Chapter Two

I’m reading a book
About taking a lover
It’s the first that I’ve found
Never looked in another.

It says in the print
It’s just A, B and C
But, that sounds a little
Too easy to me.

I can follow the line
About a dinner for two
A glass of white wine
(And the sweet words, I knew)

To look in the eyes
At the light shining there
And the note to the wise
Not to make it a stare.

That all sounds good
I’ve started making some notes
Choose only good food
I’m memorising by rote.

Practice your smile
In the mirror at home
Rehearsal is best
If you do it alone.

But how do I know
When I first touch a hand
Which way further to go?
I can’t quite understand.

And if I happen to hear
A gentle, soft, sigh
Is the meaning quite clear
Or should I wonder just why?

Are there signs to observe?
A first parting of lips
Would it be too absurd
If I offered a kiss?

There’s so many decisions
Who knows what to do?
Perhaps, for my wisdom
I should read Chapter Two.

© Frank Prem, 1999



12 months, 400 poems: nova today

A short note before today’s poem.

Today marks 12 months completed since I began writing ‘A Poem a Day’, 400 poems ago with a little fire dance poem.

I originally intended to aim for a month, but so enjoyed the discipline of writing and the feedback I received from readers that I pushed on (and on). It feels amazing to have come so far while keeping to what I think (and hope) has been a good standard of writing.

My aim at the moment is to push on until the end of the calendar year so I have a set running from 1st January to 31st December, but I find I’m running out of puff a little bit and may not get that far.

We shall see!

In the meantime, Spring is in the air. Thank you for reading.

nova today


the first plum white
is a starburst
on the tree

every branch
is a suspense
of waiting
for the right sun
the right day

for the right buzz
of the right bee

can stand no more
no more
no more waiting

and the plum tree
is star bursts

is nova

© Frank Prem, 2017

September 2017 Poem #1: sell the sky

elemental alchemy

Poem #28 from a series of meditations: the Pilgrim

Back to the Pilgrim – Introduction

there is more
beneath the sky
than air and water
fire and earth

alchemy is inspired
beyond the limitations
of coarse elements

listen to the sound
of your inner self
when you contemplate your love

and know
this too
is an elemental magic

© Frank Prem 2005

the Pilgrim Poem #29: the face displayed

who am i? (after the affair)

i am disbelief at the churning
both familiar and strange
of aloneness re-forming

i am the pink petals of a rose
on a bush by the fence
that would have been a gift

i am an urgent need to check mail
four times in a day
and once more after darkness has fallen

i am relief at the stream of rain
running down cheekbones
and underneath eyes

i am the breath that catches
on each occasion
the phone shouts for attention

i am the thespian craft
enacting a set script
of smiles and nods and nonchalance

i am the low register
of deep dirge sounds
accompanying mournful songs

i am the small case letter
whose mark is insignificant
on a new page

© Frank Prem, 2000


a doubt of happiness

Poem #27 from a series of meditations: the Pilgrim

Back to the Pilgrim – Introduction

when you see a person
who is happy
are you not led to think
in terms of the positive
as though happiness
is itself a presence

happiness may actually be a negative
marked by an absence
of questions

isn’t it possible
that the positive side of happiness
is over-rated
while the joyous wonder
of freedom from doubt
lacks the recognition

© Frank Prem 2005

the Pilgrim Poem #28: elemental alchemy

the poem ‘insomnia’

I am
in conversation with myself
talking to
an imaginary you

I call my thought
a stanza
my big idea
a poem
and every word you say to me
is said in rhyme
all the time

I’m imaginary versing
with my unreal you
responding to some thing
you didn’t say

I call your thought
a couplet
your small idea

well bless you
I said in rhyme
and bless you
all the time

it’s fun to talk to you
inside my head
in big ideas
announced at an open-mic
when I can’t sleep

I named my poem
and it was good to read you there
to make me rhyme
all the time

© Frank Prem, 2015

atomic hail and shine

small hail
is leap
and bounding
on the path
that leads to the washing line

leap and bounding
on the grass
that bears its mild beating well

what else
can it do

and as quickly
as this chaos
of bouncing white
(like atoms
in urgent search
of collision)
has begun
so it has ended

and the cloud
that no further need
has emptied
moves on
leaving the sun behind
to shine

© Frank Prem, 2017

August 2017 Poem #34: sun lover



Poem #26 from a series of meditations: the Pilgrim

Back to the Pilgrim – Introduction

oh pilgrim
there is so much
in this place we inhabit
that is without our agreement

without explanation

with no need for our awareness
or involvement

you and I
are mere travelers
regarding the road we walk
with awe and wonder

and if

if there is a purpose
beyond simply passing this way
then that will be played out
in the manner required

in a definition of the purpose
of what we are to do
is not a task assigned
to either you
or me

it is not a factor
in the fulfilment
of destiny

© Frank Prem 2005

the Pilgrim Poem #27: a doubt of happiness

attraction (by the bottle)

but that’s the thing about attraction
isn’t it
it’s not like two magnets

one minute you’re chatting away
good friends
no complications
the next
a look in the eyes
a change in the air
something happens

look around you
nothing to see that’s different
look at her
and it’s awkward
try to resist
and it makes no difference
pulled forward
then you’re touching
lips to lips
maybe a hand brushing the face
a leg making contact
and electricity

you might wonder
what was that
what just happened
doesn’t matter
you can’t turn it back
or turn it off
wouldn’t you just love
to bottle it

© Frank Prem, 2000