Creatrix 3 Poetry

 

December 2008

Selector/Editor: Peter Jeffery

Contributors:

Kevin Gillam

paperbark days

the time of crows

Jeremy Balius

Arisin’

Green Sea

Annamaria Weldon

The veranda frames a view, hazed

Flora Smith

Death and Flowers

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

Wake Up

Annie Otness

To a cactus fruit, Elemental Ode After Pablo Neruda.

HATE SONG; A LIST POEM

Christine Watt

Fox in Her Shadow

Overripe fruit

Laurel Lamperd

A DOUBLE SELF PORTRAIT

Gabrielle Everall

Vita’s Legs

Maureen Sexton

MORE LIKE YOU …

PARADELLE OF SHADOWS

Deb Matthews-Zott

Night Meditation

Road Poem

Christine Ambrey

Deep in greenery

Janet Jackson

offset

Annamaria Weldon at Poets Corner

Paul Harrison

trick or treat

Josh Tisdell

solace suffering an benzos

THE PERFORMANCE

Jake Dennis

Guitar

Ron Okely

HEDLAND HERO

How Can I Tell You?

Tammi Alexander

Ballad of the night jogger

Tony O’Donnell

INFRA  DIG!

MABO

Virginia O’Keefe

Ritual

Towong January

Gloria M Daniels

As The Little Child

Where have all the Frogs Gone?

Peter Rondel

Dust and debt

Louise Evans

A Moonlit Night

Sally Clarke

Romance On Stilts

I Could Write Poetry

Miranda Aitken

Bare at the beach

Hippies in the river

David Barnes

Picasso and time

tragic beauty

Subramanian Shankar

Physickal

TEDIUM

Mick Mezza

Praises & Singing

We will remember them

Christopher Konrad

The Beginning

Strength

Paula Jones

After Donne’s Flea

Albany Through a Window

Meryl Manoy

I AM COLOURED

TO MY BELOVED

Ali Carter

Lifes Great Light – My Friend

Emily Schurman

Lowering of the Sun

Haven

Max Merckenschlager

CHANNELLED ENERGY

PASSING SWANS

Brian Langley

Old Hector

The Forest

Nick di Lello

BY THE SEASHORE

Rose van Son

Wasp

 

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paperbark days

you lead me to stillness.  you shell
me and in your mantra of
‘stars and mars and moon and dust and
us and stars and mars and’ I am
taut and slack and small as should be

you bracken me with now.  you
fold me and in modulations
damp and dry I am
tinder and tendril and
template and plundered and none

you sew the sky through me.
you take my paperbark days and
scuff and bluff and bleed and
breathe and leave them as cirrus

Kevin Gillam

the time of crows

 

back in the time of
crows, a childhood room, plastic
Spitfire at angle

of battle, dreams beyond fit-
ing parts and sleek black
coats.  wings were everything then

Kevin Gillam

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Arisin’

He
The wind’s howlin’, oh boy,
hell’s fallin’ all round us.
Quick ma, grab the babe’n
plant yourself in the tub!
Speech whispers outta dust
screamin’ through door jam cracks.
Wheeze, ach, ach – I’ll save what I built,
can’t lose what I got.
Visited by storm’n tempest steals away
this sacred place, my house.
Jesus knows, I did what I could…

She


Pa, you’re a crooked man,
crooked mile awalkin’.
Hush babe, the wall’s rattlin’
cause it’s a big party!
Hurrah, it’s a party –
(aside) that Janus-faced
man betta return – you’re not
protectin’ your blood!
‘Stead of keepinus
outta harm’s path – holdinonta what’s lost.
Always doin’ something,
tho doin’ nuthin’ what ya should…

It
The cloud of unknowing
is my interbeing.
I’m beside myself – not
too sure of anything
and trying to get from
here to nowhere, someday.
Justly/unjustly I condense
and expand within/
without the lost degrees of unknowing
guiding me over you.
Sigh, I’m just so misunderstood…

Jeremy Balius

Green Sea

Picture1 copy.jpg

Jeremy Balius

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The veranda frames a view, hazed

in dust, rippled waved by heat, to
unsealed roads, noon’s fence-wires where
green shade climbs, the fertile grapevines
defying summer sear, wind’s dry
and tan, sunflares on glaring zinc-
alum town roofs, backdrop dun fade
of Northam paddocks, bare-back hills.

