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.

28 October 2015

Leaps of Thought

His is a young mind.
It goes jump, jump, jump, very fast.
Mine is much older. It goes,
‘Hang on, let me take some time.
I need a run-up
to clear this hurdle.’

The surprising part
is that we manage to meet
in the middle somewhere,
ending up at the very same point.
There are ways
we do think alike.

Written for Poets United's Midweek Motif: Animation
Inspired by interaction with Surrogate Grandson.

25 October 2015

View from the Bus Window

This far south of the Equator
the sun’s rays take a lengthy slant
and evenings last
for hours and hours,

turning the grasses golden
below the line of trees
that march in single file
along the top of the hill.

This was my father’s country,
all undulant curves
and soft, gentle colours.
No wonder he was so fond of women!

(An old journal entry I came across, which needed little tweaking to turn into a poem.)

 I'm linking to Gillena's Monday WRites 35:


21 October 2015

Asked to Write on Gravity, I Find Myself Unable

It's Spring in Northern Rivers
and the jacaranda's out.
The sky is wide light blue,
the ocean's warming up.
The boys are in their singlets,
displaying their tattoos.
The girls are in their pretties
with short and floaty skirts.
The breeze is fresh and playful.
I'm eating fish and chips.

The only kind of gravity
I'm conscious of today
is that which holds me to this ground
where I am glad to be.

The Midweek Motif at Poets United this week is Gravity.

(I'm calling this a 'sonnet variant' because, while it's not one of the recognised sonnet forms, neither is it free verse exactly – and it does have some sonnet features.)

19 October 2015

Not Falling

I seldom fall any more
into doubt  
only doubt of self  –
but often, still, grief.

Into doubt –
that used to be often.
Trust came slowly.

Only doubt of self,
finally, stopped me. Then
I saw: God is the doer, not me.

But often, stlll, grief
floors me. When
will I know that’s not true either?

Written for the Weekend Mini Challenge, Falling Into Lines, at 'imaginary garden with real toads. 55 words wasn't specified but that's what I did anyway, in the form of a trimeric. 

18 October 2015

Calling Home

Thank God! Glad to hear from you, bro.
Fantastic that you made the connection.
I know you’re good, but I was starting
to get just a little bit worried. So –
what year is it where you are? Heck,
that far back, hey? You might have hurried
a bit too much, overdone the traction …
but no matter, what are they like?

You’re speaking from what kind of phone?
The rotary dial? That you yank with one finger?
Missed it by decades! That Tardis needs an upgrade.  
And you’re in AUSTRALIA? You’ll never blend in there.

For the Friday prompt at 'imaginary garden with real toads': to write a poem including a rotary phone, and if there's a caller they must not be from that era.

14 October 2015


Big thunder. Pelting, pounding rain. 
I think again 
of an old fire 
leaping higher 

as we crowded around it, all, 
to sit or sprawl 
in family 

Outside, both rain and thunder roared, 
which we ignored. 
That warm safety 
floods back to me.

For Poets United's Midweek Motif: Fire

(The form is a minute poem, i.e. 60 syllables, which I found at Poetic Asides too late to use it in the competition there, but I wanted to try it anyway.)

A Girl I Once Knew

Hello, Anna, I tell the TV
quietly, only me here to see
when she appears, as she does
occasionally, in her public role –
old now, but not as old as me, and still
unbelievably beautiful.

A beauty that in youth attracted tragedy.
But you have survived, Anna, and survived well.
And, sadly, there is no-one else
who knew you then, still alive to tell.

Inspired by the Up Close & Personal prompt at 'imaginary garden with real toads', but linked to their Tuesday Platform.

11 October 2015

If Unicorns Were Real, Where Are They Now?

I am wearing a white T-shirt with blue writing:
Unicorn Success Club, and there’s a picture –
black head in silhouette,
a flicked-up mane and one long horn.

Where have the unicorns gone?
And what would be success for a unicorn?

