Today I am ‘having a go’ at the Etheree poetic form.  It is somewhat similar to the Cinquain and the Rictameter, both of which I have tackled previously.   The Etheree is a ten line form ascending in syllable count for ten unrhymed lines, and it should focus on a single idea or subject.    Thus the syllable count is in the form:  1.2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 
This can be altered to give a Reverse Etheree:

The form is attributed to an American poet, Etheree Taylor Armstrong of Arkansas (1918 – 1994).  Little seems to be known of her life except the poetic form she devised.

Notes adapted from ‘The Poets’ Garret’ et al.  

I have attempted both forms below – on the subjects of ‘Idleness’  and  ‘Life’ …

‘Love In Idleness’ . . . Pen & Wash – WHB


Today I vow to spend in idleness,
to do no more than listen keenly,
allow the world to speak to me,
while I, in turn, consider
which way my life now  leads,
trying to find peace
within my mind
that will see
my life


in truth,
defeats me.
Midst storm and stress
I struggle to keep
that equilibrium
which holds me in its stillness,
waiting with some trepidation
for that final push to reach the stars
where my disquietude will cease to be.


blue and brown milky way galaxy

Photo by Miriam Espacio on


No more Snips and Snails,
and don’t give me your Puppy-dogs’ Tails.
I no longer believe that guff,
Big boys are made of sterner stuff.

No, believe me, girls,
I’d rather believe I’m all of three gases,
With, a regular bargain,
Just a touch of calcium and carbon.

And the merest smidgeon
Of a few more elements,
Sulphur and magnesium,
Sodium and potassium.

But in his wisdom Carl Sagan,
That famous cosmologist,
Said, “In the final analysis,”
One we can trust,
“We are all just stardust.”




Reverie #10: A Day to Sink my Teeth in

beach clouds grass island

Photo by Pixabay on

Give me a day to sink my teeth in,
A bright and sunny day.
Let me savour sensuous hours,
Keep the end at bay.

Let me live each vibrant moment,
Reach out to stars above.
Threads of serious satisfaction
Seeking more time to love.

Tell it as it really is,
A song that does make sense.
Strapping lasses dancing –
Heated… Drunk… Intense.

A joy
A pleasure rising
Milking each waking hour.
Keeping at bay those moments
When doom and history lour.

And so my days are passing,
Steeped in the certain thought
That time has dealt me aces,
And has been richly bought.

Scotland07 054 FifeNess

W.H.Auden – The More Loving One

(No.58 of my favourite short poems)


My drawing of Auden as he was in 1970 – 2001   ©

The More Loving One

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.

W. H. Auden (1907 – 1973)





The ‘Gormenghast Trilogy’ by Mervyn Peake, is one of my all-time favourites.  For me, so much more  dramatic, gripping, atmospheric, mind-grabbing and enjoyable than the fantasies of Tolkien and J. K. Rowling, much as I have enjoyed those.  Perhaps I shall have more to say about Gormenghast in a future blog, but, for now, just a taste of Peake’s lighter side, from a published collection of his, with the title ‘A Book of Nonsense’.  It was said during Mervyn Peake’s lifetime that his serious work was often full of humour, while his nonsense verse was full of philosophy.


Red Geraniums … Photo – WHB – 2017


The trouble with geraniums
is that they’re much too red!
The trouble with my toast is that
it’s far too full of bread.

The trouble with a diamond
is that it’s much too bright.
The same applies to fish and stars
and the electric light.

The troubles with the stars I see
lies in the way they fly.
The trouble with myself is all
self-centred in the eye.

The trouble with my looking-glass
is that it shows me, me;
there’s trouble in all sorts of things
where it should never be.


By Mervyn Peake.   This poem is from “A Book of Nonsense” by Mervyn Peake, first published by Peter Owen in 1972 and re-issued in 1999.