Shocked at Finding Another Griswold

Griswold found in a poetry task.
Who is that long haired man?
Does he wear a special Griswold mask too?

I am also called a Griswold,
Hair long too, once Viking red now silver.
I know my Griswold mask is forever firmly on.

To be a Griswold
Is a curious thing.
I was named such long ago.

By a jocular friend.
And saying ‘Griswold’ he laughed.
His ridicule kept me at ever so slight a distance.

Dignity slightly offended.
I thought Griswold sounded at best grey,
At worst a grim green forest teaming with wolves teeth.

Comforting to think a strange new Griswold
now walks the Griswold path with me.
Does his shadow also fall dark in that gloaming forest?

Has this other Griswold taken my green eyes too,
Now ghost white, lost in pearly old light?
And does this Griswald now take my fading world for himself?

Has he drunk all my bitter knowledge,
All my joy now flown, lost and forgotten memory?
I wish him well of them, this new Griswold.

Grace at dVerse has set the task of writing a synchronicity. She say that this is a poetic form created by Debra Gundy. Another new form for me! Gotta love dVerse.

Grace says: “The definition of synchronicity is the state or fact of being synchronous or simultaneous; synchronism. Coincidence of events that seem to be meaningfully related. As a poetry form, this consists of eight three-line stanzas in a syllable pattern of 8/8/2. This poetry type has no rhyme and is written in the first person with a twist. The twist is to be revealed within the last two stanzas.

See the dVerse response here.
I noticed most dVersers have used an almost haikuish structure for each stanza. Mine is a bit different. I’m not sure if it is the correct form, but nothing I read said it was wrong, so there it is.
Thanks for reading,
Maxfield von Griswold.


Absence of colour.
Your black heart
twists mine rage shimmering

Mish at dVerse is seeing the world differently. She invites fellow poets to “slip out of our human bodies and become nothing but a color”.

View the kaleidescope here:

The Sneak

I stole this time to be with you
from those more worthy of it
Frowning they warned me
That poetry rubbish
is so pointless
I promised I’d stop
I did I really did for a while
But I snuck just one quick look
and you pulled me tight to you again.

If anyones looking its Frank’s fault I’m wasting time. his dVerse prompt was too enticing.

I’ll steal more time when I can to read how others have responded.

Lay a White Quilt Over Them

Bitter Antarctic star blanket above.
Five men stoic at the end of the earth.
Time, food, water, sanity all gone.
Screaming blizzard snow blanket.
Frozen corpses yellow waxen taut.
Scott’s diary, blanket marketed,
has never been out of print.
Undying Glory blankets any error.

dVerse Blanket Challenge

Merril at Dverse is hosting a blanket challenge to create a 44 word Quadrille Poem. Her prompt is to include the word ‘blanket’.

It is always fascinating to read what others have done with the same prompt.

dVerse Bummer

The Bumbershoot Subumbrella
Taxonomy bumph;
bumbling bumboat game.
Bummer to be Bumelia
bumped to Syderoxylon in albums.
Bumfuzzled bamboozled breeders,
sebummed in their bumptiousnesses,
breed better bumpy blooms,
bumblebees delight.
Munching actalbumin albumose ovalbumin bummalo,
Stumblebum bumpered bumpkin stewbums pluck
bumper plumbum crumbum for bumpier bum fruit.

A bum inspired dVerse challenge Quadrille #110.

Most of my 44 words are new to me. The giff is, of course, dVerse inspired. This is so much fun that I’m doing this when I should be working. Stumblebum me.

Check out the bumper bumptious album here:

Wallpaper 6: I Wonder Where the Birdies is?

Spring is sprung
the flowers riz
I wonder where
the birdies is.

Australia was colonised in the 18th C. But there was an Australasian sulphur crested cockatoo in Sicily the early 13th C. The Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II owned it. A well travelled bird.
Here’s the illustration in the De Arte Venandi cum Avibus of 1241-1248.

The cocky was a gift from al-Malik Muhammad al-Kamil, Kurdish sultan of the Egyptian Ayyubid dynasty.

True story. [i]

Not everyone is charmed by budgerigars.

[i] Dalton, Heather; Salo, Jukka; Niemela, Pekka and Orma, Simo. Frederick II of Hohenstaufen’s Australasian cockatoo: Symbol of detente between East and West and evidence of the Ayyubids’ global reach [online]. Parergon, Vol. 35, No. 1, June 2018: [35]-60. Availability: <;dn=649258641527441;res=IELAPA&gt; ISSN: 0313-6221. [cited 15 Aug 20].

