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 September 2009

LOLcats Morning

30 Poems in 30 Days: Day 29
Write a poem that gets shorter with each line.

Levi+Freya iz fatcats, greedeecats
alwiz pretends 2 b needeecats.
Hates numeat, roomeat,
doezn’t smell b4 eat.
Roomeat woz off
peepl sez Pew!
4 bigspew
can haz


30 Poems in 30 Days: Day 28
Pick two or three words from [For the Dean by Peter Wild] and use them to start your poem.

My words are "with great stillness" – and the content is not to be read as autobiography, lol!

With great stillness
I sit in my house by the sea,
the always moving sea
roaring at night its threats
to encroach further.

With great stillness
I stand on the cliff to watch
as wind-swept waves
come thundering, yellow
as if carrying sickness.

And the man is far away
with the last of my money.
And the timbers creak
and the eaves rattle
as a storm approaches.

An old woman
with nowhere to go
I wrap my shawl tighter,
send the hungry cats out to hunt
and await the Great Stillness.

29 September 2009

New Light

30 Poems in 30 Days: Day 27
Pick a morpheme and use it to add adnomination to your poetry. 

I've used two: light and mag.

Moonlight and your shining face.
Your light voice murmuring
magical words, that danced
lightly through my imagination,
their meaning magnified.

And your eyes danced, alight.
The image of love, I thought,
but after all more probably delight
in what you might term mischief,
taking it lightly, but I, now
seeing the light, call damage.

Imagine! I thought you majestic,
your head thrown back, your hair
catching the light as you turned
slightly towards the lightening sky
as daylight dawned, soft magenta.

It was a magnificent ride, a flight
to unimaginable heights, away
from the light of reality (that
magisterial blight) but now
the magnetic pull of gravity
returns me to earth; I alight.

The Presence of the Observer
Changes What’s Being Observed

30 Poems in 30 Days: Day 26
Write a poem about a natural event. 

I start my walk to the shops.
Few people along this village road.
A toddler, pushed in a stroller,
spies me going past the other way,
cocks her finger at me and gurgles.
She changes me. I fill with smiles,
waggling my hand back at her,
exchanging grins with her mother.
She changes us all, and
changes our interactions.

I take the upper path, above
trees and river – almost step
on a flattened cane toad
some driver didn’t miss. Think
of the handsome goanna
sprawled across half the road
the other day, his proud head up.
Luckily no traffic there.
I tooted, swerved and missed.
He took off into the bush.

Next day my sleek black hunter
nosed at an open drawer.
I thought he was trying to climb in
(he likes cubby-holes, that cat)
but later he brought out on to the floor
the upturned white-bellied body
of a small lizard, dead.
I wondered then,
does Nature demand
a life lost for a life saved?

I contemplate, too, the woman
who shares her space with wombats.
“They think so differently
about the world,” she says,
finding that charming. “We forget,”
she adds, "That we are animals too.”
I am an event in nature,
like a wombat or goanna.
I am an agent of change,
like introduced cats and toads.

27 September 2009

Extreme Weather

30 Poems in 30 Days: Day 25
Write a poem as that uses every letter of the alphabet at least once.

Coming in from the coast
I thought what a fine morning
the sky clear after last night’s dust,
but approaching Murwillumbah I saw
thick haze along the Border Ranges
the highest peaks almost invisible
ghostly traces behind the white.

As I unpacked the car, while the wind
came in buffeting gusts, I felt it
in the back of my throat, stinging.
Water couldn’t quench that fire,
it wasn’t exactly thirst.

It’s still here, I can feel it now
just as a tickling cough – even though
mid-afternoon I was wracked
by sudden sneezing, explosive,
over and over, and shivers
ran down my back.

I have the central desert
inside my body. I don’t know
if or when or how it will ever leave.
Too much and it might kill me.
So far it is not too much. This time.

By noon we could no longer
see it in the air. The sky was blue,
the sun shone, the day grew warm.
On the television screen tonight we saw
the rapid floodwaters in the Philippines,
rivers through Manila streets
I walked in ’78; counted our blessings.

26 September 2009

I Want

30 Poems in 30 Days: Day 24
Write a poem that begins with the word "I".

I want a little car
that could follow me like a dog.
I like to walk, I need to walk,
but sometimes I walk too far
and then it would be handy
if my car was right at heel
gutter crawling slowly on a lead.

I could ride home happy
sitting at the wheel
as if it needed driving,
my clever little car.
I’d feed it oil and petrol
give it a drink of water
and put it to bed in the garage.

I wonder if it would come
if I whistled?