Foreground, pink Heritage roses
loll like flushed neighbours at the gate.
Last, lilac Floribunda skirt
the path, cool as linen blooms on
mum’s Sanderson drapes, delicate
pale petals strewn in burning dirt.

Annamaria Weldon

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Death and Flowers

My mother’s death brought flowers.

Roses for formality,

straight and tall in crystal,

spoke of lace napkins, bone china.

Relaxed in the guest room,

blue irises for sun and sky;

for blue wrens in her garden.

One laughing cousin came

arms full of orange marigolds,

all angled stems; bright

parrots wrangling on a branch.

A friend sent pale pink lilies

backed by tiny palm leaves.

Spiked fronds kept their distance,

lilies dainty at centre stage.

Later in my rooms

I saw the flowers,

saw the several women she had been.

 

           Flora Smith

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Wake Up

Life is a drip in time.

Grass unloads grief onto passing foot
dew clings as tears to suede.
Specks of wetness, indelibly stained
eternally soiled. Blemishes on
the psyche. Old cobbler
redeemer of souls
weeps.

Clouds cry, unload sorrow.
Cold, hard drops of wetness
pierce flimsy fabric.
Icy spears intended for the heart.
Aspiration stilled
love no longer beats.

River slices soil as a skilled surgeon
neatly carves slivers from earthen bank.
Vain attempt to sever cancerous tumours.
The earth sighs, anaesthetic
wears thin.

Drip, drip, drip.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

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To a cactus fruit, Elemental Ode After Pablo Neruda.

Prickly pear
Displayed on leaves
Like ping-pong bats
Nestled, in lethal
Spikes or thorns
Cactus fruit
Harvest at your peril
Armoured in leather gloves
Beware the spikes
Of prickly pears
And place upon
The pale pine table
With the knife
And infinite care
Peel the moist
And tender pear
Unwrapped at last
Luscious and juicyLabial pink

Studded with a multitude
Of small black hard
Intrusive seeds.
The prickly pear
Gives little pleasure
For a lot of work.
And proves the adage
It is the journey
Not the destination
For prickly pear picking
Is an expedition
Not for the gentle
But for the bold adventurer
The gastronomic warrior
Who chooses the
Echidna
Of the vegetable world
Lusts for sweetness
To be betrayed by thorns.

Annie Otness

HATE SONG; A LIST POEM

I hate noises
That get in the way of hearing

I hate noises in the night,
Creaking floors,
Doors banging,
Dogs barking,
Sirens wailing,
Tires screeching.
All the early warning signs of disasters.

I hate noise in cafes
Crashing chairs,
Clanking cutlery,
Roaring air conditioners,
Warbling muzak that contaminates the ears.

I hate noise that drowns speech,
Crushes songs,
Obliterates the sounds of nature,
Persuading irrational
Rage, frustration,
Flight, escape,
Then finally numbness and despair.

An eternity of inescapable aural torture –
Hell is made up of noise.

Annie Otness

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Fox in Her Shadow

  1. Fox played dead on her arm

then cuddled into the nape of her neck.
Two button eyes with far-away look
sought caresses, but she flung his request
down the back of her dress, sending
brushes ablaze. Fastened limp paws
bounced as high heels clicked off into the night.

  1. Queeny has just supported the ban on fox hunting.

News broadcasted from yesterday’s newspaper
as wife placed rosey coffee pot on the table.
No blood sport left these days.
Husband muttered into black coffee.
Royals. Next they’ll ban fly fishing.
Husband poured more blackness
into the white of his cup.
Poor little things. She cherished the image
Of foxlets conjured up by her mind, suckling their mother.

Christine Watt

“Fox in Her Shadow” was commended in ECU 2005 Talus Competition.

Overripe fruit

There are the fruit trees, pregnant with winter
sit potted across my backyard mandarins, lemons and limes
that pendulum lightly, slapping in the still breeze.

