number nine

Number Nine

He chose to break apart the number nine.
Nothing orderly, as in sets of three.
This was a real split with a broken line.
The rebellious shout of a man set free.
No more through blind faith would he choose to use
the standard voice of an ancient rhyme.
Gone were the muses, the nine Belles of Zeus.
As from this point, his bells would clang not chime.
Why view the world through someone else’s lens?
His kaleidoscope shattered all of that!
Better live at sixes and sevens
than to die in a dead man’s habitat!
. The number nine makes a neat solution,
. but more divine was his revolution.

© Tim Grace, 17 August 2011

To the reader: What does it take to break with convention; I presume, it takes a good dose of passionate conviction? I presume, those who innovate have befriended risk and become comfortable in the presence of awkward acceptance. Yesterday, The Beatles’ White Album had another Birthday; an annual reminder of popular music’s helter-skelter pinnacle. The double album borrows from a vast array of musical genres including the stunning ambient crescendo of Number Nine… it’s all about revolution!

To the poet: The Greek’s invented nine muses to travail the mysteries of their universe; at Sonnet 38, Shakespeare construed a tenth: “ten times more in worth than those old nine which rhymers invocate”. As the master of discontent, using non-conventional means, he creates a disruptive energy; invites the presence of new possibility. Sadly, like most revolutions built upon youthful enthusiasm the verve is soon lost. By Sonnet 76, Shakespeare laments his barren verse and ponders a side-ways glance at new-found methods … and to compounds strange; a noted weed!


number nine

number nine


along comes art

Along Comes Art

With simple rules, as would science render,
we form a universe from cosmic dust.
Then heaven and earth take this agenda
and for art-sake make news of love and lust.
With building blocks in assembled order
we unravel life as would genes combine.
Then for art-sake, and a fancy border,
we give great praise to all of our design.
With rows of noughts to the power of ten
nothingness is scaled to the Nth degree.
Then along comes art, with its brush and pen,
claims emptiness as space for allegory.
. It’s facts reveal an amazing story,
. but it’s fiction steals the blazing glory.

© Tim Grace, 15 August 2011

To the reader: The human brain has evolved to recognise natural rhythms; to enjoy the ratio of shapes and numbers; to orchestrate colours and augment sounds. As measured, facts and figures quantify our universe; ever expanding our bank of knowledge. Buried in this infinite detail is wonderment; the source of fantastic explanation; home of earthly spirits and heavenly gods. We are the story tellers, the picture painters; for art-sake, we are the messengers.

To the poet: If not mistaken, this is the first Sonnet (107) that holds itself to fourteen lines; ten syllables to each. I claim no strict adherence to iambic pentameter. I appreciate the heel-toe (dumpty-dumpty) rhythm of lines in classic formation but reserve the right to wander into other syncopations. I borrow from Shakespeare’s licence; Sonnet 145 is a case in point. Each line of this sonnet is made of eight syllables. And if more ‘case’ is needed, explore Sonnet 126: a twelve lined poem in six sets of rhyming pairs.

along comes art

along comes art

act of compare

Act of Compare

Love writ more lovely than a summer’s day,
less ruffled, less blemished, less deeply scarred,
less the sullied victim of Time’s decay;
alas, the figment of a love-bit bard.
Dreamed far more perfect than is Nature’s deal,
more radiant than any daisy’s blush,
more precious than a gift from Fortune’s wheel;
beyond the beauty of a painter’s brush.
Love so beguiling, takes grip of each breath…
Love so intriguing, bemuses his heart…
Love so enduring, makes nonsense of death…
Love so endearing, it tears him apart…
. Contentment makes most of love’s sweet affair,
. nothing is gained by the act of compare.

© Tim Grace, 27 August 2011

To the reader: We learn to measure through comparison and through this determine our tastes and preferences. We discriminate good from bad on the basis of quality; an intangible sense of excellence. That incomparable ‘youthful beauty’ might outlive the ravages of time, through ‘eternal lines’ is a romantic notion; an admirable claim: ‘Yet do thy worst, old Time; despite thy wrong, my love shall in my verse ever live young.’

