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.

29 September 2015

This Poem is Healing, Recovery and Light

This poem is an instrument of healing.
This poem is a recipe for recovery.
This poem is filled and surrounded with light.

This poem must be read with an open heart.
You can take it into you, into that heart,
then let it spread it throughout your body.
Now see it extend as a cloak to embrace you.
This poem is an instrument of healing.

This poem is a set of instructions
which you can follow step by step.
Try not to vary the key ingredients.
You want the taste just right, and the nutrients.
This poem is a recipe for recovery.

This poem is soft yet radiant.
It is all-pervasive, but you can direct it.
Look at the colour. It is blueish-white.
Or is it in fact whitish-blue? Ah yes!
This poem is filled and surrounded with light.

This poem is yours, your instrument of healing.
This poem is a secret recipe I share for your recovery.
This poem, if you let it, will fill and surround you with light.

This poem is an example of Hannah Gosselin’s Boomerang Metaphors.

This poem was written for Susan’s ‘Recovery/Healing’Midweek Motif at Poets United.

“Everything in creation, everything in the universe moves in the flow of Light. This subtle Light has a natural stream of flow in your circulatory system. The circulatory system of your body is a river of Light. It is a very concrete flowing fluid, and the Light that is pouring in moves into your system to guide you into the flowing current of new life that is changing your whole physical body.”


27 September 2015

Making the Red Mandala

As I begin the red mandala, 
outside the sky darkens for thunder.

‘Start with red,’ the teacher said,
‘The colour of sex and blood’.

I draw my circle freehand
with a water-colour pencil.

Then I make lots of scribbly scrolls
around the inside, drawing quick.

I get the result I want: the circle shape
imperfect, the scrolls wildly uneven.

I never wanted to colour in neatly
between precisely patterned  lines.

I have only two reds to work with:
a hyper-bright and a deeper, purply stain.

I add a red wax crayon; I find
a water-pencil in tan, another in orange.

I fill in some of the spaces. I press hard dots
of deep red into the centres of the scrolls.

Surrounded, still, by orbs of white,
they look like a circle of eyes.

I paint the whites of the staring eyes
orange, so they look golden.

The reds bleed, smudging the paper.
I mark them again, heavy.

I’m not a fan of the decorative arts –
none of those dainty, pretty things.

No, I want art that is power, bold.
I want the power of magick.

Outside, the thunder revs up,
cracking and roaring around the hill.

My mind keeps telling me I need green.
It isn’t red, not nearly red, but I must.

I know exactly where it goes, and how.
Now the red is redder, strong.

In the middle, moved by instinct suddenly,
I draw long oval shapes that suggest a flower.

It’s turquoise blue with green edges.
Behind it the air becomes bright yellow.

Now my mandala breaks all the rules. Now
with a top and a bottom, it can only be one way up.

The red line I began with, edging my circle
has disappeared. I create a new outline.

I make it thick, but it won’t retain firm shape.
All right! I scribble a spiky edge.

All by itself the paint flows outward,
flares into a wide ring, and settles.

The wild wind outside quiets;
the thunder comes to a stop.

Inspired by artist and art teacher Sharyn Williams's blog on Red.

I'm linking this to The Tuesday Platform for 29 Sept. 2015, at 'imaginary garden with real toads'. Visit to find other poets and poems.

Now if I write ...

Now if I write
and go on writing, 
what will happen next?

Will the air fuse

with my regrets and hopes
and give them colours?

Or shall I end up

with a sad scrap of nothing?

Couldn't resist another stab at the 'allegro' for Play it Again at 'imaginary garden'.

Impatient for the Inner

quickly she goes,
allegro she cries,
it’s the middle of the night
and she wants her dreaming
to hurry –
to scurry into corners of light
of night, of unbelief
become believable – fast!

Ram's Head, White Hollyhock - Hills, Georgia O'Keeffe, 1935, oil on canvas

This poem was composed at a rush for the Play It Again prompt (allegro), at 'imaginary garden with real toads'. We had to do 8 lines in 1 minute! And we had to include the word 'allegro'. Everything is just as written in that minute – in the middle of the morning, not the night. (The title came later.)

