My dog’s ears

Photo credit: © Michelle Turnbull 2015

My dog’s ears are like a baby’s
blanket. A blanket I want to wrap
wrap my body in, as if I am wrapped
in a mother-child cuddle, or to let fall
around my shoulders like a cape
when I step out the front door.


My Lulu, a dachshund x Jack Russell terrier. (Image copyright: Michelle Turnbull)

I bring home one   my number one
a soft-as-velvet fur-son
then I get number two   maharani you
even so       mummy must love Lulu

Number one licks multiple kisses on my nose
and basks in our adjoined shadows
you   though   only come to me when it suits you
even so      mummy must love Lulu

Number one’s meal you try to steal
after you’ve wolfed down yours with great zeal
a terrier you are through and through
even so   mummy must love Lulu

Number one cries if I’m not in sight
but you like to sit bum facing me in the rays outside
this is such a very you thing to do
even so    mummy must love Lulu

Number one doesn’t have the genes
to do what you do by any means
runaway   once    twice    disappear in plain view
what face will I show daddy if I can’t find you

Number one chases my to-and-fro stride
while my vocal cords shred
my munchkin   where have you got to

You are splashing in the creek
mummy’s hopes of tracing your prints are bleak
you are punishing me   too good to be number two
come back    mummy promises to forgive you

At a wit’s end   my heart finally slots back in place
at the sight of your pretty fox-like face
my baby   my Lulu
I  do love you

A left-brainer does poetry

Right brain

I know nothing about poetry. I never read, studied or had any interest in it. I blame my glutinous left hemisphere. And my lack of patience. To read – and appreciate – poems you need to be the type of person who stops and smells the roses.

Yet, here I am taking a short course in poetry.

Why? I don’t know why. But I’ll take a stab. A microscopic crack let a sliver of light seep through in 2017. That sliver was Rupi Kaur. A poet who became famous through instagram. I appreciate Rupi’s succinct delivery of truisms. Plus, her style was easy for my logical mind to digest. And thus a seed was sowed.

Writing poetry, though, is another matter. It started last year, with just four poems. And I have written a handful since. They’re not great. I know this. They might not even be considered poetry.

These poems spilled out organically. I later realised why. Writing in stanza offered me something that writing in prose didn’t: An easier way to express emotions. I found that charged stuff got bogged down in the many words of prose. And I wouldn’t be able to come out with what I wanted to say.

In the first week of the course, I was introduced to a definition of poetry:

Poetry is expressing the inexpressible.

The crack widens each week. Good poetry is, to put it in my teacher’s words, “distilled language”. It also needs to be “evocative, associative and allusive”. And that for a reader of poetry “the beauty of not knowing the meaning makes it alive”.

Verbs are paramount for creating distilled language. To paint this picture, we were given 12 verbs to turn into a poem as a writing prompt:

  • dancing
  • pressed
  • collapse
  • disappeared
  • order
  • worry
  • sliding
  • humming
  • playing
  • raking
  • suturing
  • cauterising

Here’s what I came up with:

Dancing in the sky
I pressed myself against clouds
they did not collapse
but I disappeared
in which order
I do not worry
sliding / humming / playing
I find myself
raking clouds
suturing not cauterising
puffs into a blanket
buffering my being
from all that is dust

I giggled while writing this. I could picture myself having a good ol’ time in the clouds, but at the same time, it does hold a philosophical meaning for me.

My right brain is chasing the tail of my left. It might just catch up yet.