a sideways look
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by Mary Cresswell



Santa Sings The Blues


Shall I compare thee to a bottomless pit
whose sides reverberate to “Gimme, gimme,
gimme more – is this all I’m gonna get?”
before I’m bloody halfway out the chimney?

Oft-times too hot thy little pinkies clutch
and too heavy thy dulcet grizzles weigh
to justify my giving overmuch
to such as thee. I can but only say:

How many diamonds can one woman wear?
How many Manolos or Jimmy Choos?
To fulfil thy lusts is more than I can bear
and keep a credit balance to peruse.

I gift thee but thy greed, that glows so steady.
My angel, thou hast too damn much already.




a line, (a short blue one)



How To Dedicate A Scholarly Work


Perhaps you should mark how the apples fell

or thank a village, toutes complete,

or add your mother’s name as well?


Put your audience under a spell —

that can keep your endeavour sweet

or make your swoop a little more fell.


Out in the world, who can foretell

whose recognition is most upbeat?

(Mama, Mama! I hear you yell.)


Dedication could be the chore from hell

Depending on whether you’ve milked the teat.

Maybe just note where the apple fell?


If you suss variation you’ll be able to tell

the top of the flock from its well-dragged feet

or who feels good and who feels well...


Whatever you do, be it on- or off-beat

you can give it a hard or a softer sell

if you know to mark how the apples fell

and say thanks that your mother did so well!




a line, (a short blue one)



Observation [2023]


Busy old fool, unruly moon

Palm Sunday, Passover, blood-red eclipse

so many faces for three short nights

plus ça change

plus la même moon




a line, (a short blue one)



Sonnenizio On A Line By Poe


Science! true daughter of Old Time thou art!

Auld lang syne is better than a rest

and a structured seance brings us joy

if not much sense. Memory in harness

preserves the sighings of the brain

leaving the world an easier place for scions

who grew up deferring to signs and symbols

and other things to which meaning is assigned.


You give us meaning for all seasons

a sensible way to approach truth, to learn

rather than just sigh and wring our hands.

Is this the way to see an end to unsigned poetic waffle?

Let others have their Erewhons and Zions,

but I’ll put my money on the joys of Science.



a line, (a short blue one)



Snog Of Snogs

Which Never Was Solomon’s


You’re a garden enclosed,

O my beloved,

a sheep paddock fenced

a motorway blocked—


completely opposed

to talking it over

to any intrusion

of rational thought.


At letters and notes

you grumble and grunt

e-mails count as

intolerable drivel ...


Might I reach you by phone?

Perhaps just this once

we could sit down and talk

on a cellular level!



a line, (a blue one)


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