We were invited to choose a painting to use.  I chose this one because it's dreamlike (and because I love Georgia O'Keeffe) but I did that after writing the poem; the poem is not in any way inspired by the painting.

26 September 2015

At the end ...

At the end
I’d have your eyes, your voice
your hands on me
to soothe and reassure –
had I not outlived you.

A Jisei (Japanese death poem) in the form of a tanka –
written for a dVerse prompt. (They can be written as haiku too.)

23 September 2015

To Be or Not to Be a Slob?

I woke early in my comfortable bed. 
'I'll have a slob day today,' I said. 
I thought, with no-one else to feed,
I'd bring my coffee and something to read
back to the cot, and snuggle in
as we used to do together, me and him
on rainy, overcast days like this
when we stayed all day to snooze and kiss
and talk and cuddle and read and eat –
usually joined by at least one cat.

I didn't, though. Perhaps I was hesitant
to try it alone? Yes of course reluctant –
but still, I thought, I could simply pretend
all that companionship didn't end.
I know the flavour of him so fully
and the cats' too. I could recreate, surely,
the warmth and comfort we used to share
when all of them were with me here!
Instead I dwelt on the sweet expectation
of how it could be: day-long anticipation.

I didn't get dressed, though I nearly did.
'Be sensible!' I admonished me. But then I decided  
at least to stay in my warm pj's,
at least to have that much of a laze.
And all day long it was such pleasure
to imagine myself reclining at leisure,
not missing my dears in sad grieving
but feeling them near as if they were living.
I cooked and I cleaned and I used my device
while my thoughts of my bed were increasingly nice.

But would I, but could I? First yes, then no,
chopping and changing, not going with the flow,
until at last it was 4pm.
If it would happen, this was high time!
So here I am, with iPad and biscuit,
lying back on high pillows, no more Ms Fixit
but Ms Relaxed. And yes, it feels good.
My darlings, I know, would be here if they could 
but as they are not, I summon them in thought.
Now for hot soup and a cosy night!

For Poets United's Midweek Motif: Choice

20 September 2015

Revisiting Melbourne

When I went back in summer
it was all trees, exuberant green
along streets and railway embankments.
The Yarra River sparkled
under Princes Bridge.
Gardens in the old suburb
overflowed with roses.

Returning in winter, though,
put me back in the bleak streets
where cold winds kicked up stones
and blew them in eddies, half-heartedly
into the gutters and drains.
The sky was a white sheet
and nothing shone.

I know and I don't know
this multi-faceted city.
It was home for most of my life
but now I've been years away.
I'm getting the street names confused
and the traffic system has changed.
The house where I had my babies  
has been knocked down.

Memories and ghosts
gaze from every corner.
There is a teenage girl,
there is a wife.
There is a worker, there is a lover.
There is a young mother
learning to drive a car.

She is writing poems,
she's catching a train,
she's driving kids to basketball matches,
she is handing out programs
to theatre patrons ...
old shapes glimpsed behind the new.
But the city and I have moved on.

My first home town was Launceston, Tasmania, where I lived until I was 15. I spent 30+ years in Melbourne, from young adulthood to late middle age, and have only had 20 so far in my present home in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, where I expect to see out my days.

Linked to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #270

14 September 2015

Inspired by the Poetry of Thom Gunn

How gratefully his words describe a hug
that holds his resting body all night long.

With what restraint, yet cruel accuracy
he observes the tattooed street kid ‘born to lose’.

In detailed metaphor, and with respect,
he gives me new perspective on a snail.

He painted sharp a scene that I still see
of lovers bathing, forty years ago.

There’s quietness even in dramatic lines,
which goes too deep for me to emulate.

He’s dead. He left me art I can’t forget
which shakes me, fills me, and restores my peace –

for beauty so well ordered can do that –
a man I never knew, a stranger I love.

