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MY poetry

A selection of my poetry is presented below.


I have published a book

' Looking Into The Abyss Over Tea and Cake',

which contains these and many more 

examples of my written work alongside the paintings they are

associated with, as well as a more detailed account of my background and story

which ultimately informs the majority of my creative work.


At present it is only available by contacting me directly.

For now I hope you enjoy this

small offering!



Twelve golden chairs downstairs -

the last supper before lockdown.


Was someone already dead?  Did they decline?

Whatever it was the air filled with sombre wine.

Visitors wore their favourite clothes,

pompous styled hairdos

all seemed anxious sharing six loos.

One gold, the others marble

nonetheless it did not relieve stress.

Each barely heard what the other was saying

some overtly praying.


They all ate and ate a seven-course meal

it was surreal but they could not appeal.

Instead they talked and gossiped

about the chair that was bare.


Sit up straight!

Elbows in!

Eat everything on your plate!


Speak properly, mouth closed,

around the dining room table.


Sat on a Persian rug I dreamt that it flew

to magical lands of eastern rule.

Beyond the long Georgian window

was the tallest tree.

I would have nightmares if it fell on me.

In the hallway glass cabinets stood,

one with guns and a wooden barrel from the First World War.

The other had twelve bore shotguns that stood proud and tall.

Dad would take them out, clean them

I was hypnotized watching him and

when quite young, he put this great heavy gun

on my shoulder teaching me where to look through to aim,

he would warn ‘beware the cartridge backfiring again!’

Or I could lose an eye!

Quietly sniggering with shock at the thought

gently loading, finally pulling the trigger…

We shot at pigeons together, later plucking their soft grey feathers.


What happens down Yellow Street?

Butchers selling mouldy meat,

mad dogs panting in the yellow heat,

luscious ladies lingering.

Large breasted ones singing,

men dancing out of sight,

corridors, alleyways,

things happening on various days.

I don’t know, I’m not part of their play

what goes on beyond the pathway.

Opening after opening

doors sway, pink, yellow, white days

delicate edge of my raw paint,

tattered and fragile.

Coffee shops stained with whores,

curiosity peers and steers

what happens year after year.

No more fights

with beer and brawl

they still seem to fall

and get up shaking hard

as they sing along with the local bard

“for he’s a jolly good fellow”.




Dark branches, twisting, scratching.

Fickle thorns gently piercing

flickering tongue licking.




Burning, melting, metal

cutting softly into flesh.

Air picks at autumn leaf skin.



Don't help!

Hard, damp, slimy rock

relieved skin etching

a message.



blows it away.

Smoke rising from cracked remains

embroidering signals to

the whispering dance.


After forty years in the desert

he leads her to water.

She sips, licks, parched lips

like a leopard waits

in isolation dreaming

of something so pure it gleams.

It was not snow in the early sun

but the radiance of her risen, loved one.


Her long white robes flowed

across the elephant’s back

to the grains of sand below.

Linen silk spoke softly to her creamy skin.

There was no need to press her thighs,

the elephant’s body did not rise

like a horse or camel riding into battle.  

His reassuring plod placed her into a narcosis nod.

He knew the way.   Her love followed with open hands

philosophising on the grand beauty of each day.


Swaying, praying mammal

swung like a pendulum,

the woman wearing white, ticked

with intoxication, enjoying her groom’s explanation

about a previous incarceration.

The air was filled with heat and scent

that broke this torturous and ugly spell.

Vapours cleansed away the stain

of past hurts and physical pain.


The elephant took its rest -

the handsome man languidly lay

upon his lady’s breast.



Breathing, sighing,

her long tail could not lie,

as it curled closely, 

under a grotesque and glistening rock.

So much pleasure was this erotic new treasure

beneath her sea, the Mermaid of Zennor.

Such silvery flesh and near mini death

awakened by sweet salt singing and breath.

Anxious brows relaxed again,

shimmering fingers soothing my brain.

Her golden hairs electrocuted flesh, erect,

tingling beyond the usual cause and effect,

beyond all science, planets, and sea, beyond

being prince, beyond being me.

Such luminosity, wrapping itself freely aglow,

such delicate treasure I cannot fathom to know.


Still life is not a ghost

and in some ways lives the most,

placed carefully, even playfully

passion fruit sits creatively

with succulent seeds pouring sin

from a battered brown and wrinkly skin.

Some fruits are whole, others closed, open, old

flowing with festivity and colourful fertility.

Morality sealed tightly with abstinence

but all are framed now.


I place fingers around each fig,

cool velvety coats lean

towards each other, some

open, soft, pinky red.

A little grape, stands alone

and one other fig without a home.    

To paint them is quite an experience

they neither move nor require

the usual passion from the flaming fire

and yet…

there is life in them just the same.

