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.

29 April 2011

Brief Encounters


You bastard —
friendly that first day,
so I said
you could stay.
Soon we parted in anger.
Missed your thefts later.

Fellow Passenger

You sat hard.
The front seat slammed back
on my toes.
Then you talked
for the whole trip, fast and loud.
I’ll say goodbye now.

Interested Stranger

Yes I know,
you ‘re a real nice bloke —
perfect cures
for my husband’s health problems
on first acquaintance.

The Guy Behind Me

Do you think
I like that nudging
of my chair?
What long legs!
I keep inching forward, but
you keep reaching me.

Day 27 - The friendliest person you knew for only one day (I've skewed it a bit).

26 April 2011

The Last Person I Pinky Promised

Well, I don’t know who you are
but it must have been long ago.
I have forgotten the promise too.

And I’m sure we didn’t call it ‘pinky’.
We didn’t have that word here then.
It came across from America later.

We would simply have linked
our littlest fingers and pulled them
tight, to set the promise.

It wasn’t done in my core family.
Maybe you were my cousin Anne
who brought exotic ways from overseas.

Maybe you were my Aunty Ev,
half friend, half substitute mother,
teaching me innocent fun I never knew.

And maybe you were the son
who grew up to become a stranger —
when you were still a youngster, and my pal.

These maybes are too full of loss.
Both life and death take people away,
and the promises we made just disappear.

So I’ll say you were a little girl at school.
Probably you sat next to me. The promise
was something we’d never tell. See, I didn’t.

Day 26 - The last person you made a pinky promise to

Oct 1 2011: Submitted for Poets United's Poetry Pantry #68

Tuesday is over: tanka for April 2011

Tuesday is over
in this part of the world
but elsewhere right now
they wake up yesterday
or go to sleep last night


autumn morning
clear blue ranges
in high sun
the peak of Mt Warning
I‘m too old to climb


the small gecko
on the outside of the pane
keeps very still
hunting, doesn’t see me
the other side from his eyes


the singer
in his last interview
on YouTube
discusses his chemo
blowing smoke from his fag

since 15
he played in smoke-filled rooms
if you can’t beat ‘em …
it’ll kill you either way


Crows calling.
I’m looking at a picture
of a dead man,
thinking of the many times
I looked at his living face.


25 April 2011

I LIght a Candle for My Friend

I light a candle for my friend
while reflecting wryly
he wasn’t the kind for that.
Still, you do what you do.

He was living more intensely,
he said, with his days shortening.

I spend this day, first weeping,
then feeling crabby. Just on dusk
I burst out of the house for a walk.

I make myself notice
rows of white camellias,
an old lady walking a puppy,
a gaggle of little children.

A magpie perches on a roof
grooming under one wing.

Soft grey clouds
rest gently on the air;
pale sunset pinks
come in behind them.

All our days are shortening.
The dark settles down.

I puff my way slowly
up the hill to home.

Three birds suddenly
erupt from a tree,
almost into my face,
flying at desperate speed
to get away from me, squawking,

surprising me into laughter.

War Years

Anzac Day 2011

My Dad never went to war.
Never had a hope.
Got run over by a cart at the age of ten,
spent years in bed, finally getting up
to walk lame, often with a stick,
always in pain, with a wound
that never healed, had to be re-dressed
daily — deep pink mercurochrome
painted on his white, exposed shin-bone.

He never went to war.
For Mum and me
he might as well have done,
sent away for months at a time
to a camp in Central Australia,
training for last-ditch invasion defence.
When he came home, I ran in fear
from his loud male voice, and didn’t understand
being banished from Mum’s bed.

He told me years later
that his best mate and next-door neighbour,
handsome Maurie Lightfoot,
was his Sergeant there. (What,
I wonder, was his disability? Maybe
eyesight; something invisible.)
Instead of ‘G’day Rob! How about a beer?’
it was, ‘Stand at attention, Private Robinson!’
Back home, they returned to normal.

