Rock and Lodestone by Glenda Kerney Brown

Rock and Lodestone by Glenda Kerney Brown

Hello to anybody that is still out there. I haven’t posted in eight months because I’ve been working flat out on my poetry, to the exclusion of practically all else apart from my husband and my mum! At last, I’d like to let people know that my first collection, Rock and Lodestone, has been published by Bennison Books and is available on Amazon at the princely sum of £4.99 with all profits going to the MS Trust. You’ll find me under Glenda Kerney Brown.

Rock and Lodestone by Glenda Kerney Brown – Amazon link

Poetry is the thing that makes me tick. It has become who I am, and colours my every day. I could not function without it now. It is my bolthole and my light.

My poems are about the things that I cleave to and explore the themes of love, animals, nature and the bewitching world that we live in. And, of course, it touches on my multiple sclerosis.

If you are tempted into buying the book, I’m already extremely grateful, and if you’re not, thanks anyway for reading this post.


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Cat Couture Selection

This was the first cat poem that I wrote in my writing group (though certainly not the last). Apologies if you are not a cat lover…

Cat Couture Selection: instructions for wearing …

The Macavity:

luscious apparel worn loosely warm around the neck in winter:
abruptly wriggly, enriches collarbone and breast
for fleetest, floor bound seconds.
Naked skin may protest the loss
raising bumps of self-pity!
The complete care and counselling felineline can console
reapply after one/two hours

adorn when forlorn at any time,
but never apply tears –
imperative this garment not get,
beware sweatiness in summer.

The Christie:

a cravat , readily worn all day;
this cat is never willingly removed, or may make holes;
the Angel Falls negative spills from nose to navel in heavenly rolls;
(non-optional: will deftly wash and scrub protrusions)
Roundly doubles as muffler, arriving oil spill-esqe when seated;
sumptuously stretches to wrap around the thighs,
etching the heart with instantaneous reverberations.

The Miggy:

of nightwear, our Black Jaguar deluxe:
will arrive at the head, ready loaded with Lethe’s oblivion,
winnowing soporific sanity from your frenetic chaff;
the nose/chin push disappears into your nape;
hand shaping or caressing is involuntary,
(acquiescing to the engine’s demands)
senses dim, as sleep ripples over,
when last consciousness brims,
you must murmur
“Je t’adore”.

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Sonnet for You and On Waking

I’ve decided on these two poems for my next post because they’re about that old, favourite haunt: love. These concern the one who has my heart and makes it live. They had to come first: they’re not the only poems that I’ve written about us, but they are the most naked. Hope you like.

I am in the process of upgrading my computer, so if you post concerning these and I don’t get back to you immediately, please know that I’ll be trying my socks off to do so just as soon as I can.

Sonnet for You

When thoughtlessly I turn to meet your eyes,
The ripest recognition floods me through,
In blind and helpless love, my old world dies,
Calling to question things I thought I knew.
The new life sucks us in, we have no choice,
No chance to mull “could this be my true love?
How do we differ? Will it be their voice
I’ll tune to all my life, or get sick of?
But time is dealing out relentless hands:
Would we have looked away, if we but knew?
You cry “No! we must live by fate’s commands,
Hold tight our nightly vows of “I love you”.
So now we battle on, and as I dim,
You care for me, and though I sink, we swim.

On Waking

Half asleep, you smile the sweetest smile the world has known,
sweeter than the first strawberry, the first tottering lamb,
gangling fawn, whiff of sweetest peas, lark famously ascending
or Romeo as he moves rhythmically upon Juliet, knowing
love at first sight exists. Each morning, knowing the same,
I turn my head, see your dear face upon my pillow, wait;
there it is, as your eyes open on mine. Then you remember.

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This poem was inspired by a painting by one of my favourite painters, Matisse; the Inattentive Reader. I saw it in Tate Liverpool it was, as always, a privilege to view a master of his art.

The Inattentive Reader 1919 Henri Matisse 1869-1954 Bequeathed by Montague Shearman through the Contemporary Art Society 1940

The Inattentive Reader 1919 Henri Matisse 1869-1954 Bequeathed by Montague Shearman through the Contemporary Art Society 1940


Today melancholy has drifted in and clouded me,
things are become unsaid; something has broken,
does anybody know what it is? I slope around,
trying to plump up the will to achieve; my efforts
diminish me; the room is enforcedly warm, the blue
vase holds spindly stemmed blotches of flowers,
Matisse could paint me now as I drain, listless,
ring my staring eyes in kohl, or I may become a cat,
forever glassy eyed, watching the rest slide away.

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My first blog post…

Baildon Bank

I thought I’d start my blog with the poetry that burst out as I was trying to come to terms with my sight failing. All I had was a diagnosis of Optic neuritis, there was no mention of MS at that stage, it would take a relapse for that particular diagnosis… Oh yes, Baildon is the village I grew up in and the Bank a wonderful heathland where I would walk the dogs. I changed the title of this piece slightly but little else.  I leave it as I felt it.


Optic Neuritis 1; Sea Change on Baildon Bank            1993    

I wade on footpaths I have run
before my sea-change,
now damage has become my home.

birds cartwheel fragmented fins
to crash in static corals where
once beeches played in sunshine;
far below the muted purrs
of deadly barracuda winding
single-minded ways along the road
do not concern my change.

vast estates of broken roofs
revert to a bed of ancient slate
on which I may soon lie,
or glide above, in hunger,
knowing nothing but my purpose

the lichened lids I cannot shut have crusted,
damned my younger sight,
when this was more well known than dolls
and boys whose heads were cradled
in its heather

I find refuge in millstone grit
and ‘ware the hounds –
I cannot have their certain
friendliness dismayed and melted
to confusion as they sense
a damaged work and let me be –
they rough and tumble past,
too fast for my fish eyes;

I suck in tide and slide
dissolving fingertips on
skull, brow and jaw,
oily nape and shoulder down
the breastbone to the ribs
hunting for my gills.

they must form
they must
how else can I breathe?

Under the oceans of my site I must translate,
or else I will couch here
until my bones are bracken-bleached
and fish eyes lie like marbles
in the heather.

Optic Neuritis 2: remission                                                             1993

I am not fish
I am not fish
I am the tender grass
of springtime scorched,
and praying I will
never drown again

these eyes now merely flinch
before the day’s glaring uncertainty
but if I dare to wither under this,
dear God, do not bring back old oceans,
send instead a season’s gentle rain
to ease the life out of the dust
and numb the pain.

(Note: my details may show on Glenda’s blog, this is temporary and all words and content are Glenda’s own. We will sort the techie bits out and I will disappear, but for now just pretend I am not here! Jane)

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