Look here, yesterday’s rain
pushed and pulled till a strong wind
drove over ready fruit to thump heavy on the ground.
The bucket is full.

Remember an orchard with apples, with red cheeks, and
a silly artificial gloss.  Memory packed into a packing case.

Cherry plums crimson over snow-white flesh, drawing in
the buzzing, last shadow of summer. Listen.
Squish, squelch and squash as children’s feet pad across the carpet
of gooey, over- ripe plums.  Pungency creeps
further down into the archives of the mind to bring up plum jam
plastered on burnt toast.

A child sits staring out the window watching cherry-plum blossoms
burst into spring. She reaches for apple plum jam taken from the supermarket plastic bag.

Christine Watt

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A DOUBLE SELF PORTRAIT
Painting by Howard Taylor

He was a mixed up sort of man
all triangles and squares
set in frames
like walls, fences
as we surround ourselves
There were two of him.
The private man behind the public
looking out on the world
with a square eye.

Laurel Lamperd

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Vita’s Legs

‘When a woman learns to walk she’s not dependent anymore a line from her letter May 24’.  The Go-Betweens.

They said: ‘Some caressing
some bedding . . .’
But London is burning
and Vita has mounted
Virginia
in the Venetian Ambassador’s room
with her legs

Legs that run
like Roman pillars
to the breastless armoury
of her body.  Taken, uberous
Yet
virgo intacta
a vulgar
but imperial vulva

‘legs that don’t need to
write’
But ‘stride’ with’11 Elk hounds’
behind her
through the woods of
her ancestors
while
‘England’s history
is kept
in coffins
under her
dining room
floor’

Open up
the pearly gates
of your legs
like ‘beech trees’

A bunch of grapes
succulent, multiple
loose
peelable
pink hued
held together pearl
after pearl grape
after gape
A blue-bloodied
Sapphic, nymph
gypsy goddess

Vita plays dead
in London’s streets
as a wounded soldier
while Virginia searches
for a woman’s sentence
camoflaged as a man
writes of
Orlando as a boy
to really mean
Vita.

Gabrielle Everall

‘Some bedding, some caressing’ is from Virginia Woolf: A Biography by Quentin Bell.  New York: Harcourt Brace Janovich 1972. p.119.

Woolf describes Vita’s legs as ‘slender pillars’ that ‘stride, with 11 Elk hounds . . . through [her] ancestral woods’ in A Change of Perspective: The Letters of Virginia Woolf 1923-1928.  Ed.Nigel Nicholson.  London:Chatto & Windus, 1981. p,150.  Also refers to the coffins of English ancestory under her dining room floor.

Woolf compares Vita’s legs to beech trees in a letter to Clive Bell in Virginia Woolf:A Biography by Quentin Bell.

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MORE LIKE YOU …

SESTINA

When I look into the mirror
it is not myself I see.
I see only an image
of what I would like
to become, to be like you,
and it is then that my heart

skips a beat. For your heart
is more beautiful than any mirror
can show. And truly I love you
more than you can know or see
just by looking. My love is like
no film, photo or image.

And I wonder what image
you have of me in your heart.
Is your impression of me like
what I see in your mirror?
Is it an incomplete man you see
who longs to be more like you?

But I wonder what is it that you
want. Reality? Or is it an image
of you, you desire to see?
I think you have a good heart
or is it lies I see in your mirror?
Perhaps your heart is not like

I imagine it to be like.
Maybe the real woman you
are, is not the one in the mirror.
Perhaps when I see your image
I am blinded by my good heart
and it is really me I see.

Now I’m beginning to see
that you and I are not alike.
I have the beautiful heart
and now I see that you
are merely a false image
of the woman in the mirror.

I want a mirror where I can see
My real image and nothing like
you. False woman, you broke my heart.

Maureen Sexton

PARADELLE OF SHADOWS

 

Dark shadows throw patterns on her wall
dark shadows throw patterns on her wall.
The light will show you steps to take
the light will show you steps to take.
Light patterns show the steps on dark walls.
Shadows will take you to throw her.

Throw her down from crumbling windows
throw her down from crumbling windows.
This Jezebel with evil heart and soul
this Jezebel with evil heart and soul.
Throw her heart and soul with evil
down from crumbling windows, this Jezebel.