Dad's workmate, Allan Beecroft,
that gentle, friendly man,
he went to the war. He was
a Rat of Tobruk. Afterwards
he spoke of it very seldom.
He respected Rommel, he said.
And he told one story, of a man
who ‘put up his arm’, never used it.
It wasted; he got sent home.

I remember ration books,
men in strange clothes (uniforms)
and the doll I loved and still have,
Julie with the rag-stuffed torso
and plaster hands, feet, head.
My Mum cried to have to give me
such a cheaply-made doll
but I had nothing to compare;
to me she was beautiful.

My Dad never went to war
but the war was all around us.
In the absence of men of fighting age,
women were surviving for themselves.
No-one’s life was untouched.
Our Foreign Minister is remembering now
on television, speaking from France;
and my husband, who never went to war,
listens with his shoulders shaking.

(Not part of the letter poems I've been doing this month; inspired by a friend's Anzac Day poem.)

Submitted, 8 June 2014, for Poet's United's Poetry Pantry #205

24 April 2011

Death of a Bluesman

I’m sorry for your pain. It’s mine as well.
Not that I loved the man the same way you did,
but I knew him even longer. He was a friend.

He played and sang at all my children’s parties
while they were growing up, and ours as well,
no matter how famous he got — and finally,
when my boys were men, at their father’s wake.

He told me then his secret: ‘Jack Dancer,’ he said.
Yet he stayed alive and kept on singing
and doing shows for another sixteen years.

He’d only just retired. He said he was feeling well,
but in recent photos he looked frail and haggard.
I don’t know any details. Did the invader return?
He said he felt good, and twelve days later he’s dead.

Day 25 - The person you know who is going through the worst of times

A Favourite Memory

Dear Bill, it’s hard to pick
one favourite memory
out of so many,
but in twenty-seven years
of adventuring together,
a lot of them are due to you.

I wouldn’t have seen
half so much of my own country,
let alone South-East Asia,
without your unstoppable
drive and imagination,
the almost foolhardy daring

that had you, at fifteen,
new to this country, set out
to hitch-hike over the hill
from Melbourne to Sydney
and get home by dinner —
till the first driver set you straight.

But I digress. I started
to write about one memory,
one of my own memories,
and yes, I can pick one
that comes back sometimes
unbidden. A simple one.

After the long, tiring
birth of our first —
when you weren’t allowed to stay
and anyway had to work
hard, to finish by deadline
on your father’s building site

(you told me, when it was done
you’d just sat down in the gutter
exhausted, wiping your forehead,

when your friend turned up
with the news that you had a son
... but I heard that later) —

finally, cleaned and rested,
lying back on the pillows,
I opened my eyes to see you
struggling one-handed
into a white gown, the other hand
clutching a bunch of blue iris.

Above the gown and flowers
your eyes were their brightest blue.
(Why is it — I dreamed of negroes
and Sikhs, but all my husbands
and most of my lovers had blue eyes?
Such shining blue.... Again I digress.)

You never took your gaze from mine.
‘He’s beautiful, darling!’ you said,
whispering in your awe, and came
smiling, to embrace me, your face
alight with joy, your eyes
their brightest blue....

Day 24 - The person that gave you your favorite memory

23 April 2011

To the Last Person I Kissed

Dear You —

as long as we’re both alive
you’re likely always to be
the last person I kissed,
and also the next person.

Mostly there’s only us,
and mostly that’s good.
Today, though, the house
suddenly felt empty.

I found myself thinking
what a quiet street, and how
if you die and leave me,
this could be an isolated life.

Then you said how strange
it felt, to be the only ones,
no other people here with us;
how you kept looking for them.

Even before that, you asked,
‘Where’s all our family?’
fretting that your cousin in Scotland
is slow to answer your emails.

The year draws in towards winter.
It’s a long holiday weekend.
We haven’t got a car, and it’s hard
for your painful legs to walk our street.

Yet, when I lie beside you
and say, ‘Yes, it’s just us two,’
you smile and say, ‘That’s good!
‘You’re enough for me,’ and we kiss.

