The Unskilled Poet (see links below) issues a daily challenge to write poetry based upon a single word. Today’s word is “confession”. I haven’t been to church today. Why? Ennui, malaise, a rudderless sense of not belonging. Thus, the following poem has crept in silently, giving voice to a deep-seated guilt from childhood that I cannot banish. Yet, I know, I am forgiven.

Confession Box
The box,
I lay myself bare
To You
Admit all that I have done,
Or not done.

Telling tales
Out of school
Owning up to lies and deceit,
Curses and oaths,
Disinterest and shame.

The guilt
Drives me back to You
And yet,

I cannot enter.
I feel the forces of Evil
Barring my way,
Laughing for spite.

I must get in!
And confess
And be
Scrubbed clean.

© 2008 – Kathleen Mortensen


Tak! That’s Danish for Thanks!

I just felt like saying it in Danish. It’s a hygge kind of day here, right now. I’m also happy to say that the poem “Days of Hygge” was published in the Danish magazine “Alt for Damerne” just recently. To thank me (as is so typically charming of Europeans) they sent me a lovely, delicate bottle of French perfume. How thoughtful!

The “tak” is sent out to STP at Poetic Leanings for giving me this unique award.

Mange tak! (Many thanks!)

I am supposed to present 3 ideas of what writing means to me. So, here goes:

Writing is catharsis.
Writing is survival.
Writing is rejoicing.

I could go on and on, but I won’t overload you all.

I forgot to mention; I’m bequeathing this award to a couple of people myself ( I can’t give it to STP, though I would, if he didn’t already have it), but I can give it to Nothingman (warning – this is a site of shall we say, forthright expression) and The Unskilled Poet.

10 Verses About Me

I’ve been tagged in the space of 12 hours, to do 2 memes – first 7 random things about me, and then “10 for 10”. Not only that, they want it in verse. I told them I was up for the challenge. I went to bed with some ideas in my head and I was up with the birds this morning to create the following piece for your reading pleasure. So, here goes:


Some folks want to know a few things about me
Where do I begin? What’s intriguing? let’s see:

I can’t start my day if I don’t have a brew
Of English, Darjeeling, or Earl Grey, it’s true!
But I won’t turn you down if the coffee’s just made;
As long as its origin’s truly, Fair Trade.

I’ve been on adventures away from my home;
To Europe, at sixteen, but not yet to Rome.
I’ve travelled around all the lakes of Killarney,
And even bent backwards to kiss the Stone, Blarney.

I dated a dubious bunch in my youth;
Waded, through all sorts of sluggards, uncouth,
And finally connected with just the right mate;
Through, would you believe it? A telephone date!

My favourite films take place in the Wild West
I’m not a chick-flicker, (got that off my chest);
I love Henry Fonda, and Stewart, and Clint,
And even the recent revivals are mint.

I don’t have an interest in purses or shoes,
But I’ll buy out the chocolate and cheeses and booze!
I’m not a real lush, I don’t want you to think,
But Manolos won’t help if you need a stiff drink!

I once used to wear only black head to toe;
On weekends when dark came, to nightclubs I’d go,
With lipstick and liner extreme – Siouxsie-like;
I’d spurn all the boys with a stern “take a hike”.

There are teachers and nuns in my family tree;
If I hadn’t got married I’d probably be,
One or the other – I’d say, sisterhood;
A room of your own, peace and quiet – all good.

A pair of my gerbils so tragically “bought it”;
One chewed off his foot, when a spinning wheel caught it.
The second died badly (though now it’s slapstick)
At the hand of a school-kid who fumbled a brick.

Don’t try to call me or knock on my door
I screen all my calls, and salesfolk I ignore
If you want my attention, then drop me a line
I’ll be happy to answer your message, that’s fine.

You asked me for random and that’s what you get;
There’s plenty more stuff for the next round, don’t fret.
I hope that’s enough to give you just a glimpse,
Of the one called “The Kat”, (Oh, I also love shrimps!)

