Poem for Today
 ©winnie caw 2004
(follow the arrows below for more of winnie caw's whimsy, or click on a link)

poems written 16th November 2004 - 2nd December 2004

On rising every morning, she penned a line or two.
Was it really worth it? The answer lies with you. WMC

Finally Home

Reflections on Life, Love and Hamsters

Whimsy Playground Rhymes

What the Dickens


16th November 2004

Navel Gazing

I'm staring in the mirror,
Bemused at what I see;
An older, calmer, woman
Is looking back at me.

She isn't wearing makeup;
Her hair is turning grey;
But how on earth this happened
I really couldn't say.

I used to be a seeker
With sunshine in my hair;
I'd dash along the corridors
With little time to spare.

Now, life is moving faster:
As others pass me by,
intent on being first in line,
I sit and watch the sky.

My job title has altered:
Now that I've made the grade
I wouldn't want to change one bit
The funny games I've played.

The birds are singing. Louder
clouds dance across the sky.
I've loads to do before I sleep.
I must press on. Goodbye.


17th November 2004


I'm looking for my family;
I'm searching all the Net.
I don't know what they look like,
I haven't found them yet.
I know A was a weaver,
And B a Lady's maid;
And C became a welder's mate.
So much, before I've paid
for little bits of paper with names and dates and place of birth
to mark the path I've laid.
I find D was a soldier,
Died fighting in the war;
He never lived to see his home,
That Alexander Caw.
I'm looking for my mother's dad;
But then, for all I know,
She never knew him either:
A shadow from the mists of time
Resembling these sons of mine,
With ease of charm and manners fine,
He may be lost to me; I'll find
I'm not to know his name.

Suppose, one day, I'm walking along some foreign way;
I meet a boy (or girl) abroad
who rings a bell inside my head;
A feeling that we may, instead, have met and loved before?

I'm looking for my family.
The fact is ~ strange and true ~
the kin I meet while out next week
could very well be you.


18th November 2004 

Naughty Corner

I'm standing in the corner,
Not knowing what I've done;
Feeling really wretched;
Missing  all the fun.

I must escape here soon
Or the bluebells will have gone;
The sticklebacks and redthroats
Cavorting in the sun.

And Molly from the corner shop
is bound to move away;
She'll take her toys and Raleigh bike
and won't be out to play.

Then James and Ben and Harry
will all wonder where I am;
They'll make a wish without me
on the bridge at Mickleham.

And I'll never get to walk the pole
across the River Merle;
And they'll say that I'm a sissy,
all because I am a girl.

I'm standing in the corner
and I'm wishing I was out
having fun with all the others.
That's what life is all about.


19th November 2004

The Dancer

Then~ she was a dancer, echo to life's curios;
Let the world slip out from underneath her toes.
Now ~ she is a songbird, her repertoire is vast;
Acclaims the joy of daybreak yet knows it will not last.

Then ~ she was a pirate, adrift upon the sea;
Marvel at the marbling sky and silent waters green.
Now ~ she is a rainbow, a variegated skill;
Tucks her gold out of sight behind a distant hill.

Then ~ she was a keeper of every sound and sight; 
Careful not to knuckle under mire and grief, but fight.
Now ~ she is an old sage, standing on her head;
Kicking at the traces and ignoring every slight.

Then ~ she was a sketcher, her outlines bold and brief;
Mirror every tone and hue of others she might meet.
Now ~ she is an artist, her colours smudged and mute;
Her brushes strong, her palette true, her image is complete.


20th November 2004

Message in a Bottle

I didn't put the cat out;
I haven't fed the dog;
I didn't get to Iceland;
my brain is all a fog.
I haven't pruned the roses.
The lawn is looking sad
'cos it hasn't had a haircut.
It really is that bad.
I haven't paid the papers;
the windows all are grey;
the washing now smells gross enough
to up and walk away.
I haven't laid the table;
I haven't made the tea;
I haven't baked the birthday cake.
My mind's gone out, you see.
I haven't done a thing today. 
I sat, the whole day through.
I've not done anything, but think
of you, and you, just you.


21st November 2004


We were sitting watching 'Psycho';
Rosie said, "I've got to go."
Norman Bates' eye was staring
through a peephole on the screen.
As I stared back in fascination
Janet Leigh's eye lost its sheen.
Rosie came back down the row:
"I am sorry if you missed me. 
I just fainted in the loo."

Years before, a sad, sad story,
In the fleapit by the pier:
Doc Zhivago loved his Lara,
Lost his lover, in the snow.
Rosie's grief was unexpected:
Like the stills from slowed-down movies
Bawled her sorrow loud and clear
Over viewers in the front row.
I chose not to make a scene.

On the night that 'Alien' opened
We were sitting, front row centre;
When the monster came out, shrieking,
Rosie shrieked in sympathy;
Cast her body over mine;
Clinging tight, for dear life, shaking.
Then I made a silent vow.

