Ponderings from a Procrastinating Prognosticator

Archive for the ‘Writing – Poems’ Category

What If?

Posted by samatwitch on September 18, 2020

As a writer, I’m always asking what if? It’s the basis for most fiction writers that I know, whether they’re writing romance, suspense, murder, spy, science fiction, fantasy or any other genre. During this time of pandemic, I’ve been pondering a lot of things. I decided to do a 100 day writing challenge, writing a poem a day for 100 days. The poems quickly became ponderings. I wrote them on index cards, usually both sides, and occasionally using more than one card. On Day 45 (May 22nd), I became whimsical rather than philosophical and this was what I wrote.

What if Mary’s little lamb had been black as coal? Would it still have followed her everywhere she went?

What if Miss Muffet (why so formal?) had made friends with the spider instead of running away?

What if Jill had walked down the hill and kept the pail of water for which they had laboured? Did Jack undergo the correct protocol for concussion?

What if Jack Sprat decided to eat some fat. Would he and his wife (whose name was Joan Cole, it turns out) fight over the bacon? (I didn’t realise that what we learn is only the first verse of a very long poem. https://youtu.be/7Cv2OtlrH3o )

What about nimble Jack, jumping over a candlestick? Why? Was it a dare from friends? Maybe one of the challenges we see young people doing today and posting online.

And then there was Little Jack Horner who was greedy, messy and a braggart. He stuck his thumb into his Christmas pudding and then bragged that he was a good boy.

Also, what’s with all the Jacks anyway? Were there no other names available?

What’s with the cow jumping over the Moon? What would make her think of doing such a thing? And why did the spoon run away with the plate? Wouldn’t a bowl have been more compatible?

Then there’s Mary who was quite contrary and yet managed to grow a beautiful garden in spite of it. (My mother used to call me Mary, Mary, quite contrary when I was young and she was frustrated. 🙂 )

I may have more of these at a future date.

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Posted by samatwitch on March 18, 2013

Hurt permeates our lives

Physically through injuries or chronic conditions,

Verbally with words of shame, bigotry or taunting,

And emotionally through death or loss.

I can’t understand why people delight in hurting others.

I know they must be in pain themselves

But does it really make them feel better to belittle another,

To rake their souls as easily as they would rake their skin?


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Posted by samatwitch on March 21, 2012


Today is World Poetry Day and a woman whose blog I follow suggested visitors to her site add a couple of lines in the comments to make a peace poem.  As usual, I couldn’t keep it to two lines.  😉 I’ve also added a few more.


Thoughts of peace are often hidden in our tempestuous world

But seeds have been planted.

Tended by gardeners of all races,

Like hope, peace sprouts unexpectedly

In countries throughout the world

Even where it is dangerous to have such thoughts.

But they flourish anyway.


Delicate buds with hardy roots

Struggling to reach the bright light of promise,

Fertilised by dreams of a future free of war and suffering,

And supported by hundreds, thousands, millions

With similar thoughts, hopes and dreams.

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Posted by samatwitch on January 12, 2012

Samantha had a special place in my heart, not just because we were together for 22 years, but because she was very special – and I brought her halfway across the country.  She liked to travel with me – by train or plane or car – as long as she could be with me, she put up with the rigors of travel.


That cosy ball of fur curled up beside me
Twitches slightly in a dream
What kind of dreams do cats have, I wonder?
Chasing mice? Pouncing on toys? Eating catnip?
Or is she dreaming impossible dreams?
Wondering what it would be like
To soar like a bird, scamper like a mouse,
Or dart here and there like a dragonfly?
Could it be she’s dreaming of the kittens
She’s never had nor never will?
Or what life would be like with someone else?
Who can tell what dreams a cat has?
Who will ever know?
But when I move, she opens one eye
And purrs when I pet her,
Seemingly content with the life she lives.


Soft tread of furry paws
Lightly touching the floor,
A faint ring from the bell around her neck,
Then a questioning ‘mrreoow’
As she looks for me,
Even before going to her food dishes.

Always she wants to be near me,
Following me around the house,
More like a dog than a cat,
Then indignant if I trip over her.

Her long silky tabby-striped hair
Needs to be brushed every day,
And she purrs as I hold her on my lap;
Unlike nail-clipping time,
Which started out as a war
For the first few years,
When I had to be covered from head to toe,
Including thick suede gloves.
But as she grew older, she mellowed,
Until it is quick and painless for both of us.

Round green eyes look into mine
And she winks at me.

This is Samantha, whom I taught to sit
In both of Canada’s official languages.
Samantha, who always reacted
To the fridge door being opened,
Right up to the end.
Samantha, who comforted me whenever I cried,
Even if it was because she was sick.
Samantha, who at 21, struggled
To return to health after a stroke and succeeded.
Samantha, who at 22, looked at me
With those round green eyes
And asked me to let her go
And I did.

