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.

23 May 2014

This White Shell

This white shell
has whorls and curlicues
crinkling its rim,

and soon I fall
into childhood memories,
tracing them ...

I stand on the sand,
with the song of the ocean
held to my ear —

a hushed sound
as of waves in motion,
but muffled, far.

I'm four, I'm eight,
I'm nearly thirteen,
beside the sea

where I watch and wait
for the tide to turn
and rush to me.

But the white shell 
next to my face
sings me back in

with a tidal pull 
to this present place …
where lost girls drown.

For Poetic Asides Wednesday prompt: an object poemAlso submitted for dVerse Meeting The Bar At A Slantslant rhymes, aka half rhymes. This piece is a mixture of slant rhyme and full rhyme.

22 May 2014

The First River

The first river you paddle runs through the rest of your life. It bubbles up in pools and eddies to remind you who you are. — Lyn Noel

Frothing rapids between high banks of rock
cascaded down into a wide, flat bay.

That water seemed silk-thin on the surface,
sheer and pretty, though we knew it was deep.

The little yachts rode serene at anchor,
their white triangles pointing to the sun.

In sunlight my river glinted silver,
dazzling the eyes with flashing sparks of light.

Then it wandered down its long, winding way
to the ocean, to George Town and Bell Bay.

And on the way there were many beaches,
including my nearest, Gravelly Beach.

The stones underfoot were smooth and golden.
The water was body temperature.

I was a shy child, skinny and awkward,
but I felt that the river understood

as I paddled and splashed and tried to swim.
I felt that it held me, kind like a friend

near the earthy banks with reeds and tree roots
and the tiny fish that tickled my toes.

I am far away from my first river.
I have lived in many places since then. 

But always I must live by a river —
a river and some mountains — for my home.

For dVerse Poetics — It's Quotable.

(Yes, this is the same opening quote that I used two posts ago. I really did want to write about my first river, after all. It was the Tamar, in Launceston, Tasmania.)

21 May 2014

Listening to the River

(found poem)

A river seems a magic thing.
A magic, moving, living part
of the very earth itself.

To put your hands in a river
is to feel the chords
that bind the earth together.

In the rhythm of the lifeblood of the Earth
the river delights to lift us free,
if only we dare to let go.

A river sings a holy song
conveying the mysterious truth
that we are a river.

Know that the water has wisdom
in its motion through the world.
We are liquid. We share water’s wisdom.

How could drops of water know themselves
to be a river? Yet the river flows on.
My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

The river has taught me to listen.
The river knows everything.
If we are ignorant of this, we are lost.

I choose to listen to the river,
thinking river thoughts,
before joining the night and the stars.

For dVerse Poetics — It's Quotable

The prompt was to use a quotation as inspiration and incorporate it into the poem. This poem is all quotations, found at "River and Environmental Quotations" at the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System website. Some of the quotations are unchanged; others have omissions for poetic reasons, and some have been mixed together. (Many wonderful ones were regretfully not used because they would have interfered with the coherence of the poem.) The authors, more or less in sequence, are Laura Gilpin, Barry Lopez, Anonymous, Richard Bach, Thomas Moore, Eric Alan, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Langston Hughes, Herman Hesse and Edward Abbey — but you'll have to check the website to match quotes to authors exactly.


The first river you paddle runs through the rest of your life. It bubbles up in pools and eddies to remind you who you are. — Lynn Noel

Poetry, rivers, reading,
these are all great loves of mine.
I float into joy, searching
for famous quotations on 

rivers, for a verse or line
to begin a new poem
about my love of rivers —
and see, I found the right one!

It says it all, so for me
I can add nothing, needing
only to bathe in those words,
let the river of them run

through my memories, speeding
or meandering, and shine!

Submitted for the Poetic Asides bref double challenge,

19 May 2014

Empty Nest

Now that I have the solitude I craved,
and can please myself what I do when,
I find myself missing the hullabaloo
of unpredictable family life

the romping and squabbling and chatter
of two little boys, the necessity
of sports fixtures, lessons, meals, holidays;
all the warmth, the stress, the pleasure, the strife,

the many distractions, the constant clatter ...
now that I'm free to read, write poems, be who
I always thought I wanted to be —
that she quite other than mother/housewife —

I drift amongst all the things I might do
and wonder how much, after all, they matter.

A bref double for the current Poetic Asides form challenge

18 May 2014

The Visitors

Slowly, they come slowly into the light
one by one, hesitant to show themselves,
keeping their faces hidden till the last,
but then, when finally … they shine, they blaze!

Who could have guessed such beauty, this bright grace
that now displays itself to all who cast
their eyes upwards to where the figures stand,
half avoiding, half inviting our gaze?

They are silent however, day and night,
during the season of their presence here,
suggesting their message is their appearance,
that in itself sufficient to amaze.

And then, suddenly, all of them take flight
and our miraculous present is past.

Another for the Poetic Asides bref double challenge

Linking also to dVerse Open Link Night May 2014

No One Way

With perfect synchronicity
the local Regent cinema
puts on a Buddhist movie night.
I've been debating Buddhist lore

with my Zen friend, and he with me.
He chides me for my Pagan path
as sad irrationality,
and wonders what I need it for.

He tells me that there is no God.
I tell him God is everywhere;
the movies I've just seen agree.
It's tempting for me to point-score.

But all religions, I can see,
encompass much variety!

For Poetic Asides bref double challenge

Movies: Brilliant Moon: the life of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, and Un Buda: a fictional exploration of Buddhism in the Argentina of the recent past. Only the second specifically suggests what I say in the poem they both do. (Poetic licence to fit the brevity of the form.)