25 September 2009

Valley of the Incas

30 Poems in 30 Days: Day 23
Write a poem using iambic pentameter.

To Bill and Helen

I caught a glimpse of morning in Peru
through someone else’s holiday account
and suddenly I climbed those slopes again
the steep and winding streets, the blocks of stone,
the mighty, rocky Andes, homes of gods.

He writes “Ollantaytambo” and I thrill
remembering the amphitheatre there
and how I lay full length on one flat stone
and opened to the sun, while somewhere close
an Indian man played softly on a flute.

Another tourist came and gawped at me.
“The sacrificial altar isn’t here,”
he said. “You’ve got it wrong.” I turned my head
and went on with my ritual, silently
communing with the Apu of that place.

In Aquas Calientes when we strolled
along the river path to those hot springs
in nothing but our swimsuits and our towels,
it was the locals gaped (at work below
breaking up the rocks to clear the stream).

At Machu Picchu only half a day,
I sat beside a spindly little tree
alongside one great boulder on the grass
and watched the climbers from the Inca Trail
descend into the ruins single file.

We’d been through fire-black areas at height
and looked across to Wiracocha’s face
emblazoned on the great peak opposite.
I, with my fear of heights, had almost pranced
around those paths and ledges, those deep drops.

The shaman whom we met was prophesied.
It’s nice to read he still has that same shop
where we sat down eleven years ago
to take our journey to the jaguar cave,
and afterwards we wept as we embraced.

Those boys we knew are men already now,
the orphans of the streets who helped us learn
the good cheap cafes where the locals ate
and how to not say “good” when we meant “well” –
their English better than our Español.

The Urubamba River frothed and seethed
beside the trainline for a certain way
and glaciers gleamed along the topmost peaks.
Inside stone walls now topless we could hear
the screaming victims of the sacrifice
loud in our heads, and clapped hands to our ears.

We talked with healers, three, just newly trained.
“Show us your way,” they said, “and witness ours.”
They stood and prayed. We joined them. Sparks of light
danced across their palms and ours too.
The older woman channelled messages.

“Return!” the angels said. “They love you here.”
And down in deepest jungle lies the skull
of amethyst, that Andrew is to guard.
But that is in another time, or else
his spirit guards it, being everywhere.

I tossed into the ocean one black stone
hollowed on the top, that I brought back –
a shallow dish perhaps, for catching blood.
At any rate, it seemed to make us ill
and once it left, so did our heaviness.

Eleven years. Jaguar, condor, snake
were my protectors there, guiding my steps,
and still would come, but now I seldom call.
We do return in dreams, but otherwise
Australia is home; this too is good

23 September 2009

Dark Sky in Daylight

30 Poems in 30 Days
Write a poem in which a similar or identical phrase 
is repeated three or more times throughout the poem.

Once upon a time
this was a lush continent
but that was long ago.
Now we have drought.

Our dry inland “outback”
dry like this for centuries
became that way long ago.
Now we have desert.

Today there’s a haze
thickening the whole eastern sky.
Wind and fire outback yesterday,
now we have dust.

We have it here
far from the red centre,
blown all that way yesterday.
Now we have darkness.

Written and posted as it's happening, 
Wed. 23rd, 12:37 in the afternoon.

Two Equinox Tanka

30 Poems in 30 Days: Day 21
September 21st is the last day of summer in the northern hemisphere and the last day of winter in the southern hemisphere. With that in mind, write a poem in which the seasons play a role.

As I get the prompts a day early due to the time difference, this again coincided neatly with my regular "Tanka on Tuesday" efforts, already on that subject:

it’s Spring Equinox
here in the South of the world
a time of balance
between the light and the dark
then new life starts as light grows

sunshine and thunder
wind and the smell of new rain
from a warm blue sky
and the blind vine thrusting up
seeking light and sustenance

Don't Cry

30 Poems in 30 Days: Day 20
Write a poem that begins with a line of advice or instruction.

But I need my tears
for the hurt –
to speak my hurt,
to show you and
to take my pain away.

I’ll cry it out
until I’ve used up
all my breath,
until I’m worn out
from crying.

Then I’ll fall into
a deep sleep
and when I wake up,
I’ll be calm.
I’ll feel new.

Don’t try to take away
my fierce tears,
my needful tears,
my gentle tears.
They’re mine.

21 September 2009

This Evening

30 Poems in 30 Days: Day 19
Write a poem that begins and ends with three single syllable words.

Dark comes down.
What’s that noise?
Ah, it’s rain, fresh
rain, heavy, cooling the air.
The heat became thick
as the afternoon wore on,
like a blanket pressing.

