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.

4 November 2010


Kuta Beach 1973

‘It’s been a beautiful autumn in Melbourne,’
our friends said, arriving three weeks later.
‘One of those Indian summers. We almost
didn’t want to come.’ 

We felt like old hands by then. Already
we were drying our sarongs by spreading them
over the nearest shrubs, and taking our tea
black and very sweet.

Bill went for a swim while the rest of us
lazed outside the hut, sipping iced lemon.
He was gone a long time, and came back
amazed, exhausted.

‘This German girl was caught in the current.
Nobody realised but me. I had to save her.
She was dazed, disoriented, nearly turned round
and went straight back in!’

In those days the Balinese didn’t swim. (Now
they surf with the Aussies.) It was tourists
in the water. It struck us then that the Europeans
couldn’t read the sea.

Even I, a poor swimmer who hates the surf —
bred in Australia, I can look at a beach
and know at once where to swim, and exactly
where I’d drown.

Melbourne Afterwards

The strangest thing was walking down the street
and no-one smiled at me. That and wearing shoes.
And only in Bali was I considered, for my fair skin,
a great beauty.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge 2010: 3
Prompt: a location poem

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