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.

6 November 2010


We flew home with Qantas,
the ‘graveyard shift’,
scheduled for midnight
and running three hours late.
The cabin staff
were hard-faced, grumpy.

The head steward
addressed us:
‘Your cabin baggage
is so heavy it’s a hazard.
We’re not taking off
until it’s all stowed in the hold.

Up and down the aisles
the hosties checked
lockers and under seats.
Guiltily Bill offered
the overnight bag on his lap.
A glance. ‘We don’t need that.’

Relief. In the hold
the old Dutch lamp
of curved white glass
could have broken,
smashed by its own
lead weights.

Our legs were cramped.
It was cold.
The kids were fractious,
so were we.
No-one got much sleep.
The crew continued surly.

shuffling through Customs,
we said with a laugh,
‘You can tell
who’s been to Bali.’
Other travellers were neat.

The Bali mob
straggling, yawning,
looked like refugees
in stained t-shirts, thongs,
and all kinds of bags
hanging off us.

We also had even tans,
an unhurried air
and a conscious, unspoken
complicity with each other —
knowing now a simpler, sweeter
life we could not import.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge 2010: 4
Prompt: a containment poem

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