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Posted by samatwitch on December 22, 2011

I wrote these poems one night a few weeks after my mother died in July 1987, when I couldn’t sleep.  I started out in generalised terms and by the third poem had gotten down to the heart of what I was feeling.


This can’t be all there is.
These years we call our life on Earth.
The microspeck of time.
In the vast eternity we know as forever,
The tiny dot that we call Earth
Is just one of billions in infinity.
Are we forever chained to this sphere?

I think not.

There are other worlds and times to explore,
Constantly changing, as are we;
Our knowledge of the Universe and ourselves,
Growing every day.

Can we ignore our inner yearnings for more?

To know we are not alone,
Set down haphazardly
As the only intelligent life
In a vast expanse of stars and suns.
Our inner senses tell us differently.
But until we learn to live
In peace and love on this planet,
We cannot expect to know others.


Time flies by on winged feet
Or crawls at a snail’s pace.
It stands still when you most want it to hurry,
And stretches a moment like elastic.

Time can be friend or foe,
Not lingering to let us savour the moment,
But speeding by
To try to trap us in the here and now.

So let us enjoy each moment,
Tasting fully of its fruit,
And planting seeds which will
Sprout in our past and futures
As full-blown reality.


Seven weeks.
An infinity or a brief moment.
Joy and love,
Pleasure and pain,
Hope and fear,
Laughter and tears.

A lifetime compressed into seven weeks.
Strength I didn’t know I had
To continue living
As my last link to childhood
Crumbled around me.

No longer would my mother tell stories of our growing up –
Or hers.
No longer would she disapprove of my decisions,
But love me anyway.
No longer would her smiling face and open arms
Greet me at the door of their home,
Always glad to see me.

Time has stolen my mother, even though her spirit lives on.

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Posted by samatwitch on December 19, 2011


Silent as wraiths
Memories slip in and out of my mind,
Grey mists parting briefly to allow
A glimpse of some long-forgotten world:
A birthday party when I was five,
with balloons and cake and ice-cream and hats;
My first kiss, that innocent touching of lips,
Not knowing what to expect;
The first time death entered my life –
A family friend, barely out of her teens.
Happy memories and sad,
Every waking moment of my life,
Every sleeping moment, too,
Recorded in my mind for all time.

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Posted by samatwitch on December 13, 2011


I used to dream of giants and witches
Peering in the windows of my life.
but that’s absurd.
There are no such things,
Are there?
If we appear as mighty giants
To small creatures of our world,
Could there not be creatures of another world
Who would appear the same to us?

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Posted by samatwitch on December 11, 2011

This was another of our group writing challenges.  I don’t remember what words we had to use except for black hole.


In 1492, Columbus may have sailed the ocean blue,
But in 2540, Devreker thought he might be late
For his game of gerfen on his date.
Martissa was getting over the flu
And was quite restless with lots to do
That she’d put off while she was sick
But a game of gerfen was her pick.
How could Devreker say no to that
When Martissa’s wishes made her cat
Purr like her mistress – loud and tuneful –
And made the heavens bright and moonfull.

The object of this game, you see,
Was to hit a planet around the course
By computer only, not by horse.
Nine planets there were, since Pluto came back,
And getting them anywhere took a great whack
Of courage and momentum, which led to the winner,
But it was worth it for the prize dinner
Of gargantuan portions – winner’s choice –
And enough libation to make you rejoice.

Only once had Devreker scored big at this game
But it was enough to present his name
As the only android to score a with a splat
A hole in one – a black hole at that!

X marks the spot where the game begins
And nobody stops playing until somebody wins
By getting a planet in each of nine holes
Using a stick and very long poles.
One can play on one’s own
Or with others on their phones
By computer or mind to mind
Whatever is easiest to find
Is how the game can be played
As long as the scores can be made.
Days it can take for all players to go
Taking turns with each planet and so
When a game ends it ends with a bang
With whistles and cheers and all the bells rang.

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Posted by samatwitch on December 3, 2011


Softly my thoughts drift around me,
Riding the thermals of my mind.
First one soars into view,
My mind’s eye following it out of sight
Until distracted by a new thought.
Sometimes several cluster nearby,
Seeming to struggle for attention.
My mind jumps from one to another,
Never staying long enough to catch a firm hold,
Reaching out for one and finding nothing but air.
Finally I find one within my grasp.
I hold on tight,
Slowly examining it from every angle
Until I know it inside out.
Then I let it go,
To drift away until another day.

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Posted by samatwitch on December 1, 2011


Dragonfly darting in the summer dusk,
Flashes of brilliant blue.
A miniature helicopter
Gone wild and out of control.
Zooming and diving over the heads of my cats,
Swooping towards them to tease,
Then soaring high out of reach and sight,
Luminescent wings beating madly.

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