Dogs wait, in hunger with bared teeth
dogs wait, in hunger with bared teeth.
Yet what is her gruesome murder for
yet what is her gruesome murder for?
With bared teeth, in hunger is her wait.
Yet gruesome dogs murder for what?

Patterns in windows take you,
show dogs with evil heart and soul
to murder her gruesome, from her dark steps.
Yet with bared teeth is hunger crumbling?
Wait, throw her down the walls for what?
Will shadows throw light on this jezebel?

Maureen Sexton

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Night Meditation

…body slides
between crisp sheets
of cool, clean cotton

wears the soft weight
of feathers like a new skin

eyes relax, close
on ceiling shadows
pale light
through parted curtains

I practice falling
into imagined clouds

as day thoughts drift
across mind sky

a breeze rattles the window
a mosquito tunes its violin
my husband breathes
beside me

beyond this familiar score
what symphony
of meditation music

conducts my consciousness
through realms of sleep
and dream?

Deb Matthews-Zott

Road Poem

To write a poem about a road
Must you walk the length of it
Until you feel the burn
Of hot bitumen under your skin

Must you travel it in sun and rain and wind
Feel the sweat of it streaming from armpits
The thirst it inspires in you
Move awkwardly along it
Like a swimmer who has jumped in fully clothed
Longing to peel its tight wetness
From your weighted body
Breathing in its outward breath
Until the road unwinds in you

Must you dream of what’s at the end
Like a rainbow you can never reach
Or a flimsy stash of hope

Are your thoughts cars that speed along it
Seeking the right exit
Do they sometimes see red
So that ideas no longer flow
Are they forced to wait
For a green metaphor

Or, to write a poem about a road
Do you simply lay it down in your mind
Letting the bitumen seep into your brain
Close your eyes to the open road
And follow the white line of language.

Deb Matthews-Zott

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Deep in greenery

underneath spreading fern trees,
rhino beetles clash…..

Moss covered branches
make soft carpeted highway
for quick green tree snake….

Christine Ambrey

MOMENTARY SHOCK.

The sun turned the water gold,
I plunged my hands into the glittering substance,

But the golden water slipped through my fingers,
Turning to icy diamonds at my feet,

As a cloud pased over head…..

Christine Ambrey

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offset

They tried to regrow the forest.
Met on alternate Saturdays
with baby trees in tubes,
buckets, plastic tree-guards.
The rows of holes, sheltered
seedlings, rations of water
their day-off task.

Some seedlings died. Some grew,
became ungovernable trees.
But it wasn’t a forest. Even
after seven years, twelve, fifty,
the wipe remained, the clean,
the lines of plan, plantation.
No old-growth, deepstruck, ringed and ringed,
no dryad song, no gnarl.

They tried to regrow the forest
and learned that you can’t. Not
on alternate Saturdays. You have to
work at it
every day.

Or toss a few seeds
after fire
and rain

and wait.

Janet Jackson

Annamaria Weldon at Poets Corner

Stand still / in your black-
layer drapes / and black-
drape hair / glossed
and glossed / shoes / jewels / vowels

Stand still / do not move
your feet / to step / or trunk
to sway / Stand still
move only / your mouth
your face / your voice / and with care
your hands

Black-lashed Maltese widow
Of woman born, of world
Petite, but towering
when measured
in phrases

Stand still / at the mike / a rock
a tree / a seabird / a small
stone shrine / Stand firm
in your stream
of language.

