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')

These poems 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.

18 November 2014

On Coffee — haiku and tanka

After looking at beautiful tea haiku in the journal brass bell, I was inspired to create some about my preferred beverage, coffee. I couldn't resist making some tanka on the subject as well.

morning coffee
the daily news
on facebook


black and hot
his eyes


he liked it
‘black as sin, hot as hell,
strong as death’
but coffee wasn’t
the drug that killed him


he orders
two-shot espresso
mine is
skinny cappuccino  
can we be compatible?


black coffee
at my elbow
black cat
sprawled beside me
morning can begin


new morning
strong black coffee
sipped slowly


the coffee tastes bitter
lonely morning


11 November 2014

David at 20

My son David —
slim and golden, beautiful —
looks good in all his clothes now,
and is more adventurous with them.

The red T-shirt lightens him up.
He smiles and talks to me
more than he used to.

He seems very happy lately,
confident and free;
even laughs at my jokes.

He has been growing muscle
working as a builder's labourer
(holiday job) for his dad
in Tasmania, at the caravan park.

Found poem from old journal 14/1/87

10 November 2014

To Describe This Garden

I've been going through old journals. Among other things I am finding poetry I didn't know I was writing — such as this, which I'd now call a prose poem. I haven't altered a word.

To describe this garden — the constant ruffling of sunny trees, light moving on water in the pool, the gloss of green, wide sky, sometimes birds … Swallows that skim the pool even when I’m in it, playing in air and water. Big starlings trotting and squabbling under the bushes. Slow grey doves. A quick wattle-bird with trailing tail.

I like the way the sky takes up a lot of room, even in the squared-off picture framed by my doorway. When it’s dark, and the trees are merged black walls and towers, the sky still soars in all directions. The traffic is almost silent, dogs bark now and then several blocks away, the stillness could be far from suburb and city.

When I swim, I look up at clouds and trees, or stars, and it might be Mataranka Springs, it might be Bali …

— Beaumaris, 15 January 1987

Submitted for Poets United's Poetry Pantry #226

6 November 2014

The Dead Woman

The dead woman
wants to embrace you;
she is watching
as you sleep.

The dead woman
regrets that her children
are no longer babies.
She wants to hang on.

The dead woman
smells flowers with gusto
taking long sniffs,
then tastes them.

The dead woman
has no hat for the sun.
She lets the heat
burst on her face.

The dead woman
in front of the television
sits without turning it on.
She has x-ray vision.

The dead woman
is a camera. She dreams
of a hoard of images
and snaps and keeps them.

The dead woman
bailing herself out of jail
tells herself that the rain
will wash away prison stink.

The dead woman
is laughing
because being dead
is nothing like she expected.

For a dVerse prompt: write from the perspective of dead man, or woman (based on Marvin Bell's 'Dead Man' poems). I wrote this when I was very tired and half-asleep, so as to let the ideas well up from the subconscious. I wanted a different kind of logic from the everyday.

1 November 2014

Moving in a Trance — Erotic haiku and tanka, October 2014

moving in a trance
I gaze down
catch his eyes dancing


my friend poses naked
with copies of our book
flesh overflowing


the scent
of fresh peaches
I succumb


their flesh
yields to my touch
ripe peaches


I watch
his long fingers
caressing a cat


he is leaving
the sun
shines on his hair


thoughts of you
my breasts
thrust forward


the phoenix
rises fiery hot
and I melt
in proximity —
so our lust renews


the naked poet
revealed within these pages —
oh, open the book!


eager fingers
unwrapping  her cover
find poetry


with memory and wish
I imagine


31 October 2014


On being asked to write about what this date, celebrated as 
Halloween (which is based on Samhain) truly means to me.

I would light a candle.
I would stand it
beside your photo.

I’d recall
the daily rituals
of our time together.

I’d set a place for you
at our table.
Tonight we’d feast.

If it were truly Samhain
here in the warm South,
that is what I’d do.
However, it’s Beltane.

The hot, hot summer
is coming. But
the way we ushered it in
my dear, is over.

You are ghost or angel,
more ethereal than smoke.
And I shall be lighting
no fires tonight.

Image: Beltane Fire Dancer by NataliaLeFay (free download)

Note: For those who don't know, Beltane is traditionally celebrated with sexual passion. 

31 Poems in 31 Days (Poewar / Writers Resource Center). Prompt: Completion.

Also a follow-on to the previous poem, which was in response to Poets United's Midweek Motif: Halloween, or Celebrating the Dead.

On Samhain Night

On Samhain night, when the veil is thin,
I collect photos of those gone before.
I set them out for viewing,
I do them honour.

It is the time of festivity for them,
our predecessors — sires, mothers,
siblings, lovers, spouses, friends,
others even longer gone….

How deeply must we reverence
those who bestowed their love
upon us, those who were here
in their lives, living.

They were here in their homes;
they knew us.  They return
to our homes which were theirs
for one night’s visit.

We owe them this: for love, for blood,
for respect, for the proper
sequence of things, for every
bond which lingers.

This is the time which we give
to them, to remember
who they were then, once —
now only ghosts.

Welcome, beloveds. We esteem you.
Here is your spot — sit, dine!
Be with us. When you go, rest
in our love until next time.

31 Poems in 31 Days (Poewar / Writers Resource Center). Prompt: Use no words with the letter a, except one word where it appears twice.

Poets United Midweek Motif: Halloween, or Celebrating the Dead; what does it truly mean to you?  (I addressed the prompt as given. However, this is the Southern Hemisphere! For what this date really signifies to me, see the next poem.)