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.

19 April 2014

Weather Report, Outside and In

It's a warm autumn day outside
but overcast in the house
with the blinds all closed 

against the heat,
which is not extreme.
I forget that Summer has gone.

I'm listening to Rufus Wainwright
soaring on YouTube, singing 
Fare Thee Well ... "oh, fare thee well."

I've shut my doors against 
one who wants to come and rest here 
after his latest hurt.

He said, ”I'm not asking for a saviour
but a friend. If it goes on past a month,
I'll just add my name to the lease."

"Oh no you fucking won't!" I said.
Now I feel as if I'd swallowed 
a mass of thick grey sludge.

He says I'm harsh. I know I'm selfish.
"Have you ever had nowhere to go?"
he asks. "Have you ever just wanted

a quiet place with a good friend?" 
No. Nevertheless.
It's a warm autumn day, outside.


April Poem A Day Challenge 2014, day 18: a weather poem.

18 April 2014

Alternate Realities

When my sons were young
and annoying, 
I'd stomp around the house
crying, in that harsh, metallic voice:
"EX-TERM-IN-ATE! EX-TERM-IN-ATE!"
They didn't laugh.
(Just rolled their eyes and scoffed.)

Now those boys are long ago
grown and gone.
I have the house all to myself
except for my pets.
The cats are sweet; 
they never get jealous 
when I mother my dragons.


April Poem A Day Challenge 2014, day 17: a pop culture poem

16 April 2014

Anti-Elegy

“Guess who died?” I said. “It was on facebook.
Oh, a week or so ago.  The person who posted it
described him as kind and humble.”  We raised
our eyebrows at each other, remembering.

“You know,” I said, “I kept bumping into him
all over town,  that last week before he died.
Not to speak to, though. That is, I chose not;
pretended I didn’t see him. Which I don’t regret.”

“She was a lovely woman,” said my friend.
“She was,” I agreed, and we fell silent, recalling
his wife, who died nine years ago, whom we loved.
“Well — I hope he worked out his karma,” I said.


April Poem A Day Challenge, 2014, day 16: An elegy.

15 April 2014

Bitter Love Poem

Had a sudden flashback today.
Opening the wardrobe which now
houses my winter clothes,
for a moment I saw the ghosts 
of all your garments.

The black leather jacket
with the collar just starting to go;
the maroon blazer you bought
when our marriage was new;
the yellow raincoat from Edinburgh
that matched mine, which I still have; 
the fawn shorts; the grey trousers;
all your shirts and T-shirts.

I didn't keep them.
Some people need a shrine,
but not me. I didn't want
to look at them and cry.
And for all this time I didn't.
(A year and a half and a bit.)

Today, for no visible reason,
I saw them anyway,
hanging there as usual —
only it's not usual any more —
and sure enough I howled,
leaning my forehead 
on the quickly-closed door
and wailing, all alone.


April Poem A Day Challenge 2014, day 15: Two for Tuesday 
— love poem and anti-love poem. This does duty as both.

If I Were Writing in Sanskrit

I’d make curlicues and flourishes. 
It would sound aloud
quite different from English. if.

My Mum said she topped the class
in Sanskrit; showed me old notebooks 
in her schoolgirl script.

Poor little Anglo-Indian girl,
she didn't want to be mixed,
liked to be thought Colonial.

Me, I look white, but I'd have liked
long black hair, dark eyes,
and a smooth brown skin.

Product of my locality and time,
I disapprove of Colonial,
and I sometimes think

I'd like to have learned to write Sanskrit
in a schoolyard under banyan trees
in Puri in Orissa, long ago …


April Poem A Day Challenge 2014, day 14: "If I Were ..."

14 April 2014

Feline

In the dim light
he is hard to see,
the tawny tiger
resting in the height
of the shadowy green
in the sly dark.

Though his face is dark,
his eyes gleam light
not yellow but green,
and I know he can see
where I try to hide,
my fabulous tiger.

And I can see, against the green
of the bedroom chair in which he hides,
my cat in the dark with eyes of light.


April Poem A Day Challenge, day 13: an animal poem. Suggestion: use a sestina. As I am having an insanely busy April, I opted for a mini-sestina, a form devised by Aussie poet Myron Lysenko.

13 April 2014

When I Went Back to Melbourne

When I went back to Melbourne,
I was surprised by trees
greening the railway embankments
and the city streets.  

The wide, sunlit Yarra shone 
under new bridges and old.

Then I strolled around Pascoe Vale,
delighted by roses —
thick, old bushes, well established.

How had I forgotten them
in the intervening years?

My nearest family and oldest friends
live in Melbourne. Good to spend time
with them. Good to see them happy.

"I'm afraid you'll move back,"
said a friend from here.

I texted her from the midst of Melbourne traffic,
as I snuggled into a shawl against the cold
(at the beginning of summer).
"Not a chance," I said.

Still, it's nice to visit.

April Poem a Day Challenge, day 12: a city poem.