Janet Jackson

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trick or treat

it was the night before All Hallows Eve
that time when the quick and the dead
are no longer separated; Samhain in Ireland
when the division between the living
and the otherworld blurs
when restless souls
ask to be remembered
and need to be appeased
when leaves fall from trees
and living breath steams the air
like gun smoke or cigarettes

the season when darkness descends
and the harvest is in
a time to take stock
as frost and sprites materialize
in the thinner days, and longer nights
a time when the Church celebrates
her holy saints and martyrs
when bonfires are lit
and thuribles swung
to warm and purify
the joyful leaping heart

when children bob for apples
and wheedle sweets
like mendicants in days gone by
when fireworks light the darkening sky
and where, in Greysteele, Derry
a Halloween party at the Rising Sun
was craicing on

as three hooded fiends burst in

not Fenians or Taigs
but evil, restless men
unsure if they were living
unsure if they were dead
who thought that they were freedom fighters-

what a fucking joke

shouting trick or treat
with scarcely living hearts
poisoned in hatred
for the Shankill Road

a tit for tat massacre
when the guns were real and eight lay dead

Catholic and Protestant, young and old
innocent all; a senseless reap of souls
as the sun failed to rise
and Death stalked the townlands
when hatred could not be appeased
when Christ’s mercy for all who suffer
and all who trick or treat was gone

and where today we pray
that their sacrifice might become a path
through centuries of bigotry
and the end of evil men
with hate writ large

across their hearts
and gabled walls and curbs,
in the dead end ghettos
of a danse macabre
round the bloody corpse,
of Green and Orange

Paul Harrison

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solace suffering an benzos

the desolate sunday morning .
the cafe filled with lonely single men,
who have come here to escape their punishing thoughts.
drinking coffee or eating breakfast solo,
no one to hold their cold hand no one to render their souls.
on the eve of my twenty fifth i am a member of their club.
i am heading to the end at a rapid pace .
there is peace on their face as they take their last bites,
before their fickled thoughts become rampid and the deep comfort of pain filters through their blood .
we walk alone in this dull city blind .
toutured and fearing the pitiful smiles .
our only solace is in the bottles of perscription medicine .
our only thread of hope are in the eyes of our photos .
the very fabric of our lives is torn to the seem.
while our faces grow old and ware like leather and the little boys we once were cry out for their mothers.
the eery sounds of the city passing,
our minds taunting us like cruel children
and our spines chill as the wind whispers…
this is it…

josh tisdell

THE PERFORMANCE

he thrills none

trusting, he believes
the smoke hasn’t cleared
his headache beats harder
collapse….
nobody shows
alone in the circus
his chest tight
gasping for air
he waits…
buzzards fly around the dome
they too wait
nails splintered through his wrists
he bleeds…
with his ribs showing
and dry crimson
his anger consumes
he cries…
strangled by rage
never loved
understood by none
he dies….

josh tisdell

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Guitar

A Christian corpse,
its throat a wooden channel.
Stale air wells from the mouth agape
that will not vomit or moan.
Only the casket rots, groans.
Clavicle, sternum, sacrum, remain
beneath the changing skin. Despite
the sightless stare, nails lengthen
sans reason. Rearmost molars removed,
docile and taupe, this cadaver bears
the courage of acceptance, her hands clasp a Rosary.

For seven days the leaden sky breaks
with desultory mercurial indifference.
For some, the sudden slant or shock of light:
nebulous fingers lift and pluck. Invisible
wings are drawn
from scapula, tombstones echo. Contact!
Neither woman nor child, but man,
the father. This is transcendence. Despite
the mud, despite the heft of one grave-goer
wandering toward some Other,
there is flight—

And far off, in Myanmar,
a woman’s body.
Bare ebony,
bold golden earrings,
and eighteen brass coils around her neck.
She lets him taste the paprika on her fingers.
He lets her pull him toward heaven.
His warm fingers press her,
grip her. Chocolate flesh
erupts with cardamom sweat.
They rest with his hand on her belly.

Jake Dennis

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HEDLAND HERO

Lizard like skin
Burnt black by the Pilbara sun
Shoeless
Penniless
Slept on bags
And  dreaming  dreaming  dreaming
Of Clancy and Dooley and ’48
Fierce fighter for the dispossessed
Could call Nugget Coombs his friend
Couldn’t list all his enemies
The squatters
The drunks
The Warden’s Court
The establishment
The whole bloody multi-national mining
Industry

Camped at the nine mile (droving reserve)
“Too much noise – disturb the sheep”
and the HOT RODS

He said
“One day every man will sit
Under his own vine
And his own fig tree”
BUT NOT IN YOUR DAY OLD MAN
NOT IN YOUR DAY

Ron Okely

How Can I Tell You?

