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.

22 December 2012

A New World?

Kyrielle for 22 December 2012

This is the way the world begins.
Wake and breathe: a normal day.
We are not punished for our sins —
not just this moment anyway.

It might be safe to buy more food
and even stash a bit away
now that the world's not going to end —
well, not this moment anyway.

But can we now begin again?
Pollution hasn't gone away.
Carbon emissions still remain —
for this long moment anyway.

We cry out to whatever God:
'Now please deliver us!' we pray.
'In the beginning is the word —
Oh grant a new one, any way!'

My father, the agnostic, said:
'Do your own deeds, say your own say.
Each of us, thus, could save the world —
for one more moment, anyway.'

Redressing the collective sins,
we each must act on our dismay.
Is now when our new world begins?
Let's seize this moment anyway!

Submitted for dverse FormForAll #20 
Theme inspired by LukePrater's Last Flush.

18 December 2012

He went out: November tanka 2012

he went out
to buy his child lollies
as the next bomb struck
crushing her under stone

the young father
asks through his tears
what did she do?
she didn't fire any rockets
she was five


30 November 2012

Full moon tonight: November 2012 haiku

'Don't turn me into a frog!'
Of course not —
he's already a toad.


a movie about love
the only place I look for it


full moon tonight I pray there won't be storms


27 November 2012

Across the Morning

Across the morning of another day
she walked in silence, not because of thought
but so that she could hear the birds at play
and for a time unlearn what she'd been taught.

'Duty can go to hell,' she said 
inside her mind. 'Responsibility
be damned. Those birds know
what matters: to fly and sing.'

A moment only. Common sense resumes.
The deeper self, the rebel self — will she
in hiding grow to wake and re-emerge
across the morning of another day?

Form: Dorsimbra
Description: This form was created by people associated with Sol’s Magazine. 
The form is a set of three quatrains:
A Sicilian quatrain (four lines iambic pentameter rhymed abab),
A quatrain of “short and snappy” free verse, and
A quatrain of blank verse (unrhymed iambic pentameter).
The twelfth line is the same as the first.
Attributed to: Eve Braden, Frieda Dorris and Robert Simonton

Submitted for dVerse OpenLinkNight #72

25 November 2012

Towards Dusk

Day moves towards dusk.
The wind surges up
with a sound like waves.
It's good to remember you
not as you were in recent days 
but earlier, younger, full
of energy surges like that
and passionate joy.

I don't remember 
who I was then
but I do remember you
and my blood surges up like waves
like the rushing of wind in the trees,
as I move towards dusk but slowly;
still here although alone,
still sensual, still engaged.

Submitted for Poets United's Poetry Pantry #132

Time Goes By

They herd even more now
(their nature)
coming wherever I am
to lie near.
They are mostly silent,
seldom purr.

It's ten weeks since he died;
since they saw him here—
more than twice
that time I spent away,
which seemed long.

I think they start to know
for certain 
that he will never come
back to us —
back here, back home ... slowly
losing hope.

Submitted for Poets United's Poetry Pantry #128

17 November 2012

Fibonacci Experiments


my birthday;
we talk a long time.
He's my friend as well as my son.
(His father is dead and his brother is lost to us.)

mobile phones —
and his new girlfriend.
At Easter they'll come to visit.
(Small core of family left, we're glad of each other.)

Wet City

Venice is
flooded and under
water — that city of water —
of sparkling, of singing water.
Now too much water
washes her:


We entered the dark of the moon.
Roses were growing
unseen but
their scent

the night
with silent
messages of life
continuing to spend itself.

Fibonacci poems (aka fibs) are syllabic, based on the fibonacci numerical sequence in which each number is added to the preceding to make the next. Zero is understood at the beginning, so the syllables then go: 

(1=0=) 1
(1+1=) 2
(1+2=) 3
(2+3=) 5
(3+5=) 8
(5+8=) 13

Theoretically one could keep going, but in a poem that would get more and more unwieldy. It's usual to stop at 8, but not uncommon to continue to 13. And then, as you see, one can vary the form by doubling, reversing, etc.

