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.

30 November 2008

After the Spring rains: haiku and things for November 2008


(In response to someone who insisted Beltane is May, Samhain November.)

The night of the dead
marks the turning of seasons
summer to winter.

The fire festival
marks an ascendance of sun
as life is renewed.

Here we're moving now
into the last phase of Spring.
Autumn's end is May.

The wheel is turning
over and over again
this way and that way

your way and my way
the way of the world's turning
its polarities.

The veils thin and part.
Always there will be dying
somewhere, and new birth.


Bird of Paradise Flower

poised in my garden
as if ready to take wing
and enter the light


5th November 2008

As the new day dawns
there are bells, there is singing.
The world takes a breath.


Early November.
Sudden eruptions of rain
turning hot days cold.


True stories

I dream new learning
training as a Samurai
then wake stiff and sore.

The wind howls all night.
Earlier that mighty voice
blasted down both gates.


Again the wind howls
after a day of hard rain.
Clouds cover the moon.


The full moon that rose
bright above the estuary
is now behind clouds.


Huge gardenias
round and white as the full moon
sweeten my birthday.


The same view

Across the world
your water birds in flight
skim my river.

(Response to a haiga by Deborah P. Kolodji, USA.)


Wild, wet, windy, cold.
Where is the Spring we enjoyed
just one week ago?


Reflections of trees
edging the wet black roadway
move too, as I walk.


After the rainstorms
morning is full of pigeons,
insistent cooing.


After the Spring rains
wet grass dotted with clover,
the smells of childhood.


Wind on the paddocks
moves in a wave through the grass:
an inland ocean.


Knee-high again,
the recently-mown lawn –
Spring rain-storms.

13 November 2008

Verse Portrait 63. Occupation: Poet

Disappeared three days
after high-grade grass,

just wandered off
into the dark.

But mostly drunk and rude.
Forgiven for talent.

‘Soul of an accountant,’ remarked
the portraitist, painting that.

Mistook me once
for acquiescent. Disabused.

Poetry was blood and breath.
His words could sing or kill.

Moved, seeking the son
abandoned years earlier.

I came across his elegy
for the young man's drug-death,

telling their whole story
honestly ... wept.

12 November 2008

Editorial aside: number change

On 12 November my age changed to 69 – giving me one more word to play with in these pieces. *Smile.*

6 November 2008

Frida Kahlo

I envisaged her with gardenias in her hair
like those over there on the coffee table,
big splashes of white, and that scent.
‘I think of Billie Holliday,’
said the friend who gave them to me.
‘She always wore one in her hair.’

True, but I thought of Frida,
of whom it is not, apparently, true.
I search her self-portraits. She wore
yellow flowers – daisies
and perhaps chrysanthemums –
and red roses. Seldom white;
and when, I couldn’t tell what kind.

So I look instead at her face
knowing of course the tales,
her life of pain and turmoil
and passion, and most of all love.
I gaze at her expression,
and the set of her head.
Such dignity! She never smiles.


Submitted 7 March 2014 for Poets United's Midweek Motif: Honouring women and women's achievements. (I guess this honours her obliquely, not spelling it right out.)

3 November 2008

Verse Portrait 62. Mary, Queen of Scots

I wasn’t seduced by you
in my youth, despite
glamour, romance and tragedy.
Elizabeth was my hero,
that brave, intelligent Queen
who wrote poems, loved pirates.

But in Edinburgh,
seeing that grim black rock
overshadowing your palace,
I thought of a 17-year-old
fresh from the court of France
with its dancing and dressing up.

Myself, I thrilled to Edinburgh
and the great rock –
yet I almost understood.