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 February 2017

NaHaiWriMo Week 4

More one-liners purporting to be haiku or senryu 

Feb 22 Leaf

fallen leaf the end of the long summer

gold leaf edging the pages – books my grandpa gave me

plump leaf of my lucky jade bush – broken off

Feb 23 Nature (human)

city visit the too-quick speech of strangers

Summer fades I mourn the heat I deplored

I extend my walk to see my old home from outside

I make and hang the dream catcher, start to dream again

Feb 24 In short (brief, minimal haiku)

summer ends – last flowers

late – one crow call

magpie sings unseen

autumn – empty beach

Feb 25 To 

to the hill! fog falls away

flowers brought to the patient in time for a wreath

mother of sons I learn to kick a football

raising glass to lips – eye contact

fingers to lips – the train departs

Feb 26 Our 

your long absence from our home – I rearrange the space

our ball flies high – crack! the window shatters

dusk along our street mothers calling children in

slowly our nights grow cooler summer begins to end

Feb 27 Buddha

pelting rain serene-faced statue of Buddha

Buddha's gesture invites discourse magpies warble

wooden Buddha on highest shelf – in kitchen

lotus lips deep eyes to drown in Buddha's painted face 

February 28, 2017 Nature (a pure-nature poem).

tiny black-and-white feather on the lawn ibis in flight

small feather on the grass rain-soaked Autumn starts early

mountain swathed in cloud today summer's over

loud rain-drops falling from leaves after the rain stops

small cat sleeps with both ears pricked but closer to me each night

Michael Dylan Welch, who runs NaHaiWriMo, told us: 
For those of you who might have wondered, the prompts for this month all came from two sentences (slightly adapted) from R. H. Blyth: “Haiku is a hand beckoning, a door half-opened, a mirror wiped clean. It is a way of returning to nature, to our moon nature, our cherry blossom nature, our falling leaf nature, in short, to our Buddha nature.” So that’s why a few of the prompts have been repeated. This is one of my favourite quotations from Blyth about haiku.

27 February 2017

An Unexpected Reluctance

Although autumn has always been my favourite season
and although this year the previous heat has been fierce,
I find myself, against all habit and reason,
feeling a little melancholy as summer begins to end,
suddenly, gradually, giving way to my favourite season.
This makes me somewhat afraid – I, who have never feared change
nor shirked necessary endings. Is it warning or mere teasing,
this unusual sadness? Could it be an omen? Is something else
destined to fade? I look back, albeit with a feeling of treason,
to the strange, consuming summer that is nearly gone; long to linger …
wondering that I’m so slow, this year, to welcome my favourite season.

A Fold for Fashion Me Your Words at 'imaginary garden with real toads'.  (Form created by Gillena Cox.)

22 February 2017

A Place in Space and Time

Tonight Professor Brian Cox
is taking me to Venice – 
and I can't believe it's 19 years 
since I went there in my own body, 
and saw the glass-blowing at Murano too,
and visited Renaissance paintings
huge on old palace walls.

So many years ago and still so vivid!
The husband of my heart 
was with me then.

Now the long-limbed Professor,
laughing with boyish delight,
takes me up to the heavens –
the moon, the planets, the stars,
the Milky Way; the Earth from space
rising in a half-circle, swelling like fruit – 
an apricot, an apple ... but it's blue.

And I begin to think instead
of my blue-eyed husband – now an angel,
wandering the stars without me.

The title belongs to Episode 4 of the BBC's 'Human Universe With Brian Cox'.