Submitted for Poets United's Poetry Pantry #124

14 November 2012

Just Underneath the Day-to-Day

Just underneath the day-to-day
is the sob that takes me unawares,
rushes upon me from nowhere,
takes me over. I never knew 
my mouth could stretch so wide —
a perfect O.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge 2012, Day 4. Prompt: 'Just Beneath —' and fill in the blank. (I remembered it as 'underneath', which I prefer for this poem).

5 November 2012

If He Was Here


If he was here
a bleak day like this
would be for snuggling.

If he was here
what's for dinner
would matter.

If he was here
he'd have some great idea
for me to implement.

If he was here
I'd be constantly
doing washing.

If he was here
there would be


If he was here
the cats 
wouldn't cry in their sleep.

If he was here
I'd never have known
cats could cry in their sleep.

If he was here
I'd be hiding matches and lighters
just in case.

If he was here
I'd be watching every minute
for random falls and spills.

If he was here
I wouldn't be learning to say
'my' instead of 'our'.


If he was here
I'd never sneeze
without a 'Bless you!'

If he was here
I'd keep my tears at his pain
for shedding later.

If he was here 
we'd greet the full moon 


If he was here
the words, 'I love you'
would not feel stark.

Submitted for Poetry Pantry #122 at Poets United

31 October 2012

Oneline, 2012 October

birthday coming the first without my husband


rain on the roof gecko chirps


red roses at twilight rain coming


full moon the cats are restless


poisonous oleander pretty in pink


Life Goes On: October 2012 haiku

the Bali I knew
is gone, but
rambutans remain

rambutans —
I hunger for
Bali and Java

the isle of the Gods
tastes of


life goes on
settles in


new follower
tweets her dislike of cats
I don't follow back


No Halloween

Last year there was a knock.
Three little girls from over the road
had climbed our front steps.
Two were dressed witchy,
the littlest one was a fairy
with gauzy wings. 'Oh come and look!'
I said to my love in his armchair.

Both of us, in the narrow doorway,
bent forward to smile and admire.
Luckily I found some jellybeans to give
and had enough left, an hour later,
when a stout little boy arrived alone 
looking brave and hopeful
in his cardboard wizard's hat
and pillowcase cape.

This year I was well prepared
with a whole bowl of mixed lollies.
I thought they could each take a handful
like a sort of lucky dip. 'I'll definitely
get visitors tonight,' I told my friends. But no. 
It's nearly ten. The street is very quiet. 
Are they — or their parents — 
being sensitive, choosing not to disturb 
newly widowed me alone at the top of my steps?

I remember his face last year
tender with delight, beaming
at the young ones and their costumes.
He was hunched, and later we didn't
celebrate Beltane traditionally
(our real Sabbat here on this date)
because his back was hurting.
I wrote a poem instead — as I do tonight.
I have no Beltane fire, but I'll light 
a candle for love, which will not die.

Submitted for dVerse OpenLinkNight #68

October tanka 2012: full moon

full moon 
I cast circle
ask only
for peace and purpose
a very short ritual


(just one tanka this month)

29 October 2012

There's Only Me


There's only me.
The grapes rot
before I finish them.

There's only me.
I play music
without headphones.

There's only me.
Why do I wear
my prettiest sarongs?


There's only me.
The cats spread out more
on the bed.

There's only me.
It takes four days
to fill the washing machine.

There's only me.
But his voice in the passenger seat
still says, 'You're clear this side.'

There's only me.
I arrange the pillows
a different way.

There's only me.
I can eat all
the chocolate.


There's only me.
I can finish writing a poem

There's only me. 
The morning news on TV
stays off.

There's only me.
In the top cupboard I find
his favourite soups.

There's only me
to give the cats
all their cuddles.


There's only me.
I come to a sad acceptance.
Then the real grief starts.

25 October 2012

There's Only Me


There's only me.
The grapes rot
before I finish them.

There's only me.
I play music
without headphones.

There's only me.
Why do I wear
my prettiest sarongs?


There's only me.
The cats spread out more
on the bed.

There's only me.
It takes four days
to fill the washing machine.

There's only me.
But his voice in the passenger seat
still says, 'You're clear this side.'

There's only me.
I arrange the pillows
a different way.

There's only me.
I can eat all
the chocolate.


There's only me.
I can finish writing a poem

There's only me. 
The morning news on TV
stays off.

There's only me.
In the top cupboard I find
his favourite soups.

There's only me
to give the cats
all their cuddles.


There's only me.
I come to a sad acceptance.
Then the real grief starts.

24 October 2012

Out Walking

As I come down the hill,
the dog I talk to barks
but not at me.

A man in the yellow shirt
of a Council worker
strides through the gate

followed by three or four
schoolgirls in grey skirts
and sky-blue tops, shapeless.

He enters the house.
They cluster on the veranda.
I'm too far away for details

but then they run
squealing and giggling
through the side gate

to the next yard
with the trampoline,
and they bounce.

In the doorway
of the house of the dog,
a young girl stands.

She is wearing a grey skirt 
and a sky-blue top, shapeless.
She lingers, staring out.

When I return that way
fifteen minutes later,
there is no-one at all —

only my friend the dog
waits for me to reach 
through the slats of the fence. 

I scratch behind his silky ears.
When I leave, he gives for his people
a pretend guard-dog bark.

Submitted for dVerse OpenLinkNight #67

23 October 2012


The mug I use for my coffee
is a carnival of coloured spots
on a bright white ground.
Across the front is written:
'Espresso yourself,'
which I do. 

This mug sits beside me 
as I write; this mug
looks over my shoulder 
when I'm reading; in talk 
it helps me gesticulate. This mug 
punctuates my life.

After the wake-up
shot of caffeine
it holds only decaff, I promise —
or sometimes ginger tea.
It's a travel mug with a lid
to minimise spills.

Andrew had one 
with a lozenge design,
saying, 'What am I doing
out of bed?' That one
I've hidden away
in the back of the cupboard.

14 October 2012

Garden Sitting

Nice to sit outside
letting the air touch me.
It rustles through leaves
of trees and shrubs and vines
while an unseen bird
trills intermittently.

I am sorry you are not here
to listen with me
and feel the breeze,
gentle down here behind fences
on this warm day
in the enclosed garden —

But I am here.
My ears, my hair, my skin
are alive and here today,
savouring everything
that is still
pleasant in life.

10 October 2012

Resuming Tai Chi Lessons After a Long Gap

In the Tai Chi class
we move together

breathing, turning the waist,
sinking and rising.

'Switch off your hands,'
the instructor says.

'Push out 
from your back foot.'

The movements
have beautiful names.

Cloud Hands ...
White Crane Spreads Its Wings ...

It's been two years
but my body remembers.

There is a rightness, like
meeting an old friend.

Submitted for Poetry Pantry #119 at Poets United.

5 October 2012


I am panther, sleek blue-black, shinier than a blackbird’s wing, more jet than a jungle night without a moon.  I am deep in the jungle today, in a thicket of green hung with vines, so the light itself is green, as if I am underwater.  I know about underwater: sometimes I romp and splash in hidden jungle pools; their light is also green.

Blue lipstick froths on her lips, pours from the tube all zingy like champagne.  She loves applying it in front of her mirror, feeling the tang, the wetness, seeing the strange colour paint all her face in its difference — her eyes purple, her cheeks mauve, her hair faint green in the light — all in relation to the glow from her thickly-blued lips.

I am looking for my dinner, and a mate.  Dinner is more urgent just now.  I leap through my thicket, listening for possibilities.  My ears twitch and swivel to all directions.  I am alive to the sounds of my home forest; I know it for miles by sound and smell — can detect both the beautifully familiar and the tiniest alteration.

She wonders if the unusual texture is to do with the dye, and why this lipstick is so unlike others from more conventional sources.  This colour is ALL blue, not just red with a blueish tinge.  She loves to encrust her mouth with it, layers of frothy blue on frothy blue until it looks matted, indelible.