Rain, welcome rain,
as night falls, air
you  can breathe again.
Dry brown plants
plump up, stop sagging,
stop dragging limp leaves
along the ground.

But I’m tired
from the hot day, listless,
reluctant to move –
and from anger. It takes
much energy on any day
to keep being furious, why
don’t I let it go?

It has me, I can’t
shake it. I know
this is not the way, I
know I risk loss, might be
sorry later – don’t care.
The rain evaporates too quickly,
dark comes down.

"Get a Life"

30 Poems in 30 Days: Day 18
Write a poem in the form of a letter (epistle).

For the sake of the exercise, I've taken personally a comment which was not actually directed at me. And because this piece is long and prosey, I've at least created a pattern of words per line: 4/4/3)

Dear CyberFriend, thank you
for this excellent advice.
I also liked
the suggestion of hobbies:
speed-dating, you thought,
or the gym.
I’ll certainly try hard
to fit something in
between making poems,
running writers’ groups online
and also off,
arranging my trip interstate
for a featured performance
this coming December,
regretfully declining the latest
invitation back to Texas
for the festivals,
planning my new course
for the Community College
in “Brilliant Blogging”,
editing a friend’s website      
as a gift because
I like him,
editing a student’s assignments
for the lovely money
(liking her too),    
visiting a sick cat
an hour’s drive away
to give Reiki,
afterwards having a swim
in the grateful owner’s
heated inground pool,
attending Tai Chi classes
weekly during school term,
taking long walks
on the local beach,
doing beginners’ weight training
with my husband,
being his official carer
and usually his chauffeur,
taking the Minutes
of Neighbourhood Association meetings
monthly as their Secretary,
reading my way
through the library books
piled beside my bed
and constantly changing,
rewriting my Tarot course,
testing the proposed upgrade
as I go
on the current students,
working at the markets
giving psychic readings
three Sundays a month,
doing daily magickal rituals
which I love,
casting spells as needed,
interacting with nature spirits
and with angels,
looking after my cats,
sometimes cleaning the house,
pruning and weeding
the resurgent Spring garden,
waiting again for buds
on the rosebush –
that twice yearly miracle
both Spring and Autumn
(just add water),
assisting a writing student
who decided to produce
a class anthology,
taking a car-less friend
on fortnightly shopping trips,
giving budgeting advice,
having a monthly massage,
meeting friends for coffee,
going to movies,
watching favourite TV shows,
also catching old movies
now on DVD,
talking to old friends
on email or facebook,
making new ones
on MySpace and Twitter,
discovering all the ways
of cyber activism
e.g. for the Iranians,
Aung San Suu Kyi
and climate change,
taking part in meditations
both worldwide and personal
to manifest peace,
in global Reiki groups
as and when requested
sending absent healing,
listing names of people
asking me to start
a lightworkers’ group
here in this locality –
and I will, but
it’s just, when?
I could go on
but it’s now clear
why you think
I need a life
not to mention hobbies.
I simply don’t
blog all this stuff;
not a daily diarist.
I post essays
on matters of opinion,
or for light relief
fill in quizzes.
I confess I only
occasionally manage to read
other people’s blogs,
even yours, which may
surprise you – notwithstanding that
it’s so enthralling
reiterating your life dilemmas,
those circles you keep
going around in …
anyway I do hope
I needn’t give up
my self-pampering sessions:
the long, leisurely baths
with scented oils, candles
deep breathing exercises,
colour therapy and meditation,
to get this Life
dear CyberFriend? g2g

20 September 2009

Pottsville Beach, Late Afternoon

30 Poems in 30 Days: Day 17
Write a poem that is set at or near where you live.

The shoreline is utterly altered after the storms
but summer is coming, we can get to the beach again.
Someone has partly restored the path that became a cliff
easing it into a soft hill of sand we can trudge down and up.
Others are here already, walking or fishing.

The waves come in now in opposing directions
turning on each other like the edge of half a whirlpool.
The shallows are all uneven; in places huge licks extend
reaching nearly to the foot of the cliff, in far beyond the rest.
This is a sea I don’t want to turn my back on.

But I do while I fossick for stones in the slush:
interesting shapes, beautiful colours, satisfying textures.
Here is a comma and here a heart. Some are marked with crosses
others circled by raised, contrasting rings. One is a pearl, translucent white,
others are black and smooth, shining like onyx.

Then everyone stops. We all stand still and gaze.
I’d heard two days ago there were whales about, seen
from the headland at Hastings Point, and now they are here
disporting themselves in leisurely ease, back behind the breakers,
cresting and diving, leaping and plunging.

