03 December 2008

Piercing the Darkness

A star appears and shines on high,
Intrigues wise men and draws them nigh
By light gone forth across the sky
And piercing the darkness.

Strange beings in the air appear
With stunning news that thrills the ear,
That sends poor shepherds to revere
The light that shines in darkness.

Who suckles at this mother’s breast,
This cuckoo in another’s nest?
This man-child, God made manifest,
Brings light into the darkness.

High over all and robed in light,
Almighty God perceived our plight,
Removed his garb and, on that night,
Stepped down into the darkness.

With his appearance – long foretold
In puzzles penned by men of old –
Begins the battle to unfold
To rescue us from darkness.

This fragile and audacious plan,
Cast in the confines of a man,
By enigmatic forfeit can
Forever banish darkness.

So pause a while to look, and see
This reckless love for you and me,
This sense-defying mystery,
That saves us from the darkness.

Come, bow in awe before your King,
Who stripped Himself of everything
For us eternal life to bring –
All light and naught of darkness.

Copyright © 2008 Desmond Hilary

29 November 2008


A thin wish that something might turn up?
A vague feeling that it may be all right in the end?

A baby who will change the world.
A man raised from the dead.

The eager expectation of things that are certain.
Knowing that, come what may, all shall be well.

An inner resilience.
An anchor in Heaven.

Copyright © 2008 Desmond Hilary

16 November 2008


I’m glad I’ve never been to war,
To face the foe and try to kill
A man I’ve never met before
Who never yet has done me ill,
Whose only crime was done at birth:
Born in the wrong part of God’s Earth.

I’m glad I’ve never been to war,
To feed on rats, and lice sustain,
And scrape my flesh until it’s raw;
My guts of dysentery to drain;
To fear the crump of falling shells
And live in dread of man-made hells.

I’m glad I’ve never been to war,
Sent out against the enemy
By orders that are likely more
To be my end, to finish me:
To charge through mud with laboured breath,
Weighed down to stop me dodging death.

I’m glad I’ve never been to war,
To know the love of comrades dear
Who, borne on by esprit de corps,
Would give their lives to end my fear,
Or sing to lift my spirits high
When terrors brought the Reaper nigh.

I’m glad I’ve never been to war,
To watch my comrade’s final breath
Come bubbling through his blood-stained jaw;
To hear his pleading words at death
His mother call his hand to take
And lead him home, for Mercy’s sake.

I’m glad I’ve never been to war,
To see my friend, robbed of his sense,
A firing squad to stand before
His ‘cowardice’ to recompense.
No coward, he, whose mind was shot
By horrors that are best forgot.

I’m glad I’ll never go to war
And wish that none that path need take,
But those who must, who leave our shore,
Our peace to keep, for our Land’s sake,
They all a place of honour find,
Close to my heart, and in my mind.

Copyright © 2008 Desmond Hilary

16 October 2008

The Fear of Not Having Enough

The bread is stale,
Its few remaining slices
Green with mould;
Its dankness fills the air.
A bitter, empty wind
Threads through a tottering fence.
Pharaoh’s last, wizened cow
Would bellow its woe
Had it strength enough.

The eagle soars,
Oblivious to dearth,
Its vision attuned
To its realm’s bounty.

O, to be that monarch of the skies;
To fly away and beyond
To Cornucopia’s shore
Where lack alone is wanting…
One day, my child, you shall fly
Far beyond the eagle’s range.
One day, my child, riches will abound
But, until then, I Am with you
And enough is enough.

Copyright © 2008 Desmond Hilary

12 July 2008

Notes on 'An Anniversary Poem'

You will note from the copyright date that this was actually written much earlier than most of the stuff on this blog. I thought, nonetheless, that it should be here along with everything else. You may also note that I began my relationship with the iambic pentameter many years ago.

I wrote the poem for my wife on the occasion of our fourth wedding anniversary. Make sure you have a bucket ready before you read the next sentence. Apart from the fact that the idealistic concept of first stanza is impossible - since neither of us will live that long, at least in this life - the rest of it still holds good.

An Anniversary Poem

The love which drew us close and made us one
Shall last as long as earth, drawn by the sun,
Pursues its endless course among the spheres,
Undaunted by the passing of the years.

And as the moon unceasing turns its face
To gaze upon fair earth's effulgent grace,
E'en so my heart is turned to yours alone
And casts its light to bid your darkness gone.

As seasons change, our lives inconstant stream -
Spring's hopes give way to summer's fleeting dream,
The autumn's leaves with vivid colours glow,
And winter has the beauty of the snow.

Though many things in life may bring us pain
The many more shall yield us joy again,
And passing time shall prove these things are true:
God's grace, companion hearts, my love for you.

