The first poem

The original title of this blog was was “The poetry:prose/prose:poetry converter”, taken from the first poem I posted when I began the blog in 2009.  I reproduce it here.  It’s really a poem about poetry. The illustrations are by Hannah Stoney, taken with permission from her blog; I love the imagination combined with precision in her art.



Today sees the launch of a new and exciting product,
made for your pocket or bag:
the poetry:prose/prose:poetry converter.
We call it
the P4C.
Our designers came up with a simple yet brilliant concept:
any idea, charged with emotion or imagination,
can be put into plain language;
but it lives longer, travels farther,
changes more lives
as poetry.

The P4C,
with its powerful processor,
translates instantly from mode to mode.
It comes in chrome and a range of vibrant colours.
It can be personalised with voice recognition.
The P4C
takes a dull thought such as this:
“Well, London looks nice this morning”
and transforms it into
“Earth has not anything to show more fair …”.

It can work in reverse, modulating
“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate”
offering instead
“You know, you’re cool, like you’re really nice!”

When would you use
your P4C?
When would you not!
Complaining in a Chinese restaurant you would say:
“It took less time for Marco Polo’s horse
to cross the great Mongolian plains of grass.
He reached the Forbidden City, claimed his bride,
sailed with her, lost her, then came home and died
in lesser time!”

Making your will? Applying for jobs?
Claiming insurance?
When the facts seem insubstantial you could say
“God looked over the rim of heaven and spoke.
The very sinews of the world were torn.
His voice moved continental plates and broke
the  mirror on the bathroom wall.”

But you can change the settings on
your P4C.
Nervous of emotion? Feeling shy?
Tune it to Understatement.
Although seething inside with:
“Can’t you drive you cretinous Neanderthal!”
You become more diplomatic:
“Clearly you’re a person of distinction.
Our modern world’s too fast a place for you.
Why not try some gentler transportation?
I think you’d find a palanquin should do.”

And when some day, some night, there’s news
that undermines the ground on which you’ve built,
that brings you down,
and  friends enquire routinely how you are,
you need new words.
The P4C
will help you find that urgent equilibrium.
Tune it down;
tune it right down to the minimum;
casually say, obliquely,
with decorum:

“I’m fine, I’m really fine. Another day
and then I’ll get my bearings, chart my way.”

© John Looker 2009



  1. Good afternoon JS … finally made time to reach your website.

    I enjoyed this amusing, clever and insightful poem and also liked the illustrations here. I hope to catch up with other postings on your interesting site soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for stopping by and commenting! I glad you like it – and pleased you like these illustrations too (there are others by Hannah Stoney on her website – see the link).


  3. That was great! I was treated to several episodes of deep chuckles. I admire your clever way with words, and refreshing way of looking at the craft. Those paintings are the perfect accompaniment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s very kind of you. I certainly admire Hannah Stoney’s paintings!


  4. Ah, you clever, clever, amusing poet! td

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your quote at the end is remarkable. Helps me believe in strength. I enjoyed your poem. Always happy to find a new poet to follow.
    Blessings ~ Audrey

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for commenting Audrey. That’s very encouraging.


  6. I did read this, of course, ages ago, and come to it with new and admiring eyes—as is always the case with re-visiting. It is ingenious, written with great care and wit. I sure do wish I had a P4C some days!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, but I don’t think you need a P4C Cynthia, judging by the thoughtful and moving poems in your own book and on your blog.


  7. Good poem, love the flow, I am new to flow. The tech aspect is to the poem is good because I feel majorly conflicted at the moment. I have ditched Dawkins, but that whippersnapper Cox is not far behind. And I don’t want to discount him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very glad you like it Shane. Getting a poem to flow can be a major challenge, so thank you.


  8. John, I just found this delightful poem. (Seems I hadn’t found your blog yet.) This is most enjoyable, whimsical, and of course well-crafted. Made me smile. (Where can I order one of those P4C’S? 😉 )

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Be careful what you wish for, in the wrong hands this could be a dangerous tool. Imagine Trump covfefeing with P4C?
    Some serious craft on this blog, i may have to write some pentameters soon if the feeling takes me. Found you through an essay Robert Okaji posted about the Indra’s Net poets, haven’t read the Collection due to pecuniary constraints, but will track down some of the poets, i have an ongoing dialogue with Okaji, so i trust his taste.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hello Daniel – it’s good to see you here. Thank you. Trump with the P4C? I’m scared merely imagining that!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I love this poem, John. So many truisms and the banter across time from history until now…well, you must have had a very good day with your Muse when you wrote this poem. Brought a smile to my face.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s good of you to comment Renee; thank you. Yes, I think my Muse must have been in a good mood with me at the time!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I loved this poem too with its humour and observation – I borrowed some lines from it for a quotes page – with link to here – if that’s not ok I will remove it
    – please see



    • I am honoured, Laura! That was my immediate reaction, but more than ever having followed up on the link and seen the other writers whose quotations you have chosen!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: