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 subject to revision without notice. Completed versions appear in my books. Nevertheless copyright applies to all texts found here.

31 October 2010

Gogyohka

This is a newish Japanese form designed to bypass some of the constraints of the tanka. It has five lines, but instead of a syllable count each line is supposed to be equivalent to a breath.

I've started using it sometimes as an alternative to tanka, or just for its own sake.

30 October 2010

The Feast of Beltane

Sunset ritual: Beltane fire
tonight on a hilltop
ringed by mountains.

We walked up the path
two by two, singing.

One of us carried incense,
another a lit candle
to start the blaze.

And it blazed!
It crackled with heat.

As dusk deepened
we called the Archangels,
gave and received gifts.

We fed the fire with symbols.
Orbs of light danced with us.

We came back down
towards dark,
to strawberries and cream.

We drank lotus tea
spiced with mint.

Change

I used to feel
a surge of joy,
coming up the hill
past Seabreeze Estate:
‘There’s Amanda’s house!’

Climbing this hill today
I joy to see the ocean,
but I pass Seabreeze Estate
and it’s nothing now.
Amanda moved away.

21 October 2010

Driving in the Rain

It was only a dribble this morning,
not much more than a fine mist,
letting us get from house to car
almost dry — but now

we can hardly see out the glass
as the squall hits fierce and fast,
the gutters fill and the road itself
seems almost to flow

and I am thinking how strange it is
that I got to be the chief driver
these days, and how accomplished
I’ve finally become

as small waterfalls from the hill
gush onto the road and spread
and I manouevre the slippery bits
and we arrive safe.


30 Poems in 30 days, 2010: 30
Prompt: A poem that takes place inside a vehicle

19 October 2010

I Return Sometimes

When I crest that hill
just before the town
where you change speed
down to sixty k,
I slip off my sunnies,
look out across the land
to the line of blue
and yell, ‘Hello Ocean!’

Today the colour is deep
and glowing: sapphire.
I start the descent.
The strip of sea drops
below the edge of sight.
I cruise into the village,
perhaps don’t even visit
the beach I used to walk.

Perhaps it’s enough
that it’s just over the way.
Or is it truer to say
I can’t bear to go close
knowing I must leave?
Still it is present, roaring,
and I see it in visions:
sparkling, cerulean.


30 Poems in 30 days, 2010: 29
Prompt: Write a poem in which you use three
different words for the same or a similar color.

16 October 2010

Aura Drawing

I am sitting with Letitia in my consulting room
drawing a picture of her as an angel.

I am hovering in a different dimension,
talking to Letitia’s Higher Self.

The angel has soft purple wings
of rippling feathers, lit with magenta and orange.

Gradually every colour in the rainbow
is included. I write her name in deep Ming blue

inside the space that represents her heart.
It means that she communicates love and peace.

My own name I sign, as always, in purple. I like purple.
I come into my body to choose the exact shade.

I have been floating in space above my head
and talking to Letitia from that space.

I have been sitting in my chair in my room, my fingers
selecting the pencils, my voice clear.

We rise and go into the house. I get coffee.
She rolls up her picture, for the journey home in the car.

You should stay with us here, says Andrew.
You should stay with us 24/7.

What would I do with my life? she says. I can’t do that.
But I can be with you in spirit 24/7, and I will.


30 Poems in 30 Days, 2010: 28
Prompt: A poem that uses two or more different settings / locations.

15 October 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside

All afternoon the rain smell was coming back in
from over the ocean, as the storm turned —
a different kind of freshness in the air,
that slight, sharp savour filling my nostrils.
Now the wind howls and bangs at my door
as the water descends in torrents. Only yesterday
the puddles across the road from days of wet
began to dry and dissipate. We could smell
the steam coming off the asphalt, a singed odour.

We got home just before the storm arrived in force,
and settled in with our plates of barbecue chicken.
The hot, tangy flavour was reassuring, so were
our deep armchairs, and the ABC news on TV.
Situation normal. I poured myself a shiraz,
and you a version with alcohol removed. Yours
tasted sweeter (although not very sweet) but I liked
the deeper, spicier taste of mine. Later we finished
the cupcakes with strawberry icing and licked our lips.
They tasted of sugar and cream. Baby, it’s warm in here.


30 Poems in 30 days, 2010: 27
Prompt: A poem that includes at least three different flavours and two odours.

14 October 2010

Pedro

His family comes from South America
but he himself was born here.

He likes lots of bright colours.
I’ll put some around his bed.

He is growing a new tooth.
It makes him itchy and demanding.

And yet his heart is peaceful.
It’s full of music and love.

He has been tenderly looked after
by his brother, my friend Brad.

Now he’s left in my care,
I’m anxious to know his needs.

I know he likes the garden
and the plants he sees there.

I think he feels at home
or is starting to, at least.

I’ve given him lots of crystals
for his pleasure and his health.

                  ******

Rosemary, in adjusting to Pedro’s rhythms,
starts to nod off. Wake up!




30 Poems in 30 Days, 2010: 26
Prompt: A poem in which each line has six words and makes
a statement or at least expresses a complete thought.