I'm linking this to Midweek Motif ~ Nostalgia at  Poets United

21 February 2017

NaHaiWriMo week 3

 More attempts at one-line haiku and senryu written to NaHaiWriMo prompts 

Feb 15 Returning to

the further from it I get the more I return to my past

returning to the old house it appears smaller

returning to the place after long absence home is gone

I return in memory yesterday becomes today

I return to poetry always my first love

Feb. 16 Nature (something you can see right now)

among tall eucalypts dream-catcher workshop

frangipani in her hair / timber walking-stick

hilltop – leaves against the circle of sky

magpie picking at the grass red roses

miniature roses taller than planned

staghorn on bare trunk one chopped branch

Feb. 17 Moon

moonlight and ocean a girl walking in a blue dress

full moon above only one streetlight

full moon behind cloud leaks light around edges

who needs dreams? full moon in my window

keeping pace with our car harvest moon rolls long horizon

Feb. 18 Nature (experienced in another season)

winter street swirling leaves in dusty gutters

birds crowd my veranda rail spring rains

rain sets in – bedraggled birds shriek at my cat

my spring lawn – clover dandelion ibis feathers

garden after rain flourishing green weeds

autumn dusk dogs and children play in the street

early autumn more weeks between lawn-mowings

Feb. 19 Cherry blossom

old love letters falling cherry blossom

heat wave I remember cherry blossom

blossom-fall a change in the weather

white cherry blossoms I recall the tang of red juice

pale cherry blossom far away

throngs of blossoming cherries crowding cameras

cherry blossom hide the photo

Feb. 20 Nature (unique and seasonal to where I live)

late summer frangipani blooms thinning

later and later the cool breeze of evening

sunny early morning crisp mountain edges

midday the hot town empties

Feb. 21 Falling

walking with you frangipani flowers falling on grass

a falling feather lands in my path I remember you

falling together in laughter soft mattress

rising and falling we breathe in rhythm

your last heavy breath silence falling

Link: NaHaiWriMo on facebook

Also linking to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #344

Feb 21 #2 was published in JUMBLE BOX, a selection of haiku written for the 2017 NaHaiWriMo.

19 February 2017

What Would the Moon Want with Me?

It wants to make a poet, that's all,
and a dreamer who likes to be
near trees and water, somewhere
the stars too are visible at night

away from the glare of the city,
away from the ceaseless noise
and the difficulty of breathing. That's why
the moon always gazes so long in your window.

... And it all came to pass as foretold.
Thereby I know the moon loves me.

Written for And the Moon ~ Micro Poetry at 'imaginary garden with real toads'

17 February 2017

Regarding Doom and Gloom

There will be civil war in America, I heard it said,
and so I am careful not to blow on the sparks
with my own (foreign) rhetoric – or not too much.

It may well start with civil disobedience. I see
on facebook many friends’ anguished posts
and proud commitment to not shutting up

in the face of what they view as tyranny.
While others are bemused and then enraged
by such refusal to accept an election result.

I’m shutting up like mad, myself, not to offend
people I’ve always known as fair and kind
and, it goes without saying, intelligent …

nor yet to encourage others in divisiveness.
For who’d want civil war? Or do they not believe
it could really come to that? Everything else has come.

The parallels with Hitler and the rise of Naziism
are often drawn by the fearful and outraged.
And I recall, reluctantly, what has long been said:

it was the averted eyes and the silence
of ordinary, good people that allowed
horror to pile on horror, corpse on corpse.

I don’t live there, I tell myself. I cannot comment
on things that don’t concern me. I can’t know
the on-the-ground reality. I do not have the right.

Then, feeling a little sick, I begin to remember
that what stopped Hitler was the linked arms
of other nations standing firm and fighting.

There will be war, I hear it said, between
Australia and the USA, or even between the USA
and the world. Surely not possible! Surely not?

I put my head down, zip my lips; I hope it will all
go away. But poems will out, irrepressible as truth.
(Poor helpless things, both: changing nothing.)

Linked to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #341

16 February 2017

Valentine's Day Haiku

(well anyway, one-liners trying to be haiku)

rain falls on your long absence I don't forget

heat-wave my ardour increases

that café we used to like closes – cloudy day

the sun in the photo shines on your face – forever

you offer your heart – the taste of chocolate

remembering our first time you brought roses

Written for NaHaiWriMo 2017

Linking to Tuesday Platform 21 Feb 2017 at 'imaginary garden with real toads'

15 February 2017

My New Sparkler

It wasn't my favourite ghost
who gave me this ring.

