Poetry Blog by Cynthia Buell Thomas

Math Test

I so remember - twelve years old -

Running home with my Math paper

99% in bold red across the top.

Racing full tilt to show my mother

How well I had done.

Teacher had been full of smiles.


I burst through the door.

'Mummy! Mummy! Look what I did!

Ninety-nine percent!'

She was at the sink peeling potatoes.

She turned, wiping her hands in her apron.

'Well! And w...

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I Hope There Is A Heaven For That Pretty Pink Dress

(A narrative poem, and long, very long.)


When I was thirteen, I lived in a small village

With my parents and three younger sisters

On the outskirts of a university city in Canada -

Queen's, in Kingston, at the junction of Lake Ontario

And the gorgeous, island-strewn St. Lawrence River.

In our sheltered bay the shoreline was beautiful

And the woods, the fields, the sky an...

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One year, in Bermuda, I was supply teaching

An Infants' Class, four and five-year-olds

Bright, eager, trusting children.

Christmas was just two weeks away.

We were having an 'Art Activity'

Tearing, cutting, biting paper to bits

To make a personal collage of 'Christmas'

On the general idea:

'How does Christmas make you FEEL - in COLOUR!'

It was a bold undertaking, and t...

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Bossy Boots!

'Never step on a cow pat because it looks hard.

It might be just crusty with poo-soup inside.'

I warned my younger sister

As we crossed Grandpa's pasture.


She scowled, and ran ahead

Looking back with disdain.

'You think you know everything!



'I TOLD you!

I'm NOT laughing!'

And I really wasn't.

She expected me to clean her up.


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When my grandson was four

And often in my care,

One fine spring afternoon

We went to the nearby park

For play on the swings, the bars, the whirligig -

To enjoy the warm sunshine

And our own company.


He was gungho about his tricycle

And pedalled along the pavement

At risk to life and limb

Coming to an abrupt halt at the corners,

Respectful of 'rules'

Of Nan...

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Playing On The River Promenade

'Never climb on the steel railing', Mummy said

Every time we went to the park.

'You might slip through.

The cement slope is steep.

The river is deep and it runs fast.'

I understood, and I obeyed.

Seven years old is savvy.


One morning Mummy was busy with babies

So my younger sister and I went to the park alone

Following the familiar streets down to the river.


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Chemo Session 4

One day I shared a 'chemo session'

With a gentleman and a nurse's station.

We two patients were privileged to have beds

Facing each other across the small room.

The chap had his wife by his side as I had my husband

Both carers calm and solicitous, totally supportive.


His wife set up a small station by her chair

Holding a tray of assorted 'goodies' and drinks

Either s...

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Last Chemo Session

'Last chemo session! Ring the bell three times!'

Said the sign on the wall beside the big, metal hub.


I had hesitated, but a smiling attendant

A gentleman, a very gentle man from front desk

Hopped it to the kitchen

And returned with two, huge, metal spoons.

He pressed them into my hand. 'Go for it!'

And I struck the silver gong three times:


The c...

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Red-winged Blackbird

The spring afternoon was lazy and warm

Full of late sunshine golden and beckoning.

Impulsively I slapped on my trainers

And took off with delight

For a stroll up the quiet road

Past the retirement home and the bulky farm

Where cows and horses grazed in succulent fields

Abutting marshlands further inland.


On my way back refreshed and relaxed

Striding comfortably


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Attack From The Rear

From my mid-teens

If something insulted my sensibilities

Anything – in any context – any medium -

My immediate reaction

With an indignant puff was:


Which ejaculation -

Always so satisfying flying past my teeth

My tongue relishing alliteration -

Allowed my brain to catch up with my mouth

Levelling the field

For better appreciation

Of a vi...

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The spoken word

According to precise plan

Is not to be trusted.

Oration is a power play

A skilled practice

Designed first to provoke

And then to persuade.

It can short circuit sense



Apart from language chosen

And developed

To make best point,

The power of performance

Delivers to a prescribed end.

Polished oration

Plays our senses


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The Joke

One lovely day last summer

I was stroking along my street

Well content with the sun's deep warmth

The soaring height of our shading trees

And the thick growth of hedges

Flush to the walls beside the pavement

Often spilling into my footsteps.


As I eased pace to enter my complex

Suddenly, out of the dense bushes

Leapt a growling ANIMAL -

Arms extended with curved c...

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Mild February In Manchester, 2019

'What a beautiful morning!'

From my open window upon the Sunday street

Growth is stirring everywhere -

Daffodils and crocuses in the tree roots;

Tight little buds on tender twigs;

Grass curling up for first cutting.

Hmmmmm …...

And my mind flies out into spring sunshine

Like a soaring bird.

The tree is inherent in the thumping chestnut.

The scarlet maple in the saili...

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My Mother Says

He stomped into the small lounge


And dropped his school kit on the floor

Beside the tutoring table

With a thump.

He eyed the paper doily with its apple juice

And the silver muffin cup

Glinting with bright SKITTLES.


Without a word he sat down

Took a sip of juice and licked his lips.

He toyed with choosing the best colour

For first burst of pre-le...

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Lonely Lady on a Tram Every Morning

Give me a simple smile

Upon our meeting,

That ageless, kind propriety

Of greeting.


It takes such little steps

To be a friend

If you care about the signals

That you send.


I'm not asking for a taste

Of toast and tea,

Just a meeting of the eyes -

You see me.


I will not push myself

Into your sphere.

I shall treasure the connection

We have her...

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Ass Hill

There is a hill in Bermuda

Very high and steep

With a narrow road from top to bottom

That twists like a preying python.

'Ass Hill' they called it.

And I fully agreed:

You would be a total ass

To negotiate it if you didn't have to

At a mere creep

Praying for reliable brakes

And no traffic from the opposite direction.


I called it Ass Hill for years

Without c...

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