Day 23 - The last person you kissed

Dear Gaia

I’d like to give you a second chance.
There is still time, if you’re quick —
time to turn around those natural laws
so that we people can have our comforts,
our conveniences, our pleasures,
and still have a healthy planet too.

You could fix it, I know you could.
Aren’t you the great Goddess?
Grow your trees faster! So, if we burn,
say, the Amazon Basin, or half Indonesia,
millions of replacements can sprout up. (Oh —
you want to know where to put them?)

Well anyway, surely the oceans
are vast enough to be retrieved. Surely
you can make it so oil spills are contained
and fish uncontaminated. And hey,
while you’re about it, let’s save the whales!
No, really. (What — we have to ALL want it?)

Gaia, I’m getting desperate here.
You don’t seem to realise things are grim.
Couldn’t you have set Japan
on firmer ground? Somehow turned the tide
of that tidal wave? (Whaddya mean,
you didn’t cause the radiation leak, we did?)

Dear Gaia, you’ve always been
an excellent Mother. I can’t complain.
I know you tried to warn us many times,
I know you’ve done your best to teach us
right from wrong, and consequences.
Could you now be forgiving? Could you
give your wayward children one last chance?

Day 22 - Someone you want to give a second chance to

Submitted for Poetry Pantry #69 at Poets United

Dear Gardenia

Gardenia of the dangling hem
Gardenia of the tangled hair
big, awkward girl with hanging head

you were the dirty girl
Mummy told me not to go near
because Things might hop off you

and I didn’t go near, didn’t even
look at you more than I had to;
I turned my back, I turned my eyes

I never said a word to you, I pretended
you didn’t exist (how dare you be here,
in my school; how dare you be?)

so when the letter came
from your parents, complaining
that three little girls had picked on you —

mean Lexie, rough Janet, and me —
I protested, indignant in innocence,
‘I never did anything to her’.

The others confessed. ‘I hit her.’
‘I kicked her.’ But I got into trouble
for telling lies. Until roll-call.

‘Oh, you couldn’t have done it;
you weren’t here yesterday!
Why didn’t you say?’

(Because, Stupid Teacher, I wasn’t here,
so I didn’t know this was about
something that happened yesterday.)

Gardenia, I don’t think you ever came back.
I wonder what you would have looked like
clean and cared for — or were you

a big old dumb girl kept down in class,
never going to catch up, unable
to keep yourself nice? I’ll never know.

But I do understand now
that you weren’t just talking about one day,
and why you said I picked on you.

Day 21 - Someone you judged by their first impression

22 April 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

Whoopee! I was just given this award by bttrflyscar who won it herself for her blog The Originals. Many thanks for the honour!

I am now to pass the award on to ten other bloggers and also acquaint you with seven things about myself.

I've chosen to do this on my SnakyPoet blog, so as to leave this one for poems. I enjoyed deciding which bloggers to pick, and explaining why. Now I'd better tell them!

Message in a Bottle

If you find this, I am on an island
west of Hawaii five nautical miles
or thereabouts — my compass has been lost.
I survived. I even found the treasure.
But my mates sailed off and never came back.
They were always fools! I don’t want rescue,
I’m very happy here. The food is good,
the scenery and the lifestyle superb.
I’m on my own adventure holiday.
But I crave a companion, and some love.

This is not part of the Letter Challenge I'm doing this month. It comes from Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides blog, where he is offering prompts for his annual April Poem a Day Challenge, which I am not doing this year because I am doing the letters instead. He also recently offered a form challenge: The Big 10. I couldn't resist, and killed two birds with one stone as the prompt Message in a Bottle seemed to fit well with my 30 days of letters.

21 April 2011

You Pester My Mind

You pester my mind
more and more
old doom-sayer,
you in the hood.

What right do you have
to come in here
night after night,
giving me the old hurry-up?

‘Do it now!’ you say.
‘Get on with it!
Time waits for no man —
nor woman either.’