Copyright © 1994 Desmond Hilary

02 July 2008

Notes on 'On Writer's Block'

Probably all writers have days - maybe weeks, months, years - when the Muse forsakes them. I am no exception. The important thing is to write something, anything! I wrote the poem below as an attempt to express the frustration of it but, unfortunately, was headed off at the pass by the complaint itself. Anyway, despite the malevolent little monkey's best efforts, I think I achieved my goal.

On Writer's Block

Writer's Block
Is like a clock
That's stopped and winder's lost.


Writer's Block
Is like a sock
With holes at toe and heel.

Oh, stuff it...

Copyright © 2008 Desmond Hilary

24 March 2008

Notes on 'Welcome!'

This was written for a church writing project, and is a departure from my usual style: it doesn't rhyme or scan (except by accident), and is not humorous (actually, there is a serious side to my personality, which I allow out at appropriate times). The poem is about one of the 12 values of our church, which seeks to be, 'a Christian community that ... is welcoming and warm - trusting that new people find a spiritual home that is full of kindness and encouragement.'

The whole of my effort for this project is available on the Faith section of my bloggery.


Not just, ‘Good morning,’
Or, ‘How do you do?’
But, Honoured Guest,
In this, our special place,
There is a special place for you.
Here, there is peace and sanctuary;
A place to be your genuine self
Without prejudice or distinction.
Come, bask in the warmth of love,
Enjoy respect for who you are;
Your unique presence
Completes our company.
When you leave,
Go with our peace,
And plan to return.

If, among us, you find
Meaning and Purpose, then

Share with us in
Joy or sorrow,
Failure or success,
Victory or defeat.
Grow with us;
Become one with us
And find belonging,
And acceptance.

For we are family, related by Blood
And always there is room at the Table
For another.

Copyright © 2008 Desmond Hilary

19 February 2008

Notes on 'Ode to Wine'

Just a bit of fun really, and a celebration of the complexity of flavour in this gift from God of, to quote the Bible, 'Wine that maketh glad the heart of man.' (Hic!) The driving rhythm adds to the tension of the poem.

Ode to Wine

O glass of wine, you speak to me
Of flavours that must foreign be
To all of your consistency.
Yet, speak you will of more than vine,
And tease and taunt this tongue of mine
To stay no longer anodyne
But name the fruits from lands afar
Whose representative you are
In silent, virtual agency.

From far-flung fields and forests fair
Each tenuous taint and tincture there
Within you fixed through vintner’s care
Unveils itself – is made to hide
By other Flavours swept aside,
Who strive to rise from out the tide
And tempt me in insidious game
Their faint, deceitful guises name
Or else my palate’s skill forswear.

Too late! You’re gone, your secrets held
Secure within your liquid’s meld –
Irresolute convictions felled!
But wait! There’s hope, for I have seen
Within the depths of bottle green
Three of your kin, each one who’s keen
To pass the lip and cross the tongue
To trip around and play among
My taste buds ’til the query’s quelled.

The second temptress joins the fray
And almost gives the game away
But, keeping climax just at bay,
Subsides and swoons and ends the shame
Of cravings roused by passion’s flame
And tantalised in cruellest game.
And then, she’s gone, and so, alas,
I stare into an empty glass
And wonder if the third will play?

The third I all too eager find
To tempt the tongue and tease the mind
But keep her secrets still confined.
This joyful playmate lifts the heart,
Bids tortuous reasoning depart,
Pours scorn on ponderings of Descartes:
With her I am content to be,
With vacant mind from thinking free.
This world is better for her kind.

The fourth comes forth, her sisters’ clone.
My singing tongue begins to moan,
And thus, at last, your cover’s blown!
Not just by taste do you deceive –
This corpse of balance you relieve;
And so I bid you gone – please leave!
For, no, you have not hurned my tead –
You’ve spade the moon to rim instead.
Now, where’s the Great White Telephone?

Copyright © 2007 Desmond Hilary

Notes on 'Ode to Curry'

This was first penned as an email to my diving buddies (perhaps there'll be a scuba diving sub-blog soon). We went for a curry and enjoyed it very much.

Curry is a food that satiates the five senses - touch, taste, sight, sound and smell. Unfortunately, it tends to provide an experience we can share with others long after we have left the restaurant. You will see the progression through the senses as you read.

This is a classical poem, written in iambic pentameters. Just like Shakespeare, only not as good!

Ode to Curry

O fare in which our senses all delight,
Thou beckon'st all to Eastern joys partake;
And, for our part, a none too distant night
Shall see us meet and for thy dwelling make.

Thy pungent odour first doth have its say,
Thy rich aromas of the Orient
Sent far abroad to waft thy willing prey
To dark purveyors of thy luscious scent.

