Today, I’d like to challenge you to write an abecedarian poem – a poem in which the word choice follows the words/order of the alphabet.
Allelopathy: growth inhibition as the consequence of the influence of one organism on another; seldom found word, but it’s there in that one in seven dictionaries.
Banana skins to tickle the toes of a rose.
Cabbages make easy friends with thyme, rosemary, dill, onions and celery.
Dill was well known by the Egyptians. It attracts the bees.
Earwig with his two fierce pincers; he’ll make a mess of those plants.
Frogs are a must for your garden; they eat so many pests.
Gladioli will never make friends with your strawberries.
Hyssop leaves provide a ‘tea’ for bacterial disease.
Kohlrabi, a good companion for your beetroot.
Lacewings, ladybirds, lavender, leek, legumes, lemon balm and lettuce, lizards and lily-of-the-valley.
Marigold they say is everything for companion planting.
Nettles and newspapers are useful in your garden.
Oregano is no friend for the beetle: companion planting.
Potato and pumpkin have a clear and mutual animosity; no companion planting here then.
Quassia chip spray will do no harm where there are ladybirds.
Rue, ‘this herb of grace;’ pretty little lover of the sun.
Spiders: two thousand different species in our islands alone; a few, or many in our garden.
Turnips; if all else fails grow them, says the farmer.
Virus disease; milk powder made up as a spray could be a solution.
Wallflowers, wasps, water and woodchips; all in a good gardeners alphabet.
Yarrow works her magic through the element of copper.
Zucchini, Zucchini; aphids never let in with nasturtiums in your companion planting which costs nothing and does no harm.
Benita Kape © 19.4.2019
Nature is the boss says Brenda Little in her book Companion Planting and to whom I give credit for the information here.
Prompt: Day 3. A poem that takes time.
A Good Home for our Trusty Pack-Horse
The one thing we had at that time was a little
extra money. And I just happened to be
passing the local car-sale yard when this car
just happened to catch my attention: a big green
Mazda 626. If we pooled our resources; your
compensation monies; and my savings, we could
just about manage this; though first I would
deal. Why not? The dealer knew I was looking
for a good sized boot in which to transport
your wheelchair and/or your walker: the things
you needed when you went between home
and respite care. Yes, it would suit us well
and he was a fair dealer letting me take it home
for you to view. To view was to make you smile.
We completed on the deal. How many times
I took you to appointments, a ride in the country,
visiting friends. Then when you were admitted
(and that was after several years) to special care,
sometimes I drove “The Green” up the road
and across the river to visit you as often as
three times a day. “The Green” was a big empty
car after you were gone, but I was not about to
swap her. I continued to call her “The Green”
even though there was your big green Lazy-boy chair
as well. Then water somehow got into “The Green” (car)
after days of rain. She ceased to go. I sent her to the garage
and waited, and waited for the necessary work
to be done. It took two months, and a bad job at that.
Now she only fired if the temperature was about
eighteen degrees or warmer. I found a way to
warm her up. I pulled out a long cord and plugged
a smaller heater into the nearest plug, set the heater
in “The Green” and then, when warm she fired. I put
up with that for some years until, without disposing
of “The Green” I negotiated for “The Grey”, smaller
and automatic where “The Green” was a manual drive.
At last, I said to my lawn-mowing man, “You want
to buy this Mazda for $500?” Previously, he’d only seen
a dust-covered car set aside; but this day I’d just washed
her down. She always had a good green coat to catch the eye.
At first he said no, but as he was about to leave that day
he said, “You don’t mind if I give her a try do you?”
And up the road he drove. By this time I knew the
answer to “The Green’s” troubles was the replacement
of costly condenser and I knew it would be someone
else who had to source it, get things moving and so on.
We worked our way through that and I also pointed out
the touches of rust; but he was keen to take her. I let
her go with a heavy heart; he was happy and if he
got it sorted, which he did, he’d gift it to his sister.
Seemed like a good result to me until, as the story
goes, a barney they had had so that she refused him.
But all long stories come to a good end. He found
for her a good home; some lucky teenager now
goes to college in “The Green”. And though I’ve got
“The Grey”. I still hanker for my lovely green Mazda.
Benita Kape © 3.4.2019
Prompt: To write a Self Portrait
Wind In My Tail, Self Portrait
I wear the colours black and white
with nothing in between. My black
leather lips reaching high, hoping
for my mistress’s kiss.
I have never borne a kitten. I see little
company other than my own; and hers.
Food set out, the run of the cottage;
I long ceased to bring a near dead
mouse to her door.
She has set the boundaries. But I must
break out for play, and flip the mat
or creep beneath; and now I rush
from room to room.
She only laughs and says “You got
wind in your tail?” The evening agenda
Can she not jump from chair to chair?
slide across a slippery floor and flip
to fully reveal the whitest of white bellies.
