New poems by Mary Cresswell


Undivined Comedy


From the footpath of my middle age

I wandered o’er the grassy verge

to woods where worldly passions rage

and few folk live past middle age.

I took up pen and ink and page

and thought to write a wond’rous dirge,

but I am in my middle age

and have ipso facto lost the urge.



a short black line


The Food Reviewer Aviods The Issue


Your cookbook surpassed all expectations.

I read it all with tongue in check, so I could taste the relish.


(Your e-mail caught me on the hop

when I was feeling peckish.)


No time to write, it’s time to eat. I’m caught out,

a player at the gaming table, like the Earl of Sandwich.


Do you really see a need to write a word tonight?

Ah. I’ll explode into action, like Popeye after spinach.


Beer, bread and butter, and a bowl of radishes

Remind me that I’m civilised. My tastes are never savage.


I take my ease appropriately and take my choice of baths

My mood’s unmitigated sweet, so tonight I’m going Turkish.


In dreams, the house is a stand-in for the psyche:

Do you think perhaps my kitchen could use a major furbish?



a short black line


Leaning In

(after Emily Dickinson, “Success is counted sweetest”)


My fingernails are purple,

my lips are all-day glossed,

I claw my way to pinnacles

undreamed of by the most


of those who miss my turning

and drift in lesser paths.

We never meet, those folk and I,

we never joke or laugh.


Far overhead you’ll see me

where underlings can’t climb:

unloved and so unlovely

tall mistress of my time.


a black line

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