Snow Day

It’s grey and foggy here today;
There’s a haze on the hill across the way.
I hear shrieks of delighted kids at play,
As they fly down the hill on their plastic sleigh!

Remember the hill on a snowy day,
Pushing and pulling your favourite sleigh?
Then you’d all pile in—everyone could play!
And you’d run right down what was in your way.

A small dog barks as it makes its way,
Through the haze on the hill where the children play.
Oh! what fun it sounds to my ear today,
As he keeps in time with the plastic sleigh.

I’m outside too, but not on a sleigh.
Dogged ice sticks, as I make my way.
Pushing plastic spade, I am not at play;
How I’d like to be on that hill today!

Kat Mortensen©2011


Mistah Funky

There he goes a-steppin’ in his high-soled shoes;
loves to disco-dance, but he lives to blow the Blues,
Mistah Funk-y.

He’s jes free-wheelin’, no monkey on his back;
slippin’ on his shades, keep the Ladies on his track,
Mistah Funk-y.

He got some feather boas wrappin’ round his neck,
stacksa LP records in the groove on deck,
Mistah Funk-y.

He blows smoke-circles from Gitanes, up high;
drinkin’ Veuve Cliquot, says, it bubbles with a sigh,
Mistah Funk-y

One sad day, he’ll be wakin’ up to find,
this ol’ world’s gone crazy—it’ll blow his mind!
Mistah Funk-y.

Then he’ll pack away his duds, find a stool up at the bar,
stub his ciggy in the tray … sink another jar,
Mistah Funk-y.

In his low-slung Lincoln with the hula on the dash,
he’ll ease on down to N’Orleans, and blow out all his cash,
Mistah Funk-y.

There he’ll end his days by a Bourbon Street lamp-post;
jammin’ to the echoes of an old jazz-ghost,
Mistah Funk-y.

Kat Mortensen ©2009

A Bird In The Hand

A sparrow, my window,
With velocity hit,
Sunlight was so bright,
That it saw not a whit.

It failed to divert,
From pane, it did bank,
The bang made me jump,
My heart slowly sank.

So hopeful, I bounded,
With alacrity, raced,
To find it lay broken,
On my patio, placed.

I saw at a glance,
To one side, its head loll,
Knew that the impact
Had taken its toll,

Then, carefully picking
It up in my palm,
I softly caressed its
Warm breast to becalm,

As if it were living,
Though eyes were shut tight,
No breath was expiring—
He’d flown his last flight.

I wrapped it in paper,
Lay it down on the floor,
Of my shed to await,
A swift burial, poor.

We laid it in earth,
Near Francis, in stone,
Trusting its soul,
To the heavens has flown.

Kathleen Mortensen©2008

I am bereft. Despite having put up a birdfeeder back in the early days of December, we have had nothing more than a trio of juncoes who stopped by around a noon for a few days. At my old house in the city, we had countless birds of endless variety. They made my winter more bearable. I am bereft.


Driving against the winter sun,
I am blind with the dazzle that pings
off windshields and metal things.
My window’s streaked by the wiper’s blade;
there’s a half-moon of lard, hard in my white-out view.
My hands grasp the rubber wheel while I idle at a red;
creep along with my head
tucked under the visor— blinking at the too-bright light.
Rear-mirror reveals another driver,
stealing behind in the same frame of mind – we’re all blind.

Big-boot poised on the gas-pedal, I hope my heel doesn’t stick
to the edge of the mat on the floor—
accelerate me into eternity.

Kat Mortensen©2010

Dear Mother (A Poem For Remembrance Day)

Dear Mother,

It’s me, John, a warrior, made
I’m all kitted out,
With a gun and a blade.
My boots are so heavy,
My helmet’s too tight,
But I’m ready at last,
To join those in the fight.

Dear Mama,

I’ve only a minute to pen
This letter, before
We march off once again.
My boots are so heavy,
My helmet’s too tight,
But the General says go!
So I’m quelling my fright.

Dear Mum,

This stain’s not a tear from your son,
It’s only the oil that I
Used for my gun.
My boots are so heavy,
My helmet’s too tight,
But I’ll follow the charge,
When our foe is in sight.

Dear Ma,

I’m sorry, I’m not coming home
For your Thanksgiving dinner—
I’m off to the Somme.
My boots are so heavy,
My helmet’s too tight,
But I’ve made it so far—
Say my prayers every night.


It’s so muddy and
Cold in this trench,
Each night as I lie in this
Filth and the stench.
My boots are so heavy,
My helmet’s too tight,
But when dawn comes it’s over
The edge, wrong or right.

Dear …

Kat Mortensen©2008


The female feline, ghostly white,
Gazes up at the swirl-swept ceiling.
Fills us with uneasy feeling;
What does she see, a wispy sprite?
(There’s no one there, whom we’d invite.)
I feel a chill run through each bone;
Blanche* stands stock-still—a pale tombstone.
I find the spot, she’s fixed upon;
Was something there? For now, it’s gone.
Were we perhaps, too impolite?

Kat Mortensen©2010

Our cat, Blanche, passed away that fall, maybe now she’s the ghost at our former house.

A Sestina for OSI and TT (killing two birds with one stone)


My First Sestina

It’s never easy trying to write a sestina,
Allowing for the metre and the form,
And having to incorporate designated words
Such as prompts, like denouement and clock.*
I’d like to have it all tied up so neatly,
Causing oohs and aahs because I’ve made it rhyme.

Unfortunately, this one isn’t going to rhyme;
It’s my first attempt at a sestina.
I’m afraid it will be done any way but neatly,
Although I try to be a stickler, come to form.
It’s just this time I’m under the clock,
And sadly, I’ve been left bereft of words.

I’m normally a woman of words;
Out of my hat you’ve seen me pull some rhyme.
This week I’m stumped by denouement, clock,
And this strange notion that I must write a sestina.
You see, lately, I’m obsessed with poetic form–
Which usually works out all so neatly.

I’m type “A”; I get on well with “neatly”.
Tritely, I would say, “I just love words”
(Fenton and Fry have got me hooked on form).
I have always had this thing for rhyme,
But Dr. Seuss didn’t teach me about the sestina–
You know, not many ‘nyms go with “clock”.

I have to wonder whose choice it was, clock?
Denouement is never going to work in here, neatly,
Since I have this fixation with the sestina.
Auden and Bishop and even Kipling had the words,
But I’ve only seen Swinburne make it rhyme.
Lately, I’m just such a stickler for form.

Occasionally, I’ll write something without form–
To me, it’s like telling time without a clock.
Lear and Nash and the early poets loved rhyme.
T’would be lovely to tie this all in neatly,
But I’m afraid I’m lost for words.
What did you expect? This is a sestina!

Take it or leave it, this is the form of my sestina–
A few lines and words in order, precise as a clock.
Shame it’s never going to rhyme, neatly.

Kathleen Mortensen©2009

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*Denouement and clock are this week’s prompts for One Single Impression and Theme Thursday (see sidebar for details)