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')
This blog is not, 'Here are my very best poems'. It's for work in progress, subject to revision.
Posts may be updated without notice at any time. Completed work appears in my books.
Announcement (19 May 2013)
I won’t be writing so many new poems for a while — though there will be some. I want to spend more time on revision, and more time working on memoir (in prose!). I'll continue to participate in my online poetic communities, sharing poems already written.
Now these midnight moments
call and flesh the ketch
dusted by moonlight,
at the end of the pier.
That New Year’s Eve we danced
in circles on the sand.
Sand and sea joined flat.
We might have walked straight out
with no dividing breath.
‘St. Elmo‘s Fire,’ he said
pointing, as flame without wind
blew in the bare poles
leaving them clean.
The moon’s long wake
pierced the horizon.
My stepfather gave me boats.
Tonight he’s dying,
I’m far from home.
Twin masts faintly gilded
rise perfectly still
through all my seas, all ships
poised ever since,
a track of light
widening across the water.
morning. First published in Universe Cat (Melbourne, Pariah Press, 1985) Also in Secret Leopard (Paris, Alyscamps Press, 2005) Poets United asks us for a Father's Day poem for this week's Poetry Pantry. I had two dear fathers. As Father's Day in Australia is not until September, I'll save until then a poem about my birth Dad, but here is one for my beloved stepfather. It was written in January 1981, when he was indeed dying, and the final version was completed in September 1984.
Tony Maude's prompt at dVerse Form For All today is the rondelet, a form I hadn't tried before. At first I challenged myself by using a non-traditional meter: dactylic instead of iambic. Quite hard! And the result metrically imperfect. (The space before the last line was created accidentally by Blogger, but I think it works for this poem and decided to keep it.) Then I thought I'd do a traditional rondelet but I made mistakes in the rhyme scheme and number of lines! Finally I managed a traditional one. So here they are in order. Of course they are variations on my current theme of bereavement, which I'm afraid is going to take some time to exhaust.
Now I am dreaming and
you are here lying beside me as always you …
Now I am dreaming and
no tears are streaming and
out goes my hand and it reaches and yes,
back from your death that is waiting and betrays you.
How I am dreaming! End.
the new home is high to catch the summer breezes Phil’s painting it now in six more days we move in there’s a huge rosemary bush
raining in Condong don't take the steep hilly road but up the highway turning in at Chinderah high out of flood range but flat
moving in the wet Pottsville to Murwillumbah and back many times the new garage filling up boxes and boxes and box…
we’ve sorted which desk is whose
where to feed the cats
and how we can beat the heat —
home begins to shape itself
These tanka were written in early 2010 when we did move from Pottsville to Murwillumbah. They were among many tanka written at that time, on various topics. I have only just now selected these out and put them together as a sequence (in the order they were written) so as to submit 20 lines for Poets United's Verse First: Moving.
My text was one of my blog entries, a bit under one and a half printed pages long. The subject was the same as the title of the first poem above. The first page of my text provided this first poem. I used a black marker rather than scissors, to block out all but the words and phrases I wanted to use. Then I rearranged the order until it all made some kind of sense.
But I'm not sure if making logical sense is very Dada, so for the second one I cut it up with scissors as instructed. I soon got bored with chopping it up horizontally, so changed to vertically — but not in straight lines, as I cut around words and phrases. I had printed it on scrap paper with someone else's text on the back, so for this poem I also used what was on the back. As I didn't cut with relation to that text, some of those words had become mere fragments, unusable, but I used what I could. This was a much more playful exercise. I still tried for some kind of bizarre logic, but it wasn't possible to make much real sense out of the cut-up pieces. One instance of the word 'intention' from the second text appeared in capital letters, so I chose that as title for my second piece. See also next post for computer-generated versions of the above, LOL.
I am a cat. I am a secret cat: you can’t tell by looking; you have to know what I am on the inside. You have to know how I slink and flow, and the cunning of my clever mind. I go around obstacles stealthily and with grace. I dart with a single leap to high places, where I can survey the world. I like to keep to myself and observe what is going on around me. If possible I observe unseen. I am lucky too; I have nine lives, or maybe more. I escape with agility from crises. I defend myself with sharp claws; I attack with sharp claws and sharp teeth; I hiss and give low growls in warning. When I am in bliss, I purr, rolling the noise in my throat. When I love you, I smooch against you, rubbing myself on your shoulder or lap. I eat like a cat, with keen appreciation, a little here and a little there, savouring the flavours, the textures, the good, full feeling in my tum. I sleep with pure abandon, curling or stretching, shifting position in one swift looping motion and settling again. When I concentrate, my tongue sticks out just a little, just the tip. When I am deep asleep, I have been told, I snore. I think it is a cat snore: a sort of a grunt, or a slur. I love to be stroked and scratched. This was a writing exercise I did in March 2011. I just looked at it again and decided it's a prose poem.