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.

30 September 2016

Roses for Pat

For Pat Kun

Inhale the scent of roses!
Melbourne is the city of roses.

I shall be there in early October, in Spring,
for a birthday – Pat's eightieth year of youth – 
when, for joy, her home,
white-walled, will smile bright red with roses.

Next year at this time, we’ll recall the big eight zero, 
a giant of a birthday … but days of wine and roses
can be for the tiny little pixie anniversaries too, the non-
zero years. Shall I return, or just send champagne?

Meanwhile, this year and I have flown fast, fast forwarding 
to arrive at this festivity, 
this visit to the city of Melbourne
to see my friend Pat turn 80 and smell the generous roses.

Written according to Ravi Shankar's instructions for a 'Manipulated Fourteen-Line Poem' in the book Wingbeats. The verse breaks are my own, and create a sort of upside-down free-verse sonnet.

29 September 2016

My Little Shadow

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me 
– Robert Louis Stevenson

My black cat shadows me 
wherever I am,
or begs I accompany her
to favourite spots,
even outdoors.

Our enclosed back garden 
feels like freedom –
as much freedom 
as she, fearful, chooses.

Is it a cage 
when you choose it,
freedom if you don't?

Written simultaneously for Quadrille# 17, Shadow at dVerse 
and Midweek Motif: Two Souls: Caged and Free at Poets United

28 September 2016

As Within ...

I fall into a doze, and I dream.
I am one of three white-robed pilgrims.
We are walking through a vast cavern 
towards an opening: a hole of light. 
We arrive. It is a small doorway. 

We step through the space, into wide light. 
That instant I wake; my eyes open,
I emerge into my own garden –
the green leaves, and the sun shining down.


closing the doors 
from house to garden –
smell of new paint

nervous cat
under my chair –
saws whining

radio next door
cheerful loud voices –

my prick-eared cat sits alert –
I fall asleep in the sun

Linking this to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #323

23 September 2016


my old cat
sits on the top step –
no longer

his sister 
crosses the lawn –

my new cat
waits inside the door –
greets me gladly

I wipe the tears and go in –
smile as she comes to meet me

Another haiku sonnet. I'm linking it to Poets United's Poetry Pantry $324

22 September 2016

Noisy Neighbour

It's not ACDC – 
I like heavy metal.  
It's more the late-night yells. 

All alone, he keeps on
shouting: 'FUCK OFFEE!' (Says 
it's neurological.)

Returning Light

Spring Equinox this year is rainy,
the ground outside muddy, and the sky invisible.

But the energy will overlap
for some days after this date. We can still celebrate.

And we plan to! We, the Goddesses
of Shining Light, will gather to dance and share that light.

At the time when light returns to us,
we shall draw it into our hearts and then shine it far.

We gather together to return
to what we are, to who we are, again and again.

We turn to the light, return to light,
turn on the light. We carry the light in our souls.

Written for Poets United's Midweek Motif: Equinox, Equator.
The form is a landay, as described by Robert Lee Brewer at Poetic Asides (but the mood probably isn't).
Some lines of the poem allude to the song Return Again, which is used at gatherings of the Goddesses of Shining Light.

16 September 2016

From the Alcove

Open space,
yet sheltered:
outside the room
I sit with coffee 
and a notebook.
This early, the lagoon
is misty grey.

Three buoys, bright yellow, 
dot the water. 
A sudden dark shape
dives or rises –
long ripples: a fish,
leaping briefly
into the open.

Written for Quadrille #16: Open, at dVerse.

14 September 2016

Neil at Twin Waters

The small stone he found on the path
is almost square, but spiky. 
At first it looks grey –
but when he licks his finger 
and strokes the surface
it lights up with bright orange stripes 
and patches of mustardy gold.
He brings it to my patio, and sits down.
'Let's write poems together.
Let us write small stones
about this small stone.'

His red T-shirt matches
the maple leaf on his cap.
He is learning Australian birds –
northern Australian birds –
Bush Turkey, Ibis, Coocal, 
Lorikeets and Swallows (can they be 
Swallows? Yes, they swoop)
how to tell Magpies from Butcher Birds ...
or Wallabies from Kangaroos.
He is discovering the habits of lizards:
young Eastern Water Dragons.

He picks up the stone
which he has placed on the table,
bending over it intently
to examine its intricacies
and casual secrets. Here is
a half-moon indentation, here
is the shape of a face.
The small stone becomes
important as a mountain, 
craggy and wild. He thinks
of taking it home. (He will ask it.)

I've been reunioning with Canadian poet Neil Meili and his partner Dorsey Cartwright, whom I met in Austin, Texas 10 years ago. She is Texan, and they spend time in both places – and lately, to my joy, are on a brief visit to Australia.

Linking this to Poets United's Midweek Motif: Appreciation

11 September 2016

Briefly Guilt-Tripping Myself

In my peaceful garden with my cat, 
I remember old failures of understanding – 

a young woman who tried to be kind and wanted friends, 
but I reacted to her uncongenial attitudes
and never got back in touch. Saved myself
much embarrassment no doubt, as we could never
have been real friends. But I just think now
I could have been kinder myself, I could have done it better.

Then I recall that the leeches I’ve known
are always hard to pull off, and they drain 
so much blood before that, and the extrication
is messy. Better, perhaps, never to let them get a grip.