That may be so, but I
would like to smell
the roses, take a breath.
‘Breath runs out,’ you warn.

And it might be
my breath you mean,
but I think of his
and all the things undone

which he’d like to finish
before he goes, and I
could help complete
except that all my time

is spent on helping him
stay alive. How sweet
if both of us could live
till the end. We survive.

Day 19 - Someone that pesters your mind — good or bad

20 April 2011

Dear Sarah Jane

Dear Sarah Jane,
I wanted to be you.
I wanted your slim form,
your long dark hair
wide eyes and pretty mouth.

I wanted to be
just your age
at just that time
in a London that was still,
I imagined, a little bit swinging

and then to go
into all kinds of times,
all sorts of spaces, with all four
of the most charming Doctors.

Above all I wanted
your bravery
when you climbed
that high wire lattice
leading people to freedom.

Sarah Jane,
you are my hero.
I loved Rose and Leela,
wonderful Donna, and Wilfrid;
liked Martha and Ace, Jo and the Brigadier

and of course
I always adored
dashing Captain Jack.
Amy, I see, in her own way,
is as brave, smart, and good as you —

but there’s no more you,
dear Sarah Jane, who crept
so easily into our hearts
and now will never return
ageing brilliantly, for more story.

Sarah Jane,
I wanted to be you.
I don’t want to be and I’m not
dead at 63, like the actress
who played you.... Oh loss! Oh sad reality!

RIP Elisabeth Sladen, d.19 April 2011.

Day 18 - The person that you wish you could be

Published in HAVE YOUR CHILL, July 2018

In Another Country

Hello, you. Nice photo.
You look good in your black hat.
I wasn’t mad on the dreads.
Now you look distinguished!
It’s that touch of grey in your beard
and edging your temples.
And of course the hat.

I wonder if we'll ever again
see each other in the flesh.
Oops! Let’s not put it like that;
in person, I mean. That other
might best be forgotten, right?
(Except I don’t forget.)

It’s good to see the pictures
of you with the right woman
and a new child. I never was
the right woman in that way,
nor indeed you the right man.

I like to read of your adventures
with chooks and gardening,
learning to build earth domes,
and fathering a young daughter.

I like to get the invitations
I’m too far away to accept,
for candlelit vigils, drumming circles,
courses in dragon magick
and workshops with crystal skulls.

You call me Teacher. I only
encouraged you on a path
you were always walking,
even when you thought
you’d strayed off course.
The angels never left you.

I like loving you quietly now
as friend / confidante / sister. I love
that your wife and my husband
feel no threat. (Nor should they.)
And just occasionally I like to say,
‘You look good!’ and be told,
‘You look good too, dearie.’

Day 16 - Someone that's not in your state/country

19 April 2011

Dear Bogeyman

You missed! I got away
time after time after time,
leaping on the bed
from the middle of the floor,
flying in a flurry
of cotton nightgown,
to land soft and safe
from your sneaky hands
that reached to grab
my naked ankles
and pull me down
into the darkness
of your nether regions.

I never met you in the flesh
though some of my friends did.
I wonder now about those tales,
that fear — where did it come from?
Did fear or tales come first?
Are both an age-old way
of keeping children safe
from real-live bogeymen
who really lie in wait
for unwary children, and who
might even be in your own house,
hiding, ready to pounce,
under your own bed?

Day 17 - Someone from your childhood

Published in BEYOND THE DARK ROOM, 2012

18 April 2011

Dear Beth

I’m afraid to phone!
It’s been so long.
What if you’ve moved,
what if you’re dead?
What if you’ve got dementia

and don’t remember me?
What if you’re annoyed
that I haven’t been in touch?

Perhaps I’ll leave it ... but
I long to hear your voice.

Day 14 - Someone you've drifted away from

17 April 2011

Missing You

Laurentino mio
I don’t suppose
it could have gone on,
but there’s no-one I can be
as silly with as you.

I miss your brain, I miss
the late night conversations
on msn. The deep discussions,
the nonsense, and the way
we always got so hilariously rude.

