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Christopher Fernie

The latest comments that Christopher Fernie has written.

So Slow to Slumber

Dear Elle,

This is Romance with a capital R... and I am speechless in September.

With all good wishes,


[01 Jul] - Community poll | Posting limit? (HOLD)

Dear Isabelle,

Thank you for inviting views on the thorny issue of over-indulgence in self-expression! PoetBay is, in my expereince of creative websites, one of the most,if not the most, liberal publishers of online creative writing, and leads the field in encouraging and welcoming writers from a wide range of social and cultural backgrounds.

As one who has had more rejection letters from publishers of poetry than hot dinners (I just love salads!), I know how life-affirming it is to be able to submit my work without it being subjected to any editorial judgement or criticism, save for scrutiny in respect of social media responsiblity and standards of decency, etc.

With equality of access comes the challenge of self-criticism: how much of one's work is worthy of ANY form of publication? I have written many poems that have not been shared on PoetBay because I myself have not deemed them to be good enough for such dissemination. And I have been guilty of posting trite and feeble pieces which, in hindsight, should not have been sent in the first place.

Self-criticism is q very good place to begin the process of curbing the understanable urge to be seen and heard on platforms like PoetBay. But for some writers, it can also be a terrible millstone, one which prevents them from having the self-belief to share their work, especially if they regard themselves as novices, I know how I would feel if I joined PoetBay as a 'greenhorn' and found myself competing with the heavyweights of the site, those very fine poets who on opening the first page, so to speak, are seen to dominate PoetBay by their sheer volume of work. I would feel intimidated by such a daily deluge, and perhaps put off posting my humble offering for fear of it being 'lost' in the sea of multiple musings by one or two members!

Perhaps the objective of controlling input might be achieved by a more nuanced approach using a library system of filtering or streaming?

For example, I have also been guilty of failing to use the Haiku Page when submitting that genre of work, and from now on will do so, with a view to freeing up space elsewhere. Perhaps members could be reminded of the availability and suitability of dedicated pages?

Apart from promoting existing facilities, I think there is a need to differentiate between a member's previously published poems which are new to PoetBay and a member's new poems which are being published on PoetBay for the first time. PoetBay is extremely generous when allowing hitherto published works being republished on its site: we both know how strict other publishers are when considering poems for publication.

By all means, embrace poetry old and new, but I think if members' work could be placed in different sections of the PoetBay library, as it were, it would enable the browsing visitor to seek out old published poems or unpublished new poems.

I am sorry to be so long-winded about this important editorial matter, but hope you will find my comments useful.

With all good wishes to you and the family,


June Capers

After a miserable May in lukewarm Lancashire, I have entered June with this ray of sunshine! I have read it out to Jess - our border collie-flower - and she would like you to develop the poem.

Keep capering!


Croc vs Crocus

I found this modern fairytale quite delicious! I admire your ambitious and skillful extension of the haiku to tell a coherent narrative; I have used up to four for the sake of completeness.

I believe groups of samurai would take turns to write haiku to form a 'chain of consciousness' - perhaps this interconnection would make an interesting poetbay challenge?

Thank you again for your account of 'beauty and the beast'.


Life on Mars

Dear Elle,

I love your earthbound orbit around Mars, the triumph of what is over what might be. And I find the robotic repetition of your verses most appealing.

Thank you for reaffirming life on Earth!



Ekphrasis: Poetry & Visual Art

Dear Bibek,

Thank you for your interesting tutorial: if it were a painting it would be an exquisite miniature.

I'll send you the titles of some of my favourite art-inspired poems in a separate email.

Bye for now,


Baslilique de Sainte-Anne-d'Auray

Dear Elle,

I've had my two jabs; can I come?

And yes, the bells are ringing out in praise of your beautiful poetry!




Dear ken,

Thank you for your injection of good cheer!

With best wishes, as always,



Dear josephus,

This moving piece of poetical journalism could very well describe
a new ritual for funereal farewells.

I was also reminded of Edward G, Robinson's 'death' in his last film, which I believe was 'Soylent Green'.



Bushveld Lament

Dear josephus,

A moving memory which reminds us that 'less is more', including the idea of freedom.



not a postcard from paris

Dear aidan,

This a wonderfully 'singable' poem! And I love the lower case luggage...

With best wishes,

Christopher Fernie (aka the Postcard Poet in the UK)

PS Have you ever thought of putting your work to music?

The Process: First Person Perceptions In Real Time

Dear josephus,

I love the linear ladder of your threshold thoughts. If it is any consolation, I 'died' in 2002 following a heart attack. Before the paramedics restarted my heart, I fell into a pitch black pit and a female voice told me to go back as it was not my time.

I went back... to be continued.

Cheers, as always,


Flashes of Christmas Memories

Dear josephus,

This Christmas gem has lit up my dim day! I think it deserves to be set to music and sung as a modern carol.

