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.

31 May 2016


Icy night,
although days 
from winter.

To hold 
warmth close …
but mind
must match.

I am 
who can 
companion me.

Heavy blanket, 
hot bottles, 
toy teddy –
warm enough.

Process notes:
An erasure poem – but  the source was my own first draft, which wasn't working, and I'm not going to share it with you. In fact I haven't kept it. Doing the erasure, I found myself in a game of keeping only two words per line. (Then I did rearrange some a little.) Finally worked on it a bit more, thanks to suggestions from the excellent Pearl Pirie, see Comments.

Linked to Gillena Cox's Monday WRites and also to the current Tuesday Platform at 'imaginary garden with real toads

29 May 2016

Before the Storm

The air's tense. I contemplate rain,
and contemplate absence of pain.
Tears, they say, are healing.

This parched, aching ground has a skin
taut with thirst, craving the first thin
drops, then the full spilling.

Written for Prompt Night 16: Rain showers my spirit and waters my Soul

27 May 2016

Travelling with My Friends

My joy is to travel, every chance I get, with dear friends. These good companions, who throng my house at the best of times, become my guides to faraway places – or even, sometimes, to places I didn't yet know in my own country. I always have plenty of choice which beloved friends, new or old, to travel with. For some I feel such affinity, I choose them again and again. They are always ready to revisit familiar delights or show me little details, unexpected views, missed on previous visits. And with some I explore unfamiliar, fantastical places, crossing time zones, meeting strangely different cultures, finding new worlds. There is much to learn from these expeditions, that's true, and I am happy to learn – but mostly I travel for the fun of it, the sheer fascination, the joy.

When I was a girl I used to lie on my bed, on my stomach, head propped on my hands, lost in the latest adventure. 'Why won't she play outside in the fresh air?' my mother would demand rhetorically of everyone or no-one. During that awful period trying to find a job after leaving school, when application forms asked for hobbies and interests, I could only put reading. 'You need to appear more well-rounded,' careers advisors said. Luckily I found my job in a library, where they understood that a reader is the most well-rounded of all. And still the passion persists. My beautiful friends, many of them lifelong, accompany me everywhere. I have moved home several times, but always find a house convenient for them. I must have proximity to my trusted tour guides, my intimate travel companions!

moving in
unpacking the books
I stroke each one

For Haibun Monday #14 "Too Many Mind ..." at dVerse, we are invited to share our favourite form of relaxation.

23 May 2016

Dark Night, Full Moon

A small full moon, high
in a blackly cloud-covered,
almost starless sky.

Only one point of light,
Mars, is visible with her –
bold, warm and bright.

It is enough. There is peace
inside the womb-dark,
a soft release.

The night makes no sound.
I enter sacred space.
The circle folds me round.

(But I couldn't get a good one that included Mars.)

Linked to Gillena's Monday WRites and to the Tuesday Platform for 24 May 2016 at 'imaginary garden with real toads'.

22 May 2016

The Writing on the Wall

Look up here, friend!
The man who wrote Eternity
in perfect copperplate
all over the city of Sydney
did it on footpaths mostly,
in chalk. But he meant for you
to raise your eyes to Heaven,
and your thoughts. I, conversely,
with a blast of spray paint
and a stencil, exhort you:
HERE AND NOW! and I urge
that you look from this display
down to the ground you stand on
and all that lies around you.

This jagged, brash, imperfect
piece of graffiti blaring at you
from up here, says: There's a lot
that sucks, go fix it! We've got
an election coming up. Do you
really want the same buggers
coming back? Stop! Look!
Pay attention! Eternity must wait.

NOW the sick are unfunded, 
made ever more helpless, NOW 
the temperature's rising beyond
bearable, HERE we fracture
good farming ground, HERE
we poison our water, HERE AND NOW
we torture our neighbours
(not love them) in island prisons.
And we don't let the word get out.
Don't tell me it isn't us, it's just
the Government. We elected them.
Eternity may be perfect. Meanwhile 
I'll settle for a Here and Now
of ordinary kindness: flawed perhaps, 
but human, beautiful ... and here now.