How can I tell you?
I’m a barefoot boy from Bassendean
Who lived on the river until nineteen.

How can I tell you?
With plenty of mates
But no mate.
With plenty of longings
But none took the bait.

How can I tell you?
That the lilt in your voice
And the laughter in your eyes
Sent more than my heart a flutter.

*  *  *  *  *

Come live with me and be my love.
And we will all it’s pleasures prove.

No rocks
No roses
No fragrant posies

No kirtle of myrtle
No buckles of gold.

Just me

Christopher Marlowe is dead
Long live Christopher Marlowe

Ron Okely

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Ballad of the night jogger

I go running through the forest on the darkened nights
Jogging till I can no longer see those damn city lights
People warn me of the dangers of being alone in there
But that free feeling of isolation makes me not care
They say there are demons and creatures of the dark
Murderers and rapists lurking in my beloved park
I laugh it all off, tell them it all has to be a joke
As my running feet free me from society’s yoke
The cold nips sharply, chilling my exposed skin
As the smell of heady pine air makes my head spin
The darkness smothers me, a deathly deep bath
So omnipresent and heavy I can barely see my path
Tonight the forest is different, menacing by design
I shake my head to clear these thoughts from my mind
Paranoid, I think, with just a sombre little giggle
But so nervously, as those thoughts still niggle
My eyes dart throught the leaning trees behind me
As I imagine all the horrors that may find me
Imagination can be so vivid, when it is so pure
I run a little faster, stretching out, just to be sure
A crack behind me, a foot fall I have no doubt
I sprint now, panting as all my bravery gives out
Branches whip at my arms and face, finding blood
As panic rises in my throat and my fear is a flood
Another loud crack, a foot fall, yes a foot fall
Fear biting at my heels, I sprint, with nary a stall
My blood runs cold as my heart turns to ice
Panic blinds me, adrenalin will have to suffice
A protruding root catches my foot, I never did see
But a half buried sharpened branch rises up at me
A single trip on that damned root was all it took
The cost of blindly running, panicking, with out a look
I cry out as the stake pierces right through my heart
As my scattered thoughts are blown right apart
Impaled, crying, with death right before my eyes
I turn back to see the harbinger of my demise
A murderer, a rapist or something more sinister
A witch, a ghost, or a ghoulish satanic minister
As the dregs of my life bleed out I find it funny
The cause of my death was a simple wood bunny

Tammi Alexander

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INFRA  DIG!

They’ll find us

in the sedimentary rocks

and wonder

at the way we lived;

the mess we made,

the waste,

the haste,

the hurry to become

a thin dark layer

in strata.

Tony O’Donnell

MABO

Song of the Land!

The name we should not speak ….

has put to an end the unspeakable.

Where was I? Where was I before?

Where was I before I became?

Where was I before I became what I am?

Why – in the land of course! Where else?

What am I? These bones, this flesh, this …. thinking!

What else?

The Land!  The Land!  The Land!

Where are you –

whose names we should not …. mention?

I see you! You stand before me, endlessly, silently!

You, who cannot speak, smile at me warmly, encouraging me!

You are so ….             many peoples!

Nations, tribes, families and …. fellas!

You are …. but one!

The Land!  The Land!  The Land!

I see you! You stretch before me, eternally, maternally!

You, who cannot move, beckon to me calmly, invitingly!

You have so many …. colours!

Red and gold and black and brown. And white!

The Land!  The Land!  The Land!

I hear you! You echo around me, noisily, hauntingly!

You, who cannot see,            watch over me safely, lovingly!

You have so many …. noises –

Wind and rain and rock and flow! And fire!

The Land!  The Land!  The Land!

I feel you! You wrap about me, snugly, protectively!

You, who cannot hear, listen to me wisely, attentively!

You have so many …. textures –

Grit and chalk and wet and cold. And hot!

The Land!  The Land!  The Land!

I taste you! You suckle into me, milkily, nourishingly!

You, who cannot feel, caress me lightly, tenderly!

You have so many …. flavours –

Sweet and tart and spice and herb. And fresh!

The Land!  The Land!  The Land!

Where will I be? Where will I be after?

