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 August 2011

Growing















Now the moon
is getting on with the business of growing
daily a little more,
inching into Her eventual fullness.

Here on the ground
I decide this month of poetry journalling
shall be a book
a chapbook of my relationship with Her.

First the cover.
I won’t steal but I have no moon photos 
of my own.
I choose instead this lump of lapis lazuli.

Over-exposed
it shows one crescent edge, deep blue
fading to nothing,
the rest of the circle hidden in white light.

Behind that edge
is an arc of shadow, and an echoing curve
of golden glow
suggesting the dark side, and the reflected sun.

On the surface
flecks I know to be gold are vague and grey
like craters.
This stone depicts the moon; I convince myself.

*************

I tell clients
that the Moon card in Tarot holds all implications
at once
of moonlight which both illuminates and distorts.

Dreams, visions ...
or illusion, deceit, delusion, self-deception....
Stay in the light
I say. Don’t wander off into the shadows.

Yet I know
the distracting, shadowy side paths can lead
to deep places
of intuition, inspiration, flowers that bloom in the dark.

Her teachings
are true but not aways straightforward.
I hold to Her, and
we move into wider space, like children exploring.


Journalling my relationship with the moon: 3
Also submitted for dVerse Open Link Night 7

This anthill: August tanka 2011


We were expectant
but the people didn’t come.
We were here, ready.
Now the night is arriving
with an odd, unfinished air.

3/8/11


peaceful day
a melancholy tune
wafts faintly
from somewhere nearby
ripples on still air 

9/8/11


cold morning
August closes in
miserably
even the rain
is half-hearted

7/8/11


rain keeps away
the longed-for visitor 
and brings instead
one seeking shelter here
whom I don’t refuse, but ...

23/8/11


this anthill
half the size of my fist
is tunnelled
like a honeycomb —
this hotel, this village

30/7/11

August chill: August haiku 2011

sunny morning
the red lid of my bin
against green lawn

5/8/11


he left lights burning
lids off food
yet we miss him now

12/8/11


August chill
invades the house
despite heater

morning sneezes
ring through the house
shake us up

this old poncho
I made when my kids were small
still warms me

morning coffee
my defence against
August chill

*********

Friday
sneezing
haiku!

19/8/11


winter hunkers down
a last long stretch of cold wet
after hints of spring

21/8/11


Some old ones from 2005:

The doves are cooing
over and over again,
disturbing our peace.

***********

The tree sends tendrils
up under the overhang …
seeking shade or light?

(rediscovered 22/8/11)


June 11
Lune sequence

The day has gone past.
I breathe in.
(My second wedding.)

Often I forget
for some hours
why this date rings bells.

I wore a pink dress —
miniskirt —
and my highest heels.

Heather was bridesmaid.
Promises now
to email; doesn’t.

The best man was Jim.
Years later
gave Bill’s eulogy.

(Another oldie rediscovered and reworked.)
12/6/10 - 22/8/11


Rising from dry grass
the Grevillea trembles.
Look! A king parrot.

17/01/06 
(Rediscovered 22/8/11)


Not pitter patter
more of a sonic boom
rain in the tropics

********

rain interferes
with my internet access
comments disappear

23/8/11



Creating haiku —
a solitary calling?
Ha, ha! No, crowded.

26/8/11


poetry
between hard realities
a pause for breath

*************

red cribbage pegs
my Grandpa teaching me
sixty years ago

28/8/11


In Another Country

prognosis 
terminal and soon ...
are you still there?

your fine brain
undervalued
erupts

your brain creates
more and more cells
trying harder

your mind
expands and narrows
the focus

my mind 
fixed on your dying
stops

I do nothing
think
of nothing else

you think 
of those around you
dying or ?

you think
of those who have left
the ward

you are 18
you think of a future
you dreamed

29/8/11

30 August 2011

Safe Starting PLaces


The moon, still hidden 
in a thunderous sky,
is two percent of full,
beginning its waxing phase.

We also, this wild night,
hide behind our walls
and only in imagination
discern the coming Spring.

I phone my niece Ellie.
Six months in her rural home
she starts to settle in;
finds friends, community.

My daily quote 
from Divine Mother says,
‘Go into your heart. Access
your infinite Wholeness.’ 


Journalling my relationship with the moon: 2

29 August 2011

Invisibility

tonight
the moon is new

I’m feeling old
my shoulders ache

I walk outside
to see the moon

in a sky thick with cloud
no sliver

‘old women are invisible’
wrote poet Barbara Giles

when she herself was old
as I am now and feel

but the moon is only
obscured by cloud

and tonight we know
the moon renews



Journalling my relationship with the moon: 1

Journalling My Relationship with the Moon

A woman on facebook invited others to do this during the current lunar month, beginning now. She created a group where people can share  about this experience. Naturally I am writing my moon journal in verse.