Written for Play It Again: Taking It To the Streets at 'imaginary garden with real toads' and for Prompt Nights: Imperfection is Beautiful.

You can read about 'the eternity man', Arthur Stace, at Wikipedia.

21 May 2016

Is the Etheree

ee ether-
eal? Is the
etheree, eh, is
it really ethere-
al, all of it, really, or
is it merely a light fantas-
tic melody, lovely and summer-
y, highly incorporeal, eh, eh? 

Is the etheree ethereal, real-
ly? The etheree? Is it then real-
ly ghostly? Ghastly ghostly, or
merely unreal, the ether-
ree – the unreasonab-
ly, ethereal-
ly etheric-
al ether-
ee, eh-

Having tried an end-stopped etheree for dVersehere now is a completely enjambed one. And having aimed for coherence last time, here is nonsense. (I chose the photo for suggesting both ethereality and summer.)

Upon a Time

I said –
once there was
a sweet summer,
long days all golden.
Oh, you don't believe me?
But I was there, I knew it.
I traipsed the wide green all those hours
indeed all those days, the blue above
deep and endless, in my sunny childhood.

They nodded indulgently – well, some did –
and turned away to their own pleasures.
Their summer was city buildings
and hot streets drifting with dust.
How could they hear my talk?
They wanted ice cream
and movie screens,
not my old,

At dVerse just now, we are writing etherees about summer. 
I made it an exercise for myself to do it with all end-stopped lines.

The photo is of where I live now, not where I spent my childhood,
but it illustrates the kind of landscape well enough.

19 May 2016

Not the Big City

It’s a small, calm town,
leafy even in autumn
with native evergreens.

No-one living here
can walk down the street
without meeting neighbours
or old friends from school.

Today I watch 
a quietly beautiful girl 
sit with her laptop 
in a sunny café, safely.

A second poem for Quadrille–9: Green at dVerse. 

My first described a young girl sitting alone in an internet café, unconscious of her own graceful beauty. Had I been an artist, I'd have wanted to paint her; but my art is with words, so I made a poem. I became startled and then horrified as reader after reader commented that she seemed vulnerable and ought to be more careful about sitting there alone and/or using the internet. 'She must beware,' they said. What – in the middle of the day, in a public place, doing nothing out of the ordinary? (I did mention that her top had slipped off one shoulder, but that's not an unusual look in contemporary fashion, at least in our warm climate here.) Can so many of my readers really be so prurient? Or is it that they live in cities where such dangers are commonplace? Perhaps the title I gave that poem was open to misinterpretation? Anyway, I was moved to write another poem, giving my subject more context. 

17 May 2016

Stranger in the Internet Café: Portrait

In green youth's
unconscious grace,
she leans into her screen:
a slight girl, sitting alone,
fluttering fingers
deft on the track pad.

Tendrils of hair 
drape one shoulder,
skimming her breast.
The nearer shoulder's bare,
her lacy top slipping.
Pursed lips are flower soft.

Written for dVerse's Quadrille – 9: Green

15 May 2016

Come Back No More

It's a different me now, no
rest from alterations more and more 
increasing – not at all by my will,
nor yet against it. This is the journey, the
way that we all grow, more wild
than we know, tossed by an invisible wind
which we ignore, imagining that
it's we who tilt the glass for the sand that passes.
The first young grasses can't return,
fine and fresh; they are long fronds now, no
way back to a before all gone, no more....
Blown onward unknowing, nevermore we return.

Written for the "No More" Sunday Mini-Challenge at 'imaginary garden with real toads'. The form is the Golden Shovel, based on the closing lines of Watching the Needle Boats at San Sabba by James Joyce: 'No more will the wild wind that passes / Return, no more return'.