In the Sunday Mini-Challenge at 'imaginary garden for real toads' Grace invites us to write something inspired by Thom Gunn – a poet of whom I am so much in awe that at first I didn't think I could. But after all, I wasn't asked to live up to him.

I'm also linking to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #269

12 September 2015


Soft rain will fall this morning.
Already, clouds are whitening all the air.
There is a hush on the trees,
the gentle ripple of their leaves too slight
for sound to happen yet.

Poised and waiting still
the earth is readying for sustenance.
Slowly, birds arouse
with flutterings and anxious little cheeps.
The leaves begin to rustle.

I too have a thirst.
Yet I too hesitate, and pause awhile.
To open to the boundless
cannot, surely, be a hasty thing,
must not be impatient?

Or can it – must it – be?
Perhaps, to slake that deep, that inner thirst,
I should be open-mouthed
and all my body taut with urgency
for the soft rain to fall.

I write this (way ahead of time!) to my own prompt for Poets United's Midweek Motif for Sept 16: "'Let your song be delicate' – or not." I give people a choice, but personally am attempting delicacy (in case you couldn't tell).

10 September 2015

To Boredom

I'll learn to live with me; no loneliness,
I said when first bereaved and left alone.
I did not know that I would find me dull.

My conversation I could second-guess;
opinions and reactions, all were known –
nothing over which to slightly mull.

However, I am getting used to it.
I find that dullness can be comfortable.
There's no-one I need please except this one.
I like the lovely, lazy lack of effort,
I confess.

Written in response to Poets United's Midweek Motif ~ Boredom

(Dear Readers, it's a bit tongue-in-cheek.)

9 September 2015

Writing Outdoors in Spring

I want to write a haibun. I am excited. I fetch bread and cheese, and coffee. I think I'll sit on my front veranda overlooking the pretty street, to gaze at trees and sky and the dark blue mountains beyond the houses. Then I know – I can't sit there now. I used to sit there with Levi, my beautiful old black cat. He is not here any more, and now I can't sit there again, where we used to sit together.

Why not? He could. He could after his sister Freya was gone, even when I didn't come out there with him. He liked the spot. All those times I used to sit out there with two of them – and before that three, when our man was alive. First Andrew went, and we sat without him, missing him but having each other. Then Freya left us, and still Levi and I would sit there, missing them both and consoling each other. Not this time. Not without any consoling presence. I go and sit in the back yard instead, surrounded by my neighbours' trees.

Spring pairings
pigeons on neighbour's roof
flowers in pot

(The pigeons are on the roof, in the centre where the ridgepole drops to a lower level – but you have to look hard.)

Written for dVerse Haibun Monday 1

6 September 2015

On My Return

Rain clouds gather.
I catch them
from several angles.

My strange tree
a wild weed
missed that grew

waves thin strands
its topmost branches
against the grey.

My mind goes
back to trams
in bleak Melbourne

crossing dark streets
of wind-whipped leaves
two days ago

in extreme cold
knowing: there is family
here is home.

Top picture: over my garden, Murwillumbah, NSW, where I have just returned. 
Bottom picture: streets near Pascoe Vale South, Melbourne, Vic., where I was recently visiting family. 

The poem was not immediately understood by everyone, so I hope the words I've now added to the caption above make it clearer.

Written for Flash 55 at imaginary garden with real toads 
and also linked to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #268

2 September 2015

No Going Back

It is because he went away
that she is waiting in the rain.
If he comes back to her again,
what will she do, what will she say?

On that unbelievable day
she will speak to him of roses
and how the path that he chose is
petal-strewn but also thorny.

Will he return sad or horny?
Either way, somebody loses.

Robert Lee Brewer at Poetic Asides issued a form challenge, to write a decima. I am away from home, having adventures, and was not in time for the deadline, but I wanted to try one anyway. 

It fits, I think, with the latest Poets United Midweek Motif: Watershed Moments (which alter everything thereafter) -- except that it's fictional. But it's also speculative, in the non-genre meaning of the word, and I'm sure we've all had moments something like this.