One of the most wonderful things about being human is the power to express our thoughts and feelings through language in written and verbal form. I recently read an advert from a florist that read 'Flowers express emotion more than words ever could'. I am shocked! I disagree and I have written to the perpetrators of this henious crime to express my emotion in words - not with flowers.

Flowers are the tool but the first thing most people do when they receive flowers is look for the WORDS on the attached card. Those words tell you what the sender means. Flowers cannot in themselves 'express' anything. I digress. Oh, what a marvellous gift if only more of us will use it.


Take a look at this photograph below. It's 'only' words but how do they make you feel?

Here's one I really like. I shall give it in its original German, then in English. I am trying to find out who wrote it...

Heute ist Mein Tag / Today is my day

Heute ist mein Tag                                                                Today's my day
Heute ist mein Tag                                                                Today's my day

Ich fühl' mich gut                                                                   I feel so good

Und mach mein Herz auf                                                      And I open up my heart
Lass die Sonne rein                                                                Let the sun come in
Jeder Tag soll ein Geschenk                                                  Each day is a gift
Und was besond'res sein                                                      And something special

Ich steh auf                                                                             I get up

Schau aus dem Fenster                                                         Look out of the window
In ein Himmelblau                                                                 Into a blue sky
Vertrieben sind die Nachtgespenster                                  Driven are the ghosts of the night
Und ich weiss genau                                                             And I know exactly

Heute ist mein Tag                                                                Today's my day
Heute ist mein Tag                                                                Today's my day
Heute ist mein Tag                                                                Today's my day

... Ich schau in den Spiegel                                                  I look into the mirror
Zieh mir was besond'res an                                                 I dress up really cool
Es ist nicht zu glauben                                                           It is hard to believe
Dass man so gut ausseh'n kann                                           That one can look so good

Ich tanz auf der Strasse                                                         I dance in the street
Lach den Menschen ins Gesicht                                           Smile in people's faces
Alles denkt, ich bin verrückt                                                 Everyone thinks, I am crazy
Denn sie wissen nicht                                                            Because they don't know

Heute ist mein Tag                                                                 Today's my day
Heute ist mein Tag                                                                 Today's my day
Heute ist mein Tag                                                                 Today's my day

What about submitting YOUR poetry and prose?

Here's a very thought provoking poem from Eve Karslake Craven in Australia. She's not only a very talented woman but I am proud to know her, even if we have never physically met!

I've watched the thick mists of the night
Roll off the moors to greet daylight.
I've seen red dawning in the Heaven -
Daybreak from a 747.

A full moon like a golden ball,
So close it seemed about to fall;
I've even seen a moon of blue -
I barely could believe 't'was true.

The beauty of a sun-kissed sea,
So pure and sparkling, boundless free,
Or crashing, angry to the shore,
Such strength, I can but stand in awe.

I do like the following from Black Sabbath...

I've been higher than stardust
I've been seen upon the sun
I used to count in millions then
but now I only count in one
Come join the traveller
if you got nowhere to go
hang your head and take my hand
it's the only road I know...

Latest poem (updated 24 June 2011)

This is actually one of my own. I wrote it for a friend and I hope you like it:


I am 300 years old today
You can tell this not by my great height
But by the rings in my trunk
One for every wondrous year
Oh, but those years contain great history
I have seen battles in that golden field before me
Great men have died at the foot of my sturdy frame
I have seen blood, tears, great joy and...
Observed triumphant victories
Along with the stench of 'glorious' defeat.

I have absorbed the golden rays of the brilliant sun
And slept through the frozen unforgiving depths
Of too many dark and silent winters
I have heard the bells ring the New Year in
At the dimly lit village not a mile from here
And I have kept many a secret as the lovers
Beneath my branches did boisterously appear
To engrave their names with loving hearts upon my side
I carried their love long after they had died.

When men left this great arena
The animals returned to keep me company
I gave shelter to birds that lived in my boughs
In exchange for summers full of song
Squirrels scampered through my branches
And nestled quietly in mid winter's night to soundly sleep
And owls hooted noisily from atop my stretching arms
And a trillion insects have lived and died upon my bark
As we danced together to the rhythm of life.

Children have climbed me, and rung out their gleeful cries
Swinging, jumping, crawling and falling
As they discover new sensations, and learn with every movement
One child hugs my trunk every day, she is my greatest fan
Of age she is only 12 but shines like the northern star
I will miss her but I shall never forget her.
Elizabeth is her name, and her DNA lies within the very bark of me.
She is the hope I have for future years
To keep the spirit of my kind alive and she will shine...

Unlike me...
For I am old, and in the way of progress
I am to be cut down
Tomorrow the chainsaw will come, and I will fall
A new road will come through here
And I believe I will make a fine desk, or chair
I can't complain. I have had a good life
And a million acorns have I given to the world
I see my family o'er the field and in that wood
Sons and daughters that have only yielded good

They will live on, protected as they are from certain death
This 'road' will veer far to their right
And disappear for miles, right out of sight
Now I must go and listen to the quiet tune
That carries on the breeze, for I must face the music soon
The final songs within my boughs hath sung
The final toll from village bells now sadly rung
The master Shepherd stands frozen to the iron gate
The sheep are safe this evening once again
And all I have to do my friend is stand and wait
For sunrise and that releasing hand of fate.

Carl Portman
6th October 2009

Dedicated to Elizabeth Martineau

'Sometimes' by Sheenagh Pugh

Sometimes things don't go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don't fail.
Sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.

A people sometimes will step back from war,
elect an honest man, decide they care
enough, that they can't leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.

Sometimes our best intentions do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen; may it happen for you.

The Dash Poem by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth
And spoke of the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own,
The cars, the house, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard;
Are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
To consider what's true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we've never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect
And more often wear a smile,
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy is being read
With your life's actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

Thanks to Jo from Cardiff for showing me this brilliant poem.


There was a place, much worse than hell
Imagine if you can
A symbol of an evil time
Of man's inhumanity to man

Jasenovac was a blackened cage
A name without a face
Six hundred thousand vanished there
They left without a trace

Raped and frozen, stabbed and shot
They fell down one by one
All for being Serbian
Their final dawn had come

Mankind owes it to their memories,
To learn from such mistakes
The only sacrifice must be hatred
In whatever form it takes

But their spirits were not broken
By a bullet from a gun
They shine each night from every star
And live through each new sun

Carl Portman
14th October 2006

It's a colourful life

Black is the colour of the taxi
That takes me through the city, alive with pink and blue neon lights.
Black is the colour of the court judge's gown that quivers
As 'colourful characters' are sentenced for their crimes.
Black is the colour of the Vicar's frock
As she delivers her sermon from on high;
Black is the colour of the sky
When the colours of a glorious rainbow arch before it.
Black is the colour of the ink that
Shakespeare wove his colourful prose upon the gilded page.
Black is the colour of my shoes
That took me to the rainforest, alive with blue and yellow Macaws.
And black is the colour of bats wings and of night...
Yet even then a yellow moon auditions at my window
Commanding shadows to dance as the fire dies slowly away
It's a colourful life; but it is not enough to look,
You have to see.

Carl Portman 2012

"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time." Jack London