21 February 2024

#21 - Seven Fukujin: Fukurokuju


Just close your eyes. And face towards the sun –

appreciate the blessing on your skin.

A lucky life’s the right of everyone:

the blithesome boon of seven fukujin.


We’ll grant you lengthy days, and feasts to fill them;  

a castle to protect your laughing children;

a love to make the Earth beneath you shift:

all human bounties lie within our gift.


the chief of these is luck – or kismet, karma –

the serendipity of cosmic dances;

the happy fluke of how the dice may fall.


So here’s the deal: you cultivate your dharma,

and us, we’ll strive to consecrate your chances –

We’re seven Gods of Fortune after all.


20 February 2024

#20 - Baise-moi

Number three of George Carlin’s ‘Seven Dirty Words’...

The French have many ways of saying ‘kiss’

(though ‘French kiss’ simply isn’t one of those,

it tends to just appear in English prose)

and listing some might go a bit like this

there’s bisous bisous when friends reminisce,

embrasser gets you through the highs and lows,

plus biser for a peck on cheek or nose.

But one of them can be quite hit-and-miss:

while baiser as a noun is pretty sweet

(its practice is unlikely to disturb)

be careful not to use it as a verb

with any random stranger you may meet

for if, by chance, their jaw don’t hit the floor,

you’ll end up with more than you bargained for...


19 February 2024

#19 - Dodging the Obvious

Far from home, but inspired by our planetary twin so close at hand, Fay Roberts (with a little help from zir friends) addresses Venus, another of the Classical Planets:

Now heralded by conches, you emerge;
adrift no more, your light is always there.
And though you rise and fall, your fateful surge
impels your host to heights beyond compare.

Your blissful dissonance beguiles our rest;
your messages of hope inform our dreams;
though many only see you at your best,
still others fall to wanton, guileful schemes.

It seems you run more hot, support less life
than Gaia, standing in the line of fire,
and those who skip the research offer strife
in your name to us souls blown in the gyre.

Though maiden, mother, victor, bearded, bald,
in any guise you’re more demand than skald.

Against a black backdrop, a planet divided - on the left a serene-looking half in swirling shades of sandstone, dove grey and, at the top, baby blue. On the right a black half highlighted in jagged patches of vivid orange
Processed using infrared and ultraviolet (IR1, IR2, UV1 [283nm, 365nm]) filtered images of Venus taken by Akatsuki on August 24 and September 4 2016. JAXA/ISAS/DARTS/Kevin M. Gill via Wikimedia

18 February 2024

#18 – How to be dead

West Norwood Cemetery is one of the Magnificent Seven cemeteries. It is located in the London Borough of Lambeth and was originally consecrated in 1837. One of its more famous residents is Mrs Isabella Beeton, whose book ‘Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management’ was a seminal instructional text for middle class housewives in the mid-nineteenth century.

How to be dead 

It takes some getting used to. There’s a knack
to coping with the stillness in your chest. 
The strangeness of the quiet and the lack 
of breath and mood and motion, when at rest. 

It’s not a state to seek before your time -
Lord only knows, we need your kind on earth -
but sure as taxes tax, and poets rhyme, 
your end will come, as certain as your birth. 

But nothingness is tough to contemplate;  
the mixture of relief and doubt and dread. 
Take comfort in your universal fate:
coz hierarchies don’t concern the dead.

It takes some getting used to. There’s a knack
to coping with the quiet and the lack.


Photo credit: Wikipedia

17 February 2024

#17 - Seven Fukujin: Jurōjin


Assuring you a long and healthy life?

I rather think that’s my domain, old bean!

One constant thought to pierce you like a knife:

your years are finite; death comes unforeseen.


But I’ll be here, exchanging blows with brevity –

a duellist fencing fickle father time.

A prayer to me will guarantee longevity,

and Socrates’ old wisdom is no crime.


Sit back, relax, and have yourself a peach –

Enjoy the peaceful garden, filled with light.

A mortal’s grasp should e’er exceed his reach,

and reaching, grasp exceptionally tight.


And when the time-bell calls – your days are done –

just close your eyes and face towards the sun.


16 February 2024

#16 - La Mer(de)

Number one of George Carlin’s ‘Seven Dirty Words’

A re-imagining of the track from ‘Horses’ by Patti Smith. With apologies...

This sea, this sky, are stitched up with the land

as horses’ hooves shape iamb and trochee

some simple syncopated poetry.

A boy steps forward, lifts his arms, the sand

cascades like blood-red water through his hands.

A girl leans on the parking meter, she

will dance in tongues, converse elliptically:

unlearn, untwist, uncover; understand.

Behind the mirror, Johnny conjures dreams

where butterflies are flapping in his throat,

where silver horses range the in-between.

The mirror cracks, with silence and with screams

that coalesce as one transcendent note

and Johnny falls deep into the machine...


15 February 2024

#15 - Eclipse Us

Lackadaisically lunar, Fay Roberts dashes in under the closing door of the day with a take on the Moon, as part of zir examination of the seven Classical Planets.

We’ve longed for you as long as we have gazed
above our darkened state to raise the stakes,
and every nation large or small has praised
that glass in which we magnify mistakes.

You fill our nights with wonder and we miss
your silver bars when you have ducked from view.
While lovers tumble, grapple, howl, and kiss,
your visage blushes red, and royal blue.

As tides cannot be conquered, and the light
that hides in stubborn syzygy can’t die,
so you, our nearest neighbour in the fight
against our murky nature must not fly.

Strange forces change the nature of our tryst,
but, as we drift, please know your view is missed.

– FR

A continuous, looping GIF of the Moon's Libration (i.e. phasing in and out of darkness). At the top is a scrolling set of dates from October 12, 2007 through the 28 days of the phases.
Lunar Libration with Phase October 2007 by Tomruen via Wikimedia