Life intruded. Events
took up time. Inevitably
months passed
becoming years.
The long gaps extended.

‘I miss you,’ you messaged
suddenly. After a pause
I replied, ‘I miss you too.’
That was all. Now
you ignore me on Skype and facebook.

I understand. I do it too.
What’s to say?
I’m sure you do miss me
as I miss you, and those times.
But the world and our lives moved on.

Slightly out of order: Day 15 - The person you miss the most

Dear Telstra

I wish you could forgive me
if I were to end now
our brief relationship.

Sometimes one just knows
a thing isn’t working
and never will.

It’s clear that we have
a communication problem —
at least one.

Your beautiful upright modem
lacks potency and staying power.
How much interruptus can I take?

When it’s this much struggle,
why not give up already
and both cut our losses?

But that’s not the way
you operate.  It’s an expensive
alimony you demand.

Hundreds of dollars yet
to break our contract. I’ll have to
stick it out the rest of the year.

I hunger for a love affair
with the National Broadband Network —
which is still too far away.

Meanwhile I’d be happy enough
to hook up with Dodo while I wait
for the someday when my NBN will come.

Telstra, won’t you please forgive me
all severance payments
and let me go?

Day 13 - Someone you wish could forgive you

Wicked Stepmother

I don’t hate you any more
and the pain you caused is past.

There are those who say that you 
were one of my greatest teachers.

It may be so. I learned
that hate poisons the hater

so then I had to work hard 
to make myself stop.

But I can’t like you.
There are no names bad enough

for the way your tortured
my Dad and my little brother.

Me too — but it’s for our loved ones 
we hurt the most.

That’s it, really. Nothing more 
to say, and I want to expunge you

from my thoughts.
You’re dead. Stay that way!

Day 12 - The person you hate most/caused you a lot of pain

Submitted for Poets United's Verse First: Poetry Heals

To the One Who Broke My Heart the Hardest

Dear John —
But this is not a ‘Dear John’ letter.

Once, in a letter to me, you said,
because I had signed, ‘Love always’,

‘Always is a long time to love. 
How about

Love ... as long as you’re still 
the person you are today?’

That was twenty-nine years ago.
I am of course changed 

but this I know:
when it’s love, it’s always.


‘The wind doth blow today, my love,
and a few small drops of rain.

I never had but one true love.
In cold grave he was lain.’ *

Probably not. I expect 
they burnt you up in a fire, your family. 

Whatever they did, I didn’t have to
witness it. Our love stayed secret.

And I know you didn’t intend
to break my heart, hard or at all. 

I have had other loves, all true,
and other heartbreaks, but ...

* A slight misquoting from the anonymous ballad, ‘The Unquiet Grave’

Day 20 - The one that broke your heart the hardest.  
And yes, this poem is out of sequence in the 30 days.

16 April 2011


I wish I could talk to you now
and ask you to tell me the stories.

My other Grandma
lived longer and told me tales

of my Dad when he was a boy,
and all his sisters and brothers.

But you, Nana, could have told me
stories about yourself.

I want to know about India
when you lived there,

your hotel on the beach,
and the people in the old photos.

But most of all I always wanted
the guidance you would have given me

all the years of my growing up,
because you were loving and wise.

Mum and Aunty Franki
always asked your advice.

I can remember that, and remember
their skirts and flirty hats.

But I was only four when you died.
If I try, I can almost remember your voice.

Day 11 - A deceased person you wish you could talk to

15 April 2011

I Wish That I Could Speak With You More Often

To my firstborn

When I left the city
left the cold
I also left you.

We thought we’d often return 
to visit you and others
and at first we did

but we got older
and poorer;
it happened less and less.

Still there was phone
and email. I remember
those impassioned conversations.

Gradually, on both sides,
they dwindled.
I’m glad at least of facebook.

Our life here
has been long and delightful.
You are my only regret.

When you were growing up
we had some good talks,
you and I,

quiet talks together
usually at night
while your father and brother slept.