25 August 2011

Violence

You were glaring through the window
when your face broke like crazy paving.
Zig-zag lines and angles fragmented the planes,
just missing your eyes and your nostrils
but cutting across your lips and severing both ears.

Then, as the glass shattered and fell,
jagged pieces crumbling slow to the ground,
your face was smooth again except for the scowl.
Your knuckles, though, still raised, were bloody.


Not a recent event, people, and not directly involving me. A poem from early 2009, just revised. Submitted to dVerse Open Link Night 6 

21 August 2011

Texture


The Poem shivers, not with cold but fear.
Don’t rough me up, says Poem,
I’m not one of your tough ones. 
I don’t want lumps all over my surface, 
cracks in my fine skin, patches 
scraped raw, scars harsh to the touch.

I want, says Poem, some polish,
some delicacy, some finesse.
I need sensitive handling. Then
I shall reward you. You will feel
smoothness, easy passage to my heart;
softness, that can soothe your every pain.


From a Poetics prompt at dVerse

20 August 2011

The Letter S

The serpentine letter S
stands of course for snakes
and makes the sound
of their sibilant hiss.
Also it stands for spiders
whom most of us detest 
but I see as sentient beings,
wise weavers of webs:
those delicate spirals, or else
those fragile circles suggesting wheels
crossed by strong, straight spokes.
Webs that stick to your face
or sway in the breeze;
webs that shine after rain,
strung with sparkling droplets
prismatic as sequins, to flash and scintillate.

The letter S begins
these words — song 
and singing, soft,
surprising, startling, shocking,
sudden and slow,
stiff and supple,
slender, slim, 
slippery, shivering,
superb, and at last sweet.
It sounds (or sighs, or sometimes sings)
in these words — graceful,
glamorous, glissando, gasp,
upset, upstart, push, press,
pause, peruse, pursue,
promiscuous, promise, persist,
espouse, aspire, and especially, surely, ascend.

You can’t make scones,
you can’t even stir the mix,
unless you include the letter
and/or sound of S.
You can’t steer a bicycle, board a bus,
cross the Sahara Desert
or discover a lost continent!
Without this useful consonant,
you’re just no good, you’re less
than a sorry, struggling mess.
And so, my friends, I rest my case.
I spread my hands and smile, 
even smirk a smidgeon, as I say
that for me to fully exist — Rosemary
Nissen-Wade, aka SnakyPoet, it’s essential 
to use several smart and sensual, sexy letters S.


A response to the latest Thursday Think Tank at Poets United

17 August 2011

She’s Merely a Chocolate Dilettante

She said, ‘I'm craving chocolate at present,’       
which seemed to us a very strange remark –         
as if it were the whimsy of a moment,                       
and of no moment whether light or dark.     
      
‘You,’ I said, ‘are no true chocoholic.’                       
The others nodded fervently and long.                       
I must confess I felt quite melancholic.                       
I'd thought she was a soul-mate. I was wrong.
           
‘I hope you soon get over it,’ I told her                                   
but she was deaf to irony and scorn.                                   
It would have been a waste of time to scold her.           
Deficiencies like hers aren't made but born.          
             
There but for the grace … let's show compassion.           
She'll never know the taste of true delight,                       
our unabating, unregretted passion,                                   
that serotonin bliss with each new bite.     


An oldie from 2007.  I was looking to revise it, so as to have a post for the dVerse Open Link Night 5 — but decided it works just fine as is. Only the title and italics are new.                       

16 August 2011

Venice


I don’t love cities,
but I entered Venice —
in a speedboat not a gondola —
and the sun on the water sang.

In the great buildings 
along the canals 
the soft-coloured stone 
seemed to breathe.

A man in black created 
toys of coloured glass,
taking a murky lump from the fire
in tongs, and twisting it bright.

Cobbled lanes 
one person wide
brought me face to face
with windows of carnival masks.

In a vast room covered in art
were paintings by Paul Veronese
who became an Ascended Master,
surprisingly pastel and pretty.

The Bridge of Sighs 
was a covered walkway.
Sadness lingered still
in the cells on the other side.

San Marco was slightly awash.
Decades earlier my friend wrote a poem
on ‘the tesselated tiles of San Marco’.
I sent her a postcard saying I was there.

My foster-son
who was living in Modena then
was an enthusiastic guide,
beaming and telling the stories.

In the centre of Venice there are
no cars, no cars, no cars.
Think of an inner city 
without any cars!

Cities are places 
I do not love. 
But when I think of Venice
my heart surges with song.


Prompted by 'Going Urban' at dVerse.

14 August 2011

Pan


I don’t at this moment see the flute 
but the horns are cornucopias.

He lay on a bank where willows grow
and the little ones whispered in awe.

Some paint him gross. He is elegant
though muscular, and larger than us.