Wallpaper 3: More Questions Than You Can Poke a Stick At.

Day three of my wallpaper challenge. This artwork also has a clear section to the left for files. Revisiting Rousseau’s tigers yesterday reminded me the the great romantic storyteller William Blake. Blake asked A Very Big Question.

Did he who made the lamb make thee?

This poem is pretty much all questions. Or is it just the same question asked in different words?

Mrs Gonzales said, to the 5th form girls studying Blake, ‘You know you can go to the State Library and read this in a book that Blake wrote and painted himself.’ A seventeen year old enchanted by the Romantic poets, off I went at the end of the week as soon as school was out.

They sat me down in a paper and leather scented reading room, replaced my grey school gloves with white cotton archivists ones. I’m surprised they left me alone. I guess they knew a neat little schoolgirl wearing that grey uniform with its hat, gloves and turned down socks would never misbehave in public. Hell hath no fury like a Headmistress spurned.

I was in awe. Good poetry still has that effect on me. I remember that book as clear as a bell. Clearer, really, as I’m starting to go a bit deaf. It was a long time ago. I believed I was holding in my hands something Blake had made himself. His hand on the paintbrush making each mark, his fingers holding the paper where mine held it. Actually, remembering the illustrations it was probably the 1826 printed edition. I could check in the catalogue to find out, but I won’t. To me Blake made that book himself just for me.

‘Do you work with fear and trembling?’ ‘Yes, indeed,’ was the reply. ‘Then,’ said Blake, ‘you’ll do.’ William Blake to Samuel Palmer. Saturday, October 9, 1824.[i]

An almost contemporary opinion is often enlightening. In any era an opinion by someone named Algernon must always be taken seriously. Especially if that opinion is dedicated to Rossetti. Heavy hitters or what? Algernon Charles Swinburne, too, had a question:

‘I found so much unsaid, so much unseen, that a question soon rose before me of simple alternatives: to do nothing, or to do much.’

You can read Algernon’s answer to his own question about Blake:

Blake questioned himself throughout the creative process. Algernon again:
Here also is that most famous of Blake’s lyrics, The Tiger; a poem beyond praise for its fervent beauty and vigour of music. It appears by the MS. that this was written with some pains; the cancels and various readings bear marks of frequent rehandling. One of the latter is worth transcription for its own excellence and also in proof of the artist’s real care for details, which his rapid instinctive way of work has induced some to disbelieve in.

“Burnt in distant deeps or skies
The cruel fire of thine eyes?
Could heart descend or wings aspire?[16]
What the hand dare seize the fire?”

I had to include Algernon’s Footnote 16.
Could God bring down his heart to the making of a thing so deadly and strong? or could any lesser dæmonic force of nature take to itself wings and fly high enough to assume power equal to such a creation? Could spiritual force so far descend or material force so far aspire? Or, when the very stars, and all the armed children of heaven, the “helmed cherubim” that guide and the “sworded seraphim” that guard their several planets, wept for pity and fear at sight of this new force of monstrous matter seen in the deepest night as a fire of menace to man

“Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the lamb make thee?”

We may add another cancelled reading to show how delicately the poem has been perfected; although by an oversight of the writer’s most copies hitherto have retained some trace of the rough first draught, neglecting in one line a change necessary to save the sense as well as to complete the sentence.

“And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet

Could fetch it from the furnace deep
And in thy horrid ribs dare steep?
In what clay and in what mould
Were thine eyes of fury rolled?”

Having cancelled this stanza or sketched ghost of a stanza, Blake in his hurry of rejection did not at once remember to alter the last line of the preceding one; leaving thus a stone of some size and slipperiness for editorial feet to trip upon, until the recovery of that nobler reading

“What dread hand framed thy dread feet?”

Nor was this little “rock of offence” cleared from the channel of the poem even by the editor of 1827, who was yet not afraid of laying hand upon the text. So grave a flaw in so short and so great a lyric was well worth the pains of removing and is yet worth the pains of accounting for; on which ground this note must be of value to all who take in verse with eye and ear instead of touching it merely with eyelash and finger-tip in the manner of sand-blind students.

Stern words, Algernon!

Would you like to hear it read to you?