Even then, 
I thought you had wisdom.
Even now, I enjoy your wit.

Day 10 - Someone you don't talk to as much as you'd like to

12 April 2011

Dear Boudica

(aka Boadicea)

Dear Boudica
I was young
when you became
my greatest hero —
not for being a warrior
but because you fought
for freedom
against invaders
who flogged you,
raped your daughters,
and stole your country.

Now adult, I know
something like that
happened around here too
not quite so long ago,
and is still happening
sometimes with violence
sometimes with trickery.

You won some battles,
not the war. They say
you died of poison.
All that too applies
in this land. You
would understand.
Here the fight goes on.

If I could go back
and meet you,
I would want to say
you are not forgotten,
you have inspired
in your own land
and other lands
for centuries
after your time.
Thank you.

Day 9 - Someone you wish you could meet

11 April 2011

A Letter to My Favourite Internet Friend

Well, dear Sir or Madam
I wish you’d tell me who you are!
I mean, we have an assumption
that there’s only one of you.

Let’s narrow it down.
First we’ll exclude all those
I know or have known
in what we call ‘real life’.

Then — favourite for what reason?
The one whose art I love?
(A dozen or more of them.)
The brilliant poet? (Ditto.)

There are witches, photographers,
teenagers, grandparents,
some open-minded Christians
and at least one priest.

I love a certain schoolgirl
for her courage and free thinking,
a gay witch for his honesty
and acerbic tongue / keyboard.

There’s the man who takes his dogs
to the early morning beach,
the one who captures the faces of cities,
and the fellow who draws.

The magician who loves cats,
the woman who’s my secret twin,
the film-maker, the widow, the pirate,
and all the story-tellers who delight.

And there’s you, both of you,
dear haikuists: one the image
of a real-life friend, the other
with a sister who lives not far from me.

I think you might be — both —
my very favourite never-met friends.
I think your art has made you Zen;
you give me peacefulness.

Our souls brush lightly as feathers.
I like your love and laughter.
I know you can be wicked,
I know your hearts are pure.

Letter Challenge Day 8 - Your favorite internet friend

Submitted 11 October 2013 for dVerse prompt: To friends (in honour of a fine online friend and fine poet, Dave King, who recently passed).

To My Ex

Dear X, I still
remember you well
and fondly.
How well you fondled ...
but, ah well,
that’s deep
in the past now
and you too,
the dear part
of memory
lingering still,
till I open again
that core space
within me,
where with such ease
you entered,
my hidden depths
until I felt you
knew me better
than any other
could or would,
bone and flesh
united, then
annihilated ...
I remember.

(Day 7 - Your Ex-boyfriend/girlfriend/love/crush)

Also submitted for Poets United's Poetry Pantry #73

10 April 2011

Dear Austar Trainee

I’m sorry, but your trainer
didn’t introduce you by name.
Did you happen to notice that,
amongst the more obvious things
she was busy teaching you?

You seemed like a nice lad.
When I said I’d taken you
for Jehovah’s Witnesses,
you grinned. She pulled a face
and said, “Aren’t they awful?’

(No. They’re only doing
what they feel they must,
politely.)  Mind you, she
could teach them a thing or two
about getting a foot in the door.

Was that bit of training
discussed in private, later?
I did know that was why
she requested a glass of water.
I’d already decided to let you in.

It was the good deal that sold us,
not the spiel. Not her wide smile,
nor the way she answered, ‘Beautiful!’
to every second thing I said. That
was irritating, nearly put me off.

Your sparkling enthusiasm
for the History channel,
in common with my husband’s,
would have won us if need be—
before she hastened to shut you up.

So learn from her the dates and costs
you need to fill out the forms,
but trust yourself for the rest.
(I hope you don’t mind my advice.)
Yours sincerely, the lady from Unit 1.

Day 6 - A stranger

9 April 2011

Torturing the Cats

I sneak up on them,
pounce on her at breakfast
him while sleeping.