I can’t eat them now‘t would be a murderous shame!


Honeysuckle prism,

bitter berry prison,

shadowy temptation with

cherished adoration as we

played and danced to the

harps in a heavenly glade.

Ponies, angels, and devils were displayed.

Dark birds of prey did share their prayers

croaking, smoking, not singing; they stayed downstairs

and from Satan’s hold, recovering, shaking

protected, they were firm and bold

flapping black feathers from the fold.

Brides’ dresses like cranes flew in the dove-white sky

where clouds turned to gold, delighting the angels anew.

Sweetest, purest creatures glide slowly into the snow

Seraphim sing a song only they will know

as she cast their wings to the ice beneath the heath,

leaves like white sleeves wave them into heaven.

Snow shadows a plain, sweet old woman

cast aside, a first love, a true bride.   


A battered old hospital window hung,

small breeze blowing through cracks.

I lay glimpsing her bright blonde hair

as the sun shone in the warm, dry air.

Lizzie was full of zest when I got her dressed,

placing her gently on my tender breast.

Watching her grow was mysterious,

feeling deliriously happy changing her nappies,

impatient to see her walk, hear her talk,

interact more as we played together on Dartmoor,

the parks, toddler groups and in the sea.

Painting, cooking, creating, and reading lots of books,

singing merrily in the nook before bed.

One day, in the sitting room, alone

I called out to her dad.  The midwife soon arrived.

Little Lottie flew out!  There was no messing about!

Two hours and there she was, eyes wide as perfect as a china doll

with Lizzie softly touching her cheek

we sang Lottie into a very, deep sleep.

Lottie slept through the night within a few weeks.

A great observer learner who later loved puzzles

making potions of love with her own tears

placing them in a bottle, labelling all the

ingredients, she would give

this gift to me, as if to pray,

on St Valentines Day.

Lizzie read all the books in school!  She was nobody’s fool

who played hard and fast, by the rules,

ending up with top class tools.

She loved her sister, and they had much fun -

when young.  

Charlotte was sometimes called Lottie or Botticelli, Elizabeth, Lizzie, Lily

or Betty.   A part of their character expressed,

just like choosing tights, hats, and pretty, sunflower dress.

Felicity arrived whilst I had the flu and in a sense was extra brand new,     

born in the sac, sailors tales shared, ‘tis a sign of good luck and it certainly was!

Her head came in and out five times, like a nursery rhyme

before she decided to leave my womb!

It was exactly at noon and not a minute too soon.

Her beautiful face bright red and beaming,

Lily and Lottie screaming with excitement and giggles

their beautiful sister all full of wriggles,

a buoyant bundle of happiness,

our treasure to be loved and adored forever.

Felicity was like electricity full of eccentricity, fidgety,

often excited so people would become ignited and united

into her lovely, empathic light.   

Singing would fill the room,

bright and fancy dressing with her sisters and friends,

never did end.  Despite difficulties and some miseries,

they all remain close, profoundly.

Ten years on another was born, at home.

The handsome son, my only one,

his radiant blue eyes brighter than any sun,

a gift to behold with a personality so bold

it did not matter that he wasn’t as old as his sisters.

His siblings love him so much!

This rare and vibrant personality with gifts

 incredible originality all admired.

His forgiving nature and heart so pure,

an example to us, year after year.


Four wonderful children all unique, gifted and kind,

are the loveliest of creatures you will ever find.


Birdie chirps with fine finesse!

A delicate robin redbreast

watches me, cocking its tiny head

as the pigeon coos a little louder,

and the milkmaid sings on the farm

while the cows wait their turn in the barn.


Sun, sets off the waterfall with its solar panel

like magic unifying nature to humankind

air works its way through silken cobwebs

blowing beautifully with uniform brokenness,

forlorn and hanging limply in the breeze

as if to say, "help me please!"

Each delicate fine thread flutters,

separating itself from the whole.

Flies are trapped where no hungry spider

can feed - without purpose it takes its toll.


The waterfall engages my thoughts

in a polite and gentle manner

as the sun slips in and out. 

Birds sing in chorus sweetly,

as sweet as the chocolate cake upon my plate.


Stones Ginger Wine and me

decline the usual cup of tea.

The green bottle does not fade with time.

The contents are always pleasant, sublime.

I carefully place it in my pocket

snuggled closely to the silver locket.

We walk steadily up slippery steps

canvas dangling from fingertips

jug tilts, we make it through

to the studio without a loo.

I sit before the magnificent easel

sipping sweet ginger diesel

to paint freely ….

Flaws and defences,              

toil and trouble cover the canvas

with a lover's quarrel.

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© 2021 Mary Clare de Pentheny  

All Rights Reserved.

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