A glimpse of graceful tail, a curving fin or a snout,
a sudden spume of white, a burst of foam. A silver glint
from the underside of a fin caught by the sun. And the sky vast,
pastel blue with long white feathery stripes of cloud stretching across.
The ocean sparkled, seeming to sing.

The Definition of Lost

30 Poems in 30 Days: Day 16
Write a definition poem. A definition poem takes a word or a concept and attempts to define it, 
provide perspective, redefine it, or create a definitive example of it.

It’s this three-year-old girl
face screwed up
eyes and nose streaming,
turning in frantic circles
looking and looking and looking
for one familiar point
in the swirl of large legs and bodies
noisy faces thrusting, asking,
“Where’s your Mummy?” – as if
that wasn’t the whole problem –
in the strange new landscape
of the picnic ground.

It must have been only a moment,
then she’d have reappeared.
A little woman, as I discovered
when I was much older,
she’d been hidden, perhaps,
by the crowd. Maybe
I let go her hand
and so we were separated
briefly, but long enough.

I always thought my ridiculous
fear of losing my way
in unfamiliar places
came from that time the conductor
put me off the tram when I was seven
for tendering the wrong fare.
I cried and wailed then too,
feeling not only small
but somehow dirty,
until kind strangers took me home –
at least I was well taught
to remember my address.

But now, in old age, exploring
that distress, that panic,
that wretchedness,
I find the three-year-old,
her terrified abandonment
my defining moment
of being lost.

18 September 2009

A Conversation in Poetry

(Extraneous to the 30 Poems in 30 Days) 

For Those Who Love
Thom Moon 10

Attune your brightest beaming
to Light that shines when you are alive
all past imperfect/once gone
light is mere remembrance
You loved Mary Travers
and sang with her this new age in
To better bring new visions
(every one is a song/that's why lines like this(unfinished..
and when she leaves(as we all must leave
you feel a temporary sadness/loss
the cost of time's attrition
the casualties of age
Perhaps like young Elvis -to focus
upon the best that was possible when alive and spark
became art that activated.You are now
the one who remembers .Your transformational joy
to be shared by a newer generation
For what is love but change?
Forms and faces,habits and rituals
are only garments for this nakedness-
to give is all-once given,gone
And now you bring the new
from those who never knew
her or you.Beam for her!
Beam for the best and brightest within you!
MOVING E MOTIONS September 17,2009

Thom Writes of the Death of Mary Travers.
Rosemary Nissen-Wade

And so poetry brings the news
is the news, just as we always dreamed –
that immediacy, urgency,
sense of surprise,
that thing we are eager for
even as we recoil.

Yet he didn’t intend
to shout out information.
Rather he meant to say:
It is your own past you mourn for.
And: As she brought new visions
for a new age, now
create your own for this age
even newer. Honour
the past by inspiring the now,
carrying that forward into the future.

Yes, and still
I take time to mourn.
Tears start unbidden.
I Google for details, shout them
to anyone who happens near.

That golden girl, tall girl
who swayed as she sang
a willow in the breeze,
her curtain of shining hair,
the hopeful melodies.
How did she get to be
an old lady of 72 with leukemia?
(And how did I get to be … )

Other news this morning
arrives as usual via TV.
Confirmed, a different death.
The mastermind of the Bali bombings
shot dead by police in Java.
My mind spares only a moment
to pronounce coldly, carelessly, “Good.”
The Summer of Love is history

this poem an elegy and that a full stop
if I choose. But Thom reminds us:
It’s never over. Start again! Go on!


16 September 2009


Nah – I realise I REALLY don't like initial capitals for every line of my poems. Some people make it work, but it doesn't suit all the things I want to do with verse. I'm going to go back and put right all the (few) pieces I did that way.

A Tanka

30 Poems in 30 Days: Day 15
Write a tanka.

It happens, as regular readers know, that I host Tanka on Tuesday at MySpace in order to teach myself this form, and to have fun playing with others who are doing likewise. And this prompt came on Tuesday 15th, after I'd done my tanka for the day, so again we have a piece doing double duty.

in September sun
as new leaves and buds glisten
my friend telephones
her dying father’s lucid
they have had a lovely day

15 September 2009

Walking the Ridge

30 Poems in 30 Days: Day 14
Write a poem about a specific but minor memory you have from more than five, but less than ten years ago.

We were still living
around the bend
and up the hill
from Kouranga.

I set out for my walk
alone in the late afternoon
loving as always
the various trees along the road
their different tones and colours,
the calls of high birds
and glimpses of gullies.

I crossed the causeway.
The water was low.
I could see the rocks
underlying the shallow flow.