If you have time on your ears, try this BBC radio play. I’m listening while I make this post. So good so far. It has begun very Alice-like.
The Tyger Hunt By Lavinia Murray
Today is a special day. With a runaway tiger on the loose, young William is out with his sketch pad to capture the magic of a truly enchanting yet absurd afternoon.
A day in the life of the young William Blake, broadcast as part of the Blake season marking the 250th anniversary of his birth

Perhaps you would prefer to be the hand that forms that fearful symmetry? You can use your own hands to make this cut-out tiger. Or you can get some Young Person of your acquaintance to make it.
The black and white version won’t waste your colour ink. You can colour it in yourself, Just do blue eyes a pink nose and feet for a white tiger. Endless creative possibilities.

It’s your own stab at the question:

What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?


Wallpaper 2: To Be or Not To Be?

This week I am focusing on collage. My self-set task is one collage a day that you can use as wallpaper. I’ve decided my theme will be the Big Questions. I’ll try and stick with my favourite literature. Today’s story teller is certainly one of the all-time greats: William Shakespeare.
This wallpaper is designed with an unfussy area to the left. That’s where I like to keep my files and I like it uncluttered so I can see them more clearly.

Perchance to Dream

To be, or not to be, that is the Question:
Whether ’tis Nobler in the minde to suffer
The Slings and Arrowes of outragious Fortune,
Or to take Armes against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to dye, to sleepe
No more; and by a sleepe, to say we end
The Heart-ake, and the thousand Naturall shockes
That Flesh is heyre too? ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To dye to sleepe,
To sleepe, perchance to Dreame; I, there’s the rub,
For in that sleepe of death, what dreames may come?

To Be or Not To Be asked by
Richard Burton’s Hamlet in 1964.

Sometimes having an expert authority explain things helps. Here’s Sir John Gielgud, in 1954 explains why, after years away from the play, he finds a new Hamlet. This is a long interview, 26 minutes with no video, so nothing to see. I listened to it while I was making this post.:

Seeing Hamlet changed Kenneth Branagh’s life.

The last word goes to some of my favourite Shakespeare interpretations. There’s no Hamlet, but the Macbeth is my all time favourite.

Robin Williams brings Shakespeare back to poetry.

Why not revisit the Dead Poets Society? I just got a copy for $1 in a charity shop. Watch the trailer:

To be, or not to be, that is the Question.

Here’s the wallpaper with no words. Which version do you prefer?

Seven Day Challenge 7: Winter wind

Well, I’m proud of myself. I have actually completed a task. I’ve illustrated seven haiku in seven days, finishing with my hero Basho. We were hoping for snow today but it’s just raining. That’s very welcome here.
This work is the exact size of my computer wallpaper. If you’d like to enjoy it on your screen feel free. I like to change my wallpapers often. So next week I set myself the task of a wallpaper collage everyday.
Can I manage to complete another weeks worth of task or will I falter? We’ll know in a weeks time.

Winter solitude
in a world of one colour
the sound of the wind

Matsuo Basho

Challenge dVerse: Something’s Been at That

Something’s Been at That
Something’s been at that
It made us all laugh
All the old ladies said it
Their wrinkles frown at goodies
Nibbled in the pantry
Was it the rats or the children
It got served up either way
When we were young
Clever young things
Imitate a toothless lisp
Worn shoes, failed art, lost lovers
Something’s been at that
It made us all laugh
Crumbled cake edge
My wrinkles frown at goodies
Another old lady said it
Something’s been at that
It made them all laugh

Another dVerse challenge from Lillian reflecting on her favourite sayings. It’s an open post so the other contribtors are really dVerse. Check them out here:

My saying is as old as the hills and tremendously versatile. Try it out, it’s a good fit for the oddest circumstances.

Seven Day Challenge 5: Monks and Violets again.

On my second ever post I made a little flip book. I have had to remove the link due to lack of space. As only a couple of people have looked at that post – thank you for your likes – and that this blog exists to teach me things and that I have spent the day battling with technology to create this page I feel OK about re-posting the images as today’s challenge.

So here are my collages about Monks and Violets.

A Japanese Haiku is a very short story. A small jewel of an isolated thought bubble.

The poets Basho and Ryokan had some stories to tell about violets, too. The itinerant monks who populate these stories were loners. They sought the Divine through isolation.

Challenge: Joy and Diversity

Good red in the cellar.
They buy cheap bubbles
for the quick dizzy joy.

Don’t we all seek joy? Keats got the joy of the small, got the need to store the evanescent and transient. Consolation and sustenance from memory and words.

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o’er-darkened ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
‘Gainst the hot season; the mid forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
All lovely tales that we have heard or read:
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven’s brink.[i]

How good is that?

