Chambers of Bone

Chambers of Bone

The dinosaur. Well and truly buried.
A sedimentary relic. Petrified.
Given to the past; a long time slurried,
muddied-over, laid to rest, fossilised.
Entombed worrier. Stabilised in stone.
Imprisoned posture; contorted, compressed,
a calcified temple, chambers of bone.
A cathedral where hides the dragon’s nest.
The lair, from where darkness is cemented
to shadows; re-dressed in fear and loathing.
Where naked bones are re-fleshed. Tormented
skeletons. Cupboards of ghoulish clothing.
. From the dust of bones the dragons rise,
. to be the carriers of cruel demise.

© Tim Grace, 11 March 2013

To the reader: The dinosaurs’ demise was dramatic but to some extent not as final as their stone graves suggest. In miniature, birds (as feathered remnants) and reptiles (as scaled mimics) echo the intriguing traits of their prehistoric ancestors. And without too much stretch of logic it’s easy to see how with a flight of fantasy we’ve invented the mythical dragon. Skeletons and rattling bones can send a shiver up the spine.

To the poet: This sonnet begins with short sharp statements of finality: the dinosaur is dead. And being so, the dinosaur has become a larger than life assemblage of intrigue and fascination. From ‘calcified temples and chambers of bone’ the dinosaur has given birth to the dragon; a cantankerous creature renowned for having a quick and revengeful temper. Some things are best left buried.

Chambers of Bone

Chambers of Bone
Pictures Sources:

Things of Interest

Things of Interest

Things, nameless remnants, objects in a drawer;
trinkets that tumble out of time and place.
Garage gadgets, artefacts of war;
unidentified objects, out of space,
out of reason, out of function and fit:
oddities, obscurities, curios
long since departed from inventor’s wit;
having lost the memory of ‘who knows’.
Relics in a box, contents in a trunk,
a job-lot of stuff, a deceased estate
to be sold-off cheap, to be bought as junk:
what’s good for nothing makes a paper weight.
. Nothing more nameless than a nameless thing.
. All deserve a title – be it subject or king.

© Tim Grace, 17 February 2013

To the reader: I discovered an eccentric great uncle: the bird man. He was featured in a national display of urban characters known for having an inventive wit related to ‘things’. Uncle Henry Grace, was a bird-listener. He rode the country-side listening to warbles. Fittingly, he then invented his own form of warble-notation to capture distinctive ‘calls of the bush’. Then, he would create tin-whistles that imitated the various cheeps and chirps. A century later they are ‘things’ of interest; curios.

To the poet: In its first-draft this sonnet began with: ‘Objectification, the stuff of things’… borrowed (I remember) from the more contentious notion of ‘Subjectification, the sport of kings’. Quite a nice beginning, but the rest of the sonnet was hopelessly lost in trivial detail. And so, the long task of re-writing began. A complete upheaval takes some effort. Holding on to the essence, discarding all else … that’s the thing.



Shine through the darkness, penetrate the night.
Dawn beneath the shadows that overcast
those slumbering diamonds desperate for light;
uncovered memories, bejewelled to last.
Shine between the cracks of that shattered dream.
Gloss over edges that diminish hope,
polish up the threads of a golden seam;
discovered passions, rekindled to cope.
Shine upon a steel breeze, amend its mood.
Take the black dog and heat its cold intent
with warmth; the antidote is attitude;
recovered talents, refashioned to vent.
. Depression’s remedy is a light touch,
. a glimmer of hope, that will shine as such.

© Tim Grace, 2 December 2012

To the reader: For the discerning adolescent ear, Pink Floyd filled a ‘head space’ that responded to the musical dynamics of depth and complexity. The sound of other bands, including the Beatles, could tolerate the phonic limitations of an old record player. But, to best appreciate a Pink Floyd album it had to be dust-free and scratch-less. With the right hi-fi system, Pink Floyd could transform a bedroom into a theatre of ethereal sound.

To the poet: Pink Floyd’s first album ‘The Piper at the Gates of Dawn’ (1967) contains eight lyrics penned by Syd Barrett. Read as poetry, it’s clear Syd knew how to craft a song; he knew the rules, and had a versatile bank of ‘tips and tricks’ in his wordsmith quiver. As an exercise, I wrote this sonnet as a sampler; at the same time acknowledging the traumatic demise of a shining star … condensed to a ‘crazy diamond’.