13 October 2010

Herself

What is the name of the Goddess?
It is Gaia, Mother, Mother Earth.
She is the life that surrounds us.
She is sun, wind, land and sea.

What is the name of the Goddess?
It is Ishtar — Night, Moon, Star.
She is the dark and the light.
She is the womb and the grave.

What is the name of the Goddess?
She is Isis, Freya, Diana, Maria.
She is Hecate, Pele, Kali, Sekhmet.
And yet you will not mistake her.

What is the name of the Goddess?
She has as many names as faces.
Call her Endless, Ageless, Eternal.
She is many and she is one.

Where shall I find the Goddess?
Wherever your eyes light.
Wherever your feet dance.
She is everywhere. She is here.


30 Poems in 30 Days, 210: 25
Prompt: a poem in which each stanza either begins or ends with a question.

12 October 2010

Limerick

There once was a chicken who crossed the road
in order to get to the other side.
The tar had such heat
that she burnt her poor feet
and the eggs she laid all came out fried.


30 Poems in 30 Days, 2010: 24
Prompt: Write a poem in the form of a joke

Not thrilled with my own attempt, but Leigh Spencer has a good one at the Poewar site.

10 October 2010

Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve

I liked the white flowers,
the white robes of the priests,
the soaring music
from the choir up the back.

I liked the wafting incense,
borne up the aisle
in metal bowls
on swinging chains.

I liked the Latin: ‘Adeste Fidelis’
more sonorous by far
than ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’,
‘Dominum’ than ‘Christ the Lord’.

I liked the late hour, the dark,
the magic of midnight;
my Catholic cousins’ excitement,
the festive, dressed-up crowd.

I was raised Agnostic,
streamed Protestant at school
for compulsory Religious Ed.,
and wound up Pagan.

Was it Midnight Mass
gave me my taste for robes and ritual,
music, incense, exotic words?
(Not quite what anyone had in mind.)


30 Poems in 30 Days, 2010: 23
Prompt: A poem that takes place at a public gathering

9 October 2010

What I Build

What I build with my hands,
my dexterous fingers moving
to make it visible,
I also create with my brain:
finding the words,
placing them down like blocks
to form a structure;

weaving around the struts and rafters
ideas — the scent of jasmine,
the breath of a melody —
and images — stars
glowing from darkness,
deep red roses
starting to droop in their vase....


30 Poems in 30 Days, 2010: 22
Prompt: A poem about building or creating something by hand.

4 October 2010

Patience

I cut the cards
divide them into sequences
red on black on red ...

over and over again
until — sometimes —
the game chops me off.

Nowhere further to go,
or not that I can see.
Scrap it. Start again.

Cut, divide, arrange ...
and sometimes I win,
it all works out.

Then, at the last
it becomes easy,
the cards fly into place.

The reward of winning?
A new game.
Cut the cards, divide ...


30 Poems in 30 Days, 2010: 21
Prompt: A poem that involves cutting, chopping or dividing something.

3 October 2010

Defending My Friend

Rage can be a fuel
as good as love —
and in this case love
was involved,
fuelling my rage.

The mind-game player
the manipulator,
had her so twisted
so torn in pieces
she got cancer.

Managed to turn
and survive that. Finally
kicked him out of her life.
But he didn’t quite go.
He devised torments.

Don’t tell me words
can’t hurt — delivered
from ambush
with shock value,
designed to drive her insane.

They were doing that.
Until I made it stop.
Well I don’t do hex, I prefer
working with Love. But needs be,
I can bind and it will stick.

He moved suddenly
across the world.
She spotted him on facebook
years later, gone to fat;
laughed, shrugged and forgot.


30 Poems in 30 Days, 2010: 20
A poem about defending yourself or someone else.

2 October 2010

I Want

I want
him always here, and
I want my aloneness.

I think
in case he goes first
I’ll ask him to haunt me

but not
when I’m meditating
or writing a poem.

Today
I also want St Kilda
to win the Grand Final repeat.*


*Aussie Rules. Playing off after a draw last week. 
(They didn't win, though.)

30 Poems in 30 days, 2010 19
Prompt: A poem in which you discuss
three things that you or your persona wants.

1 October 2010

It is morning and ... September tanka 2010

It is morning and
I decide to go to bed
as midnight recedes.
The early watches are cold
and I am alone out here.

7/9/10


‘Chattering’ sparrows
and ‘laughing’ kookaburras —
foolish, wishful words
in our human loneliness.
(They don’t really laugh or speak.)

9/9/10


invisible now
the other side of the dark
the ocean expands,
its limitless breadth stretching
its endless line advancing

14/9/10


In the dark wood
the path to the stream
is closed.
A tiny fern finds light
from its rock crevice.

Inspired by some of John Palcewski’s photos

21/9/10


morning overcast
the paper undelivered
or stolen
my cat’s off her food
and I’m feeling old.

28/9/10


the fog lifts
to a sunny morning
and good news
I read over breakfast
in bed with man and cats

29/9/10