A hundred and three years later, 1915, the middle of the Great War to end all wars. It would cost you fifteen US cents to buy volume seven number one of Poetry andread Uber Icon Carl Sandberg’s Joy.[ii]

Seventy four volumes of poetry later it would cost you fifty cents for the gloriously named Emma Swan’s take on joy.

Today you can, for nothing more than you are already paying for your internet access, read poetry inspired by Mish at dVerse . She has issued an open invitation to post anything you like. She talks about a simple joy in her own world and the diverse world in the dVerse community. It is so interesting to read the range of difference generated by a simple prompt. Take a look the the diverse dVerse here:

Where I am we are going deeper into lock-down every day. This is my third participation in dVerse. While I’m certainly no Keats, I am learning, having fun and being deeply challenged all at the same time.

I find it quite confronting to put my words and pictures out there. So the encouraging comments and likes from the wordpress community are much appreciated. Thank you all so much.

The last word on joy goes to the great William Wordsworth:

Surprised by Joy
Surprised by joy — impatient as the Wind
I turned to share the transport — Oh! with whom
But Thee, long buried in the silent Tomb,
That spot which no vicissitude can find?
Love, faithful love, recalled thee to my mind —
But how could I forget thee? — Through what power,
Even for the least division of an hour,
Have I been so beguiled as to be blind
To my most grievous loss! — That thought’s return
Was the worst pang that sorrow ever bore,
Save one, one only, when I stood forlorn,
Knowing my heart’s best treasure was no more;
That neither present time, nor years unborn
Could to my sight that heavenly face restore.[iii]


Challenge: Revolution

Mr Dior’s Revolution.

New Look hourglass silk
shushing swirl skirt
sensuous joy in post war drear.

Paris. February 12, 1947.
Ten thirty in the morning.
Where tanks rolled bloody two years before
hot house blooms strewn pretty and bright.
“It’s quite a revolution, dear Christian,
your dresses have such a new look.”

A revolution so singularly extolled.
One man’s freedom fight, another man’s terrorism.
Was Rosy the Riveter happy to swirl her new skirts?
Stay, said my grandfather and the groping uncles,
breed and build a new world.
My mother fled to the ends of the earth.

What will you do when you grow up, darling?
Little girly brain thrilled at volcanoes,
followed continental plates
spinning round the planet.
So wondrous, the expanding universe.
Hairdressing would suit you.
She’s such a selfish girl,
does what she wants.

My nephew follows his grandmother muse.
Designs shushing swirl shirts
for luxury department stores
failing in this toxic covid new world.
His sister, fled back to the dreaming spires
of the old world, finishes her PhD
in the mathematics of contagious diseases.
Atop my banned ivory tower
comfortable in baggy old Chanel.
Bristling, glittering black tweed
arsenal in cotton moth bags.
Armour for an eternal revolution.

Merrildsmith on dVerse has made a call to revolution.

Revolutionary Rules:
– Write a poem (in any form) in response to the challenge.
– Enter a link directly to your poem and your name by clicking Mr Linky below and remember to check the little box to accept the use/privacy policy.
– You will find links to other poets and more will join, so check back later to read their poems.
– Read and comment on other poets’ work–we all come here to have our poems read.
– Please link back to dVerse from your site/blog.

Dilemma: The Multiverse

Shopping in Tokyo
Only I see
the Monster pass

Telling stories rather than listening to them is new for me. How do you decide which version of your work is ‘best’? Do you naturally make multiple versions? Do you have a single strong voice with which you are confident?

Yesterday’s blog was such fun. So I decided to revisit and reinterpret some old works. Ones that, when I originally made them, had a hazy internal sub-narrative. The exercise will be to tweak them to express that more clearly.

In reading the 18th Century poets different translators, different implications.

I am not an enthusiastic shopper. Yet Tokyo is one place in where I do like to browse. Shopping in Tokyo had a few multiverse alternatives. I’m unsure about the one I chose. What do you think?

Shopping in Tokyo
no-one sees
the danger pass

Shopping in Tokyo
no-one sees
the Monster pass

Shopping in Tokyo
Only I see
the marvel pass

Preoccupied shoppers
marvels pass

Preoccupied shoppers
marvels pass

All slightly different in meaning. But different enough to matter? Words, like fractal geometry, could have infinite iteration. Given that multiverse concepts allow infinite variety, how do you choose just one version? Should we hide our multiverses?

There some very interesting theories on why variation arises. For some thoughts about the multiverse have a look at Doctor’s site: