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Do You Remember Air Mail?

Do you remember airmail letters?

Fine parchment sheets in thin, blue envelopes

With red, white and blue borders?


They were always so special to receive

From someone dear far, far away,

Often oceans apart on another continent!


Telephone calls were wonderful,

A beloved voice through the hard receiver,

But hand-scripted words had a charm all their own.


To wri...

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Each morning as I left for work I secured the house,

Closing the windows against smoke and insects

And shutting the bedroom doors.

Our cat was scared of toms in the neighbourhood

So she stayed inside during the day

And I didn't want the bedspreads full of cat hairs.

But every evening I would find Miss Puss

Luxuriously laid out in one of the twins' rooms.

I convinced myself...

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Christmas Cake

I grew up, admonished:

'Never take the Lord's name in vain.'

And I giggled, 'or vane or vein.'

I totally knew what was meant

But I was a smarty pants.

And I postulated, to myself, mind you,

'If it makes you feel better, it wasn't in vain, was it?'

I couldn't do anything with 'vein' or 'vane'.

Still can't.


So, I used 'Christmas Cake'!

An excellent splutter of agg...

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Rules! What Rules?

If you have been shafted by the gods

What can you do?

Logic is useless, prevarication pointless, lying impossible.

Whatever is 'IS', and you deal with it.


I think there is more to 'LIFE' than the physical.

I accept 'SCIENCE: to observe, to test, to conclude, to know, to alter'.

Our senses are programmed according to 'rules'

As is our entire physical body.

Including our...

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Let Us Praise Rainbows

'I feel as though I'm being crushed

Between the weighty covers of a book,

Struggling to keep the pages turning.'


Now, that's a unusual thought.

Weird, but interesting.

Maybe 'The Story Of My Life'.

Which really doesn't bode well.

Hmmm. Let me consider this.


I think an important factor in Life

Is the quality of 'interesting'.

If something tweaks your mind to ...

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Bermuda Islands' Visitor

I have no idea

How I happened to be on the cliffs

Of a North Shore park that day.

Perhaps a bolt from the busy shop

On my trusty moped

With a thermos of tea and a sandwich,

Needing rocks and waves for sanity.

Nobody else was there.

Sun and sea were mine.

When I chucked my waste into the bin

I glanced up.

Islanders look at the sky a lot.

There's so much of it!


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From My Window There Is A Tree

From my window there is a tree

Tall and slender.

The slim trunk lifts high, narrow branches

That spread fine twigs into natural filigree.

From each twig hangs a long-stemmed leaf

Like a child's open hand

To catch the wind.


When a broad current of air

Plays through the boughs

All the leaves quiver and spin

In ecstatic solos

And the whole tree shivers

With g...

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He raised himself from her bosom

To see her face.

'You look seraphic.'

Softly spoken with golden wonder

But she heard him.


She lifted heavy lids

And found in his eyes tears

Like stars of a dark midnight.

She barely breathed so secret were her words,

'Gods and angels.'

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Seeing - Hearing - Smelling - Touching - Tasting -

Senses of the body

Can be channels to the Whole Being

The 'All-ness' of a person

Which is never just physical.


If, when having intercourse,

You bring all five into play

Skilfully, without love,

The partner knows.

You are not 'making love'.

You are having sex:

Copulating for progeny -

Relieving tension -


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We adapt our daily lives to habit,

The line of least resistance for minimum stress:

Personal survival.

Sometimes, with a goal and a plan

But often not.

Perhaps one we don't believe in anymore

Or we don't actually remember.

Big goals get fractured into little goals

Day in and day out – gazillions!

Always others to be considered besides ME!

Especially children

And s...

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Thought Shot

Yesterday morning

I was pouring the last drops of water

Into flower pots on my bedroom sill

When a thought struck me strongly.

An esoteric idea -

So I grabbed my notebook, speared a pencil

And sat on the edge of the bed to write:

'I think

There can be no argument …...'

My husband stuck his head around the door,

'Everything OK?'

I turned and smiled, 'Just fine, t...

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Conversation in Shades of Blue

Do you believe in God?


   Possibly, but not probably.




   Clever point.  Pensively, certainly.


Is it pertinent to LIFE, a belief in God?


   Such questions!

   Well, I think it depends on your sense of LIFE.

   Perhaps 'GOD' in any version of period, place or peoples

   Is just human IDEA,

   Simultaneously so simple and so complex 


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Portrait of the Moon

The evening was so hot I left the curtains apart

For the slightest whisper of air into the bedroom.