Nevermore. No, nevermore.


22nd November 2004

Search Strings

where to hire a party clown
how to clean an eiderdown
what is the weather like in spain
can i take nits on a plane
where to buy a boxer dog
what s the origin of log
nietsche said this at his trial 
how to liven up my style
hairy melons in a row
what to do if server slow
christmas presents on the net
how to circumcise my pet
fairies on my windowsill
how to paint a watermill
care of patent leather shoes
things that women write in loos
if it itches should i scratch
1940s football match
give me something fun to do
pandas mate in london zoo
travelling in outer space
where to buy real belgium lace
what it means if he says non
type it in and just press go


23rd November 2004

D'you remember?

D'you remember
Old Time Music Hall, 
'With her head tucked underneath her arm
She walked the Bloody Tower'?

D'you remember 
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen
Doctor Who and the Tardis and the Daleks?

D'you remember 
Billy Cotton's Band Show,
'Wakey, Wa-akey!'
The Black and White Minstrels
Sing Something Simple,
 as we ate winkles for Sunday tea at 4? 

D'you remember 
Saturday morning pictures,
when we bought broken biscuits from Woolies,
and the boys threw wrappers at the screen?

D'you remember 
skipping games in the playground?
We gathered like starlings and raved about the  Beatles.

D'you remember 
Reds under the Bed
 Bunty and Judy's paper cut-out clothes?

I remember. How could I forget?


24th November 2004


Blackbird sings in the dark: fills my heart.

England's carpet in spring: makes me sing.

Art and tales of mankind: stir my mind.

Unity of family: feeds my soul.

The quiet of the coming dawn: stills my being.

Yellow, crimson and green: decks my home.


25th November 2004


I met a girl from Nottingham.
We'd tease her something rotten, for studying Nutrition:
'What's that? A course designed to tell fat ladies what to eat?'
Said Annie, 'What's that you have on your plate?
Call that a balanced diet?'
Carbohydrates, protein, fat.
Better make a note of that.

I met a girl from Nottingham.
Our drug of choice an all-night bop:
Black patent leather shoes,
Hair flying in a velvet arc,
We'd dance until the lights went out,
spinning and weaving in and out the other dancers,
covering all the floor.

I met a girl from Nottingham.
I took her up to town:
She'd never been to London.
She loved the Underground.
We walked the Thames at Westminster.
I couldn't make her out:
Eyes wide as saucers, excited child;
My parents' home town, in her eyes, was really wild.

I met a girl from Nottingham.
Her eyes are shining still:
A doctorate and PhD;
She's lectured to the world, you see.
Now food magnates have heard:
'What's that in your jars? Call that a balanced meal?'
Carbohydrates, protein, fat.
They'd better make a note of that.


26th November 2004

Talk for England

I can't decline one Latin verb;
I can't converse in 'sign';
I can't ski for Switzerland;
I can't make this verse rhyme;
I can't climb the Eiger;
I can't vote in Chad;
I can't laugh at Russian jokes;
I can't reign in Spain;
I can't talk for England;
I can't spell in Urdu;
I can't say I've seen it all.
Can you?

I can't baste a sandwich;
I can't post a bike;
I can't taste an aeroplane;
I can't phone Bach;
I can't dust an octopus;
I can't throw a bus;
I can't smell a sunrise;
I can't surf a cloud;
I can't peel an elephant;
I can't knit a zoo;
I can't get my head round it.
Can you?


27th November 2004

Advent Card

Frost twinkles on the slumbering cars;
Shadowy trees wait naked in the chill still air;
Complaining fox has bolted to his hole;
It's a silent 2D Christmas scene.

Robin finds a new refrain to sing;
Milkman stamps and rattles in reply;
Weary worker, wrapped anonymous against the cold,
Scrapes patterns in the irritated glass;
Postman unloads letters through each box;
Smart Sarah dashes past to catch her bus;
Dog barking with excitement in the dark;
Doors grumble and disgorge their children; 
school-bound and head-nodding as they change gear and play.
Plane, bound for warmer climes, scars the sky;
Animated opening to another Advent day.


28th November 2004 


Wandering the meadows of distant memory;
Most familiar faces are strangers now to me;
Intimate reflections, broken in the glass,
Evade the eye of knowing as I file them under 'Past';
With utmost care and diligence I sweep them all away;
Someone might trip over them, one future sunny day.


29th November 2004

Family Legend

The day the Fire Brigade came out
Dad got his foot stuck in the grid
above the baker's window in the cut-through 
from the High Street to the Golden Sands.
It was the Great War and he was eleven.
I returned this summer with my son
and told the legend of days long ago:
Mum standing at the mike in the Lido singing 
'My Old Man's a Dustman';
The buses circling the Square at night,
their lights  silent snakes across the ceiling
as I lay in my bed.
The trois mâts resting by the stone pier one summer.
Another season when the Queen Mary burned down in Dreamland;
A pub on every corner ~
 I'd watch the revellers from my high window, like the Lady of Shalott;
The lifeboat flare would shake the house's front
and the Fire siren alarmed us from out back
'till, finally, we barely jumped.
Winters when the waves threw themselves higher than the street lights;
Fighting the North Wind walking home from school up Fort Hill,
One step forward, two steps back.

