Swimming with Dreams and Memory

My childhood dreams and memories remain
through adulthood and old age. My doll speaks.
My toy car surfs that tidal wave, again.
I’m still afraid of darkness, and the creaks
and groans of our sleeping house at night.
My mother, long-dead, beckons from a crest.
She tells me not to cry. Learn wrong from right.
I must believe my mother, who knows best.

These dreams are unsinkable. They float.
They drift away. Sometimes I catch a wish
as it slips by, flimsy like a paper boat,
big as a whale but slippery as a fish.

When I make my bed these visions dive deep,
Forgotten in daylight, remembered in sleep.



My Poor Old Brain

If I could peer into my cluttered brain
I imagine synapses misfiring
like a battery bank with rusty wiring.
There’d be bundles of plaque, which might explain
why words escape me when they’re most needed.
This lump of grey matter between my ears
is where my loves, my hopes, my tears and fears
congregate. Perhaps I have exceeded
my maximum number of uploads.
My recycle bin’s full and choked with spam
it’s snarled as cars caught in a traffic jam.
All forward momentum stops and crossroads
loom. My brain somersaults into rewind.
I cannot leave my memories behind.




When making bread with flour and yeast
complex proteins are released.
Twice we knead and rest the dough
until it’s proved, allowed to grow
inside a tin that’s lightly greased.

Imagine cells inside this beast
like greedy microbes unpoliced,
uprising like the masses though,
__for baking bread.

Add jam or honey to this feast
So pass the loaf if you please
for bread’s like love that’s slow to grow
and must be shared with folk you know
__when breaking bread.



Pippa Kay lives in Sydney Australia. She is a story writer experimenting with poetry. She has had three books published: Doubt & Conviction: The Kalajzich Inquiry (non-fiction, 2001), Back Stories (collected stories, 2002) and Keeping it in the Family (collected stories, 2018). Keeping it in the Family won the Society of Women Writers Fiction Prize in 2018. Some of Pippa’s stories and poems have been published in anthologies, usually following a competition in which she has been placed or short listed. Her website is www.pippakay.com.au or find her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pippakayauthor

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21 Responses

  1. Clive

    Lovely poems Pipa, poignant and evocative. Poems you can go back to time and time again. (I wish I could catch up with this poetry site more often but my new job eats up all my days).

  2. Paul Freeman

    I enjoyed ‘Swimming with Dreams and Memory’ from its scattering of childhood memories up to making the bed in at time of mature wakefulness. The extended metaphor of dreams and memories floating and drifting away on a turbulent sea is a striking element of your sonnet.

    Loved ‘My Poor Old Brain’, too. I think you probably appreciate the poem’s metaphorical comparisons and imagery more with age. I also felt this was more a light-hearted celebration of memory malfunction than an elegy to approaching dementia. Either way, it had a positive feel to it, probably because the imagery had was largely to do with modern day experiences and technology.

    As for ‘Bread’ – a rondeau! Get away! For someone experimenting with poetry, I found this poem pretty phenomenal. I’m heading off now to the kitchen oven to try out your rondeau.

    Thanks for the reads, Pippa.

  3. Paul Buchheit

    Excellent poems, Pippa, very relatable. “Words escape me when they’re most needed” — so true. It’s believed that forgetfulness is due in part to an overload of information in the brain as we age (as you say, we’ve exceeded our “maximum number of uploads”).

  4. jd

    Enjoyed all three, Pippa, being able to relate to all. I found them very clever especially for an “experimenter”. My humble advice would be to keep at it.

  5. Russel Winick

    I quite enjoyed all three poems, particularly the couplet at the end of Swimming with Dreams and Memory, and the metaphors in My Poor Old Brain. Who can’t relate? Well done!

  6. Roy Eugene Peterson

    All three poems are well conceived and invoke my own memories including my mother making bread. The thought of swimming with dreams and memories is very fitting to introduce the entire first poem and then “float” with them. The implied analogy of the brain with the computer in the third poem is well contrived. I particularly like the lines, “My recycle bin’s full and choked with spam it’s snarled as cars caught in a traffic jam.”

  7. Brian A Yapko

    Pippa, it’s a pleasure to read your work. Your “Swimming With Dreams and Memory” is charming, bittersweet and full of wonderful imagery. I especially love the line: “Sometimes/I catch a wish as it slips by…” I certainly relate to your “Poor Old Brain” — the issues you describe are certainly catching! But I was most impressed by your “Bread” poem — as homey a subject as one can find yet treated with the understate finesse of a rondeau. All very well done!

    • Pippa Kay

      Thank you Brian for the encouragement. I’ve been writing prose for many years but only recently started playing around with poetry, especially rhyming poetry forms like sonnets and rondeaus. This website is a good place to learn the craft.

    • Pippa Kay

      Thank you Paul. I’ve been writing prose for many years but only recently started experimenting with rhyming formal poetry like sonnets and rondeaus. This site seems a good place to learn the craft.


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