As I laid my head upon my pillow

I could clearly see the slender branches

Of two, huge trees on the street,

Creating from my bedside view

An almost perfect small circle

Sculpted by their different leaves.

It was lovely.

Through this port hole the grey-blue summer sky


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Where Do Birds Go When They Die?

In all my years of bird watching

From field and woodland walking,

From pavement pressing,

I have never seen the body of a bird.


Where do they go – to die?

Thousands of birds?


I understand decomposition, of course!

Rapid rotting of little bodies.

But feathers, and feet?

How do they simply 'disappear'?

Is it really just a matter of scale?

And human ina...

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An Irish Prayer (author unknown)

May God grant you always

A sunbeam to warm you,

 A moonbeam to charm you,

A sheltering angel

So nothing can harm you...

Laughter to cheer you,

Faithful friends near you,

And whenever you pray,

Heaven to hear you.

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I am appalled that Advertising thinks: 



In the early evening

Watching some casual programme,

The face of a young woman fills the screen.

And I think: 'A pantomime mask! 

But under the guck, still, a pretty girl.'

Her eyes are focussed on the camera

And therefore straight into mine.

And then -

She begins mouth movements

With her brightly ...

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Depressive Moment

When confronted with 'heavy waters'

'Stormy seas', 'slippery slopes', 'quicksand' …...


Sheesh! I'm not adding another metaphor!

But, however you eloquently qualify it,

Consider for a moment, a mere moment

Your precise breath - in – out – in – out – in – out 

And focus on some tiny part of your body

A thumbnail, a blue vein, a freckle – anything.

(Even a navel, if handy...

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The Written Word



Energy of thought is a palpable force

And must be expressed, shared.

Pointing and patting, grunting, jumping,


Have limitations in interpretation.

So Language evolves - a living 'thing',

Also much limited, but better.


We honour the Ancients, those storytellers and bards

For their individual voices.

Their passion , their knowledge.


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La petite mort

I see the fingers of wind

Caressive, seductive

Feeling through the quiet leaves

Stirring them to motion

Quivering helplessly,

Teasing them with freedom

And flight.



Aaaahhhhhh .....

'La petite mort' - 'The little death'.

One of the best captures

Of fulsome orgasm

That I have ever encountered.

'Vive La France!'



Cynthia Buell Thomas, Aug...

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Wood Pigeon

The big pigeon settled securely

On a sturdy bough, facing East

In a ray of early sunlight

Filtering through the foliage

Bright and warm.

The bird folded into itself, serenely still.

It sat so for several minutes, unmoving.

And then the local squirrel bolted across

From a neighbouring tree

Shuddering the bird's perch!

Leaping, whirling through the boughs

Like a mad...

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The Poetic Pit

The poetic pit opens like a yawning maw.

The lip is flaky and the fall steep

Unstoppable and endless.

It is a fate to be well-considered

Before dancing on the edge

Enchanted by the whiff

Of ancient Earth

And Mystery.


Words are powerful!

But they can be annihilated

By an arched brow - pursed lips -

A brazen sneer - a dismissive shrug!

Practised with purpose!


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To Smite!

'To smite down' is a terrifying idea.

'To destroy utterly' in ancient terms

Not just the Body with stone, iron and fire

But Desire -Intent - Ability – PRIDE

Of the person - the family - the tribe - the society.

The particular form of civilization!

The basic impulse of 'he who smites':

Deliberate dissolution

Of the mode of other people!


The resolution is captivity ...

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The saucy, little squirrel

In the huge tree outside my window

Attacks each step through the great boughs

As if pursued by devils, a blur of fur.

Its precision is breathtaking.


It streaks like a russet-grey arrow

Flying along a branch

Right side up or upside down.

It stands on its hind legs, flashing its pale belly,

Stretching high for that twig with a tasty seed.


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Peek-a-Boo Blue

'Oooooh – a curve of breast

In a blue blouse?'


'A sliding slit up the thigh

Of a tight, blue skirt?'


'A curly male chest

In a skimpy, blue vest?'



No! No! No! No! No!


'A glimpse of sky

Through the bending boughs

And trembling leaves

Of summer trees

After rain

Sluicing down -

Running rivers on the road

Pounding puddles on the dri...

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The Steepest Street In Town

Hill Street

When I was five years old and Daddy was away in war

My family - Mummy, my three sisters and me -

Lived in a small Ontario town on a short, steep incline

Angled straight down to a busy road below.