13 May 2016

I Walk Too Far, and Not Far Enough

I walk on my feet, and in my imagination. If I don't walk further on my feet, my muscles will melt. I read that somewhere and it frightened me. If I walk too far into my childhood, that could be frightening too. Or sad. And sad it would be if my muscles did melt – like my mother's did, and my husband's, and they kept having falls. Each of them, finally, was taken to hospital after a fall and never came home again.

I walk the streets of our little town: behind the shopping mall, skirting the park. I don't power walk, I linger, photographing quaint old buildings and majestic trees. But I cover the ground. It is late in the day, but I must resume daily walking. It has lapsed too long. 

At home, at my desk, I walk into the past: up and down the big back lawn after my Nana died; and again, after the birth of my little brother. Alone with my thoughts, I walk past the summerhouse and into the veggie garden, sit down on the wooden plank that swings on ropes underneath the weeping willow, and bend my head far back. My long hair trails, brushing the ground, as do the translucent willow fronds. 

childhood memory
green willow tendrils in Spring
tiny leaves still curled

Written for Haibun Monday #13 — Walking, at dVerse

8 May 2016

Late Mother

After Eliot

Here you are again, little Mother, whom I have let
past my barriers again. Just now I see us
that last time in your house. You wanted me to go
taking the image of you dressed up and looking pretty. Sadly, then
it is followed by a different view of you
months later in the nursing home, mewling and
haggard. Summoned from far, by my cousin, I
struggled to come to terms. At the last, when
you sat up and glared past me at that sight invisible to me – the
vision – then flopped back down, dead … at that point the evening
went suddenly quiet and still. Ah well. What is, is.
Since that axe of a moment, nearly twenty years have spread
my life and some other deaths around me. I keep out,
nearly always, the memories; our differences, our troubled love. Against
this day, though, my defences buckle. It's Mother's Day – the
day on which to remember. 'Yes, you look pretty,' I think at the sky.

White chrysanthemum by Satdeep Gill licensed under Creative Commons  
(A symbol of Mother's Day, which in Australia falls on the first Sunday in May)

De at dVerse recently invited us to try the Golden Shovel, in which a line of poetry provides end words for one's own lines. I've always been captivated by the two opening lines of Prufrock; here I've used both. However I didn't write a poem in time to link to the dVerse prompt. The combination of Mother's Day – in which I refrain from joining the facebook adulations – and Brendan's Mini-Challenge: Harrows and Hallows at 'imaginary garden with real toads' gave me my subject matter. I'm also linking the poem to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #301.

4 May 2016

The Skipping Quadrille

(Skip to my Lou, my darling)

This poem 
is a skipping quadrille.
Slow and stately couples
in mellow light
dance with downcast eyes.
But in the hearts of those women
little girls live, who skip
with fancy footwork,
their dancing feet remembering
fast hops and jumps ...
though the men forget.

The first Quadrille at Almack's
Image in the public domain. 

'The Quadrille is a dance that was fashionable in late 18th- and 19th-century Europe and its colonies' – Wikipedia. Some versions were apparently quite lively, but it was also described as 'stately'. Recently the term 'quadrille' is also used for a 44-word poem. For Quadrille–8 at dVerse this week we are asked to include the word 'skip'. The phrase 'Skip to my Lou' (from a children's dance) is mentioned. So that got me thinking about these two different dance movements. This is also a late response to the first quadrille prompt, which asked us to use the word 'dance'.

In composing the poem, I used Elizabeth Crawford's instructions in her chat with Sherry at Poets United this week: Step by Step: How to W rite a Poem When You're Blocked. Not that I was blocked, but I thought it would be a good method anyway, and it was.

1 May 2016


Let’s keep contact to a mimimum,
he said. I know it’s unfair, but you
remind me of those painful events
we shared long ago. In old age
they keep coming back – and oh,
I want peace these last few years,
whatever’s left. Selfish of me, but….

Agreed – but my mind, now,
writhes with dark memories.

Written for Flash 55 Plus at 'imaginary garden with real toads': a 55-word poem, plus the inclusion of a word with the prefix 'in'.