To the poet: Alas… the torment of describing Love’s beauteous youthful perfection, with skill enough to defeat the tyranny of Time is nothing less than torturous. Between Sonnet 18 and Sonnet 65, Shakespeare pens every word in beauty’s defence until distracted (sleepless and exhausted) he declares in Sonnet 66 his defeat: ‘Tired of all these, for restful, death I cry (from these would I be gone) … save that to die, I leave my love alone.


act of compare act of compare


staked his claim

Staked His Claim

Boldly… staked his claim to a poet’s brag.
He gave his word… promised Love’s salvation.
And so, with upward lift and downward drag
came the wait; the weight of expectation.
Brazenly… gave rhyme to a poet’s shout.
Penned in red-ink… “Love the ever-lasting”
Gave perpetuity no timeless doubt.
Raised the standard (banner, flag and masting).
But, alas… with hope there came no finish.
no conclusion… no evidence of claim.
Nothing of his promise could distinguish
anything of note… Time he did not tame.
. So awkward is the stumble in retreat,
. much better to be humble in defeat.

© Tim Grace, 29 July 2011

To the reader: In the engine room of life expectation is a key driver, a dramatic tool that motivates and energises. It’s also the mechanism that can let loose catastrophe. Expectation mixed with high-octane confidence pushes the needle in the gauge ever closer to the danger zone. As one needle tips to red, others likewise respond; the system is stretched; margins of error diminish; and finally, all tolerance is gone… the gasket blows!

To the poet: The inevitable unrealised… junk yards. Rusting remnants … failed pursuits. Testaments and epitaphs … comparisons. A full collection of poems laid bare … his best and worst; side-by-side. The full journey with all its trammelling is what makes a full-reading of Shakespeare’s sonnets a rewarding exercise. The intrepid determination and commitment to his cause … for love sake; forsaken love.


staked his claim staked his claim


looked to love

Looked to Love

He looked to love as destination;
as would a traveller to journey’s end.
He looked to love for sweet salvation;
so all hearts broken be given mend.
He sought from love guidance and direction;
to navigate his way to certainty.
He sought from love his soul’s protection;
as guarantee, as life-long warranty.
In search of love he found himself forlorn;
always the wanderer in love’s pursuit.
In search of love he feared the prick of thorn;
and so reluctant, scarcely tasted fruit.
. Too far he travelled and too long he searched;
. void of love’s direction, he leaned and lurched.

© Tim Grace, 27 July 2011

To the reader: To map love would be an interesting endeavour. Begin with its orientation and from there give it latitude and longitudinal expansion. For the adventurous lover, the terrain would need the undulation of daring dreams that hang precariously above chasms of deep despair. For the intimate lover, there’d need to be shaded woods, babbling brooks and caverns carved into dells and dales. With love designed into the landscape, adventure and intimacy would define the perfect lover’s exploration.

To the poet: Shakespeare’s sonnets express themselves through love’s interpretation; they follow the classic humours of disposition, preference, propensity and temperament. The love sonnets are seasonal: hot, moist and sanguine in Spring; cold, dry and phlegmatic in Winter. A sonnet’s lovescape is not incidentally structured, it’s deliberately sculptured to render love’s authenticity; foolish, debased, devoted, tormented, merciful … fair, kind and true.


looked to love looked to love


All Things Perfect

Of all things perfect, none so more
than he who casts his eyes to mine.
In him, I see myself and so adore
the common make of our design.
All things from nothing yet compiled.
An angel formed of pluck and sprite.
He on me, has so been styled;
and so, gives rise to my delight.
I am touched that he would see me
as same; and to my loving eyes attach.
As if forever is but a certainty,
and never more our hearts unlatch.
.    To what does this doting verse engender?
.    ‘Tis a father’s love most mild and tender.

© Tim Grace, 24 July 2011

To the reader: As I do yearn for Spring, so I also long for the return of my youthful prime. I remember myself, not as the looking-glass portrays me now: aged with the deep furrows of time’s decay; etched upon my brow. No, my perception of ‘self’ lives in the recall of an untrammelled field; full of potential, far from the ravaging harvest of sickle and scythe; that leaves me exhausted in a decrepit state of waste.

To the poet: Dear Youth … love me tender… treat me with kindness and fair respect. In Shakespeare’s relatively short life he wrote of life with passion; an earthy, seasonal gift that so soon decomposes; loses its golden lustre. His season of fond recall was Spring, represented by the spirit of Youth and its zest for life. Life’s love found its perfect expression in the face of Youth… beauty’s image was His to bear: bounteous, brash, bold and abundant with promise.


all things perfect