I am looking at his picture on my desk,
planning where it will go on my altar.

He is a god of love in his own way,
sensual and wild, strong and tender.

He is the Nature we see around us
and also the earthy nature within us.

His full and shapely lips, his liquid eyes
and fine aquiline nose are distinctly Greek.

His pointed, fleshy ear, its whorls and folds,
indicate his animal hearing, acute.

He said he has come to this household
to take away our pain. We trust him for that.

I am no nymph but a Wise Woman,
yet his presence brings new fire to my lover.


Prompted by FormForAll - GHAZAL at dVerse

I realise, having read the comments on others' attempts, that this doesn't qualify as a ghazal — too linear in a couple of places, and every verse uses enjambment, which is a no-no. But I am pleased with the poem anyway, and will have fun practising the form.

13 August 2011

She


Melbourne

She sits at her desk
on a Spring day.

On her right is the glass 
door to the back garden.

She is crafting a poem.
She is happy.

Her man and her children
are about their business.

She feels a strange frisson
rippling her back a moment.

She could be in a time-warp,
caught. Or timeless: forever,

in unbroken thread,
sitting at her desk etc.

This might be 1980, or 1985.


Murwillumbah

At my desk on a Spring day,
crafting a poem,

the glass door to the garden
at my right, my man asleep,

my children grown and far away
absorbed in their own lives,

I feel a strange frisson
and here I am. And there I am.

I can see that desk, that garden,
that woman across time.

I am in my body. 
I am here, I am happy.

And she is in me, with me;
we are two points on a thread.

It is 2011. It is now.


In response to a prompt at Poets United's Thursday Think Tank.

12 August 2011

I Start My Evening Walks


I start my evening walks again
after a long gap,
plodding tired and heavy
at the end of the day
in a still chilly dusk.

Head down, I’m surprised
by clover dotting the grass,
little happy faces.
A lone ibis flies,
stretching in a straight line
for the hills of home.

Only ten minutes today.
I turn about
and the round moon confronts me
low in the sky, bright white.
Now I am peaceful.

11 August 2011

A Hope


Damaged people, the expert said,
have drama and confusion always
following them around; that’s the way
you know that they are damaged people.

I don’t know how this boy, our friend,
a young man now, will learn to shake
dramas and confusions from his life.
Yet he survives all, I don’t know how.

We, too, survive all: frightful tales
half farce, half tragedy; the tension
that obscures his kindness and ideals,
hard for friends ... only we two survive.

Friends only, we’re not family
but he knows that he can come to us 
when there’s nowhere else to go; and so
I guess we are more than friends only.

Must be karmic, our connection.
I know we can’t mend his damage, but
maybe we can demonstrate this thought:
positive progress must be karmic.

(The form — consisting of repetitions and syllabics — is my own invention. I haven't called it anything, and I doubt if I'd use it again. It doesn't seem to serve the poem very well.)

Posted for dVerse Open Link Night #4

5 August 2011

Heaven Café


May we all meet in heaven café
writing for eternity
— Natalie Goldberg
 (dedication, Writing Down the Bones)


I sit in Heaven Café
with my friends Leah and Jennie,
writing for eternity
at this time on this date
in our own places.

Today the café is called La Vela.
It has fake stucco orange walls,
a fake clay pot — half a pot —
jutting from one as if embedded,
and framed photos labelled Italia.

The long black is stewed and bitter,
the muffin fell into bits
when I touched it, leaking
melted butter sauce on my purple shirt.

Heaven has strange manifestations
sometimes, I think as the noise
of Sunnyside Shopping Centre surrounds me,
the cacophony I often tune out
suddenly strident, many-faceted.

Someone is banging metal on metal
rhythmically, purposefully, as if working.
Doors slam, machinery hums
in a constant background,
loud music blares from speakers —
different tunes from different outlets —

and a monologue resonates
through the microphone,
its manufacturedly cheerful note
blurring indecipherably.

People move constantly up and down the ramp,
round and round the circular floors:
a spinning kaleidoscope, never still.
11 o'clock arrives. I shudder in relief
and prepare to depart. But then
I look again and see

Jennie's dark head somewhere in Auckland
bent over as she writes rapidly,
a sideways tilt as she chews her pen
and ponders the landscape half-denuded of trees;

Leah's fair curls in Haifa,
head similarly bent, at a corner table
amongst a talkative crowd
of crones with auburn perms
and faint dark moustaches,
and somewhere in the distance
the sound of guns.

‘Heaven is where the heart is.’
Or is that home?
Our hearts are on the page as we write and write.
Home is a notebook, home is a poem,
home is each other, faithfully meeting,
wondering how to create for eternity,
and keeping our hands moving.


Posted for Meeting the Bar: Critique and Craft at dVerse.
I've been working on this one for 10 years! Any ideas how to improve it?