Other poems

Which to select?  This has a special place in my personal archive as it was my first attempt to write a villanelle, after which I tried quite a few more.

Villanelle: A wine glass and a passing hour

She asks a wine glass and a passing hour.
Time by the hour, wine by the glass, she asks,
To recollect the sweet taste in the sour.
“Fruits of the vine are finer than the flowers,
— A pity we can’t mellow in our casks!”
She asks a wine glass and a passing hour.
“Come sit by me, old friend, and we’ll fill our
Glasses, and recall all that we thought would last,
Recollect the sweet taste of the sour.
And recollect! — do we still have the power
To recreate those feelings of that past?”
She asks the wine glass and the passing hour,
She asks the window, drenched by autumn shower,
She asks the lees left lying in the flask:
Tries to recollect the sweet taste or the sour.
“Time by the glass, my friend, wine by the hour:
They are the two that make (and break) our masks.
She asks a wine glass and a passing hour
To recollect the sweet taste and the sour.

© Trevor Millum
first published in Rhyme Revival 1982

And this one remains a favourite, even though I have different views on plastic Christmas trees now and have even considered a wine-making kit…

We washed your nappies in those days
Despised the new disposables :
Real parents, real responsibilities
To children and the earth!
We rinsed off little baby turds;
Flushed them away;
Dreaded yellow pungent stools
Hard to separate from cloth
But dunked them all in Milton
In the giant off-white nappy bucket,
Put on the lid: did our parental best.
Later on , the bucket held a brew of wine
No one could detect another essence in the nose
A hint of grapefruit, plastic and baby wee
And even when the home made brew was past,
The bucket served. You came home ,my sons,
To a Christmas tree, its roots tight held within
The biggest receptacle that we could find,
Weighed down with bricks and soil
And covered up with gift wrap.
From wee to wine to wassailing:
Always something real.
We never cared for paper nappies
For wine making kits
Or plastic Christmas trees.


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