'How do you know that's the High Street?'
This summer my son is the tourist.
The kosher butchers and the junk shop are both gone.
We find 'The Old Town Museum' (wasn't that 'The Magistrates Court', before?). 
The curator smiles a welcome, looking rueful.
'It's a lot quieter than it used to be, Margate.'
'I know. I lived here once.' I say. 

Winnie on Fort Hill August 2004

My Gran on the Golden Sands 1921


30th November 2004

Sour Puss

There's nothing on the telly
and I'm fed up with my book;
Just you keep on with your jigsaw
and don't give me that look!
Drat! Now it's raining harder
and the washing isn't dry;
I'll go and bring it in again, 
maybe, bye and bye.
I can't get this thing untangled;
Now I can't find my shoes.
Turn off the bloody radio,
the same old boring news.
I want to put this bowl away.
I can't reach the top shelf.
Hello? It would appear I'm all alone
and talking to myself...


1st December 2004

Sea over mountains, Mountain over seas

The North Downs over Folkestone
I walked for charity
turned out to be not 20 miles
but more like 23.

Walking the Seven Sisters 
I stopped halfway that day.
Whether to turn back or go on?
Sod's choice, either way.

The problem with a mountain
when you're partly up, you see,
whichever way you look at it
there's a long walk home for tea.

A barefoot stroll in warm sand
A paddle in the sea
One last look at the setting sun.
That's proof of God's love, for me.


2nd December 2004



We are the older women.
Where once we wore flowers in our hair
We will not blue-rinse, purple-rinse, cut nor perm anywhere.

We are the older women.
We are not Pic 'n Mix.
You may say, "Whoa! Steady on!"
We do not feel steady, nor are we 'on' anything;
and you cannot treat us as you would an horse, an old nag;
nor pacify us like some young filly.

We are the older women.
We will not be moved by cries of 'PMT', 'HRT' nor 'Make the tea'.
We will be what we   will   be.

We are the older women.
We may amuse, confuse, befuddle you.
We do not need to pass muster, pass unnoticed, past participle.

We are the older women.
We lay claim to what we are and will refuse what we are not.
The angry young men of our youth have had their day;
To us it matters not one jot.

For we are the older women.
We are in your face, on your case,
and we are here to stay.


slightly earlier last year...


Silver Wedding  

(2 a.m. 8th February 2004)  

When first we moved in here we planted a tree
'twas an asexual plum tree from over the sea
it would bring firm ripe plums with no need of a mate
but within a few years that plum tree I did hate  

For it bore not one plum all the years of my toil
and grew well twenty feet in the uncaring soil
and the greedy fat roots crept out under the lawn
and the wasps would all gather round the sweet smell of plum.

It was nought but a dwarf tree, so we were assured,
and would grow but eight feet at the side of the yard
with the family gathered 'neath its shadows so sweet
where man boy and dog together contented would meet.  

The plum tree, it mellowed in, the rotten old sod
my husband left me, and the boys, and the dog
where the leaves they all quiver at the wasps' sense of fun
and the merciless black fly likes to bask in the sun.  

For it bore not one plum all the years of my toil
and grew well twenty feet in the uncaring soil
and the greedy fat roots crept out under the lawn
and the wasps would all gather round the sweet smell of plum.

I looked out from my window, I looked out from my door
whereever I looked that damned plum tree I saw
'till one day with purpose I reached for my saw
'though a task and a half, that plum tree was no more.  

For it bore not one plum all the years of my toil
and grew well twenty feet in the uncaring soil
and the greedy fat roots crept out under the lawn
and the wasps would all gather round the sweet smell of plum.  

Today by wind and rain I planted a rose
and I firmed the roots in with the stub of my toe
'tis a bush rose, and fragrant, it has blooms large and white
when the birds sing in summer it'll make a rare sight.  

And I'll sit in the garden and I'll sip at my tea
and smile at my 'Silver Wedding' and contented I'll be*

for the leaves they do quiver and the butterflies be
and I'm hassled no more by an uncaring tree.  

For it bore not one plum all the years of my toil
and grew well twenty feet in the uncaring soil
and the greedy fat roots crept out under the lawn
and the wasps would all gather round the sweet smell of plum.


all poems ©winnie caw 2004

*the bush prospered not and, in Autumn, it died

Whimsy magazine

More of winnie's poems - Vol I 'I Find my Way', Poems 1968 - 1976 by Winnie Quinn. More @  I Find My Way

Selection of Vol. II @  Going Down the White Hill - Poems 1989 - 1996

Selection of Vol. III @  Bus Stops - Poems 1996 - 2002

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