –
the ghost of a seal hunter
cutting through ice water.

No glacier-melt here.
The river gorge is a leaking boat
letting in sunlight
to leave me soaking hot.

On the stony sandbank
an installation of
driftwood sculptures
lies artfully abandoned.

Among the tree ferns
and rata vines
cicadas complain incessantly
about the heat.

A harrier hawk rises like a hymn
at the note of my paddle
and then is gone.

(C) Helen Lewis, 2006

______________________________

The Whanganui River is on the North Island of New Zealand. Here’s a link to a couple of short videos about the canoe journey down the Whanganui. 


Mile 392

 

Head

lights

punch through

the darkness.

One of my hands grips

the wheel, knuckles white. The other

cradles a cigarette, lifting it to my lips, then

flicking it out of the window in a shower of sparks. I look over my shoulder.

Bobby’s lying down on the back seat. A fly that’s been

buzzing around since Monroe lands

on his upper lip.

He’s smelling

really

bad

now.

 

© Helen Lewis, 2011

 

__________________________________

I wrote this poem during a round of SPARK in response to a song written and recorded by my brother, John. The mood of the poem doesn’t match the mood of the song at all, but that’s the way inspiration rolls sometimes! 😀

Click here to listen to the song.

 


Meditations on a mountain: five haiku

 

i

sunrise paints the slopes

in semi-precious colours

pearlescent with ice

 

ii

the wind carries the

tang of fresh snow, sends flocks of

prayer flags fluttering

 

iii

rising up from the

monastery the scent of

sandalwood incense

 

iv

sunlight glints off prayer

wheels, inscriptions worn smooth by

a million fingers

 

v

the mountain’s a sand

mandala, washing away

in the stream of time

 

© Helen Lewis, 2013

 

______________________________

I wrote this series of linked haiku during a round of SPARK, in response to a painting by Cynthia Pailet. See the two together here.

 


Catching some Zs

 

[This one is best appreciated if you read it aloud!]

 

Zapata, wizard, zany, zinger, spritz,

Bedazzle, frazzle, zebra, zygote, fuzz,

Zucchini, gizzard, bozo, schnozzle, Ritz,

Horizon, dazzle, vuvuzela, buzz.

 

Cadenza, swizzle, zesty, guzzle, booze,

Piazza, pizza, cozy, zeitgeist, wheeze,

Organza, drizzle, zombified, kazoos,

Gazebo, breezy, zephyr, lazy, sleaze.           

 

Embezzle, rhizome, stanza, panzer, blaze, 

Byzantine, bite-size, mozzarella, fez,

Zootoxic, lizard, ouzo, orzo, daze,

Amazing, ozone, paparazzi, Pez.

 

Bamboozle, nuzzle, muzzle, guzzle, whizz,

Emblazon, crazy, buzzard, zip, zap, fizz!

 

© Helen Lewis, 2011

 

P.S. If you enjoyed this, you might also like The Joy of X


The Matrix

 

You know that bit

in The Matrix

where Neo wakes up

on a bunk bed,

head shaved,

cheeks like rice paper?

 

Remember how his fingers

scan the back of his skull

like a child reading Braille

and stop

when they find the hole?

 

That’s when he knows

for certain

he’s no longer dreaming.

 

I keep on feeling

the back of my head

but so far,

nothing.

 

© Helen Lewis, 2006


Seasons

 

The season’s turning now. Late summer’s long-held breath

is finally exhaled. Now autumn’s alchemy

has seeped its way inside the trees to turn their leaves

to copper, bronze and gold. The sky’s no longer blue;

its cobalt wash is painted out with layers of grey.

The wind blows cooler, damper, stronger from the sea.

The river’s high and brown, and summer’s dusty paths

have turned to muddy tracks. The scent of wood smoke drifts

inside from down the street. We stack logs on the porch.

I find it strange to think that half a world away

the season’s turning too; that where I once called home

the spring is breezing in, and kissing grey to green.

 

(C) Helen Lewis, 2006 

 


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