After three, dear friend...



Vernal Equinox (Triolet)

Dear Elle,

This is an uplifting memory of lockdown, and I found myself 'singing' your poem in the bath! I can see the folkloric quality of your sentiments and am much moved by them.




Remembrance Day Canada Thoughts and Memories

Dear josephus,

I found this poem very moving and, as a new 69 year old, can relate to the personal memories of wartime and post-war events.

Like you, I had a relative- my maternal grandfather- who was rejected for military service on medical grounds. When told about this many years after his death, in 1922, I thought that it was very bizarre that he had been deemed too ill to kill, or be killed!

My late father served in World War 2, albeit for a few months. He lost his arm at Dunkirk and was evacuated back to England where he recovered but would not see action again - much to his disappointment, having been an avid enemy of fascism since the Spanish Civil War. (He had tried to join the International Brigade in Manchester but my mum wouldn't let him!)

Lastly, when I first got married in 1976 my wife and I lived in a large old house in Salford that had been converted into apartments. We lived next door to Mr and Mrs Hammelberger, an elderly Jewish couple. We enjoyed good relations with them, respectful and mannerly.

When we were leaving our flat to move elsewhere. we knocked on their door to tell them of our departure and to wish them both well for the future. Mrs Hammelberger came to the door and listened to our farewells. Before we left. she recounted how she and her husband had had to leave their native Germany in 1938 after months of Nazi threats, including the visit to their home by the Gestapo and being threatened with her own bread knife by one of the visiting officers.

My wife and I expressed our disgust about what had happened to them only 40 or so years earlier. But we both realised that no detached sympathy, however well intentioned, could ever erase the dreadful experiences of our Jewish neighbours.

We duly removed to another part of the city and never saw the Hammelbergers again. But that last encounter had made me understand why my father was so desperate to go to war against Nazi Germany.

I miss my dad and my Jewish neighbours, all connected to the story that must continue to be told.

With best wishes,


Autumn Equinox

Dear shells,

Thank you so much for this wonderfully evocative 'stand and stare' poem.

Kind regards,


An awful lot of rambling

Dear Elle,

poetbay.com, like most social media platforms, is a community of remote souls: we write, we post, we comment, we keep in touch from afar. Who knows how we would have got on together had we been members of a face-to-face creative writing group!

Over many years you have been one of the most autobiographical poets on the 'bay', bringing your life story to the after-dinner table with great aplomb. I have enjoyed reading your work, not least because it is lyrical, romantic and life-affirming.

And you have not finished yet!

With best wishes,


His Frame

Dear in'kwa,

I very much enjoyed reading this poetic 'photograph' of your friend. You evoked the spirit of a beautiful friendship in a beautiful country, a most fitting image from the cradle of humankind.

With very best wishes,

Chris Fernie


Dear Elle,

Whenever I read your words I always see myself watching an art house French film with English subtitles... and I just LOVE being there!

Please, please keep your 'cameras' rolling.



Spike Milligan

Dear Mick,

And thank you for this review of Spike's genius. I wonder what he would have said about the current crisis? Perhaps, 'COVID-19, isn't that a prisoner of war camp run not by Germany, but by many germs?'

Again, thanks for the happy memories.


GOING WHAT WAY (With Thanks To Thomas D Work) (Ederted)

Dear Ken,

I'm with you any old way!

Keep well fellow-traveller.



The return

Dear Elle,

I am moved by the rocking of the ship and the beating of the heart.

Stay safe and well.



Nine Breach


I do believe the experiment has worked, at least for this student of your imagery.

Thank you.


The Crimson Finch

Dear Hans,

Thank you for reminding me so movingly that there is no such thing as social isolation when you embrace other parts of our natural world.




Pit November

Emily, this a wonderfully intriguing experiment and one which conjures up images of April showers, gardens and yummy confections.

Thank you for a charming read over my breakfast!


PS Does the capital 'D' mean that there is a rose variety called 'Duke'?

Today Nuisance

Dear Emily,

With a glass of cider in my hand, do I deduce that your haiku is about the cost of trying to cross the road after downing pints of amber-coloured alcohol? Or is it just my cider talking?

Cheers, of course!


Pinch Stray

Dear Emily,

Like the Times crossword, I am always challenged by your clues. Keep experimenting and I'll keep thinking - what a perfect combination!


Chris cross quiz

Pick the Wednesday

Bravo Emily!

Basho would have been proud of you; he has been a great inspiration to me, a mere westerner still trying to learn the discipline and spiritual essence of haiku. Below is one of my tributes to the great teacher.

I queue for haiku,
Stand in one of three lines to
Read Basho's IQ.

With best wishes,

Chris Fernie

Songs of the Gamelan

Dear Mel,

What a dark and menacing poem to announce your long overdue return to the Bay; I admire this piece of neo-gothic, magic lanternesque delight!