Kathleen Mortensen © 2008

Friday Flashback

More angst poetry from the 80s (what a wild time that was!) This poem, I wrote in my final year of high school. I invited a “friend” over to work on some homework and after we were done studying and he was about to leave, he accosted me on our carpeted stairs in the front hallway (just around the corner from the kitchen where my parents were sitting having a chat) and surprised me with a big wet one!

These were my thoughts afterwards.

Lack of Interest

The futility
Of his long kiss;
Lingering first,
Then filling
My mouth
With tongue.
While I,
Dwell not
On the passion
Of the moment,
But on when
I shall
Once more…

By Kathleen Mortensen (née Davison) © 1980

Death and Glory?


It’s just that time of year, they say,
When people end it all;
Jump off a bridge or slit their wrists–
The Reaper pays his call.

Still, strange to find a little town
On valley’s edge in Wales;
Where kids extreme, just want to die—
Leave friends to tell their tales.

On websites, postings filled with thoughts
And tributes to their dead;
They’ve gleaned that death is glorious–
From virtual books they’ve read.

Stocked up with sweet condolences
Of life and legacy;
To top yourself is “hip” these days—
So sad that seems to me.

A pop. of forty-thousand head
With seven children lost;
It’s only just a year that’s gone—
Five hangings has it cost.

Some say Bridgend itself’s to blame,
“There’s nothing else to do”;
It’s nearly normal when it comes—
Right now, the next one’s due.

Curtail this pact of suicide,
Their plot to Rest In Peace;
Install controls parental, now–
This trend will not soon cease.

Kathleen Mortensen © 2008

Traveler’s Checks

While on a distant holiday to land of patchwork green;
I got myself run over, in the town– Oh! What a scene!

It started out all innocent—a madcap game of play;
That landed me in hospital by sunset of that day.

It was my bright idea tho’– my brilliant mastermind;
While brandishing shillelaghs, to whack someone’s behind.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t plan on jumping some unknown;
Of course the scheme was always meant for someone of our own.

So, there we were in Irish town–the high street, an incline
And lay in wait for Uncle Tom with Willy (called Devine).

Tucked up inside an alleyway we choked back the guffaws,
But naturally, we couldn’t see, the plan was wrought with flaws.

Then after some small time had passed our will-pow’r it did fly;
We peeked out from our hidey-hole to find they’d passed us by!

It happened then, I recollect; although it’s far away;
I made a dash into the road forgetting right-of-way.

When suddenly before me loomed a rolling, rust sedan;
And there behind the steering wheel–a ninety-year old man!

At least that was my final thought as my shillelagh flew;
I know not where it landed, but I finished black and blue.

As I raised up my heavy head from off the cobbled grade;
I noticed circled round meself, pant-legs from every trade.

Off to the local ‘firmary they carted me about;
A pale green paddy-wagon type, shrill sirens blaring out.

With several stitches in my mouth and outside on my lip;
They sent me forth suggesting I go off and get some “kip”.

So if you go to cross the road in Ireland, with your stick;
Think on this tale and look both ways before you try my trick.

Kathleen Mortensen © 2008

The Bunker


A dozen doves have dug themselves
A bunker from the cold;
Beneath my scrappy bushes blown
I watch them as they fold
Their streamlined wings of radiance
Reflecting golden glow;
I know they’ll vanish from my view
Into the squalls of snow.

As shadows loom, their numbers wane
From fifteen at the height
Of Sunday’s sunny frozen noon,
Ere first of them took flight
From needled beds laid down by pines
The wind-whipped days do clout;
Brown billiard balls they scatter
As squirrels flush them out.

Night gathers round, a chill descends
My feathered guests have gone
Into the dark, I know not where
A fragile branch upon?
To weather there the wicked night,
Heads huddled in their breasts
And wake to greet the warm sunshine
If they should so be blessed.

Kathleen Mortensen © 2008