Though I may sit on her warm knee,
and yes, close to her clothed belly;
I know it no match for mine.
One day will she not change places with me
while I write a poem about her?
Benita Kape © 1.4.2019 for 31.3.2019 NaPoWriMo 2019
roller rink at the beach …
rock & roll, hand in hand,
wave after wave they get the balance.
the high shot
looking down on them,
and that high sweep
don’t turn to look
artfully netted rocks, beachside:
(a city setting itself against future storms.)
later, upon opening up the photograph,
choose “Paint;” and having chosen text,
font, size and colour, in a blue wave
write on that big sweep of the rink
or swim for your life
Benita H. Kape © 26.3.2019
The Taste & Touch of Grace
Just as it truly is, a small and wondrous worshipping place;
Remove all artificial growth. Leave no trace –
So that I may fill in all past and precious detail;
The sound, the smell; the taste and touch of grace.
The door was never locked, no key to turn.
A child, I’d enter there, an eager, tender heart affirm.
On a stool, I’d sit quaint organ keys to test.
This after-school sunset hour, a joyful hour for my return.
I’d kneel at the altar and make a little prayer.
No one ever entered and found me there.
Oft’, rather than enter I’d sit on the nearby bridge.
Neighbours listening: at dusk, I sang in the evening air.
I just happened to be living close, that church not mine.
Seldom used now, though not through the years left in decline.
This painting on my wall holds sweet sights I recall,
A row of trees extremely tall; the musky smell of pine.
I dream of that little church I see so seldom now.
Again fresh painted, when down that lane my slumbers slow.
The old red cottage demolished, an ugly grain barn built.
But church and those dear memories through my dreams and senses flow.
Benita H. Kape © 16.2.2019
On the Loss of a Poet who said:
“the tree is my sister”
Mary is the name on all our lips today;
those who love nature,
those who love poetry,
geese and ponds, snow –
things that are gentle
like all things in nature.
She gave us a thousand mornings
in but one poem
in many; spring mornings
or snow. She knows the sea
will go on doing its work.
And she is with Molly now.
Benita H. Kape © 19.1.2019
Green Springs the New Year
(First poem for the New Year 2019)
It grows, it grows I want to sing;
this Hoya cutting at my door;
well, all three cuttings; one struggling
more so than the other two, which have
sprung so gorgeously, greenly into life
as we slip into the New Year.
It seemed right there should be one
loitering, one which held onto the force
of the year just gone with its unique
ups and downs.
Hoya are long-lived plant life. These
Hoya have the company of a kitsch cat;
the bewildered look on her metal face
was not to be resisted and in the presence
of my sister, who loathes cats, I purchased her.
She is the first thing that greets me at my
back door this, and every morning. The Hoyas
will be moved on to more suitable Hoya
growing cavities within the house. They
could take over the house because who
in their right mind would want to cut
them back. And so the cat goes on
looking bewildered at the strange things
I do year in, year out. Her head on a spring,
I make sure she nods her approval. At a push
she could maybe wave her head in disapproval,
a much harder thing for this cat to do.
And walking into my New Year,
greeting cat, who gives me such hope.
(This cat does have a name. It is Noeline;
and yes you’ve guessed it, for my sister).
By the time next Christmas and New Year
arrive, how much will have changed,
or should that be – how much the world
will have again changed? Much more so
than three struggling Hoya cuttings springing
greenly and gorgeously into life. And life
will have ways other in which we will remember
both the sad and the beautiful.
Benita H. Kape © 2.1.2019
November and the Cherry Tree
(protesting colonisation of every kind)
We have had temperatures in the twenties
and rising, normal for this time of year
and our place on the globe. But last night
a spring storm swept in with all
the force it could muster. I watched
through my high lounge window,
the beauty of the tree in full bloom,
blousy, pink; and I loved her November
promise of the warmer months ahead.
But we get them at this time of year, these
late spring storms.
In the morning blossoms, light, pink
but looking like confetti, covered
our car windows and the yard.
And the Cherry Tree revealed
more leaf; the density of blossom
sadly and exponentially reduced.
The wind was still blowing, and
though we get the equinox winds
in October, this was a more
powerful spring storm. And yet,
I have faith in the Cherry Tree’s
recovery; a wealth of leaves
we expect in November. On many
an occasion, I feel as battered
if I never speak out.
I wanted to call this poem simply
“November” but so many are
already so named. A large
percentage of which shout
of colonisation; the arrogance
of an old world; even to months
of the year and what’s to be expected
of a word, a noun – a top versus
a bottom of the globe; and taking
for granted that November means
autumn and endings.
November Aotearoa is spring and beginnings;
Beltane then Christmas is the way it is:
of Pohutukawa and Manuka in flower.
November, as a title for this poem?
Something suggests no, do not go there today:
“November and the Cherry Tree” it is. And
this is my “colonization within literature” protest.
Benita H. Kape © 2.11.2018