With best wishes,


PS I have truly missed you.


Dear josephus,

I hope Irma's wrath will have become only a strong breeze if and when it reaches Florida. At least you are in a harbour and not at sea.

However, keep safe and well during this perilous time.

With best wishes and God bless,



Dear josephus,

Your wonderfully talented pen is indeed mightier than the sword, and what you describe so eloquently could be envisaged as a humble hermitage. In short, your mundanity has revealed you as a warrior monk... arise Sir Josephus!



O Cloud of Peace

Dear Kathy,

Some say that clouds are angels in disguise; who are we to disagree?

But I know that you are angel... on earth!

With best wishes,

Cirrus Chris

at the park

Strangers on the cusp of friendship - what a beautifully observed moment, drawn by your humanity.

Open Notebook Resting on a Porch Rail

Dear Rob,

As you know, I have had an occidental love affair with haiku ever since I discovered Basho on the London underground. Thank you for sharing this wonderfully evocative scene of studious nature. I shall add your work to my collection of favourite haiku.

With best wishes, as always,



Dear Ken,

Thank you for your rousing manifesto! We are all members of a wonderful cyber-world, a global chat room occupied by real people who respect and encourage each other's attempts to be understood through the noble art of poetry.

We are all brothers and sisters, and like you, I love my poetbay family.

With glass in hand, cheers mate!


riding the river

Dear Kathy,

I'm so glad you have floated by! I've missed you!

The river as a metaphor is a powerful idea and one which has inspired prophets and poets down the centuries. I was interested to see the portrait of your Grandmother heading the text, putting a face to one of the tributaries of your precious life.

With love and best wishes,


Paint Me A Picture

Dear Shannon Ann Britto,

I lost my own father when I was 11, watching him die at home having suffered a heart attack. I was numbed by the shock, and it took several more years for me to be able to articulate my feelings of loss and wonder through poetry (and other writing).

Like you, I still love my father - I myself am 65 by the way - and have praised his memory in several poems. Your poem is a celebration of his life, and as such, he has achieved immortality in your heaven.

Thank you for enabling me to remember my own dad.

With best wishes,


Fountain Pens

Dear Elle,

I love the surreal imagery of this strangely reassuring piece. And the lemon juice in the fountain pen, to write with invisible ink, perhaps?

With very best wishes, as always.



The thing I love about your intimate work is that it is not just about you: no, you say something about us all in your own sensitive and sensual style which I regard as Romantic English
Translated From The French!




This reminds me of Janus, so apt for the time of year, a poem that looks back and peers forward, with its connective tissue of tragic love.


Oh and happy New Year!


The River

Dear Kathy,

This is a very melodic piece which I'm sure could be converted into a spiritual song... amazing grace... amazing Kathy!

Bravo, sister!

Cheers, Chris... with a glass of red wine in hand!


A merican angel

N oble narrator

X cellent exponent

I nspirational innovator

E ntertaining enquirer

T otemic talisman

Y it's YOU!

In the Mist of St Heliy

Dear Elle,

I love the industrial romanticism of this poignant piece; it sent goose-bumps down my spine. See you on the quay?

Cheers, Chris

A Rendezvous to Dine at Five

Dear Kathy,

I find this a wonderfully uplifting and life-enriching piece which
celebrates true friendship and real respect. I can relate to the circumstances of your companionship, having just turned 65 last week.

Poetbay is very lucky to have you as a resident... sad that we can't meet in the restaurant of young old age in reality.

Ah, well, pass the cyber-menu!

Cheers, Chris

poems by november

Dear otp,

Tell Colin from me, this anthology is top drawer... and worthy of publication in rustle-crunching PRINT!

Great reading, pal!


Early Morning

Dear Elle,

This poem is a wonderful evocation of serene sensuality, of benign nature caressing gentle culture: if only the world at large could share your vision of a perfect start to the day.



the very best

Dear otp,

I love the Venetian-masque sensuality and sexuality of this ambiguous 'love' poem.

Cheers, Chris

Lenny and Tony - Sellers of Sin

Dear Kathy,

What a great melodic verse... I read it with a snakebite cocktail in my hand!

I'll write soon with news of Robert Burns and Kathleen Ferrier.

Cheers, Chris


Hi Francesca,

This is the first time I've read your work and am struck by the strong imagery of your words. I particularly like the second stanza in which your inability to talk is caused by you being 'mouthless', a much more gothic image than, say, being merely speechless.

For someone in their 20s, there is a lot of maturity in your poems. I feel there are hints and influences of Italian surrealist poets in your work; indeed, do you write in Italian initially and then translate the piece into English?

Whatever your way of composing, keep up the good work!

Cheers, Chris

No tears

Once again, at the risk of sounding boring, I like the exotic elegance of this love poem; I'm taken away by your sensuous scene-setting and deposited in your architecture of moods and memories.

Thank you for the ride.