Yes, he does come with me shopping
(invisibly) saying, 'Get yourself roses,’
or, ‘That’d look good on you.’

This time I went on my own
deliberately; browsed, chose,
and bought me
a self-love token.

Written for Quadrille #26: ghost at dVerse.
Also linked to Tuesday Platform 14 Feb 2017 at 'imaginary garden with real toads'
and to Midweek Motif: Love at Poets United.

14 February 2017

NaHaiWriMo week 2

A prompt a day. I'm doing one-liners.

Feb 8 Open

door opened after the heat – fine invisible rain

not open-minded so much as blank no haiku

stinking hot neighbour swears through open window

Feb 9 A mirror

I hold the mirror to the light - all flash no image

when that car in the next lane vanishes from your mirrors

Feb 10 Wiped

saw him off with a kiss closed the door wiped her mouth

wiped the mirror – her mother still stared back

Feb 11 Clean

clean desk – sign of an empty mind?

cleans the wall – fingerprints scrabbling to get into Mexico

dead spider – no insects in this clean house

rain-cleaned air – humidity restores sticky skin

Feb 12 It (use the word but don't say what ‘it’ is)

it rises we gasp perspire seek cold water

momentary breeze it falls white to the grass

is it a bird is it a plane, no it's ... too high to tell

Feb 13 Is (use this specific word in your poem, but try to be wary of introducing too much judgment into the poem)

weeks of over 40C global warming is

Goddess Isis is (not terrorISt)

February 14 A way (of)

small bright feather blows towards me away

finding a way into my closed yard – water dragon

cat under table a way of controlling thunder

Link: NaHaiWriMo on facebook

Also linking to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #343

12 February 2017

Red Lineage Poems

At Poets United this week I am sharing a feature about a project by American poet and interactive artist Natasha Marin, which captured my imagination.

It is called Red Lineage. You can find out about it here, and also read her own poem which began it all. You can experience other people's contributions, both at that page and here, and you can participate yourself here. (Go to the "Explore' drop-down menu and select +Add Your Lineage.)

I wrote this Red Lineage poem some weeks ago, when I first came across the site:

My name is Redrose.
My mother's name is Soft Red.
My father's name is Lively Red.
I come from a people known for loving words.
Remember me.

(The ambiguity in the second-last line is intentional.)

Today I returned and found that she has added more spaces for us to write into, more possibilities to explore – so I created this one and participated again:

My name is Witchpoet Red.
My mother’s name is Fearful Red.
My father’s name is Remorseful Red.

I come from a people who are known for
adoration of language and delight in Nature.

After I go, I will leave my words scattered
like feathers, which may be found and kept
or be reabsorbed back into the earth.

Remember me.

(I have broken the longest lines of this into shorter ones. It seemed right to make the verse breaks, too.)

If you decide to participate, please enter your poems at the site; and if you post them to your blog, please link to the site. Natasha requested this when giving me permission to share and teach Red Lineage.

(My rose photos are to illustrate my first piece. I like photographing roses and sharing the photos on facebook with wishes for love, peace and joy for all.)

10 February 2017

Tipsy Turvey

It was a rum do,
the way it all turned sour.
He thought it would be a tonic
to chaser round the desk
and finally tie one on her
straight up, or even
land her on her back
in a sudden tumbler -
but she damn well would twist,
proof against all the shots
he thought he was calling. 

It was such a spritzer
to imagine her 
thoroughly hammered.
'Wet your whistle,'
he thought to leer,
and her being stirred
by the dirty insinuation.