There is an old bullock tethered right at the edge of the jungle, east of here; I catch the scent on the wind.  At once I know everything about this beast.  It belongs to a poor farmer who is trying to find extra grazing land there on the dangerous edge of the jungle.  It is fat enough to make a meal, but weak and slow, which is all the better for me.

She runs her fingers through her hair to spike it, and puts on huge loop earrings of an alloy that looks like heavy metal.  She drapes a fishnet stocking over her hand, stares a moment, then tosses it back on the bed.  Tonight she will leave her legs bare.  High on her thigh, just below the hem of her black satin skirt, is tattooed a tiny mouth — a laughing mouth, lips parted, showing teeth.

The edge of the jungle —  the border where two worlds meet —  is dangerous to those of either world.  The danger is in the encounter with the other side.  For me, there is risk in getting this easy meal.  It may bring men into my green thicket after me, with guns.  For the farmer and his beast, I am the danger.  I might kill the beast.  Also, I might kill the man.  I sneak nearer.  I am panther, hungry panther, choosing my game.

Published in Secret Leopard. Paris, Alyscamps Press, 2005. (See sidebar.)
Submitted for dVerse Meeting the Bar: Postmodern (prose)

3 October 2012

Frail flesh discarded: September tanka 2012

in Spring
the time of new life
my dear love
makes ready to travel
to the Summerlands


Frail flesh discarded
you can accompany me
so easily now
to the edge of the creek.
Two dragonflies skim the water.


Submitted for dverse Open Link Night #64

Waiting in Silence: September 2012 haiku

He is free. 
The soul reunites 
with itself.


waiting in silence
for poems
which do not arise


29 September 2012

The Rain

The rain pours in, filling up gutters and drains, drenching the garden, slipping down the sides of the banks, overflowing the dam, its glassy surface covered with lilies and moonlit clouds.  Heavier, heavier, sheets of steady drumming, nothing left of space between the drops, only a wall of water pouring out of the sky.  Only a world of water, a moving blanket that covers it all, out there.  If we would walk in it, out there, it would not be a wall, finite, it would be a river in the air to have to keep moving through.

The whiteness of the sound.  Like torrents tumbling.  A waterfall of air, airy water, watery air.  Triumphant, transcendent, filling up the night.  Filling up the black beyond my window.  Filling up the silence out there with its one, wild, incessant noise.  Gurgling and dribbling, hissing and whispering, telling stories to itself about the things we do here and what we are.  The rain is only rain, knows only rain, itself, does not fathom me, does not understand who we are, what we do, does not like much the things it sees us do.  Rain is rain and whispers harsh disapproving remarks, mutters to itself, condemns. 

Rain is life for trees and birds, insects and earth, even for me.  It fills the tank, it fills the river.  It floods.  Not here — but it does flood.  Not here.  I tell my friend, and my children who live far — no, it isn't here, the flood.  We're safe, it's otherwhere.  It's over in the west, and south of here.  We're safe.  The rain mutters, mocks, coming down continuously.  The rain is silver, looks like mud, not clear.  It gets to the ground and spreads out in mud.  It gets to the ground and swells the rivers, spreads all over the land.  No, not here.  We're safe.  Please, let us be safe, we don't want a flood.  We want the drink of the earth, the soaking in, the good rain the birds love.

Afterwards they were all out singing, the rain that rang on Wellington Street when I was a child once.  Afterwards the garden hung with drops, and all the birds out in the light, singing.  Drips from pink roses, drips from bushes and leaves, tangles of thorns, water and birdsong falling all over pink roses, the sun just coming out.  It was not Wellington, it was Brisbane Street.  No matter ... all the gone gardens in the summers of my lost youth.  All the wintry rainy seasons.  The church bell chiming through rain.  I must go home again.  I'll never go home again.  It washes me away, the rain.  I can't go home again.  The rain came tumbling down.

Published in Secret Leopard. Paris, Alyscamps Press, 2005. (See sidebar.)

(A friend asked if she could read some of my prose poems online. So I thought I'd better post some. See also previous post.)

