On Her Cataract


John Milton wrote this sonnet “On His Blindness”. He had daughters to whom he dictated his poems – I sometimes wonder how they felt about spending their time acting as unpaid amanuensis to their father.

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.”


After I had a cataract removal operation I couldn’t resist wrting, not exactly a parody, but a sonnet in the style of Milton about my own experience. I had was plenty of friends telling me what an easy and painless operation it was . (I need larger print!)

On Her Cataract Op

When I consider how much time I’ve spent
Of my allotted three score years and ten
Waiting in hospitals and wondering when
They’ll tell me the prognosis what it meant
In words I understand, so I’m not sent
Adrift in vagueness, neither screen nor pen
Of use. When will I see things clear again?
I ask in terror, life is brief and time but lent.
“Fret not, they tell me, you’ll be find indeed.
Relax, this surgeon is among the best.
The op takes only minutes, there’s no wait
Admittedly, at first it’s hard to read
But soon your eyes will pass the hardest test
Trust me, this new perspective’s really great!”




Three Figures

Ice maiden
Cool and still, she shines with promise
Deceptive, treacherous leading the unwary into a snare, a trap heading for a fall.
Ice Maiden growing into Snow Queen in a silvery glittering palace. Chill and deadly.

Water Sprite
Bubbling, alive vibrant, streams dash over stones
Pour down waterfalls, pool into smooth lakes.
But the stillness may not last.
Urge on by stormy weather, water turns to torrent
Flood and tsunami destroying all in its path.

Steam Goddess
Hiss and roar of pistons
Clank of machinery
Liquid bubbles, becomes vapour.
Seems soft and flimsy but powerful
Driving force making shaping building
The fabric of life.


You’ve a Lot to Answer for, Mr Wordsworth

Here’s one I “made earlier”. But it’s appropriate as we get close to St David’s day and the daffodil season. My take on what I freely admit is a splendid poem – William Wordsworth’s “Daffodils.”  I just wish the Lakes weren’t so overrun with tourists.

I wandered brooding like a cloudMB900151259
Whose lowering mass the valley fills,
When down the lane there came a crowd
Of hikers heading for the hills,
Beside the lake, beneath the trees
They tramp, heads bent against the breeze.

As many as the stars that shine,
Munching a Mars or Milky War,

Discarded litter marks their lineMB900151259
Along the margin of the bay,
A hundred – almost – at a glance
Pray, someone stop this fell advance!

 Beside them dogs and children run,
Discordant music rends the air,
Walks with a mob are scarcely fun,
For crowded paths I do not care.
An inward shudder prompts the thought
These crowds are what your poems have brought! 

 Alas! You’ll often hear me sigh
Or curse when in a blacker mood
That nowhere in the Lakes can I
Find poets’ heaven – Solitude!
My mind with bitter rancour fills
I damn your bloody daffodils!