I ask an angel, who says:
‘They are on their own planet now,
but they go all over the universes
clearing out areas of negative energy.’  Yes!

Written for Up Close & Personal – Micro Poetry (limit 10 lines) at 'imaginary garden with real toads'.

10 October 2015

The Man in My Dream

Strangers, we recognised each other.
I can see him clearly now
(no-one I know in life –
not yet).

I can see him clearly now,
talking with me by the rock wall,
out of sight of the others.

No-one I know in life
contains that calm awareness.
Acknowledging, we nevertheless agreed –

not yet.
A brief, quiet parting, without embrace;
traversing different ways of the dreamscape.

At dVerse, in Meeting the Bar, Mary invites us to try the trimeric form.

9 October 2015

The Learnings

What a teacher is grief – eventually. For a time, you don't know you're learning lessons: you are simply getting through each day. But, day by day, years pass. A friend remarks how busy you are, and you say, 'I learned long ago that keeping busy is an antidote to grief.' Your friend nods; she knows.

And yet, immediately, you know that you are lying. There is no antidote to grief; there are simply distractions, ways to cope. Hearing from your own mouth your own lie, you learn that you can lie – to others and to yourself. You notice also that you are marking time while your life, which has become pointless, continues to play itself out. You have therefore developed a surface, a seeming. You hope you appear normal. Your friend's silent gaze lets you know she sees deeper.

Later, looking back, you realise you have acquired some kind of stoic endurance. This is a true lesson: not merely something you have learned to do, but a way you have learned to be. This one is not a lie; it is a change. But the nature of change is not to be permanent. You learn that you cannot trust it, any more than if it was in fact a lie. It is true now, but may become a lie later. You learn of the shifting nature of truth. You learn that you do not know where your grief will take you next. You have also learned that your friend will keep pace.

'Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity,' said Kahlil Gibran.

slow footsteps –
she cleans her house
over and over

Written for dVerse
 Haibun Monday 2, and for Poets United's Midweek Motif:Teacher 

6 October 2015

Of Memory and Dream

Today she does not remember dreams. When she was a child, she used to direct them; she remembers that. Serial dreams, she called them (in her mind only; she told no-one). She would start a train of thought as she lay waiting for sleep – always the story of a magical princess (herself). She must outwit dangerous enemies and find a wondrous love. When she fell asleep the story continued, unrolling like a movie. Next night she began again where the movie had stopped.

Now she is old, reflecting on many yesterdays. She has few dreams for the few tomorrows, but she has the memories of those old dreams that did and didn’t come true. Yes there were lovers, yes there were enemies. She remembers there was always adventure. She no longer needs to unroll her possible future in dreams. The movie runs backwards now, in her waking hours – sweet dreams she still enjoys.

Quiet, please,
bright moon through the pane –
the child sleeps.

Composed in response to dVerse's Haibun Monday 2 and a quotation from Kahlil Gibran: 'Yesterday is but today’s memory, and tomorrow is today’s dream'.

4 October 2015

The Seeming

Today in my quiet garden
Spring settles, clear blue,
above rooftops and treetops
and the glisten
of slightly-moving leaves.

In some other reality
wars are fought, madmen 
attack communities, burn homes,
hack heads off bodies.

In some other truth
children starve, drown,
are raped, beaten, enslaved...

For a moment I put down
heavy Excalibur.

At 'imaginary garden with real toads' it's time for FlASH 55 PLUS, where we write a piece of exactly 55 words – plus, this time, the option of being inspired by this doom-laden Carl Orff song featured in the film Excalibur:

2 October 2015

Winter sunshine: Haiku for August and September 2015

winter sunshine
the top step is empty
my old cat gone


on the top step
the ghost of my black cat
waits for me


All winter: Tanka for August and September 2015

another day
without your eyes
your voice
your quiet movements
your huge presence


we were all singing
of time or our tasks
it was a party


all winter
my bed was a nest
inside a cave
the room full of books
my warmth and safety


Few and disparate, these from the last couple of months! Linking to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #272