Tuesday, 3 November 2009


“Devotees of grammatical studies have not been distinguished for any very remarkable felicities of expression.” – Amos Bronson Alcott

Back at work today, and after the break, there was ever so much to catch up on. The emails alone took a few hours to take care of, while several meetings despatched most of the rest of the time. Add to that some correspondence, phone calls and some issues from last week, where did the day go? I came back, still tired from yesterday’s exertions, to which more were added today. Hence the blog will be brief and my poem mined from the archives of my old notebooks.

This poem was written many years ago, after I had read some literary article or other about grammar and how its rules were often broken, especially so by the poet. The challenge faced by the poet was to create a mood, evoke emotion, plant ideas in people’s heads, confront and perplex, annoy and needle. Language is there to be used in any which way that will achieve those aims. I wrote the poem in the wake of reading that article and mindful of the grammarian’s injunction that “every sentence must have a verb to be complete”. I set out to write a poem without verbs. Here it is!


Asbestos, inferno, flame, smoke,
Deep lake, marsh, pool, puddle.
Sun, star, moon, dawn’s blush;
Steel, iron, cold hard metal,
Sweet sandalwood and violets.
Desire, passion, sweat, twin pleasures,
Death, decay, oblivion.

Incinerator, burning, conflagration;
Sea, torrent, stream, rill.
Comets, planets, foolish astrologers;
Beryllium, boron and carbon.
Dank smell of earth and rain.
Antipathy, hate, enmity,
War, destruction, annihilation.

Ebony, coals, embers, ashes,
Well, spring, cooling draughts.
Plasma, hydrogen, helium, lithium,
Copper, silver, gold, bright gems,
Opulent frankincense and rose attar.
Love, affection, caring, devotion,
Life, tender memory.

Jacqui BB hosts Poetry Wednesday


  1. Obviously no one should ever tell a poet what must be.

    It does create an image, or series of images, in ones mind and without a verb.

  2. Wonderful! Every line is a different vision and emotion. A poetic adventure!