Tag Archives: rhyme

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)

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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 gift

                                                                                             

You give me love. Its frame is cracked,

its silvered face is pock-marked black.                                                                                              

 

You say, ‘It’s only second-hand,’

I squeeze your arm. I understand.

 

I hang your present in the hall.

I screw it tight so it won’t fall.

 

I gaze beyond the glass and wood.

I never knew I looked this good.

 

 (C) Helen Lewis, 2006

 

 

 


August

 

The distant hills, patched dusty green and gold,

Dissolve and ripple in the evening haze,

And rivers trace a winding azure web

Through sunlit fields where lazy cattle graze.

 

Just here, knee deep in waving meadow grass,

The sinking sun still warm against my cheek,

A sighing ash disturbs the heavy hush.

My heart stands still. I’d swear I heard you speak.

 

I lie down under weeping willow boughs,

Where clouds of midges dance against the blue,

And close my eyes to ease my memory

Back to that short, hot summer spent with you.

 

Now interfering sight is out of mind,

My other senses exercise their skill,

Conspire against my crashed and burned-out heart

To make believe you’re lying with me still.

 

The feathered grass that strokes my goosebumped skin

Mimics your restless touch – a callous plot!

The gentle breeze that plays across my lips

Becomes your breath, so tender, sweet and hot.

 

The soothing swish of branches in the wind

Echoes your urgent whisper in my ear,

That everything you’ll ever need in life,

Is everything you have right now, right here.

 

But everything I gave was not enough

To tame the wayward fire of your love.

And now the chill of nightfall closes in,

While drifts of stars dust indigo above.

 

The distant hills, washed dusky grey and mauve,

Smudge out to shadows now, as darkness grows,

And rivers trace a glinting silver web,

Through moonlit fields where drowsy cattle doze.

 

While shards of your deception stab me still,

Our supernova joy explodes the pain.

And even though I sit at wisdom’s feet,

If you stood here, I’d rise, and fall again.

 

(C) Helen Lewis, 2004


In the shadows

 

Beside a tranquil sea where nothing lives

And craters cast their shadows on the dust

A Stay Puft boot print is a sculptor’s mould

That’s waiting for the alloy to be poured.

 

A woman sits beneath a banyan tree

Her features dappled by the shade it gives

Her palms are open, waiting to receive

The jewel of clarity, however flawed.

 

Below a rack of handforks, trugs and sieves

Enveloped in the cedar-scented gloom

A box of rockets, Catherine wheels and squibs

Is waiting for the weather to turn cold.

 

Inside the lightless cavern of these ribs

A lotus bud is waiting to unfold.

 

(C) Helen Lewis 2012


Forgotten

I’m sitting on a single bed

with pounding heart and aching head.

My memory’s stuck – it won’t rewind.

I haven’t lost my mind.

 

The décor’s apple-green and chrome.

Wherever I am, it isn’t home.

They say I’m free but I feel confined.

I haven’t lost my mind.

 

The pills they make me take are brown.

The nurses have to hold me down,

but first they close the roller blind.

I haven’t lost my mind.

 

The girl next door to me is nuts –

her arms a mess of razor cuts.

I don’t belong here, with her kind.

I haven’t lost my mind.

 

And all the other women here

are tainted with the smell of fear

and search for things they cannot find.

I haven’t lost my mind.

 

Respect’s a quality they lack.

They whisper things behind my back.

The words they say are so unkind.

I haven’t lost my mind.

 

The doctor says when he is through

I’ll see the world like others do –

I’m not sure I’m that way inclined.

I haven’t lost my mind.

 

The things he says are just not right –

that black’s not black and white’s not white,

and every cloud is silver-lined.

I haven’t lost my mind.

 

The doctor smiles but I do not.

He wants to know what I forgot.

He makes my tangled thoughts unwind.

I haven’t lost my mind.

 

The doctor says I’m almost there;

I’ll start to heal if I can bear

to drop the mask I hide behind.

I haven’t lost my mind.

 

Oh God, did I do something wrong?

I can’t forget for nine months long

my blood and hers were intertwined.

I haven’t lost my mind.

 

For eighteen hours on the trot

she cried and cried and wouldn’t stop.

A swirling redness made me blind.

Perhaps I’ve lost my mind.

 

For hers was such a little life

it only took a pocket knife

to cut away the ties that bind.

I think I’ve lost my mind.

 

(c) Helen Lewis 2006

 


A visit to the Sistine Chapel, 1511

You’ll find my master on the scaffold there:

Flat on his back, with paint streaks in his hair.

This labour’s how he earns his daily bread;

A marriage of convenience. He’s been wed

For three long winters to this shrewish wife,

Who’s had ten thousand hours of his life.

But every dusk, as night crowds out the day,

And steals all colour, leaving dregs of grey,

He keeps a moonlit tryst with mistress stone,

The only passion that he’s ever known,

Whose skin is smooth and white, whose touch is cold.

Inspired by ageless beauty, he grows old.

 

(C) Helen Lewis 2009


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