Up the rise where once
a red-bellied black
lay coiled in the sun
in the middle of the road
and I turned sharply
before coming up too close.
They are so fast and so deadly.

No snake today.
I go on down the dip
before the road straightens
by the turn-off to the Hermitage.

This day a group of men
sits at the roadside
wiping their faces and necks
and taking a drink.
Neighbours, members of the Land Council,
they’ve been clearing noxious weeds
all day along the creek.

I know them all. Good men.
But I’m suddenly shy.
I turn before I come near
and walk back the other way.

14 September 2009


30 Poems in 30 Days: Day 13
Write a poem using Skeltonic Verse (also known as Tumbling Verse)
Keep the line lengths between three and six words. Every end word rhymes with the last until you start a new set of rhymes. The poem should have energy and be fun.

I’ve got a cold
I’m feeling old
I can’t be bold
with daring verse
both funny and terse
I’m feeling worse
at the very thought
you didn’t ought
to do this Sport
inflicting strict rhyme
at such a time
when surely I’m
incapable of thinking
I sit here blinking
and might take to drinking
my mind is blanking
but enough of this wanking
I should be thanking
good Mr Hewitt
who believes I can do it
and look I’m through it!

Note: J.C. (John) Hewitt is our prompter at  Writer's Resource Center (aka Poewar)

13 September 2009

As Needed

 30 Poems in 30 Days: Day 12
Write a Ritual Poem that takes a ritual (real or imagined) and brings a sense of meaning and reflection to the ritual it describes.... Turn the actions into steps or commands.

I decided to write about an actual ritual that I perform often.

1. Enter the temple
(Mine is a whole room of my house
but it might be one corner
or a space outdoors.)

2. Close the door
(I also hang a “Do Not Disturb”
sign on the outside knob.
You never know.)

3. Take up the wand/athame
(Good to hold and wield,
its crystal point a laser,
mine is both at once.)

4. Describe the circle
(Me, I combine Druidry,
High Magick and Wicca
to make a strong, clear light.)

5. Call in the Archangels
(Or nature spirits, or creatures,
according to your training
or purpose. It all depends.)

6. Perform the core of the ritual
(Make the gestures, say the words,
create the visuals, absorb
and move the energies.)

7. Close the ritual
(Give thanks for blessings received.
Farewell the Guardians.
Open the circle.)

8. Return to the world
(Put away the athame/wand.
Open the door, take down the sign.
Notice you feel better.)

12 September 2009

Birthday Greeting Poems

30 Poems in 30 Days: Day 11
(After a discussion of the awfulness of flowery greeting-card verses) write or rewrite a greeting card poem so that it has meaning to you, or at least is funny.

It just happens that there are two important birthdays in my life today - my Firstborn Son's 42nd, and my Third GodDaughter's 18th. So here are the poems: both meaningful, one (mostly) funny.

Happy Birthday To A Wonderful Son

Thank you for being a wonderful son.
Thank you for not exploding yourself
that time you put a match
to the not-quite-empty petrol barrel –
but merely singeing your eyelashes off.
They and the missing patches of hair grew back.

I can still see your tiny naked feet
running happily across the lounge-room carpet
leaving footprints of brown fence paint.
You were delighted that you’d been smart
and taken off all your clothes before
you decorated your whole body. So was I.

You always had such a kind heart.
When you were only a few years older,
your father’s workmate Ron was truly amazed
to see his brand-new car, parked in our driveway,
improved by a free paint job – the brown again.
(Of course, you did have some help from other kids.)

At only 11 you found true love
and for years afterwards stayed in your room
playing with your instrument: your first computer.
As those years passed, your father and I
began to wonder if you’d still be there at 50.
But then at last you discovered girls.

Along the way you made luscious Pavlovas,
gave me helpful hints on my driving skills
and refrained from killing your little brother.
You were still a toddler when you begged
from the back seat of the car, “Mummy and Daddy,
please don’t sing.”  No doubt it was good advice.

We’ve had great talks at times. You’ve always been
wise, thoughtful and understanding. I like that you like
writers whom I like too and share my taste in theatre.
I like that you're now telling me which books are good
and which new shows. And even your furious corrections
when I forward the nuttier emails that go the rounds.

And it’s very sweet of you not to publish too many
of the poems and stories you write. It would never do
to show up the lesser talents of your mother, or my lesser
self-critical faculties…. Finally, I can’t believe you’re 42!
Or ourselves already so Senior. I’m sure you’ll be pleased
to know we’ve decided to move in with you next week.

Happy 18th Birthday!
(To my GodDaughter M)

When you were a baby
you crawled downstairs
headfirst, smiling.
You still plunge boldly.