Where will I be after I go?

Where will I be after I go from here?

Why – in the land of course! Where else?

What am I? These bones, this flesh, this …. knowing!

What else?

The Land!  The Land!  The Land!

Where are you whose name –

Mabo!  Mabo!  Mabo! – lives on?

The name we will always respect ….

has returned us to the inevitable –

THE LAND!  THE LAND!  THE LAND!

Tony O’Donnell

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Ritual

The woman surveyed the wood heap,

splintered and wet and red.

The woman stared at the sky,

sullen and drawn in lead.

She drank in the rain overlain

with orange blossom sweetness

and the heady jasmines on the fence.

Clutching the teapot tightly

in the pre dawn gleam,

she flung its leaves, an offering,

into her domain;

turned in her slippers

and marched back to the house again.

Virginia O’Keefe

Towong January

Car lights in the night leading to White’s blockhouse farm.

Above the sky, black slate slit along the mountain crest

lets in the moonlight creamy night after rain.

Three shades of black make up the mountain, hills and river:

no water now, just  stones where once an island rose.

Cockatoos have long since ceased their raucous cries;

the magpies carolled one bell. Down, above the campers’ tents,

lit by soft diffusing gas, kookaburras laughed, then fell silent.

But a lone plover, wings slicing up the night,

creaks its call across the flats and willows.

The cars turns and makes for town, its lamp beams silhouettes

the elms before the river banks and mint beds.

Suddenly the bridge planks flap angrily.

Two rattles beyond the bend the car disappears.

“I think I’m ok now,” says

my mother; octogenarian.

who has crossed four states

in thirty six hours and was

mightily confused in the

hubbub of Kingsford Smith

runways, stairs, travelators,

steel trolleys, fast food joints.

“I’m home now.”

Virginia O’Keefe

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As The Little Child

Invisible children voiceless to speak

Opinions seldom heard powerless to change.

Where do they live who is their advocate?

No one protecting them children in pain

Little children have rights to survive

Express their views freely   hold their heads high.

Wearing many faces spectrum of emotions

But as little children they dare not cry

One in six around the world denied a childhood to survive

Working in mines working to time

Hazardous conditions no contracts signed

Equal Opportunity non-existent, silent voices echo “it’s just not fair”

Domestic servants in the home behind the walls hidden from view

Girls exploited and abused, repetitive jobs shining shoes

Illegal businesses employing children making leather and jewellery too

Confined to beatings, reduced to slavery, children disabled   can this be true?

Child soldiers in armed conflict used as spies or human shields

Bonded child labour, generational debt

Prone to Tuberculosis deprived of any help

Mental scars and nightmares, totally entrapped

Children working too many hours,

Too many days with little to no pay

Disabled, deprived stunted in growth,

Confined to smoke fumes every day

No advocacy in sight exposed to physical pain

Nothing to gain often left maimed

Lack of dignity no human decency

Two hundred million our universal shame

Rise up and mobilize for this worthy cause

The voices that we have unlike the little child

Their right to survive and be respected on our globe

The right to develop   as the little child

Education a reality full time schooling their right,

May learning be a part of the little child

Learn about the issue support the worthy cause

Go raise the awareness of the little child

Children are our future children are our jewels

Society must be built to accept and house the little child

Gloria M Daniels

Where have all the Frogs Gone?

