Seven couplets

Yesterday JoAnne Growney thought about defining herself by seven objects, but opted in the end for her seven favourite lines of poetry.

When I tried to do the same I found that, in most cases, a single line was too sparse, so I have cheated and come up with seven couplets.

you are the cat’s paw
among the silence of midnight goldfish

rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim
fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings

he that kisses a joy as it flies
lives in eternity’s sun rise

as kingfishers catch fire
dragonflies draw flame

ash on an old man’s sleeve
is all the ash the burnt roses leave

the ghost of electricity
howls in the bones of her face

the light is still
at the still point of the turning world


About Peter Cameron

I count all the things that need to be counted.
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9 Responses to Seven couplets

  1. JoAnne says:

    I see lines by Hopkins and Eliot and wonder, who are your other poets?

    And, as an afterthought, I wonder about pushing the game in the opposite direction. What can be portrayed in 7 WORDS?

    • Roger McGough, Hopkins, Blake, Hopkins again, Eliot, Bob Dylan, and Eliot again.

      I like your new game – I will try to come up with something.

      I have to admit that I surprised myself a bit doing this. I didn’t realise that so many of my favourite lines were about birds and fish. I like birds but don’t have much of a relationship with fish. But McGough’s line terrifies me; it was the obvious starting point.

    • passive,
      impassioned pass!
      passionate? passable?

  2. JoAnne says:

    always busy
    counting, doubting
    every figured guess . . .

  3. JoAnne has completed her seven words to a 26-word abecedarian poem, and for good measure also written another: go take a look, they are at

  4. JoAnne says:

    Thanks, Peter, for the link. 🙂

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