A quick squirt of anti-flea
on the back of the neck.
Triumph! They hardly react.

What, no fierce resistance
of hiss and threatening claw?
No agonised screeching?

No over-the-shoulder glares?
No silent stares of reproach?
I’ve lost my Bad Mother badge.

(This is not part of the 30-Day Letter Challenge.)

To My Dreams

Dear Messengers,
You are neglecting me!
I seldom see you,
and when I do, it’s briefly.

Aren’t you supposed
to communicate?
You used to show me
whole movies, but now

the phone line’s dead,
the emails are bouncing,
you’re a twitter eye-blink.
Could you try YouTube?

(Day 5 - Your dreams)

7 April 2011

Unborn Brother

I know you only as
a pair of staring eyes
that once haunted my mother.

My own sons were grown
before she spoke of you,
and she was an old woman.

You had been secret
and perhaps forgotten —
at least buried — all that time.

Old, sick and alone
she found you again
among her guilts and regrets.

I was far away;
we kept in touch by phone.
It became too much to hold

and so she told me —
as daughter or healer?
As we were talking, you left.

Those big staring eyes
that had seemed accusing
gazed more softly, then faded.

She said she felt peace.
Perhaps you welcomed her
later, when she too left us.

(Day 4 - Your sibling, or closest relative)

6 April 2011

Dear Mum and Dad

How are you both?
What’s it like being dead?
I expect you’ve grown
quite used to it by now.

I can’t believe it’s been
so long! I’m already older
than you were, Dad,
and hope to outlast Mum.

I think I turned out all right.
You might not agree.
But you see, in my opinion
you got some things wrong.

I did grow up to be a poet.
I’m glad I never married
the doctor or lawyer
you thought would suit me.

And I’m about to watch
a TV program that includes
‘sex scenes and coarse language’.
There’s nothing you can do.

(Day 3 - Your parents)

4 April 2011

Oh, Lovely Johnny

(a letter to my crush)

When I first saw you
I was amazed
by your wild hair,
wistful eyes,
and long, long 
snapping fingers.
You were a misfit,
your gentle heart
not understood.

The next encounter
was ten years later.
You had become
a long-haired gypsy,
still outside the norm
but now more self-assured.
Your body language said
you were at ease
with sensual pleasure.

Only four years on
you were a writer,
already well-known.
With all that success,
you remained
a sensitive man,
more at home
with fairy-tales and dreams
than social games.

It wasn’t long before
you turned up drunk
repeatedly. On the wrong
side of the law too —
still the sexiest thing
I ever saw, beneath
that beard and bandanna.
And lately you’ve gone
frankly weird, but still….

Oh Johnny, you are
the handsomest man!
Lovely bloke,
beautiful actor;
I appreciate that.
But mainly I love your looks.
I’m shallow, I know,
but after all you're never
going to get this letter.

Cheat sheet
Subject: Johnny Depp.
verse 1 Edward Scissorhands
verse 2 Chocolat
verse 3 Finding Neverland
verse 4 Pirates of the Caribbean and Alice in Wonderland

(Day 2 - Your Crush)

A Letter to My Best Friend

You’re not my one best friend, there’s a few
but when I hear the phrase, I think first of you.

I don’t know why you first, more than others.
It grew quite slowly, as with some lovers,

from the fan letter you sent me decades ago
to no-holds-barred confidante and truth-teller now.

‘We get each other at very deep levels’, that’s true —
as you once told someone who thought I was being rude

(I was) and that you needed a champion to strike me dead.
Whereas when you offer to smack me upside the head

at times when I appear to be self-destructive,
at least you’ve got enough sense not to say it in public.

But I can shoot off my mouth to the rest of ‘em too
and they me and we know how we mean it; it isn't just you.

We’ve got almost everything in common.
So I have with the others, both men and women.

Perhaps the reason is geographical.
We see each other seldom, only on sabbatical,

which might make it easier to get on with each other.
Yet the rest are scattered as far, and further.

We’re both writers and we communicate in writing —
is that it? No, don’t get excited.