When the young babysitter
couldn’t calm you,
sometimes I could.
I was more familiar, perhaps.

Now you surprise me with love
just because I’m your Godmother.
And you don’t treat me
like an old lady.

I have forgiven you
for throwing things at my cat.
You were only a toddler.
(Mind you, it took a while.)

We read each other’s
journals and blogs.
What we find there
stays between us.

You like to write, like me.
You like to sing; I’d like
to have a voice for singing.
We rib each other and laugh.

Today you’re 18, old enough
to toss down a legal Jack Daniels
and have consensual sex –
if you could figure out who with.

You’re old enough to vote
and drive a car. The time
is now. What was it you wanted
to be when you grew up?

Anniversary (to the ghost of my second husband)

30 Poems in 30 Days: Day 10 
Use a letter count as a constraint for your poetry, either writing a brand new poem or rewriting an old poem to fit the new pattern. 

I found an old poem that hadn’t quite worked for me. The process tightened it up in interesting ways.

It's June 11. On this date       
in 1966 you married me.       
It was your idea. I wanted       
to live outside the law,      
had fulfilled the fantasy           
of the Cinderella day,        
knew how quickly all that           
collapsed – didn’t need       
a repeat. But you’d never        
been married; thrilled,       
wanted public celebration.       
And your mother told me       
how she was making – never   
questioning it – a new        
hat for her son’s wedding.       
At that point, I caved.

A Soft Way

30 Poems in 30 Days: Day 9
Use the word "secret" twice.

She has a soft way of talking.
You have to lean in,
heads close as if sharing a secret –
an appearance of intimacy
as false as it’s immediate.

In these almost-whispers
you receive the material moments
of her life. My toes hurt today.
I think I’m catching a cold.
Mrs Brown went out this morning.

The secret is to pat her hand,
to nod and murmur while tucking
the blankets closer around her,
or combing her fragile hair.

Perhaps she imagines you are her mother,
or her daughter who so seldom comes.

11 September 2009

Books I Was Raised On

30 Poems in 30 Days: Day 8 (2) 

The list poem of my life was so difficult that I almost abandoned it and tried another tack. So I've got this list too:

Andersen. Grimm.
Gifts from my parents.
The boy with a splinter of ice in his heart.
The two sisters, Snow White and Rose Red.
(I wanted to look like Rose Red.)

Dickens, Dumas.
Gifts from my grandfather.
Dashing D’Artagnan and the brooding Count.
Nicholas, David and Pip surviving to happiness.
Sydney Carton nobly giving his life.

Jane and Rochester,
Cathy and Heathcliff –
forbidden passion, dark romance
alongside Anne Shirley and Little Women’s Jo –
girls who were real, girls who wrote.

James Elroy Flecker
and Rupert Brooke
Grantchester versus a foreign field,
Yasmin and the Golden Journey to Samarkand.
Kipling and Stevenson’s Kim and Jim.

All the plays
of Bernard Shaw
heart-rending Joan, feisty Eliza.
Wilde’s sad Happy Prince and hilarious Ernest.
A Secret Garden and a Little Lord.

Hardy and Housman,
then at last
Eliot, Pound and lyrical Yeats.
Miller and Synge and Eugene O’Neill.
War and Peace. The Rains Came.

Judith Wright.
Gwen Harwood.
Five Bells, or a Magic Pudding.
The Seventeenth Doll … and the Spring of my life
turned into Summer, a new story.


30 Poems in 30 Days: Day 8 
Write a list poem about things you have done in your life.

0-15 Born and grew
Launceston, Tasmania.
Mountains, rivers, extended family.
Wrote poems. Went to school.

15-17 Suffered
In Merbein near Mildura.
Flat and dry. Mad, drunk stepmother.
Wrote poems. Went to church.

17-22 Studied
Melbourne Uni; Library School.
Lived out of town; inner city; halfway.
Wrote poems. Went dancing.

22-25 First marriage.
Postman, ballroom dancer.
Bi-polar, impotent, compulsive gambler.
Wrote poems. Went to work.

26-52 Second marriage.
Dutch-born builder, abalone diver.
Children, travel. Personal development.
Wrote poems. Went rural.

52-53 Second Divorce.
Bankruptcy. Back to Melbourne.
Rented, shared. Completed Reiki training.
Wrote poems. Went on the dole.

54-69 Third marriage.
Writer, spiritual seeker, lover.
Moved to the tropics, semi-rural/small-town.
Wrote poems. Went online.

70+ Yet to come.
The best, perhaps?
If I can put in my order now, it’s this:
Write poems. Go laughing.

9 September 2009

Mourning the Goat

30 Poems in 30 Days: Day 7
Write a poem that involves an animal. 

There is no goat.
I can hardly believe it.
But it has been declared
on national TV
by the head man.
I must  accept it.

I remember my Dad
personally ironing
his white apron
with the blue and gold,
its tiny suitcase,
and my Mum poking fun.

Hearing the banter,
I loved to imagine
jolly half-naked fathers
riding that billy-goat
in their nice clean aprons
as it pranced, tossing its horns.

That must be when I first
heard the word “regalia”.
Much older, I liked to think
of an inner circle of Magic,
and the goat perhaps
a metaphor for Pan.

But to learn that there is no
goat, no ride, no dancing,
no half-nude cavorting
of any kind – that’s cruel.
No secrets, no mystery …
no more magic.

Note: Dan Browns’ next book will be about Freemasonry.
The Masons have pre-emptively revealed that they have no secret rituals.

8 September 2009

The Photo

30 Poems in 30 Days: Day 6 
Use the same (or similar) words in both your first line and last line, but change the order or the meaning of the words from the first line to the last line. 

This one's doing double duty as my Tanka on Tuesday (MySpace) piece this week.

Close, he looks nervous;
closer, secretly amused.
My smile looks happy,
reflections obscure my eyes.
Body language? We look close!

(This is also doing duty as my “Tanka on Tuesday” at MySpace today – being posted to both places Tuesday 8th in my part of the world.)

6 September 2009


30 Poems in 30 Days: Day 5
Pick three words that you absolutely love the sound of 
and set out to use them in your poem. 

This rock is encrusted with lichen
like thick flakes of unmelting snow….

The children were rapturous
skiing Mt Buller that time,
little red coats and rosy faces,
on the almost-flat beginners’ slopes.

In a full car with chains on
heading to Falls Creek in the dark
we lost a tyre on a bendy road,
changed it by torchlight.

Next day we rode the ski-lift
all the way to the top.
I never smelt air so clean.

Almost at once I fell,
legs in a tangle and couldn’t get up
without a stranger’s detailed instruction.

The gluhwein took hours to cook.
Hot, syrupy, spicy, I found it delectable.

(encrusted, rapturous, delectable)

Full Circle

30 Poems in 30 Days, Day 4
Write the final line to your poem first, and then write the poem to get to that ending.

One star in the early night, rising
in a straight line high above the moon.

Thunderous across balmy air,
the constant repetitive boom of waves.

Sharp morning, with a promise
of heat increasing over the hours.

The market ground under surface dew
hard for my tent pegs, drying out already.

Two babies in their mothers’ arms
bounce and laugh, holding my gaze.

The skirt seller suddenly, casually,
tells me her whole life story.

I bring home two bottles of red
captured, held by the necks.

Sitting in front of bright yellow flowers
she describes white rice and truffles.

One of the cats complains of her food
but lies in my lap, purring.

With my wand, I draw down the light;
the moon is one hundred percent full.

5 September 2009

Twin Proclamations

30 Poems in 30 Days, Day 3.
Write a poem that begins with a proclamation.

This is a found poem, from media reports. (The two pieces are supposed to be side by side, forming a line-by-line contrast, but space doesn't allow for that presentation here.)

Welcome to Repco Rally on the Tweed –
Good for business!
Fast and furious predicts ace.
A great atmosphere.
Finally we can show what we’ve got
to an international audience.
A stunning display.
Preparations will continue unabated.
It will be fun
and bring money to the area.
A heavy police presence has been sent.
Riot squad ready.
Protestors will be arrested.
Every two years for the next 20.

Join the Protest –
You are needed!
A juggernaut – 90 racing cars,
support vehicles, helicopters and sirens
to scare away wild life.
A close knit community.
People are not happy.
Aboriginal leaders deny permission.
There are ancient songlines and pathways
which go through here.
The Government has failed to protect
the world heritage national park.
Now it’s up to the people.
Every two years for the next 20.

4 September 2009


30 Poems in 30 Days, Day 2 (second poem)
The prompt was, "Write a poem that begins with you waking up." John also dropped some strong hints that we might choose to write about a dream. I didn't in my first poem for this prompt, but then decided to do that too. Just for the heck of it, and because I was wanting to play with this form, I made each verse a shadorma.

The old dream
startles me awake.
So often
in childhood …
but why does it return now,
the dream of falling?

Falling deep
between rocky walls,
a chasm.
Too slowly.
And faces leering at me –
distorted faces.

Was it Hell
that awaited me
far down there?
A child’s Hell
from fairy-tales – Grimm horrors –
and my inner dark.

I can’t know,
I never landed;
kept floating
down and down.
What demons now reclaim me –
now that I am old?

3 September 2009

Waking Early

30 Poems in 30 Days, Day 2
Write a poem that begins with you waking up.

Ah, the light is music
the world new alive
golden through the edges of the curtains.
I am awake at once.

The cats recline on the bed.
He, black panther, waits.
She, grey puma, mews for their food
low and plaintive.

Outside, my wind-chimes
peal and reverberate
reminding me of a long continuum
of Spring mornings.

The heart leaps now
just as it always has
alive, alive, alive – and glad to live
glad to be awake

on a Spring morning
with cats to feed
and the man in the bed waiting
for me as the sun rises.


30 Poems in 30 Days, Day 1
Prompt: Use the word Pattern in the first line and/or the last line of your poem.

The pattern of my life
is little changed.
I walk always with you.

That music we used to play
echoes here still
as if yesterday it sounded

sweet in the keen memory
and softly sad
though I no longer weep.

Spring is greening the hills
with welcome rain.
We pray it will be enough.

The seasons too are unchanged.
Life continues on
in familiar, relentless pattern.

30 Poems in 30 Days - again!

I first encountered a whole month of poetry prompts in September 2007 at Poewar aka Writer's Resource Centre (and a very good resource it is), the blog of John Hewitt. It was a magickal month. Some of my old friends joined in – because I told everybody about it – and I made some new ones. And the writing was heaps of fun, trying new styles, forms and topics.

Last year I couldn't sustain the effort, but this year I'm back again, and loving it so far!

I didn't notice it was on again until the second day, but I've now caught up. In fact I have two poems for Day Two. (Coming right up! See following posts.)

2 September 2009

A Couple of Found Poems

The Deer and the Labyrinth
Found Poem

Found in the LiveJournal of Seraphim Sigrist, 1st Sept 2009:

A deer ran
from under the trees
across a field
to the woods beyond.

I took some photos
which showed what I had not seen
somehow, a labyrinth...

the evening light on the grass
a cloud of brightness
on which the deer can seem
to float over the labyrinth.

Let that be our offering for today...

Found poem

Found in the LiveJournal of OzDragonLady, 4th Sept. 2009

It suddenly rained
After a day of sun.
The garden smelt green.

There was a flock of pelicans
Flying over the freeway

Wattle bushes in flower –
Traditional mimosa-balls.

The full moon was rising
Pale yellow and transparent
Through the pink and blue
Of the Belt of Venus.

My lawn is shaggy with weeds.

(I'm shifting these just slightly, chronologically, so the following "30 Poems in 30 Days" appear as an uninterrupted sequence.)

1 September 2009

We emerge from darkness: haiku for August 2009


the feast of Imbolc
we emerge from the darkness
life renews itself


Sum up your day in the form of a haiku:

a spring-like winter
morning under piled blankets
noon stripped and sweating


the sun's up early
still haven't pruned those roses
winter's so soon past


Sum up your day in the form of a haiku:

I 'm cleaning the house
for an old friend's arrival
so work becomes love

knowing when we meet
our old friend won't see beyond
our welcoming smiles


On the evening beach
gigantic waves crash too close
although it’s low tide.


of all her faces
which so intrigue I like best
a simple back view

Flamenco dancer
moving like snake or like fire
in that sleek red dress


Mars comes close tonight
a second moon in a sky
too dark to see one.


In sudden flashlight
my cat’s eyes gleam like twin moons
against night-dark fur

Tanka on Tuesday: August 2009

(Reposted from MySpace)


the day clouds over
after sunny beginnings
we are reminded
this is the last of winter
as well as the early spring


startled I come to
noticing late it’s Tuesday
I’ve been counselling
I’ve been sharing her visions
my friend herself is poem


you are in your life
my friend across the ocean
I see that it’s good
your face in the photo calm
and bathed in radiant light


again it’s Tuesday
I’ve been lost in cyberspace
gazing with a friend
at a reflection of light
now turn and make a tanka


in a patch of sun
curled on the Reiki table
my black cat sleeping
like every other cat
and just like himself


a great wind comes up
swelling the sound of the sea
to a warning roar
echoing through the dark night
like a rising tsunami

(after writing this I found out there had been a tsunami warning for that night!)


yesterday was long
my husband immobilised
my inept nursing
chiropractic adjustment
now he slowly recovers

(my excuse to the MySpace tanka group for forgetting to start the blog until Wednesday)


husband is cranky
bored and fed up with himself
he’s getting better
laughs at the verses I quote
writing him up on MySpace


I went off alone
to be as a child again
watching a movie
eating chocolate icecream
with no cares for two whole hours