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.

17 June 2013


My stepfather showed me oceans.

Now these midnight moments
call and flesh the ketch
from childhood,
dusted by moonlight,
perfectly still
at the end of the pier.

That New Year’s Eve we danced
in circles on the sand.
Sand and sea joined flat.
We might have walked straight out
with no dividing breath.

‘St. Elmo‘s Fire,’ he said
pointing, as flame without wind
blew in the bare poles
leaving them clean.
The moon’s long wake
pierced the horizon.

My stepfather gave me boats.
Tonight he’s dying,
I’m far from home.

Twin masts faintly gilded
rise perfectly still
through all my seas, all ships
poised ever since,
a track of light
widening across the water.

Gone by morning.

First published in Universe Cat (Melbourne, Pariah Press, 1985)

Also in Secret Leopard (Paris, Alyscamps Press, 2005)

Poets United asks us for a Father's Day poem for this week's Poetry Pantry. I had two dear fathers. As Father's Day in Australia is not until September, I'll save until then a poem about my birth Dad, but here is one for my beloved stepfather. It was written in January 1981, when he was indeed dying, and the final version was completed in September 1984.

This poem was also featured by Sherry at Poets United in Poem of the Week on June 24, 2013 


  1. So beautiful, the first stanza drew me right in. Marvelous!

  2. chilling...the mast pair and the poled fire....the dancing on the sand, love that most...a touching memory rosemary...

  3. Very touching share Rosemary ~ This part struck a chord:

    My stepfather gave me boats.
    Tonight he’s dying,
    I’m far from home.

  4. Oh my goodness, Rosemary, I think this is my favourite of your poems. SO beautiful, so moving........loved every line of it. Spectacular. If I were doing I Wish I'd Written This, I would choose this poem!! (Hey, but I DO do Poem of the Week! Hmmmmm......)

    1. Glad you like it so much, Sherry. This one was worked on over a long period, unlike most of those that are posted here. Which is why I think I need to spend more time on revision now.

  5. Rosemary, what a wonderful poem! I loved the images, especially dancing on the sand; and childhood dusted by moonlight--Beautiful!! :-)

  6. Memories such never leave us and we would never want them to leave either. Very touching


Comments are moderated and will be visible after being approved by the blog owner. If you can only comment anonymously, please include your name in the comment, just so I know who's talking to me.