But it was his last call.
'Drown your sorrows,' she taunted 
before departing smartly,
leaving him severely shaken.
In her absinthe he obeys,
dejectedly gurgling the whiskey,
not even wondering what she meant 
by, 'Name your poison!'

Another one for dVerse Muse Mixology, using words from the following alcoholic list in a non-alcoholic way. (I'm happy to find out I wasn't restricted to 33 words after all.) But I missed the deadline so I'm sharing it at Open Link Night #189 instead.

shaken           stirred          rum          sour          whiskey        last call
elixir        on the rocks      straight up        twist        round         chaser
back        dirty          proof         tumbler           three sheets to the wind
tie one on         shots         hammered       tipsy           hair of the dog
absinthe          vesper        tonic          kamikaze         spritzer
tie one on       liquid courage       name your poison       drown your sorrows
wet your whistle

9 February 2017


Sailing straight-up,
but caught
in stormy passion,
too soon tilted tipsy –
went hurtling three sheets to the wind
shaken, twisted, hammered
by dirty rain and whiskey-coloured ocean,
to crash on the rocks: kamikaze.

De Jackson at dVerse Poetics: Muse Mixocology asks for 33 words or less, some of which must be from this alcohol-related list – but we must use them in some other way/s:

shaken stirred rum sour whiskey last call
elixir on the rocks straight up twist round chaser
back dirty proof tumbler three sheets to the wind
tie one on shots hammered tipsy hair of the dog
absinthe vesper tonic kamikaze spritzer
tie one on liquid courage name your poison drown your sorrows
wet your whistle

8 February 2017

Questions of Existence

Tonight I saw on telly
film-star beautiful Professor Brian Cox
asking, 'Why are we here?'

I could smell my skin,
bared by my scant sarong,
pungent in the heat.

I tasted in memory
the seafood risotto
Maureen bought me for lunch.

I saw that I had not answered adequately
when she asked, 'Do you believe in God?'
All I said was, 'Yes.'

I felt startled when she said she didn't.
She said she believes in Nature.
I would call that God, or part of God.

I listened to the restaurant chef
telling how much he loves
his two little daughters.

I observed, in the photo he showed,
the calmly radiant face of the 5-year-old
as she cradled her baby sister.

Now I am enjoying the taste of warm milk
and cocoa: my usual nightcap. A little earlier
I had a glass of red with the Professor.

And I remembered trying to explain
to Maureen my idea of God. That I was not
believing in the one she doesn't believe in.

I wanted to go back and simply say,
'I believe in God, and I don't know
what God is.' (Though I know God.)

I watched Brian Cox smile sweetly from the screen
as he told us, 'No-one knows why. It can be whatever
you choose.' (Science catches up with philosophy!)

It's a hot, sticky night tonight, in this little corner
of the ever-expanding Universe – where we are
because we must be, and I am because I am.

Written in a format suggested in Diane Lockward's The Crafty Poet II.

Linking to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #340

7 February 2017

NaHaiWriMo week 1

Haiku and senryu. Each day a new prompt. I'm going for one-liners. I think these are only trying (and failing) to be one-line haiku / senryu but maybe they are poetry. Or possibly aphorisms.

Feb 1 Haiku

heatwave I compose haiku indoors

lapsed haiku-habit doldrums then NaHaiWriMo

Feb 2. Is (but don’t use the word)

living alone existence in the click of a keyboard

my dead husband waves at me memories

widowhood he walks ahead of me down the passage

Feb 3. A

ugly Aunty Amy favourite great-aunt to tribe

spinster Aunty Katy all her siblings’ children hers 

gentle Aunty Ella mother of my roughest cousins

afterwards we smoked in bed forbidden pleasures

‘after all’ we excuse ourselves after the damage done

after all anguish again arriving at acceptance

‘Eh’ – awkward aggressive accusatory or apathetic?

