Wednesday Poem: Possibilities ~ Wislawa Szymborska



I prefer movies.
I prefer cats.
I prefer the oaks along the Warta.
I prefer Dickens to Dostoyevsky.
I prefer myself liking people
to myself loving mankind.
I prefer keeping a needle and thread on hand, just in case.
I prefer the color green.
I prefer not to maintain
that reason is to blame for everything.
I prefer exceptions.
I prefer to leave early.
I prefer talking to doctors about something else.
I prefer the old fine-lined illustrations.
I prefer the absurdity of writing poems
to the absurdity of not writing poems.
I prefer, where love’s concerned, nonspecific anniversaries
that can be celebrated every day.
I prefer moralists
who promise me nothing.
I prefer cunning kindness to the over-trustful kind.
I prefer the earth in civvies.
I prefer conquered to conquering countries.
I prefer having some reservations.
I prefer the hell of chaos to the hell of order.
I prefer Grimms’ fairy tales to the newspapers’ front pages.
I prefer leaves without flowers to flowers without leaves.
I prefer dogs with uncropped tails.
I prefer light eyes, since mine are dark.
I prefer desk drawers.
I prefer many things that I haven’t mentioned here
to many things I’ve also left unsaid.
I prefer zeroes on the loose
to those lined up behind a cipher.
I prefer the time of insects to the time of stars.
I prefer to knock on wood.
I prefer not to ask how much longer and when.
I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility
that existence has its own reason for being.

By Wislawa Szymborska
From “Nothing Twice”, 1997
Translated by S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh


In Wax and Fire ~ Daniel Tobin


In Wax and Fire

For Schrödinger’s cat,
and for Jeoffry, Ollie, and Zero, poets’ cats

The dead cat bristles inside its box.
The live cat curls inside the dead cat’s bones.
Galaxies roll through unimagined zones.
Uncertain eyes scan light’s divergent tracks.

Inside the box a hammer stuns the flux
And poison flares along the dying tone.
The dead cat bristles inside its box.
The live cat curls inside the dead cat’s bones

For what might be seconds, might be eons,
While atoms ricochet through space like jacks,
And what is is woven through the helix
Of what’s not. Is it here or is it gone,

The dead cat bristling inside its box?
A live cat curls inside the dead cat’s bones.



Review: The Spirit of A Witch ~ Sarah Jane Avory

Spirit of a witchEver wondered what it would be like to truly understand a cat, every last meow, every narrowed glance, every jab of a paw?

When Briley Forester, a shy recluse and gifted games programmer, is torn from the world and dumped into the village of Maepole, she finds out the hard way. Trapped within a backward world without technology, she discovers that being a witch is hard, and that her grouchy talking cat Smokey knows more about men than she does!

Tricked into working as a delivery girl and aided by an ancient grimoire, only by learning the powers of witchcraft can she hope to return home. Not an easy task for a girl suffering from crippling self-doubt.

But her way home is fraught with heartache and danger, love and despair. The powerful Whitehead family, haters of witches, will stop at nothing to be rid of her.

And lurking within the forest, the dark spirit lies in wait, ready to strike…

2 Thumbs-UpThis is the Authors debut novel, and the first in the Briley Witch Chronicles.  If you are highly religious, or completely against the idea of magic, witches and unusual things happening to ordinary people, you may want to give this one a miss.

I’m going to start in this review by heading straight to the part of this book I didn’t like, and that was the main protagonist.  The fact that I didn’t like her one bit made it a chore rather than a pleasure to keep reading this book to the end.  So much so, it almost received the dubious pleasure of being the first book I have ever left unfinished.  The main character finds themselves whisked from her ordinary everyday life into another world and, while this can be disconcerting and hard to get used to, she complains and moans her whole way through the book.  She is such a negative person, and full of so much low self-esteem, that I felt she needed therapy rather than the chance to discover new and interesting things about herself.  There is one redeeming character in this book, and it is her cat; obviously a magical beast as it provides an excellent balance and provides reality checks for our ‘Minnie the Moaner’.  As this is the first book in this series, I am hoping that Author is going to allow the main protagonist to grow out of and deal with all her insecurities, to develop into a person some readers may like; it is possible that after reading this book some readers may already like her, but she was not for me.

Outside of the dislike I had for the main character, this Author has done an outstanding job in writing this book, it is well written and put together in such a manner that it flows along nicely.  Despite its slow beginning which covers some routes that have been covered before, the Author manages to make the new world she is building seem almost real.  As well as magic, the Author covers certain mysteries in the novels pages that are uncovered and solved as the book progresses; this helps the book become a stronger piece of work and also picks up the pace of the storyline.

I would recommend this book to YA readers and anyone who enjoys a fantasy read that contains a small helping of fairytale.


Review: Dead Men & Cats ~ Aya tsi scuceblu Walksfar

Dead Men

The quiet, agricultural community of Shadow Island is suddenly beset by violence. A dead man and a live calico kitten are discovered floating in an old rowboat in Shallow Point Cove. Then Dan Uley’s bookstore is firebombed. With a black cat.

Both men were gay.

Sheriff Johnson, known to have harsh feelings toward gays, makes no progress in catching the culprit.

Megan Albright and Janie Sampson, a lesbian couple and long-time residents, fear the rash of violence is not over, and question the sheriff’s commitment to investigating the crimes.

When their friend, Dan, is gruesomely murdered, they know time is running out to find this killer for there is no telling who will be the next to die.

But, they never thought the trail would lead to a well-liked young man.

 5 Thumbs-UpThis novella is a debut work for this Author. I also have to mention for those overly sensitive folks again, that this book does deal with matters relating to the LGBT community, so if you have issues with sexual orientation you may not want to read further.  Regardless, or even because of this, I feel this Author may well be on their way to having their book spines rubbing covers with Hazel Holt and Laura Childs in the cozy mystery genre.

This is a cozy mystery of the best kind in this genre that I have read in a long time. The main character leads are both women, life partners, who just fit so comfortably into the role that this type of book demands of its ‘heroines’.  They are both extremely well written and well developed characters, with their back stories being leaked to us bit by bit as we progress through the novella.  There is no sudden rush of information, and no changing of the pace of the way of life these characters live, and at which pace the book was written.  They were so well written I wanted to drop by and visit with them, the next time I headed North through WA State; they were the kind of people I would gladly count as my friends, and enjoy becoming involved in adventures with.

The descriptions of the Puget Sound and surrounding area were exactly as they are in reality.  I live in this area so I was able to visualise where things were, or intended to be. I could see the areas of Seattle that were described; walking the streets and driving the causeway over to the Islands.

Like all books of this genre, it is fast paced and laced with twists and turns that make you think.  The Author also puts a lot of emphasis on her plot development, which is apparent throughout.  This is a gentle book with no graphic violence, profanity or explicit sexual scenes, and with the deaths contained within its pages happening out of the pages, instead of us having to live through each gruelling blow.  This novella does have one major difference to the usual cozy mystery, and that is the victims did not deserve to die.  To go into this more would be to have reveal spoilers, so to find out exactly what I mean you will have to read the novella.

I would highly recommend this book to all lovers of the mystery genre, cozy or not, as it is a fast paced novella, with several twists leading to a surprising conclusion.  I am looking forward to seeing if the female leads in this novella make an appearance in future works by this Author.