Submitted for dverse Open Link Night #85


For my mother

Tasmania was mine, mmm, I loved it.  The many colours, many landscapes, the movement of the seasons.  The deep blue mountains, the bright meandering streams.  Silver and golden streams, water and sunlight.  Sunlight streaming on my wide back lawn, which spread like a meadow.  Shimmering grass and shimmering sky.  Fresh springtime mornings, their frosts diminishing, becoming dew.  Summer full of bees, their peaceful hum.  Me on my own, mooning through summer days, meandering round my meadow, humming too.

Winter mists hiding the valleys, climbing the hills, almost veiling the mountains, draping my  familiar town in mystery, magic.  Then melting gradually, by midday gone, the gleaming town new-minted.

Murky rain, black mud; myself muffled in overcoat, cap and mittens.  Gumboots to mid-calf.  Squelch, squelch, I am the master of all this mud!  Hurrying home to the warm, the welcoming  mother.  Tomato soup beside the fire.  My clothes hugging me warm: soft socks and cosy jumper.  Hugging myself with my happy arms.

The taste of tomato soup and mushy brown bread.  The taste of comfort, home.  The flavour of a warm room, safe from the frosts and marauding storms. Summer tastes were fruit - gooseberries, raspberries, nectarines, damson plums...  The purplest of plums, dark purple, thick with juice.  Messy all over my cheeks, staining my hair, covering my  hands to the wrists.  My rich purple lips, my inky tongue.  Mum amazed, aghast at so much mess.  Oh miraculous messy damson plums!  Welcome back to my memory, dreamtime summer fruit.

My summer stretched to encompass all the autumn.  Mellow harvest moons, huge and golden, mimicked the sun.  The sky smiled, the cosmos smiled on me.

'Come home!' the island calls me now.  'You are my child.  Come home, come back, you are mine.'

Published in Secret Leopard. Paris, Alyscamps Press, 2005. (See sidebar.)

(A friend asked if she could read some of my prose poems online. So I thought I'd better post some. See also next post.)

And linking — just a little late! — to Poets United's Mothers' Day 2013 edition of Poets Pantry

24 September 2012

What I'd Really Like to Say to My New Facebook Friend

I'm sure you meant it kindly, but
I am not another happy-go-lucky Aussie
like those others you said you met 
(and presumably didn't meet just online).

I'm a 72-year-old introvert
(well I guess you didn't know my age)
whose husband — as you did know — died 
only five days before you suggested 

it would do me so much good 
to drive two hours to a city I dislike
and usually get lost in
(not that you knew that either) 

so as to attend a Festival 
with a whole lot of strangers
not even including you 
(since you live in another country).

Of course you also didn't know
I don't like driving, and never was
much of a one for parties, even when
I wasn't widowed five days previously.

And that's the point: you don't know me.
You congratulated me 
on publishing my own literary magazine.
I don't. What made you think so?

And I certainly don't know you;
can't figure you out at all. But you were so hurt
and so quick to say so, when I didn't 
immediately accept your friend request

that in the end I did. And now we're stuck
with each other — the unfathomable Other.
Perhaps if I never comment....
I guess you meant it kindly, but....

Submitted for Poets United's Poetry Pantry #116
Just a little late for dverse's 'unexpected' prompt, although it fits.

7 September 2012

The Taste of Home

I grew up there,
so how can I restrain
the rapturous impulse buy?

In the bag, the jar rolls,
the contents move
to coat the inner lid.

I run my finger round, and lick.
'Tasmanian Leatherwood,'
I say out loud. 'Now that's honey!'

Submitted for dVerse Meeting the Bar: Symbolism

5 September 2012


A pale dawn comes up
over the quiet street.

I feed the cats extra;
it's myself I'm comforting.

To whom shall I give
the silk tie he never wore?

Submitted for dVerse Open Link Night #60

3 September 2012

Completion (an announcement to my readers)

My beautiful man passed away today about 3.40 in the afternoon. The nursing home phoned me just after breakfast so I went straight there and our dear friend Maureen joined me there, and we sat with him all day. The nursing home fed us, and we reminisced about him and his life, and talked to him too, and held his hands, knowing he could feel and hear us although he was unable to respond. He was very peaceful and comfortable all day, and went quickly and easily. He did wonderful things in his life, and was a treasured friend and mentor to many. I have been very blessed to have 20 years with this incredibly loving man.