Shine Shine
Picture Source:
a Priestley sum

a Priestley sum

What we know of air is a Priestley sum;
makes an experimental masterpiece.
Through simple observation so we come
to learn from nature; wonders shall not cease:
that air might be exhausted then restored;
made stale and then repaired; broken then fixed.
Such are the problems science has explored,
mulled over, pondered on, and stood betwixt.
How so that the planet breathes, breath for breath,
exchanging one gas for another’s use?
How so that nature freshens the smell of death,
converts putrid soup into perfumed juice?
. Through unity all things are so divined.
. Make nothing separate as should be combined.

© Tim Grace, 25 November 2012

To the reader: Throughout life, Joseph Priestly (1733-1804) travelled an awkward, and often uncomfortable, path of self-discovery. A precocious child who absorbed knowledge with sponge-like thirst. A dissenting adult who, through deep faith, sought to unify humanity’s purposeful existence. A revered polymath constricted by dogma and intolerance; a disgruntled citizen. In sum, a brave soul who introduced the world to the deity of science and rational belief.

To the poet: Joseph Priestly was a great writer; a highly respected grammarian, alas it seems not a poet. My exposure to his masterful prosaic-skill was through his writing on the investigation of air; this kid knew how to write-up an experiment. The narrative style is intoxicating; refined and rugged… phlogisticated. The scientific brain exposed for his peers to pursue; and for all else to admire. Surely another canditate for membership of ‘The Science Class You Wish You Had…

Fears Not Dust

Fears Not Dust

Degas fears not dust, but the hand of man.
His art is that of motion not of bronze.
His shuttered frame’s neither still nor frozen.
From moment to moment his art responds.
He seeks the illusion of transfered weight;
forward leaning movements lunging at space.
He seeks expression through a fluid state;
liquid locomotion spilled into place.
See the bathing women, the jockeyed horse,
the ballerinas giving curtain call,
the girls with flowers, and himself of course;
none paint a picture showing life at stall.
. The subtle suggestion of swing and sway,
. Creates the impression of dance at play.

© Tim Grace, 4 November 2012

To the reader: “What’s more static than a statued dancer?” Degas was challenged by the limitations of ‘snapshot’ art. The idea of capturing a static scene brought him little interest. His more intriguing challenge came through art that suggested something beyond the instant of creation. Through pose and posture, Degas gave his subjects impetus; his scenes momentum. Therein lies the power of degas … in every moment there’s fresh potential.

To the poet: Like moths to light, experts love controvacy:”Degas, one suspects, was turning in his grave. Before his death in 1917, he repeatedly expressed concern that charlatans might highjack his legacy by casting his sculptures in bronze and selling them to collectors, and is said to have told his fellow painter Georges Rouault, ‘What I fear most is not dust but the hand of man.'” And that article in Bloomberg Business (by William D Cohan) triggered my poetic interest.


Hastiness – the answer that’s come too soon:
a gift-wrapped solution, an empty shell.
It’s just another song without a tune;
has momentum but nothing to impel.
We are all too ready to jump and leap:
jump to conclusions through hoops of faith.
Too quick to give away what we should keep:
ready to end; too impatient to wait.
Hastiness – cuts loose, all that’s to follow:
severs ties with solutions; tried and true.
Too quick to grab at straws, thin and hollow.
Too quick to surrender to all that’s new.
. Hastiness – not an answer, just a fudge;
. just an assumption, they’ll be quick to judge.

© Tim Grace, 8 October 2012

To the reader: Since the beginning of biblical days, through the wisdom of Solomon, we’ve been advised to avoid the lazy answer; Proverbs 21:5 states that:diligence leads to riches, as surely as haste leads to poverty”. And more confusingly we’re told to balance haste over speed (or is it the other way around?). All very well, but convenience is an attractive lure; the short-cut solution that satisfies impatience often appeals.

To the reader: “How are we to judge without conclusion?” – The good poem reads as fresh and acute; of the moment, forever true. Hence, there shouldn’t be too many indicators of laboured inspiration. Conversely, signs of a rushed solution are markers of laziness. Somewhere, built into a poem, there needs to be both ‘point and purpose’… like ‘dollars and cents’ they are the currency of a ‘reading and writing’ exchange.