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 updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). 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 blog posts as much as possible.

28 July 2008

After the cold night: haiku and things for July 2008

(Several of these in response to posts by MySpace friends.)


In memory of Jane McGrath

What we remember –
more than her beautiful face
and famous husband,
even more than her courage –
is her joyous laughter


This overcast day
my cat on the garden bin
finds one patch of sun.


After the cold night
sunshine, blue skies and birdsong,
my rose opening.


Haiku on Friday

The second Friday
in January last year
a new adventure
began, goes on beginning,
continually renewed.


I water my rose
find her a sunnier spot
between the haiku.


Thanks for the memory!

Couldn't find a rose
so he sent me a pansy
for thoughts ... years ago.


The first bud blossoms
on the first rose I have grown
and cared for myself.



When losing a friend
the memory of a smile –
such comfort, such pain.


Busking fruit seller (netsuke)

Fruit fills the basket
but he holds his real treasure –
the ivory flute.


haiku from between
tradition and tomorrow
forges a new form


haiku from between
tradition and tomorrow

(in response to a challenge to complete the first two lines with a third)


A wild wind last night.
I brought my rosebush inside
but it needs real light.


Green frog on the grass
in danger from careless feet
only yesterday.

Her two gentle hands
lifted and carried the frog
to her safe garden.


As twilight deepens
mountains improbably blue
fill the horizon.


Driving home last night
as rain clouds threatened I smiled
thinking of the frogs.


Had to prise her off.
She was such a clinging vine,
poor little Ivy!

25 July 2008

How To Talk To Inanimate Objects

It might be a tree, or a table. Either way,
if at all possible touch the object
not with fingertips only but your palm.
Touch it firmly but gently, and hold it.
Send love to the object, purposefully.

Stand still and take a deep breath.
As you breathe in, allow your cells to open.
Become a large, empty, waiting space.
Keep very quiet, focused and yet relaxed.
Then feel the subtlety of its message to you.

The message will be a feeling, an energy,
before it is anything else. Afterwards
it may become music or a picture
or even words. Whatever it is, it will come
into your mind like your own thought.

Keep sending love. Otherwise
you will not trust the message, you’ll think
it’s only you: “I just imagined that.”
And keep breathing, feeling your breath
go deeply in and out and your feet on the ground.

Say thank you to tree or table or
anything else you have. Separate slowly,
bringing your energy back in your own body.
If you can, write the message down. You think
you’ll never forget; I promise you will.


(Wednesday prompt: a "how to" poem.)

22 July 2008

My Friend's Son

At my house in Beaumaris
when you were five,
you ran straight down the passage
out the back door, jumped
in the pool and lay still
face down on the bottom.

Your mother, alerted
by profound instinct,
looked up at that moment;
in three strides reached the edge
leaned in and hauled you out.

Now you’re thirty-eight,
and the fault entirely
the other driver’s. Once more
you lie motionless. You have
your mind, your speech
and some use of your arms.

She is rescuing you again
in slower, subtler ways.
This time it takes
lawyer, carers, bedside visits
and long-term practical plans.

When I phoned, your voice
was strong and glad.
You sounded just like you.
And I kept remembering
you were such a funny
wriggly little boy.

(Wednesday prompt: Write a poem to an audience, i.e. addressed to a person or thing. Identify your audience in the title.)

18 July 2008

My November Gift

(Another Robert Frost Challenge – except that it isn't quite. I only have a "Selected" Frost and haven't seen the original of this particular title. It's actually "My November Guest" but my mind kept reading it as "Gift" so I went with that.)

It was life, it was me,
it was the world opening,
a blossom before my eyes
or a window onto a view
or the door to outside.

Life was me, I
was the world, and
the whole world
came alive!

I was born in November.
I was born on the twelfth,
and I always knew
in some mystic way,
that was my day
Johnny Mathis remembered
singing “The Twelfth of Never”
(voice of a fallen angel
rich, sad, hauntingly sweet).
"And that's a long, long time."

And I love November,
month full of grace
full of splendour,
the month that will never
burn down to an ember.

I was born into spring
and renewal, that soft
Tasmanian spring,
late spring when it starts
toward summer, turning
more and more golden,
warming to boundless blue.

I was born on a Sunday.
Mum used to say:
“The child that is born
on the Sabbath day
is bonny and wise
and good and gay!”
(Gay meaning joyous
in those old days.)
I was born to good fortune
and every November
candles are lit, there is cake,
there are gifts, everyone singing.

I was born
into life, and that is the gift
and the world is a great gift
still, and I like after all
the gift of myself to me.
Now I look back, I see
the adventure I’ve been
this long, long, exciting time.


16 July 2008

Into My Own

My place is a small island.
There are many islands,
most of them warmer,
good to explore,
but the one I return to
always in heart and mind
is the one where I was born.

I cannot lose this island.
I hold it within me,
leaf and stone. Now
as I start to be old,
I visit more often – or no,
the island visits me.

I thought it was calling,
I thought I hungered
to walk its earth again,
but when I looked, I saw
there is no more need.

I am always there,
swimming below The Bluff
or rounding that little bend
in Burnie, where deep pink flowers
cascade over a low fence.

I’m climbing with my book
to sit in the fork of the black wattle.
I’m tramping with my staff
through the bush behind The Gorge,
and the nature spirits
move with me.

Yellow roses bloom
in my father’s garden,
and I fall asleep
hearing, like an “All’s well”,
the chimes of the Town Hall clock.


11 July 2008

My Crowded Solitude

(Wednesday Challenge: crowd poem)

The veil wears thin.
Last night a man I didn’t know
walked past me through the living room.
Just visible against the air,
he gave no sign of seeing me.

Short and squat and slightly hunched,
he was wearing a camel shirt
under a red wool vest.
Was he perhaps a gnome or leprechaun?
He looked purposeful, busy.

The night before, as I wrote
a poem for my dead friend Anna,
gone these sixteen years,
I felt her draw close to my side.
I had the impression she was still dazzling.

Most days, the cats have spates
of chasing invisible somethings
all around the house – between the chairs,
up over the boxes in the garage –
whatever-it-is staying, obviously, just out of reach.

Sometimes a group of lights
dances and swoops across my vision,
bright, white-blue, zig-zagging
in unison like connected lightning bolts.
I believe they’re sylphs. I tell no-one.


3 July 2008


I could use one.
The Universe has given me
one broken toe,
a big black splinter
in the same foot
which bled when I pulled it out
(the foot not the splinter)
and now I have to walk on
the sore spot – right on the ball!
(I don’t think so, ha ha,
not if you mean me.)
I keep bumping
the toe that I broke.

My little toe.
I look at the metaphysics.
“The little ones.”
Those fights with my son?
A sibling’s death?
But think — it’s on the left side.
Perhaps my direction …
spiritual direction.
Oh, what am I doing wrong?
All of it, probably,
every damn thing.
I bash myself
mentally as well.

My friends tell me,
“You need to slow down and relax!
You were running.
Stop going so fast,
that’s the message.
You hit a wall in the dark?
So quit rushing about.”
Can it be so darn simple?
Is that all I have to do?
Are my guides yelling, “Stop!”?
Well, it’s like I said.
A vacation.
I sure could use one.