I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world,
to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

Some of these poems are autobiographical, some are entirely fictional, and some are a mixture of both. The intention is art rather than self-expression. I don't allow factual details to get in the way of poetry! (I do seek emotional truth.)

They are works in progress, and may be subject to revision without notice. Completed versions appear in my books. Nevertheless copyright applies to all texts found here.
Copyright also applies to almost all photos posted here, though a few are licensed under Creative Commons.
Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your posts as much as possible.

9 February 2016

There Comes That Lull

There comes that lull
just prior to the upsurge.
Breath stops. The whole world
pauses in a long silence.

It seems to extend

But then, suddenly,
the world slams back
in brighter colour,  
more piercing sound.

A radiance, a crescendo
explodes, soars, spreads.

The 'Quadrille – 2' prompt at dVerse today is to write a piece of exactly 44 words, including the word 'lull'. Follow the link to see how others have tackled it.

The photo is mine and should not be reproduced without permission. © Rosemary Nissen-Wade 2015.

7 February 2016


I used to go out the wooden back gate
up the slight rise of the dirt path through the bush
and savour the fall of the sun, soft gold or blinding silver,  
down through the leaves of the eucalypts, in long shafts.

That was when I still thought the home I lived in was mine.

It's Flash 55 PLUS! right now at 'imaginary garden with real toads'. This time the PLUS is to use one of twenty-two words in other languages for which there is no English equivalent. 'Komorebi' is Japanese and means 'sunlight that filters through the leaves of trees'.

Also linking to Poetry Pantry #288 at Poets United

The photo is mine and should not be reproduced without permission. © Rosemary Nissen-Wade 2016

3 February 2016

Finding the Core

'Where would you come back to?' he asks. 'And would you come back as yourself ... perhaps you'd return as a bird?' When I ask this of my inner stillness, dropping into deep knowing, my outer mind is faintly surprised. I don't choose the Tweed Valley, where I have spent the happiest years of my life – where natural beauty and easy friendships nurture me daily, and where I shall most likely end. No, I would go back to the place of cold rain, of slippery frosts and insularity – yet where my earliest friendships were born, and its own particular beauty sustained me. Yes, that island. 

That island, yes; of dark mountains and cold streams. Above all I would go back to Richmond Bridge strangely, as it was not a frequent haunt. But my Dad loved it, and I loved it too through his eyes and my own. That was before I became disillusioned in him. We would pass it on family trips from Launceston to Hobart and back – from one end of the island to the other, so we didn't do it often. (There were not the fast highways then.) We loved its simple arches, its ancient stone, the slight rise in the centre coming to a point. We loved its perfect shape, a lily needing no gilding. (The bridge at Ross is beautiful too, but more ornate.) I would be a bird, I think, perching on that bridge, making a nest nearby. A magpie, able to stand up for itself and its young: killer of snakes, aggressive guard against intruders, feeder of the helpless. A magpie warbling its most beautiful song to wake the morning, and later farewelling the day as dusk descends.

'Who are you?' she asks. 
I am a bird on a bridge 
in a small island.

This photo, by Gabriella of the dVerse team, provided the original inspiration for this piece, reminding me of Richmond Bridge which I refer to. 

Linked to Haibun Monday #6 and to Poetics: Coming Back, both at dVerse, as well as to Poets United's Midweek Motif: Identity. [The concluding verse is perhaps more senryu than haiku. I hope it qualifies.]

1 February 2016

The New Cat

Her back,
a slim violin,
moves before I get the photo.
But I caught
her front view – those long white whiskers
against the over-all black:

(The poetic form is the Cameo, which is syllabic:
lines of 2, 5, 8, 3, 8, 7, 2 syllables in turn.)

Linking to the latest Tuesday Platform at 'imaginary garden with real toads'.

Photo © Angela Junor 2016. All rights reserved.

31 January 2016

Nightmares Wide Awake

In a long cast of moonlight,
the ghosts stood guard at my door.

In the dark around my bed
whispering voices gathered.

I was frozen, paralysed.
Only my mind could resist.

Hours of mental wrestling:
Don’t fall asleep, don’t succumb!

I made a shield. It was real.
I made it with my mind.

I kept it solid all night,
keeping the whispers out –

and the whisperers, and even
the tall, silent ghosts.