Thy colours all like tapestry display
Unto our sight a feast to cheer our hearts,
E'er yet, as eager gourmets, we convey
Thy stain into our secret, hidden parts.

But O, thy taste, which, bursting on our tongues,
Doth succulently render up in flame
Exquisite, burning pleasure that belongs
Alone to those enraptured by thy name.

Thy texture lips and tongue and throat doth thrill.
With gentle ease thou slippest to thy doom,
Thy willing sacrifice our void to fill;
For liquid joys alone thou leavest room!

But then, alas, thy sound shall haunt next day,
Announcing echoes of thy wondrous smell,
And all our near and dear shall drive away;
Where we have been, the poorest mind can tell...

Fancy a curry?

Copyright © 2003 Desmond Hilary

Notes on 'A Birthday Poem to make Purple Ronnie Jealous'

Well. What can I say? I actually printed this on a friend's birthday card. It was as much an exercise in the expressive use of fonts (some of which may not be shown by your browser) as it was a literary adventure. If you want to use it on your friend's birthday card, please do, but I would appreciate your showing the copyright notice and the address of this blog (http://all-about-what-poetry.blogspot.com).

A Birthday Poem to make Purple Ronnie Jealous

Although your birthday now is here,

It’s no excuse for drinking beer

Until your legs all wobbly go

And fail to keep you upright.

So, my advice is find a chair

And get your ale served to you there;

Then gravity’s  negated , so

You’ll keep on drinking all night!

Copyright © 2005 Desmond Hilary

Notes on 'Our Doggy'

We rescued a wonderful dog called Max, and we are just as besotted with him three years later as we were when we first adopted him into our family. Yes, he has his issues but we're working on them. I may be biased but I think he's the best dog in the world. This poem was written shortly after his arrival. It was inspired by him, and again was sketched out whilst riding my bicycle. Every word of it is true.

As for the censored bits, there is nothing really very naughty. The rhyme serves to provide you with clues to the words I have omitted. The censureship is really a humorous device.

One day, I'll post a picture of our wonderful Maximus Flatus.

Our Doggy [Censored Version]

I’m going home to see our doggy;
He’s much better than a moggy.
Dog, doggy-doggy, doggy, dog.

He has a great long tail that he
Wags to show he’s pleased to see me.
Dog, doggy-doggy, doggy, dog.

He tries to lick my face but misses,
Ends up giving me French kisses!
Dog, doggy-doggy, doggy, dog.

We go for walks in pleasant places,
Up and down and round he races.
Dog, doggy-doggy, doggy, dog.

A happy dog, he bounds and frolics;
Can’t think why – he has no [censored].
Dog, doggy-doggy, doggy, dog.

When other dogs we meet, he’ll greet them,
Hedgehogs? Well, he’ll try to eat them.
Dog, doggy-doggy, doggy, dog.

He swallows blades of grass in vain as
Each, entire, falls from his [censored].
Dog, doggy-doggy, doggy, dog.

He hates to walk on hot days: how sad!
’though I’m English, he is not mad.
Dog, doggy-doggy, doggy, dog.

When we are eating dinner, our pet
Stands there, dribbling on the carpet.
Dog, doggy-doggy, doggy, dog.

We find, sometimes, our eyes are smarting.
That’s because the dog keeps [censored].
Dog, doggy-doggy, doggy, dog.

O, doggy, doggy, doggy, doggy,
Doggy, doggy, doggy, doggy.
Dog, doggy-doggy, doggy, dog.

Copyright © 2005 Desmond Hilary

18 February 2008

Notes on 'Ode to a Dung Fly'

'Ode to a Dung Fly' was composed whilst riding my bicycle across the Town Moor. The moor is a place where cattle are grazed and their droppings, which, in places, required great care to avoid, may well have been the inspiration for this work.

Ode to a Dung Fly

O happy little dung fly, with all your dung fly chums,
You speed on wings to swarm on things that fall from horses' bums.
Yet 'horse' has no importance, for cow- or sheep- or pig-
Or any poo will do for you, you do not care a fig.
As long as who's first eaten leaves nourishment behind,
The smell, the taste? Who cares? It's waste: disposal's on your mind.

You gather with your thousands, detritus to devour;
You munch away throughout the day, unstinting, every hour.
When some great beast approaches, all lift away in fright,
Then, panic gone, all carry on and have another bite.
You flit about while feasting, you never use a chair -
But I'm the fool, you have a stool, and you're quite happy there!

When arduous labour's over, at fall of eventide,
You leave the swarm for somewhere warm and, preferably, inside.
An open window beckons, where cake and morsels sweet
Arrayed on lace seems just the place to rest and wash your feet.
With what you've had your feet in, please don't land on my tea.
If you do that you'll end up flat, so stay away from me!

Copyright © 2003 Desmond Hilary