Now and Then

Now and then, I remember
when we were young.
We made love in a cold room
with plastic sheeting on the window.
We rocked and rolled
beneath the patterned quilt—
(our un-guilty Christmas gift
to each other),
and kept our socks on.

We didn’t care about the blare
of Seger’s “Still the Same”
coming from the flat upstairs,
and “Jagged Little Pill”
across the hall.
We only knew our own
small world under the covers.

We worked temp
to pay the bills,
shopped “no frills”
for yellow-labeled cans
and made plans for the future …

milestones have transpired,
but we can smile
at how happy we were
and how we still have some fire—
we’re still the same lovers …
now and then.

Kathleen Mortensen©2017


The Skating Party

When the ice breaks,
Your skates can’t help you—
Their metal blades,
Only drag you down.
A bulky coat, can soak up water
Like a Bounty paper towel.

They stretched themselves out
On the ice—tried
To grasp her small gloved hands
As they clawed for purchase,
And found none.

Her lids and lips went blue;
Her legs grew numb—
No longer thrashing,
She succumbed to the
Frigid water in the pond.

Grandma tells the story;
She can’t recall the year,
Or the names;
Still, I see a tear
Run down her cheek.

Kat Mortensen©2011

Bird’s Nest Soup


(Image by Parke-Harrison)


My love requires bird’s nest soup,
She thinks it better than the rest.
The quack prescribed it for her croup.

It’s not a soup found in the west;
I’ll need to shoeless, climb and stoop.
My love requires bird’s nest soup.

I scrape and bow at her behest;
She won’t have chicken, from the coop.
The quack prescribed it for her croup.

Some things sure put me to the test;
I jump when e’er she holds the hoop.
My love requires bird’s nest soup.

Arsenic, she might ingest,
If introduced into the goop.
(The quack prescribed it for her croup.)

Of course, you realize, I jest—
(Unless I added lemon zest).
They’d find it, if they checked her poop.
My love requires bird’s nest soup.

Kat Mortensen©2012

The Oppression of Father Time*


(image by crilleb50)


The days weigh heavily upon him.
He hunches against the necessity of change.

Seasons are not his friend.

Just when he’s locked in to the way things tick,
the leaves begin to fall,
signalling the call
to wind down.

Nothing for it,
but to buck up and reach for those hands
that never fail.

Time to pull the tides from their safety nets,
and wash away all traces of the past.

Where’s my wrench, he asks himself,
and unbenches to his duty.

His rumpled suit, his derby—
all camouflage to the naked truth:

Time marches on.

Kat Mortensen©2013

*I have written a few pieces with Father Time as the subject. If you’re keen to read more, type “Father Time” in the search box and click.

Santa Claws

(Tips on how to be a modern-day, store-Santa)

I’ve been a jolly Santa
For thirty years or more.
When dealing with the toddlers
I think I know the score.

So when the bosses told me,
I’d have to work with pets,
I thought I’d have no problems—
No struggle, no regrets,

But nothing could prepare me
For what I dealt with then—
Parade of beastly “babies”
Rats, ferrets—Dobermen;

With scratches on my collar
And urine on my coat,
I’ve tried to keep on smiling,
But it really gets my goat!

Some tips they’ve tried to give me:
Hot bottle for the cat,
A squeak-toy for the puppies
And hang on to your hat!

Look out for lips, back-curling,
Or hair that stands on end.
Not every little “darling”
Is really “man’s best friend”,

Do, gently hold the rabbits;
Don’t drop them on their back,
Else they’ll no more be hopping,
And owners will attack.

They’ll try to keep it from you,
But when it’s done, you’ll stink!
So, don’t tell anybody—
Just pour yourself a drink!

Kathleen Mortensen © 2007

Maelstrom (A Holiday Poem)

Sailing along
on a sea of people
all of them lugging
their loads.
Booted feet dragging—
the laggards
tagging along
in snowslacks,
little legs
as they pass.

We are
the Christmas
holiday undead,
dazed eyes
glazed over
(is it nearly
Checking our lists
fishing in packs
for scraps
of paper
with names
and little ticks
beside them.

Some of us
singing along
to the tunes of carols
all of them worming,
familiar in our ears.
Some are
insidious, inane
and migraine-
yet we hum:
baby, it’s cold outside
and santa baby.
in the cerebrum,
they strike
a chord.

In the middle
of the mall
there’s a swirling
mass of shoppers
going round
and round
caught up
in the maelstrom,
getting ground
up in the
of Christmas.

I stand in the
centre of the
and wait
to be

Kat Mortensen©2009

When Sidney Came To Tea

Illustration by Jessie Wilcox-Smith, 1914

I’m sharing this today with my friend Janette, who blogs her fantastic art and haiku HERE.

Janette recently made reference to illustrations she recalls from childhood books and it made me think of this. I hope you enjoy my foray into the juvenile realm.


When Sidney Came To Tea

One day, when I was lonely, a monkey came to tea.
(We say “a monkey”, don’t we, when we mean a chimpanzee?)

He wasn’t like my other friends who were a frightful bore;
When Sidney came to tea, he simply never made one snore.

He poured a spot out just for me; he wanted to be “mother”,
Then gulped his down with monkey-glee, and poured himself another.

Before he’d even asked if I would “lemon”, or would “lump it”,
(He thought I didn’t see him, but I did—he swiped a crumpet!)

But maddest thing, he smiled and begged a jar of Grey Poupon,
And when old Smithers brought the stuff, he spread it on his scone!

We had ourselves a topping time, tho’ Sidney spilt some crumbs.
I cannot hold him to account, he really is all thumbs!

Kat Mortensen©2012 Protected by Copyscape DMCA Takedown Notice Checker

This poem is the direct result of an image at the now-dormant, “Monday’s Child” poetry site. Such a shame that lack of interest has caused its demise.