1 September 2012

Lying Back on the Pillow

He looks so much himself,
lying back on the pillow, eyes closed,
as if he was resting at home
in his own bed, on his own pillow —
which he is. I brought it from home, that pillow.

He breathes evenly, looks peaceful,
his head slightly turned to the side.
The blankets are up to his shoulders,
his arms tucked in; you'd never know
all was not well with this sweet old man.

On impulse I lean over and gently kiss his cheek.
'I just can't resist kissing you sometimes,' 
I say. Perhaps he hears.

My beautiful husband, I love to gaze on you!

Submitted for Poets United's Poetry Pantry #113

A time of waiting: August tanka 2012

now you've left
I begin to understand
you were almost gone
every day a little more


a time of waiting
I am fatalistic now
he'll do what he does
dying slow and peacefully
reaching out to hold my hand


For mourning: August haiku 2012

Cold Sunday.
I miss
my husband.


Spring —
surely the wrong time
for mourning


27 August 2012

Dusk Walk


The hills are clear.
The nights are becoming
if not really warm, less cool.
On my dusk walk
people are about.
Dads are out in their sheds
or yarning from driveways.
Little kids, some in pyjamas,
bounce and squeal on a trampoline.
Two slightly older children
still in school uniform
walk their dog —
a puppy who wants to be friendly.
I scratch behind his ears
and tell him he's beautiful.
The girl holding the lead smiles.


I have been feeling the irony
of doing things now for myself only,
feeling the emptiness.
But after all, I always
did some things for me — the walks,
the meditations. Only he
was always there like a backdrop,
my backstop, at my back.
That night, before
he walked out into the dark,
he came and stood firmly behind me
with both hands on my shoulders
to give me energy because I was sick.
The warmth of his hands
was always magic. I walk
in fading light and think of him.

Submtted to dVerse Open Link Night #59

18 August 2012

That Time of Night

It's that time of night
when we shut our computers
leave our offices and meet
in kitchen and living room.
The TV goes on,
the cooking begins.
At this time of year
we turn on the heater.
The cats mill about
demanding dinner.
In warmth and noise
we celebrate family.

That's how it's been
for most of twenty years —
even the last two,
when you've emerged instead
from the bedroom
following an afternoon nap.
That's how it's been
and now it's not.
Night after night you're not here.
Without you, the house
is cold and silent; even the cats
are moping and off their food.

My beloved husband, who is 83, is seriously ill in hospital. If he recovers, which is doubtful, he will have to go into permanent residential care.

Update: He has improved and will go into care tomorrow (24 Aug.). It's a good place where he will be comfortable and well looked after, but as he cannot move his own body now, it is highly unlikely he will ever come back to this home we have shared, even for a visit.

Submitted for Poets United's Poetry Pantry #111
and for dVerse Open Link Night #52

1 August 2012

Solitary Imbolc

The moon is bright
and nearly full,
almost directly overhead
when I go out late
to make ritual for Imbolc,
for the coming of Spring.

More and more
my small back yard
becomes a sacred space:
place of daily meditations
and communing with Nature.
The energy gathers and builds.

I cast my circle simply, 
with my right forefinger.
Deosil (sunwise)
is anti-clockwise here.

I bow as I name the directions
then open my arms
to call down the light of the moon.
I feel her enter and fill me.

I have some prayers,
I have some praises,
I have some thanks to give.
All this is quietly done.

Then it is time
to open the circle
and free all spirits
which may have been trapped
inadvertently or otherwise,
bidding them go in peace.

I step inside my door

Submitted to dVerse Open Link Night #56
Check it out to find lots of good poems by lots of good poets!

This poem also appears in Sherry's Poets United feature: A Chat With Rosemary Nissen-Wade ~ On Poetry and Witchcraft.

