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.

30 March 2013

Roses from Ondine

When Ondine gave me roses in the street,
she found me loading shopping in my car
and said my name. I looked up, and a star
was shining in her smile, that we should meet

so unexpectedly. I went to greet
(the usual hug) and then she said, 'Aha!
So now I know — it's you these flowers are for,
that I was just presented with.' How sweet —

she'd wandered in to see the flower show
and some strange man had thrust them in her hand,
these fully blooming roses, palest pink.

She felt they were for someone else, and lo!
her widowed friend (that's me, you understand).
I sink my face in scent and colour; drink.

A Miltonian sonnet submitted for dVerse Form For All #28

On 6 June 2016 submitted for Prompt Nights: Roses

29 March 2013

Instant Gratifcation

for Neil Meili

Neil's latest poetry book 
arrives — and no-one else
to grab it first.

'See!' I say to Andrew.
'That's what you get
for being dead.

'This time it's my turn
to read it right now, 
no waiting.'

Submitted for Poets United's Verse First: Passion. (Poetry is my passion!)

28 March 2013

Full Moon in March

I went out under the night sky
clad for ritual
in my small, enclosed back yard.
(I have quiet neighbours
who stay indoors after dark.)

The moon emerged from cloud
bright white
and stood awhile above us
meeting my eye.
My black cat came out too.

The night was mild.
No breeze — only
as I lifted my arm to cast circle
a quick cool breath on my wrist.
I paused, then asserted my right.

Barefoot on mossy earth
I flung out my arms in joy
and breathed up sustenance.
It filled me.
I had nothing to utter but thanks.

Submitted for dVerse Open Link Night #89

25 March 2013

Comment on St Patrick's Day

I do not like saintly old Patrick
much less his one memorable hat-trick.
The snakes were symbolic
of Pagans, who frolic
not there any more, since his antics.

If anyone can suggest a better last rhyme, please do! 
('not there any more, thanks to that prick' did occur to me, 
but creates a much nastier mood than I intend.)

Submitted for Poets United's Poetry Pantry #143

23 March 2013

I Cry About the Strangest Things

I'm losing weight at last —
not interested in food these days,
with only me to cook for. Which I do,
and I eat healthy; feel I owe it to you
and myself. I don't have sugar treats
stashed away in cupboards, 
comfort foods; and I don't
rely any more on two small glasses
of red wine every evening for the stress.

All that stress is gone, of caring for you:
keeping you, the doctor said, alive 
and well enough, beyond what he'd
have managed, or the hospital. Now
I have only grief, for which I find
scant comfort. Not even chocolate
does it, not even shellfish — so
I am becoming slimmer, and with ease.
And you not here to see! It makes me cry.

Submitted for Poets United's Verse First: Reaction

22 March 2013

I am the cat ...

I am the cat
with silent eyes

I mark the fall of the leaf
and the grasses glistening

I listen to life
and death.

Life grieves
death leaps

and both together breathe.

I sleep in the warm
I am tied to the loves of my house.

But sometimes
I come untied.

Wild in hail or rain
electric to thunder
voluptuous for sun

I am chameleon

old wise woman
the witch

and then
the child on your lap

I am a universe.

First published Luna, 1981
Also in Universe Cat, Pariah Press (Melb.) 1985
and SecretLeopard, Alyscamps Pres (Paris) 2005)

Resurrected for submission to dVerse Meeting the Bar: Negative Capability

17 March 2013

What Do Women Want?

Poor Sigmund!
Has no-one told you yet
what women want?
Perhaps it's because 
there are so many answers
to that question; perhaps
if you had a week or two ...

But here's an answer
I think true — we want
to be beautiful, seen 
to be beautiful, admired 
for our beauty. And 
we want to be loved 
for other qualities.

Submitted for Poets United's Verse First: Women

15 March 2013

Three Cinquains


Two cats
curl, one each side
of my recumbent feet
in perfect love and perfect trust,

Rosemary Who?