Feb 4 Hand

morning heat builds slowly her hand reaches for the fan

lethargic heat her wrinkled hand clutching the fan

fading light her hand at the door waving

Feb 5 Beckoning

summer evening she beckons from the shadows

he turns his face her beckoning hand

hot day the curl of the waves beckoning

Feb 6 A door

a door shuts – opens days later on dead spider

‘I adore you,’ he says – eyes wandering

Feb 7. Half

worse than a worm in the stew half a worm
(not original, old joke, couldn’t resist)

chocolate hard from the fridge can't cut you half what a pity

summer night half-heard music through an unknown window

waking in early half light already the heat

Link: NaHaiWriMo on facebook

Also linking to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #342

Feb. 4 #3 and Feb. 7 #2 were published in JUMBLE BOX, a  selection of haiku written for NaHaiWriMo 2017

Dear Filing Cabinet

You look so square, solid and ordinary.
A bit battered in places, the paint wearing off.
You are two, looking like one, side by side
so closely touching there is no separation.

This half belonged to me, that was Andrew's,
used in our own offices in every home we had
until after he died, and what was his became mine.
So I placed you together. You always matched.

And yet the contents are different now, re-arranged.
I made the occasion a big chucking-out
of obsolete bills, and receipts that even the tax man
no longer wants. Detritus of a lived life.

I spread myself, my records, over the whole space.
Some of it still isn't filled, all these years later.
There are gaps. And there are secrets. Old poems
written in code, by a man I loved before.

I'm linking this to the Tuesday Platform for 7 Feb. 2017 at 'imaginary garden with real toads'

3 February 2017

Spinster Aunty

Ugly Aunty Amy, who lived past eighty,
favourite aunt and great-aunt to the tribe,
was hard to look at without flinching
but we knew we mustn’t show it
(well brought-up, the lot of us) –
and that allowed each one of us 
to discover the warmth and wisdom
behind the booming voice, the boots, 
the plain square serviceable clothes
and that mottled, misshapen face.

She read and gardened, cooked,
went to church on Sundays, treated
us children to home-made lemonade, 
talked with us about those things
we couldn’t ask our parents. Listened too.
'Is that an engagement ring?' I asked
of the diamond she wore – trying to be silly, 
trying to be smart. 'Yes,' she replied, forthright,
'as a matter of fact it is' and told me the story
cheerfully, of the widower who offered.

Both were middle-aged. He was lonely,
thought she must be too. 
When she declined, not feeling that way,
he insisted she keep the ring
along with her freedom. She owned 
her house, hers alone, called Elouera
meaning 'a pleasant place' – and it was,
with its airy rooms and warm kitchen
its pretty garden of tall blooms
and the view across Warburton valley.

Written for Fireblossom Friday: Looking Beyond the Obvious at 'imaginary garden with real toads', in which we are asked to focus on an apparent subject and slip in a detail that is really more important.

I have since Googled Aunty Amy (Amy Isabel Noar). Although there is little information, I found she lived to 89. No birth or death dates are given.  She was the oldest sister of my paternal grandmother, Alice Robinson, née Noar, who lived from 1879-1959. There were several sisters in between whom I never met: Grandma was the youngest. I last saw Aunty Amy in 1954 when I was 15. She seemed fit and healthy then, belying her years. I know she predeceased Grandma, but it's so long ago I don't recall the year.

2 February 2017

One-line haiku/senryu Jan 2017

I've started exploring one-line haiku and senryu, under the influence of the wonderful HAIKU NOTEBOOK by W. F. Owen. Here is the whole month's output for January, as I started this exploration only late in the month.

old fifth birthday photo fancy dress and all his hair

scared cat bites my thumb not too hard the hand that feeds

summer storm my cat hisses at the vet

hot afternoon unseen kookaburra's harsh laugh

summer night loud crickets neighbour's heavy metal

long hot night my cat comes to bed briefly

hot cocoa to help me sleep I sit up later drinking 

heatwave survival the right setting on the electric fan

heatwave chocolate biscuits hard from the fridge