At the foot - a public school to the right -the high school to the left -

And the hospital grounds straight ahead

Down yet another sharp, weedy slope.

Cars and trucks a...

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Social Respect

'When you speak to people',' said Mum,

'You show them the courtesy of eye contact,

Clear diction and good sense.

You do not fuss with your clothes or your hair or your nails.

You do not shuffle your feet as if anxious to escape.

 Keep your fingers to yourself until a handshake upon departing -

If such is deemed appropriate.


Some folks call this behaviour 'courtesy', other...

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Old People

I have always admired old people

Even as a child.

Behind wrinkled skin and blue veins

Knobby knees and rheumy eyes,

Behind faltering steps and hesitant speech

I saw 'Fire'!

Not just dying embers

But hot light, crackling with energy.

I saw Attitude, fascinating and inspiring.


I said to myself: 'It takes GUTS to grow old!

And basic good health;

The right foods, ...

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'She's a Prostitute'

In my first years of teaching

I shared a flat with a girlfriend.

She, too, was from a family of sisters

So a single bedroom with a double bed

Was just like 'home'.

We lived together for three years

Very harmoniously,

Each with our own circle of friends

And our respective church commitments.

Anglican hers was, with an evangelical outreach.

She was very enthusiastic, an...

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Alternate Sexualities

When you exit the womb and enter air

The only 'given' beyond birth is that you will die,

Whether fate be fulfilled in minutes, or years.

In our current, human history

The 'given' already exercised was:

Your 'life' required both male and female.


From the moment of conception is rejection

Hard-wired into creation

And thus - the blind thrust of re-creation: SEX!

On suc...

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'Brownie' Monster!

When I was seven

Chocolate was a rare treat.

We had pudding and cocoa

Once in a blue moon – 0000h -

And it made that meal – an occasion!


I had no concept of chocolates in a box,

In my mouth anyway.

I saw the bright packages in shop windows

And pictures in magazines -

All ribbons and gold and pretty shapes

As ethereal as fairies.

And that was it!

Probably a...

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Television Moon

‘With how sad steps, O Moon …’

Oh, author of such a line

Do you watch me these hundreds of years hence

With kind eyes?

Where are the ages between the ancients and me?

Spirits are pacing the night.

And do they walk, too, on the moon

Like jesters

Ballooning across its scarred face

In seven league boots

Mumbling folksy information

Through inverted fishbowls?



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When I was a new, young wife

My husband attended university for four hyper years.

I was teaching in an inner-city school Monday to Friday

And earning a little extra money as a Church Soloist –

Weekends and holidays.

After three years of hard grind I became very sick.

And my doctor could not find the cause other than overwork

Which didn't quite tick all the boxes.

She was r...

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Less 'Me' and More 'US'


From half a page of definitions

'Responsibility' is the umbrella idea:

'That which is expected of you'.

In any functioning unit of society

'Duty' is what is 'expected' of the individual

With confidence and trust

To preserve and promote the interests of the whole

On whatever scale that might apply -

Local, national or global.


Such as 'the family' – common...

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I had just sung at a wedding.

'O Promise Me' - such a favourite!

I had done well and enjoyed fulsome praises.

A right little prima dona.

The reception was in the church hall

And I was kindly included.

I wore a pretty new dress bought in a store!

My choice – with baby-sitting money!

I was grown-up - seventeen -  full of myself.


The hall was buzzing with friendly peop...

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My grandson, now thirteen, and sports adept

Had to have ingrown nails removed

From his two big toes

And the toes treated against regrowth.

Wide awake surgery -

And he was understandably nervous.

'Will you come with me, Grandma?'

'Of course, Honey.'

I would move heaven and earth for the child!


The three ladies in attendance were pleasant

And quietly interested in ...

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Cutting the Grass

The groundsman in shorts and T-shirt

Lithe, tanned

Isolated behind his earphones

Pushes his noisy mower

Around the lawns of the complex

Sheering large areas under the trees

Shaving the walkways

Skirting the flower beds.


I watch from my window

And I smile.

The man is dancing!

Wheeling the machine like a partner

With precise footwork

In effortless turns a...

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Mind in a Cage

Gazing from my window

In the tenderness of Spring

I feel like a seed in soil

Gathering vitality from the dark Earth

Pulsing upward for Sunlight.

And I know I am blessed with re-growth

My whole self open to new vistas.


And then a 'vista' surges up – unwanted.

An intrusion on the lyric moment.

But my thought has triggered it

And I must consider it.

And then, I '...

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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 sai...

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