31 July 2012

Cold Friday: July haiku 2012

red wine
at midnight —
my neck hurts


children play loudly
in the doctor's waiting room
the old sit silent


morning light —
the sound of the cat
being sick


he raids our garbage —
white ibis


two aged care homes
placed on either side
of the graveyard


cold Friday
Max's wake is happening


deadly shooting spree —
America responds
by buying more guns


Rainfall night: July tanka 2012

rainfall night
the cats curled in armchairs
you in bed
falling into dreams
of cats and rain


in all poetry
two parts are better than one
he says —
a bold assertion combining
authority and the absurd



11 July 2012

Susan Online

This photo
reminds me
it must be 25 years
since we last met.

An elder's face:
shrewd humour
under the smart
upswept grey hair

and wise lines
made by living
a private life
I know nothing of.

I look for the dark-haired
girl, young Mum
who climbed up and fixed
her own roof tiles

and signed my copy
of her sonnets:
'In memory of
our boating expedition' ...

hear her again
in recordings. You still
read your poems
in that clear young voice.


I choose for my article
a different photo, between
then and now — fearful
of breaching copyright

but it seems OK,
and anyway
I don't know how
to find you.

9 July 2012

Café Conversation

They are at the table behind me.
I don't turn to look, but I can tell
they are young: twenties. Their bright
voices utter pronouncements,
laughing with assurance. I hear
one woman, two men. One man
talks loudest, leads the conversation,
shares his absolute insights
about life and people. He knows
how both behave, and how
they can be manipulated — for money.
He is telling the other two how much
he is set for success. They believe.

The girl (for I think she is barely
out of school) is almost equally assured
or wants them to think so. She agrees
airily with what the first man says, as if
she too knows, but needs his brilliance
to articulate what's so. If they are not quite
flirting, these two, they are at least trying
to impress. Without looking, I see
they are wearing very smart clothes. She
is well-fed blonde; no I don't mean fat, but with
that lovely layer of plumping under the skin
giving that skin a sunny transparence.
She knows she's got it, that lucky look.

The other man, third wheel, is not in the race.
He is the somewhat subordinate friend
they tolerate, laugh at, and then flatter
just a little bit, to keep him attached.
They scoff at his first remarks; then, after he
has been suitably abashed ten minutes or so,
they gradually start to take him more seriously,
or so it seems. Encouraged now, he expresses
further tentative opinions, kindly received. They
need him, or someone just like him. Meanwhile
I am tired: find myself nodding despite coffee.
I begin to pack up my things, and risk a look —
oh no! Can't believe I got them so exactly right.

7 July 2012


Pain gives you
clarity — this is
what matters, the
only thing. This
is what it all comes
down to at last.

All those
noble thoughts,
true friendships, love,
art and nature, all
those causes, things
you voted for....

This abject animal,
your body, knows
all that is nothing.
All you want
shrinks. Just to
be free, at the end.

5 July 2012

Full Moon Observance

Dark rainsky
I think the moon
will be hidden.

When I go out
into clear cold
she is right above.

I tilt my head
her white circle doubles
the two overlap.

Around the vesica piscis
bright blue light
shines and deepens.

Lady Moon
I stand on the earth
and beg for blessings.

The hour grows late
help me now to fulfill
all my promises.

Submitted for dVerse Open Link Night #51

This poem also appears in Sherry's Poets United feature: A Chat With Rosemary Nissen-Wade ~ On Poetry and Witchcraft.

2 July 2012

I light a match: June Tanka 2012

full moon
I light a match
give thanks
the spell burns fast
and I’m dancing


Tributes requested
are generously penned
for the dead poet.
And me? I pay tribute
reading her work again.


her words
are clear as fire
our pathway through
her dark absence


leafless branches
bloom with azaleas
pink on grey
brightening winter
briefly — then pruned


orange blooms
over my fence
the creeper
thrives like the weeds
which I allow


been here
days already
to me and himself
now drifts off elsewhere


Across darkness: June haiku 2012

full moon
the still night

full moon
the silence alive
held breath

full moon
right above me


Full moon high above.
I missed it —
the partial eclipse.


across darkness
the starlight travels
a long, long time


tropic winter
huge pink azaleas
on bare twigs


filled with whispers


deep silence
after rain


he sleeps
the cats and I


wrote some poems
felt better


Submitted to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #105

29 June 2012

Image of Hathor

I find at last
a picture of Hathor
not looking cowlike
with those over-abundant breasts
and soppy expression

but calm and wise
a slim young woman
wearing the sun crown
between high horns.

