Word Mule

I always seem to catch the eye
of airport security
(for a woman travelling alone
is a drug mule, apparently).

They rummage through my luggage
while I try to act blasé –
once I even had to juggle
to explain some balls away,

had my scissors confiscated
(though they didn’t spot my herbs)
but I never dreamt my poetry
would leave them lost for words…

“Did you write this yourself?” he asks,
eyes moving over the page.
I don’t know what I mumble
as my mind begins to race,

for I’ve packed two poetry notebooks –
the covers both look the same,
but while one is full of nature poems
the other is – well, less tame.

Is he reading of foxes’ footprints,
an egret, still and serene –
or that innocent little haiku
which everyone thinks is obscene?

He licks a finger, turns a page –
is it mist winding round a birch?
Or that rather rude acrostic –
or something even worse?

He can’t be this keen on kestrels!
His face gives nothing away
as he hands my notebook over,
mutely waves me on my way.

As border experiences go,
this one is truly unique –
I half-expected I’d be frisked,
but I feel like I’ve been critiqued!

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One Ring

(with apologies to Tolkien)

All that is gold does not glitter.
Not all those unmarried will moan.
The single and strong need no pity,
Deep souls are content on their own.
No, I don’t share this coupling obsession;
I’ve got poems to write, songs to sing!
My time is my own, and it’s precious –
I won’t be enslaved by a ring.