Tuesday 28 November 2023

Kitty trouble


What is it about birds 

trapped in your kitchen

(by the agency of, in this case, your cat,)

that when you kindly oblige

 by locking up the predator

 and open the kitchen window

instead of freedom, 

the thrush opts for vigorous  thrash

against the wall, 

against the ceiling, 

against the tileback

shedding in the process 

a shower of wing feathers,

dusty grey-brown, pale fringed,

so light they're barely discernible 

to the touch.


You know what you need to do 

but there’s a reluctance

to grasp this pale buff underside

these frail pink legs 

and you’re perhaps a little wary

of this small, sharp uptilted beak

So you grab a tea towel instead

swaddle the bird in its folds

and marvel at the stillness-

the lack of struggle

only a tiny heart throb 

in the palm of your hand.


Once outside,and unwrapped,

 you expect flurry 

but instead it sits dazed

startled perhaps 

by the prospect of flight

and so you leave it there 

and wish it God speed

and keep the cat in 

for the foreseeable future

just in case…

Copyright 2023 Cathy Leonard

Tuesday 21 November 2023

What's in a name?


What’s in a name?

 for Pepe

Doing my usual round of the park I come across it

the brass plaque with your name etched in it

and I’m thinking about all the people who will wonder

who you were,  and what you did to deserve

this immortalisation on a city park bench

where you will be privy to

the silence of lovers

the reminiscence of elders

the tongue click and chin wag of the motley

the whispers of the lonely

the cycle of seasons from leaf burst

to fruit to husk to ground

The writer will invent a new persona for you

a sea captain perhaps sporting a neckerchief

(you did wear one of those)

with the addition of a wooden leg and a sailor’s pipe

roaring, “Fair winds and following seas” to passers by

and as the years scan by few will remember

that you were a retired black labrador guide dog

who, once relieved of his altruism,

ran riot in the park

Copyright 2023 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved


Friday 17 November 2023

The Search for Samarra


After reading Billy Collin's Reaper

I look up the meaning of Samarra

which takes me on a long Google search

through centuries and cultures and possibilities-

for it's a place, a mountain, a girl's name,

a garment worn by victims of the Inquisition, 

(I stall on that one)

the name of a novel based on a play by Somerset Maugham

(and here I hit the mark)

and finally arrive to where I knew I would end up-

(given Billy's allusions)

to an appointment with Death...

But while his response is to admire, while he can,

the red barns and green sloping fields

on his way to lunch at Racoon Lodge

my imagination takes a darker turn

or more specifically to the choice

(if I even have one)

between burial or cremation

perhaps favouring 

the slow process of decomposition

to the sudden shock of incineration

(in the hope that I won't notice it so much)

and that's when I recall 

Bob Hope's death bed directive to his wife

(according to Billy)*

when facing the same dilemma

asking her to "Surprise me"..

Copyright 2023 Cathy Leonard All rights reserved

* See Cremation by Billy Collins in Whale Day published by Random House

See Link below to a blog for comments on Billy Collins and the poem Reaper


Tuesday 7 November 2023

Falling Leaves Time


I definitely hibernate in winter so if I post more recipes, book reviews and knitting patterns than poems it is because I am not out and about as much...


Falling Leaves Time



All myths and legends have their Tartarus

their underworld journey

through darkness to rebirth

and regeneration;

Native American Indians call it

Falling Leaves Time.


In Newgrange we squatted in darkness

and waited for a shaft of light

that would herald the promise

of a new dawn.

So for now I will hold my feet

in my mouth and wait

for the coming of Solstice

Copyright 2023 Cathy Leonard