You guessed it, the rest of that special few
mostly happen to be writers too.

So I don’t know what makes you especially special.
I guess I’m just irrationally partial.

(Day 1 - Your Best Friend)

30-Day Letter Challenge

It's April again, poetry month in America and spreading to other countries. There are new prompts at Poetic Asides. But my imagination has been captured by a meme I came across, to write a letter a day for 30 days. Of course I want to do them in verse! I'm late starting, as I was absorbed in teaching Reiki this weekend, so somewhere along the line I'll need to do two per day on two days.

Here are the details:

30-Day Letter Challenge — 

Day 1 - Your Best Friend

Day 2 - Your Crush

Day 3 - Your parents

Day 4 - Your sibling (or closest relative)

Day 5 - Your dreams

Day 6 - A stranger

Day 7 - Your Ex-boyfriend/girlfriend/love/crush

Day 8 - Your favorite internet friend

Day 9 - Someone you wish you could meet

Day 10 - Someone you don't talk to as much as you'd like to

Day 11 - A deceased person you wish you could talk to

Day 12 - The person you hate most/caused you a lot of pain

Day 13 - Someone you wish could forgive you

Day 14 - Someone you've drifted away from

Day 15 - The person you miss the most

Day 16 - Someone that's not in your state/country

Day 17 - Someone from your childhood

Day 18 - The person that you wish you could be

Day 19 - Someone that pesters your mind--good or bad

Day 20 - The one that broke your heart the hardest

Day 21 - Someone you judged by their first impression

Day 22 - Someone you want to give a second chance to

Day 23 - The last person you kissed

Day 24 - The person that gave you your favorite memory

Day 25 - The person you know that is going through the worst of times

Day 26 - The last person you made a pinky promise to

Day 27 - The friendliest person you knew for only one day

Day 28 - Someone that changed your life

Day 29 - The person that you want tell everything to, but too afraid to

Day 30 - Your reflection in the mirror

2 April 2011

Slow rain: tanka and things, March 2011

autumn starts hot
close the blinds and curtains
turn on the fans
inside our cocoon all day
can’t watch the garden shrivel


cooler nights
we sleep longer
wake startled
cats hungry, sun high
our heads thick with dreams


5pm cool
I go out walking
wave at others
all we fat women
out walking at dusk


We don’t go
to the funeral
this morning.
She’s dead and won’t care.
We had a bad night.


When I think there might be
a ghost in the house
I become modest,
undressing discreetly
and shutting doors.


Snowy mountains
of cumulus cloud
float in the sky
above the earth mountains
like copies.

(These two also posted as 'small stones' in my Stones for the River blog.)


Wet Saturday.
We lie in bed long,
the morning paper
strewn on the covers
and a sprawling cat.


there are crystals
hidden in the mountain
sometimes they appear
among stones in the road
or glinting from the creek


I hear all the white noise
I was deaf to
from fridge and computer
with my new hearing aids


Cinqku Sequence

Slow rain
dribbles loud
on roof and path.
I open the curtains
and watch.

The drops
fall in stages —
roof to vines, pause, roll off,
hit ground.

I loll
warm and dry,
coffee in bed,
reading old newspapers,
with him.

Old age
brings pleasures
unknown when young:
weekdays can be Sundays,


1 April 2011

After the hard day: March haiku 2011

my own sweat


early autumn breeze
early morning heat


advancing across the screen


can turn off
the TV news, but not
the images


even the angels
cry now for Japan


even after quakes
even after tsunamis
there are butterflies


After the hard day
and late night
at last my soft bed!


A cloudy morning.
I ask which way the wind blows.
Is it from Japan?


Elizabeth’s dead
the night sky very dark
and bright with stars


can’t die, is dead
just eight years older than me
marker of my life


absent now
who was always a presence
all my life


with autumn here
must my life force
start to fade?

(a response to some burgeoning-Spring haiku on facebook)


as my days dwindle
I fall into dreamtime
you spring, light, awake