All the years of my childhood
the nightly visitors came.

They made me deep and secret.
They made me stubborn and strong.

My photo of Andy Warhol's 'Witch' painting, 
from an exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.
(Please do not reproduce this image.)

Written for the Sunday Mini Challenge, How about the nightly visits? 
at 'imaginary garden with real toads'.

Also linking to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #287.

30 January 2016

Rescue Cat

A keyhole view of you
might highlight your eyes
gazing back with a yellow glare,
or sometimes pleading –
but mostly 

You are in a new place.
You know how this goes.
You've played Pass the Parcel before.
Handed over again,
now you are simply 
learning the new details.

Kindness is usual
at first, or for a while,
but not necessarily 
always a haven to trust.
You'll take your time.
You'll take a lot of time.

A keyhole view might show
a curling paw 
that flexes needle claws,
a full yawn
revealing dagger teeth.
You sleep with both ears cocked.

 Bits of Inspiration at 'imaginary garden with real toads', we are asked to write a poem that's a glimpse through a keyhole.

This is my first poem for my new cat, Selene. Not the sort of cat poem I'd ever expected to write – but she is teaching me.

The photo is mine and should not be reproduced without permission. © Rosemary Nissen-Wade 2016.

26 January 2016

This Poem is a Spider, a Scream, a Regret

This poem is a small spider.
This poem is a woman screaming.
This poem is shame and regret.

This poem is a tickle on my shoulder
just as I’m stepping into the shower.
This poem is brown, with radiating legs.
This poem is a small spider.

This poem is me screaming
(I always do, I can’t help it)
then jumping up and down to shake it off.
This poem is a grown woman screaming.

This poem is a woman stepping out of the shower
looking for the spider’s landing-place (surely it ran?)
then seeing in a corner its drowned body.
This poem is her shame and regret.

This poem is a small spider meaning no harm.
This poem is a woman screaming and not thinking.
This poem is shame and regret, and a failure of courage.

This poem was written for Poets United's Midweek Motif: Courage.
This poem is in the form Boomerang Metaphors, invented by Hannah Gosselin.

Old Happiness

I sit on my tiny front veranda with my cat. Too late to do café writing today, I do it here, with coffee and fruit cake. Dark fruit cake, almost black and very moist.

A great brown bird just flew over, reddish-brown, across my driveway to disappear past my roof. A coucal I thought at first, but no, the tail wasn't long enough. Thinking of shape and size – a small hawk. (Merlin! Is that you?) It sailed leisurely, with some smaller bird in tow like a satellite or an attendant.

I love this time of evening, when the hills opposite become navy-blue and featureless, sharp-edged against the whitening sky. The feathery tree across the road dances in the light breeze.

old diary
words of past happiness
make me weep

(Written 22/5/2015 - 26/1/2016)

If you think you recognise this, perhaps you do. It's part of a journal entry which I have already used extracts from in other ways. Coming across this extract today, which I can't find evidence of having published anywhere yet, I added the verse to make it a haibun. It is of course about my old – now late – cat, Levi, not my new cat, who has not yet generated any poems. (Give it time; she's only been with me a week.)

Shared at The Tuesday Platform, 26 Jan.16, at 'imaginary garden with real toads'

The photo is mine and should not be reproduced without permission. © Rosemary Nissen-Wade 2015.

15 January 2016

"Where Do You Go To, My Lovely?"

He cries as he asks it, 
silently, alone in his dark.
It's not only her head he knows.
His own has the same answers.

He doesn't often pause to reflect.
It's only when he sees her
in the glossies or on TV –
as beautiful as ever.

Then he remembers 
and lets himself remember – briefly –
the dirty streets and the kids 
who were them, once upon a time.

She's doing a lot of things
differently now, he can tell.
She's lost that glassy stare.
Her movements aren't marionette.

And after all, he's glad for her,
who escaped. And forgot him.
Even as he, weeping,
remembers himself and her.

Some poets I read have recently been writing persona poems, i.e. writing as someone else, whether real or fictional. This isn't quite that, being in third person, but was inspired by the idea – imagining the (probably) fictional narrator of the song of the same title. (Link added somewhat belatedly after I realised that people might not know the song.)

Linking to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #286