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 2009

Tweet poems, August to November 2009

(Poems written for Twitter, 140 characters max.)



full moon & one small star/bright only lights in a blue fog/I call the light down into my wand/holding hands with Andrew & we exult



Her smile z bright music,/her gaze z a dance/either light & vivacious/or measured & grave,/her laugh z sunlight/on a sparkling shore



they r long, these months/of th change-over/warm & cool & mild & hot/nothing settled nothing begun/I nod off in th middle of th day



The tide comes in/so much higher now.//How long before we must move/to higher ground – and how high?



I’m away & far/trying not to see/how hunched he is/& heavy dark/in that small space/looking only in/at his mind onscreen/his fantasy



dance flower/down deep air/& perfume time



so full of grief/there’s no room left/for poetry//recollecting wounds/of early childhood

Written for twitter

Tanka on Tuesday: November 2009


full moon ritual
a night of healing and peace
our feet on the grass
in a space between showers
two candles against the dark


flowers turning brown
rosebush leaning to the sun
the cactus thriving
along with the weeds and vines
spring sky darkening to rain


with a sudden cold
my eyes keep trying to weep
as the sun rises
I re-read my birthday cards
and note the change of season


at the end of Spring
leaves of introduced species
are already burnt
browning from tips and edges
and dead palm fronds keep crashing

only the rosebush
pruned and neat in its small pot
stays green and hardy
like the native vines and weeds
and the up-thrusting cacti


a thunderous spring
the hot winds stripping the leaves
like a new autumn –
sudden news from far away
and I weep for a young death

During these Spring rains: haiku for November 2009


a thunder crack
right above the house
the cats run


I remember autumn
its warm blue skies
during these Spring rains


coming over the mountain
the sky chills


soft grey sky
scent of jasmine
after rain


in rising heat
green weeds I failed to uproot

22 November 2009

Verse Portrait 83: Passing Stranger

‘Frankie don’t dance’
his T-shirt says
and I’m sorry
for anyone who so restricts
his own joy,
so afraid of release
he fends it off
before it starts to begin.

‘If I can’t dance
at the revolution,’
Emma Goldman is said
to have said to Lenin,
‘I won’t come.’
Now that I like!

Me, I ain’t got
rhythm, trip over
my feet, and yet
I love to swirl and tap.

3 November 2009


He showed me how to swing a hammer, the right grip in the right place on the handle. I thank him again in my mind, every time I hammer a nail or a tent peg in. It must have been 1992; then he was twenty-three.

He was fifteen the time I turned from outfacing an abusive tradesman on the doorstep, and found him right behind me, ready in case I needed help.

After my huge, beautiful dog died, he channelled him for me one night on the phone. It was unexpected and a strain, but he stuck with it. I don’t know if that ever happened for him again. The message was good, and true. I was grateful.

He was just a kid, maybe ten, that night when his dad was away. He heard footsteps, furtive, down the path next to the house. A torch flashed briefly outside his bedroom window. “Dad!” he yelled, thinking fast (more deterrent than “Mum!”). I switched on lights and stomped loudly. The intruder ran. We heard him scrabble over the back fence, just as sudden rain came pelting, drenching down.

I remember him walking with me to the shops, chatting of this and that, nearly as tall as I was, casually hand in hand; how happy it made me feel.

Broader and taller by inches, coming off the plane after his student months in New York State. A cowboy hat and an Indian feather – a great honour, he said. His brother and two of his mates bursting in later on his jetlag sleep, grinning. “G’day, Yank!”

He finished renovating his father’s house after his father died. He went to Pam’s house too, to complete what his dad started there to help our friends. That didn’t last; he got kicked out. Gets kicked out of lots of places – even, at last, mine.

Visited his cousin Ellie last time he was home, and his Uncle Robert, the brother his father disliked. Both were glad; needed that family feeling he gave them then, so he said. Maybe he needed it too.

Adventurous always, on our journey towards Ayers Rock he declared, “I’m a born mountain climber.” He was eight; we smiled. He was a born mountain climber – soon out of sight of the rest of us struggling towards the top. He ran up the Rock! No use worrying for his safety; it was out of my hands.

Now too, his fate is out of my hands. He is moving, he says, towards his own truth, his own discovery of love. The final repudiation of Mother, the final claiming of self. So mote it be.


Fresh raspberries: haiku for October 2009


fresh raspberries
the taste and texture
of my childhood


on the train track
stems, leaves and berries


sudden lilies bloom
in my afternoon garden
unseen this morning


Photo of Kerouac

hugging his cat
how domestic he looks
this road poet


Melbourne rain
going cold to my bones


abandon yourself
it’s all in the letting go
freedom and passion


sprawling on the bed
my cat is relaxed in sleep:
utter abandon


I carry with me
as mirror and barrier
her faraway gaze


across rainy dark
the whispers of the ocean
sound right in my house


tonight cicadas
and the smell of coming rain
heat builds to pressure

tomorrow morning
a renewal of sunlight
the blessing of trees

Tanka on Tuesday: October 2009

dragonfly's wings flap
causing storms across the world
they'd have us believe
internet's even faster
is this chaos or theory?


warm day already
the grey cat curled on my bed
stretches out purring
I decide to stay longer
stroke her and open my book


From the low vantage
above the storm-damaged beach
the sea, my old love,
lately appears unfriendly
surging in rougher, closer.



The sky warrior’s
belt and sword are clear to see
turned upside-down –
the friendly southern image
a domestic cooking pot.

14/10/09 See Climate Change Tanka (previous post)


Those smiling snapshots
chubby tot, eager young man
are from long ago.
Now he glowers from photos.
The child in my mind is gone.


after the thunder
a return to calm sunlight
I’m dazed and blinking
thinking of a troubled man
who may never find such peace