Images: (1) Khyentse. Image from Wikipedia Commons  (2) Un Buda movie poster


Without knowing what
the outcome will be,
I place my hands on
my cat, for her healing.

When I look at her,
I think that I see
her face thin, sharpen.
I can feel the swelling

under her nipple.
How is it a cat
can get breast cancer?
But she's clearly feeling

lively as ever, free
of any pain yet.

(When she's lively, she's too fast for photos. I have to catch her resting.)

For the Poetic Asides bref double challenge.

17 May 2014

The Unconscious Comes Up

Half asleep, I recall
that teacher


tormented us children
long ago.


I drift into a thought
of murder—

what! —

pushing her down a cliff …
gentle me.


(Written as a series 
in tilus


For the Poetic Asides prompt: The unexpected. 

Note: For tilus explanation see preceding posts or click on tag.

16 May 2014

Tilus Against Cycling

1. Motorist’s Lament

A narrow road, a mob
of cyclists —


Double lines,
must not pass


Slow up the hill, behind
chug, clatter


All those tight, bright bottoms
in my face


2. Pedestrian’s Lament

“Easy as riding a
bike” — but I


Nervous little mother


When I got to fifteen
new schoolmates


Lunch-time lessons each day
in the lane


You leave some things too late —


I fell in love with this three-line form (used for a dVerse prompt in previous post) and decided to use it again for Poets United's Bicycling prompt, creating two chains (how appropriate for cycles, lol).

Tilus for a Friend

Text from my friend: cancer


Sunny autumn morning
clouds over


The tall tree by the fence
unchecked weed


Each of the above can stand alone. Also they work as a sequence, and that works in whatever order you read them.  They appear in the order they were written.

The tilus is a form invented by Kelvin S.M.  At dVerse just now we're asked to give it a try. The tilus is supposed to be about nature, but I found it also worked well for the thing uppermost in my mind at present (see first stanza above).  Then the nature ones I tried reflected the same mood, like an oblique commentary on the first. I realised I had not only a series of separate poems but also a connected sequence.  Then I noticed that the sequence worked in any order.  So all in all a very useful form! 

15 May 2014

On Deciding to Be a Reiki Master

I got up early
just before dawn;
turned the volume loud,
put the music on.

"Amazing Grace!"
All on my own, 
I danced and sang
to the rising sun.

Although from birth
we wake to fear,
finding my path
brought a joyous morn —

A flood to drown
fear of pain, fear of death.

P.S. This happened in 1988. I have been a Reiki Master since 1992.

Submitted for Poetic Asides bref double challenge and to dVerse's 
Those Pesky Questions: Describe a morning you woke without fear.

14 May 2014


“You must come and see!” I called in my dream.
The lizard inside my front door was huge.
Its body was white, like leather, not scales,
and banded twice in black and red.

I didn’t know where it would run; I was scared.
Then I saw by the lintel what it obscured —
shoved under the carpet, severed of course 
and starting to rot — a horse’s head.

You’d think that would cue me to panic and scream
and wake. But not so. I called once again 
for the men whom I knew were in the back room.
They spotted some other small beast, also dead.

I suppose that these symbols are not what they seem.
Is there some hidden thing in my life to be feared?

For Poetic Asides' bref double challenge

The Wreckers

See those winding roads
through the slow hills?
When it’s dark and wet
don’t go that way.

There are those who wait
in the slippery dark
on the sharp bends
where the shadows stay.

They wait for spills
on the lonely tracks.
Perhaps they cause them;
that we can’t say.

Just never forget —
recklessness kills. 

I'm practising the bref double form for the next little while. 
There's a challenge on at Poetic Asides.

8 May 2014

The Boy Who Climbs My Branches

He is seven. Or is he ten?
Every weekend he arrives
when the morning is still early
and comes up to nest like a bird.

Like others before him, he strives
to go higher each time, so high
that one day he couldn't get down.
But he cried out, and he was heard.

His father came with a ladder.
And I remembered when the man
was a boy climbing to the sky
through my branches. But not a word!

I keep the secrets of their lives —
all those young boys who long to fly.

dVerse asks for a poem from the point of view of a tree; Poetic Asides asks for a poem about a boy who — [fill in the blank].  And I wanted to try the bref double form. I'm delighted this poem also fits the current Poets United Midweek Motif, which is Children

1 May 2014

Remembering the Dead

It's the night of Samhain
here in the Southern
half of the world.

I find photos
of my dear dead,
going through old albums.

Two were my mother's,
which I inherited; the rest
cover most of my life …

most of my loves —
but there are two faces missing.
I scrabble through shelves and drawers.

A whole album, I realise
has been mislaid.
The big one with the red cover.

In that, my children were little
and there were many shots
of their handsome father

(my second husband,
the one I had the longest,
who died in January '95).

It was the only place I kept 
pictures of him. But he was a friend 
and should be honoured.

And my beautiful Nana,
who died when I was four —
where is she?

She hated being photographed.
So the family had only one:
official, serious, in her nurse's uniform.

I've put my copy somewhere safe. 
Too safe, and now I can't 
discover the hiding-place.

Eventually I call it a day —
late into the night — and go to bed
after finally casting circle.

I tell the Listeners 
what I choose to discard 
at this time, from my life,

and what I choose 
to bring in. (Life, and all
its varied memories.)

Then I dream all night
of old homes, old dramas,
ghosts who demand their due.

When I wake, I see
it rained while I slept; the sky
is still grey, the sun

struggles through cloud,
and Samhain leaves me a task:
write the stories.

April Poem A Day Challenge, day 30: calling it a day