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.

31 January 2010

Verse Portrait 84: His Ex-Wife

At first meeting, I was glad
to see she looked old.
I was wearing my red jacket
and I wasn’t fat then.

Hearing her talk, I liked
her forthright politics,
thought of being friends.

Disappointed, how
could she like me?
And I warmed
to one she despised.

That was 18 years ago.
Her youngest tells me now
she’s near her end.

My stepchildren’s mother.
My love’s first love.
This stranger.

20 January 2010

The seasons turn: haiku for December 2009


the glow dims
in her cat‘s eyes
when she leaves


lightning and thunder
punctuate our summer
but snow is foreign


the seasons turn
the creek is blue and full
soon we'll swim


a xmas of stars
and dragonflies
who needs Santa?


Inspired by Bette Norcross Wappner’s woodcut:

trees and air
and midnight
falling snow


like my cats
the plants are very still
this hot morning


step by step
we arrive home


early light
through palm fronds
a few more days


Christmas Eve sirens
the firies* drive round tooting
we wave and we cheer

*Aussie for firefighters


summer hots up
the creek’s at high tide
but I’m packing


Sitting here in Northern Rivers, opening my fan,
I read that it’s even hotter in Perth where my old aunt
remembers little now, her days drifting by at a cruise.

She is fed and taken care of, as she was on those cruise
ships, where at each port she collected a fancy fan –
the hand-held kind. She had human fans too, my aunt

and still has. She is simply, always, my favourite aunt
who rescued me from a cold household, taught me to cruise
through life with kindness and laughter. I spread out my fan,

my treasured fan, which my aunt once found on a cruise.


Unchanging Afternoons

The somnolent unchanging afternoons
of summer schooldays in Australia
play in my mind like lazy, half-lost tunes.
On somnolent unchanging afternoons
of peppercorns and small white daytime moons,
I dreamed of drama, storm, and high regalia –
and now of those unchanging afternoons
in somnolent long summers of Australia.


Steamy Nights

Steamy nights
on this tree-thick hill
my grey cat
sits silent
on the top step, keeping guard
while we toss in heat.


Tanka on Tuesday: December 2009


at this time of year
before long lazy summer
time speeds up to a gallop
leaving us frantic, breathless


Inspired by a Bette Norcross Wappner woodcut
(which — sorry! — you can only see if you're a LiveJournal member)

the vast landscape
goes to sleep in the cold
hunkering down
beside a sentinel tree
and a lone bonfire


all night
the smell of smoke
seeps indoors
from forest fires
two hillsides away


the smoke dies
the fire is contained
rain falls
I breathe and remember
my friend lately dead


on a warm morning
surrounded by sound
and that fresh smell


rain slowly dripping
from the underside of leaves
after the downpour
I remember my childhood
and the smell of the wet green   


the new home is high
to catch the summer breezes
Phil’s painting it now
in six more days we move in
there’s a huge rosemary bush


Midsummer Sabbat
the old coven reconvenes
from all directions

the years since we last gathered
have seen us live our magick


raining in Condong
don't take the steep hilly road
but up the highway
turning in at Chinderah
high out of flood range but flat

moving in the wet
Pottsville to Murwillumbah
and back many times
the new garage filling up
boxes and boxes and box...

Book by Cover

for Collin

A lone tree in a field.
He likes that image –
used it once, briefly,
for an online profile
and here, more permanently,
on the cover of his first book.

The field is always
flat and unrelieved,
sparse grass.
The tree is always
the focal point:
sturdy, spreading

I like the strong trunk,
the generous width
of branches opening
to cup the air
and reaching, stretching:
bold, with delicate tendrils.

But wait. Is it light
that touches every surface –
trunk, branches, twigs?
Or a coating of lichen?
I look hard and see
no leaves. Is it snow?

“Better to Travel”
the title says.
I have seen snow
but not often,
and only on
high mountains.

I travel anyway
through the poems
and know their author
can weather storm,
ice, rain, all kinds of
dying, and stand.


Inspired by Collin Kelley's Better to Travel