9 September 2016

Let Me Tell You

For Helen Patrice, who said:

You are floating in the sky among the stars.
You are naked and beautiful.
Your hair lies along the sky 
as if the sky were a pool of water.
Your pale upturned face
looks perfectly relaxed, 
as your arms do too, 
stretched out lazily each side.

You are swimming in a sea of stars.
You are never going to drown.
Your upturned face, with its tiny nose
and perfect chin, appears ecstatic.
Your legs are playfully dangling, 
moving just a little at the ankles –
all that is needed to keep you afloat.

Someone drew you long ago, in white,
on a rock wall at Oberoi, and over you
the round white moon. I was in tears
at how beautiful you were – floating
above the x-rays, the practical, the food.
If you have no idea what you’re doing,
that is because you are being. You are 
being a Goddess. You are being a star.

Oberoi Rock in Kakadu National Park, Australia, is a site of ancient rock art, much of which was done in what is known as x-ray style.

The image above was on facebook, available for sharing. I haven't been able to find any provenance for it and there was no copyright statement. If anyone knows otherwise, please contact me.

I'm linking this poem to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #319

Walking Around Town

burly boys
jitter and fidget  –

old man totters
hurrying to the bench 
almost falls

she stops to rest
drinks from her thermos 
lightens the load

strong smell
outside the library –

rain starts in big splashy drops 
small mosquitos come inside

Another haiku sonnet – or senryu sonnet – for Poetic Asides

Also linking to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #320

8 September 2016

Uncertain Weather

on next door's roof
tarp and sandbags for leaks –
Housing Department

used for rain
silver tarpaulin shines
in the sun

Spring colours –
pink and white sandbags

in the tarpaulin –
new clouds

still air –
a slight breeze rustles
tips of leaves

on an early Spring morning –
will it rain will it not rain?

Another haiku sonnet for Poetic Asides.  (Expect more.)

7 September 2016

The Garden Microcosm

pink blooms
fully open turn white
then brown

my cat twists
on her blanket –

agile cat
captures baby lizard 
loses it

old rose-bush
well-pruned doesn’t bloom
not a bud

Spring – new lives may be short lives
and some lives never begin

A haiku sonnet for Poetic Asides form challenge. I prefer short/long/short haiku lines to 5/7/5 syllables – but we were asked to make the final couplet lines of 7 syllables, so I did.

Also linking to Poets United's Midweek Motif: Blooms (noun)


Did I, in those first days after you died,
put off going to bed? I don't recall!
Perhaps I went earlier, and then cried
half the night – or turned my face to the wall
long hours awake and silent? Did I call
in my mind to you? It's a blur today.
I do remember your going away –
the startling silence after your last breath….
I put it off now, four years since that day:
bedding always with the fact of your death.

(I wanted to try a Dizain: 10 lines of 10 syllables each, rhymed ababbccdcd. 
As for the subject matter, that is always near to hand.)

4 September 2016


His high cheekbones, intense eyes, full lips –
can’t look past the man (painted 
by a Nigerian) with long locks.  
I’m shown an internet page of primitive.

Art, my sweet cat, 
savagely chases a lizard.

Today, in calm early Spring,
my man’s been gone –
it’s four years yesterday
of thwarted passion.

(I’ve been reading a novel.)

A second poem written for the current Flash 55 PLUS! at 'imaginary garden with real tioads'. (If the words seem familar, they could be.)

Temperatures Rising

I've been reading a novel
of thwarted passion.

It's four years yesterday
my man's been gone.

Today in calm early Spring
my sweet cat savagely chases a lizard.

I’m shown an Internet page of primitive art
painted by a Nigerian with long locks.

Can't look past the man –
his high cheekbones, intense eyes, full lips.

Written for Flash 55 PLUS at 'imaginarygarden with real toads'.

Sunday Morning, Home

Next door, my neighbour is playing his heavy metal. (I like it.) He keeps it soft, but nothing can muffle that beat. It picks up speed. Otherwise this is a calm Sunday, cloudless and still, the air breathless with early Spring.

sunny sky –
small sounds carry 
without breeze 

A plane drones over. I fancy it’s going to Tasmania. I know it’s probably not. (Once upon a time, all planes went there for me – to my old home, my childhood home, in the cold but beautiful south. I am much further north these days, and planes go everywhere.) I track the direction. South! The sound disappears.

warbling –
my cat sits up
ears pricked

2 September 2016

The Mirror Held

James had come for a brief visit.
I was telling him all about my new cat.
I see, he said. To you she’s not just a pet
but another being, a fellow spirit.
Most pet owners, no matter how sweet
or loving they might be, how well they treat
their animals, to them they are still just that –
animals, pets. But you can see her inner light.
It’s with that level of respect that you relate.

He mentioned, too, the way I understand
the elementals, the spirits of the land.
He was matter-of-course, so my inner mind
was able to relax and bloom, and slowly expand
like a sunbather sprawling on warm sand
on a sunny beach, golden and bland.
It’s a good thing to be so known, to unbend
in the kind regard of an old friend.
Some conversations go on long after they end.

A rhyming poem ... or half-rhyming ... or mono-rhyming x2 ... for dVerse Meeting the Bar: Reason for Rhyme.  (And there are some internal half-rhymes dotted about, too.)