The image that inspired this: Statue of Hathor at Dendura (scroll right to bottom of page).

Submitted for Poets United's Poetry Pantry #104

21 June 2012

Dark of the Moon

dark of the moon
the night before solstice

I remember
nights of dancing
song and prayer

I celebrate
in silence tonight

a watcher
(not that there is one)
would only see

an old woman
sitting and writing
sipping wine

lifting her head
now and then to gaze
at the dark

she is wearing black
and around her neck
a moonstone

19 June 2012


lune sequence

I miss Kathmandu —
even dirt
and cheeky urchins

the tiny palace
its low walls
stone lion gate-posts

the downtown colours
crowded shops
all squashed together

back near Peter's place
quiet pool
carved Naga serpent

but that Kathmandu
must be changed ...
fourteen years ago

Recycling this one 1/5/15. In the wake of the huge earthquake, it is far more changed!

17 June 2012

Nursing Home: Jeanette

Tiny woman.
Soft, full hair
beige blonde.

Seated at our table,
at first glance
looks fifty.

I think she's used to
no conversation;
responds when we begin.

We ask how long
she's been here.
'Do you know,' she says,
'I think it's four months ...
I can't be certain.'

Her son works
in the kitchen.
She can see him

Used to live
by water, misses
her house ... voice
trails wistfully,
eyes grow distant.

Submitted for dverse Open Link Night #49

Cross-posted to my verse portraits blog, Impressions You Left

15 June 2012

The Sun Now Going Down

the sun now going down
my darling heart
resting at last

I’d like to go out
walking along our road
sweet with grass and clover

darkness approaching
birds flying home 
through the trees

but I dare not leave
in case he might wake
startled and alone

he doesn’t always know 
that he’s home

sometimes he thinks
he needs to go 
somewhere else

to some other home
though I try to persuade him
home is with me

the sun goes down
I watch from my window
I lock the doors

Submitted 13 months later for Poets United's Verse First — Lock

10 June 2012

The Road Home

wet today
I’ll take the long way
don’t want to slide
around hills and bends

I like the bit
where home is close
on days like this
late afternoons

cosy inside
hot food and armchairs

A cut-up poem based on a WordsFlow timed writing exercise posted in my writer's journal.

Submitted to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #102
and to dverse Open LinkNight #48

2 June 2012

Nursing Home: Marjorie

1 Meeting

‘Another author!’
The Activities Officer
delightedly introduces
someone Andrew can talk to.
But it’s me who’s interested.

Marjorie, my mother’s name.
And her book, that she clutches
and displays, recounts
her childhood in India.
My mother was a child there too.

Still pretty, she’s also gracious:
beautiful English manners
from the last days of the Raj.
Like Mum again —
but this Marjorie
was legitimate Officer stock,
not a little Anglo-Indian girl.

2 Getting acquainted

She shows me a baby photo,
her family’s newest; can’t quite
explain where he fits.

And her son is a writer
(I know the name).
She describes his home,
which she visits. Sure enough,
on Mother’s Day she’s missing;
they must have taken her out.

She asks about my writing,
that man’s my husband,
a writer too. I think
of giving her our books.
But I never see her read.

Submitted to Poetry Pantry #101 at Poets United. Click on the link to enjoy a poetry feast!

Cross-posted form my verse portraits blog, Impressions You Left

1 June 2012

News of his death: May tanka 2012

news of his death
the quiet, skinny one
I want to play
and sing along again
to Massachusetts

but all the lights
went out and he left us
we tell ourselves
he must be going home
way past Massachusetts


may you sing
even more sweetly
now you’re gone
to the Summerlands
may you be joyful