My name
in the new book*
appears in its old form:
strange, halved, yet sweetly nostalgic:

*Notes for the Translators: from 142 New Zealand and Australian Poets
ed. Christopher (Kit) Kelen. Macau, ASM, 2013.

I was once known as Rosemary Nissen, but have been identified as Rosemary Nissen-Wade for about 20 years. This editor, living overseas, obviously remembered me the old way. Well, (smile) both are me.


Six months
after his death
I slow down to a stop,
letting vigilant habits go 
at last.

14 March 2013

Delightful How the Cicadas

(A Pi poem for Pi Day)

the cicadas


in repetitive
intricately musical chantings —
when slowed
for our unaware ears

by digital means,

so that now
we distinguish notes
which we imagine as coming
from exotic, unknown instruments …
as, most sublimely, they do.

(I once heard such a slowed recording — amazing, unrecognisable.)

Pi poems are also known as Cadae (the alphabetical equivalent of the first 5 digits of Pi). Both syllables per line and lines per stanza follow the Pi sequence of numbers.

10 March 2013

The Gift of Feathers

She gets it wrong sometimes, my little cat,
although she reads my mind with perfect ease.
Like, once I found a feather at my door;
a friend said my late husband left it there,
a sign of love from Spirit — I was glad
to think he might have left me such a token.

She must have thought that if a single token
so gladdened me, then she, efficient cat,
could find a gift to make me tenfold glad —
and she could manage that with feline ease
as soon as opportunity was there.
Next day I found a whole bird at my door.

Oh, I was ill at ease and far from glad
to find it there, that corpse outside my door!
Yet it betokened all her love ... dear cat.

This mini-sestina form is the brain-child of Australian poet Myron Lysenko
though he suspects he is not the first to make such an adaptation.

This poem is submitted for Poets United's Poetry Pantry #141

9 March 2013

No Cure, But ...

I drive back
from the coast, 
a familiar road

into the little town 
I've called home
nearly two decades now.

I am driving towards
a small house on a hill.
Two cats wait for me there.

I arrive to find them
out on the front lawn
enjoying the late afternoon.

There is no husband
waiting as he always did.
I am a widow, not a wife.

There is no cure for death;
it's final. Death itself, though,
finally cured his ills.


I notice how much I like
the little town
that grew to be home.

As I enter its streets
their familiarity enfolds me
like a warm greeting.

The house and the cats
and the grass,
the late afternoon light

and the hilly road 
where I sometimes walk,
feel like mine, where I belong.

Emptiness, absence — these 
are the big truths of my life 
since he died. There is no cure.

But I drive home, I arrive,
I know the place.
I think there may be healing.

Submitted for Poets United's Verse First : The Cure
and for dVerse OpenLinkNight #87

5 March 2013

Photo of a Man in a Café

There you are, caught off guard,
leaning back in your chair,
a just-lit cigarette
stuck between two fingers,
flipping open your wallet
for the price of our meal.
Your hair looks dark, tied back.
(Loose, it had blonde lights.)

You're wearing jeans, one earring,
the copper medallion I gave you
and a T-shirt with a Gold Coast logo
you thought would please me
and bought specially: 'Look,
your country's famous swimming team,'
not knowing that to me it was just
some surf club, one of many.

At this point you still think
we might go somewhere afterwards
and make love. At this point
I still think I might let it happen.
Home now, eighteen months later,
I view your image onscreen.
My cursor traces your profile
as my fingers never did.

You were twice as tempting
as Lindt to a chocoholic.
But I had this other place
to return to, this other man.
You bought me wine
though you abstained.
We talked a very long time.
You drove away alone.

Well, it wouldn't have done.
I was never going to be
a gracious Southern lady
nor you an understated Aussie bloke.
And we kept having to explain
what we did and didn't mean,
cutting through tangles of different
strange accents, foreign words.

Now we're friends instead.
You learnt to use computers;
we meet online.
And there are changes.
You stopped smoking; I no longer drink.
Your latest photos show you
wearing dreadlocks and a beard,
and the medallion I gave you.

An old poem, resurrected to submit to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #140
Also submitted to dVerse Open Link Night #86