These long tailless amphibians with bulging eyes

Long back legs thin moist skin

Travelled the planet for millions of years

Multiply in numbers during the spring

Sit there pondering, puzzled and perplexed

At what human kind have done to their home

Polluting the water, replacing their habitat,

Building towns and cities so no more can they roam

We travel here, we travel there,

We use to travel everywhere

With croaking voices, attract our lovers

Together we huddle in underground cover

Our hairless body, our seven seven sight

Helps us to capture a tender bite

Dwell in trees, we are urged to breed

But what about our environmental plight

A frogless earth no tadpoles to breed

Humans have conquered in their endless greed

Cold-blooded creatures all looking for homes

“The toad has advanced” they all chant and bemoan

There are green frogs, brown frogs, red and blue

Poison glands stick together like glue

Rapid sticky tongue helps capture their prey

Fun loving creatures just love to play

When I was young there were frogs galore

All seeking attention right outside my door

I pet them, cuddle them and hug them so tight

They sat there and looked – never once did they bite

Into the garden I carried my wee friends

Camouflaged in the undergrowth they sit and pretend

Way passed the cow shed and down to the trough

To view their wee babies in their jelly –like cot

Now adult am I garden in full bloom

So I should be jumping over the moon

But sadness befalls me as I look around,

No croaks no ponds no frogs to be found

Where once were gum trees, wrapped in endless bark

And other native trees wavering in the park

Lifetime of species with food chain in wild

Frogs now shattered by suburban miles

These little creatures once in backyard

Replaced by statues three foot tall

Silent unmoving with painted expressions

My frog friends beside me are afraid they may fall

Pests in our garden no frogs to contain

Get out the poison we’ll spray to maintain

I search and I listen where once there were ponds

But where oh where have all the frogs gone?

Gloria M Daniels

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Dust and debt

He views his world from below the brim of his hat,

a boiling landscape where distant trees live

in animated frustration.

The familiar smell of rotting carcasses

no longer stirs his revulsion as he sails through clouds

of flies – black snowflakes from a tropical sky.

An alien movement choreographed by a mirage.

A hide-clad skeleton tries to rise – then lies

exhausted in the dust.

The crack of the round is God-like

in that silent world and in an instant

the suffering has ended

Like a beggar’s bowl the hollow holds only dust

where months before the ducks swam

and the cattle drank.

The windmill sits defiantly waiting

for a breeze that doesn’t come.

When the rains return it will have forgotten what to do.

The man with the money will turn his page.

The man in the hat will shake his head

and mend his fences.

Peter Rondel

(Highly commended in the Talus Prize 2008, Edith Cowan University)

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A Moonlit Night

The pub was really crowded and my friends were in fine form;
we drank ourselves quite senseless (as was usually the norm),
and since I wasn’t driving and the night was fine and still
I left them all still drinking and set off up the hill.

And as I passed the graveyard with its leaning, ancient stones
I found my steps were falt’ring as I pondered all those bones…
I must admit the drink had rather gone straight to my head
and I fell into a hole just dug for persons freshly dead.

It was equitably comfy, so I fell into a sleep,
and dreamed of spectral shepherds herding flocks of ghostly sheep,
but somewhere in the wee small hours I woke up with a start
with a thrumming in my ears and a pounding in my heart.

I saw a slit above me filled with moonlight pearly white,
but closely silhouetted was a terrifying sight!
Two creatures stood above me, both half-rotted and quite foul,
with eyeballs widely staring like a gruesome midnight owl!

I blinked in frightened horror through my boozy, addled haze ~
completely unaware that they mirrored the same gaze.
… I started to apologise for taking up their space
and realised with chagrin I must look quite a disgrace.

The first leaned down to help me, but its hand came off in mine,
and the other laughed so heartily its head fell off its spine.
I scrambled and I scrabbled, and clawed up to the rim,
then offered my condolences, my dirty face quite grim.

Now, the moral of this story, as you’ve probably surmised,
is: don’t fall into holes not yours ~ it’s really ill-advised.
When people throw their hands in or maybe lose their heads,
it says to us that all good folk should be safely in their beds!

Louise Evans

The Poet Floreate

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Romance On Stilts

Midland Gate Shopping Mall

Figures between puppet and life,

wading-through-water movements

confined to waltz time,

the stilt-walker, a black Svengali,

conducts his partner’s every  move.

She, red-turbanned on one metal leg,

diaphonous skirt swirling,

slender stocking arms around his neck,

painted eyes gazing adoration,

compliant, clinging, twisting, turning

at his skilful command.

European dance hall music

echoes a bygone age

invading today’s shopping mall,

women who dismiss dependence

carrying flowers, scented candles,

planning intimate dinners,

holding on to romance.

Sally Clarke

I Could Write Poetry

Soaring with condors

on Andean currents

Black-veiled on a camel

sailing the Sahara

Climbing the Himalayas

without oxygen

Herding wild elephants

on an African veldt

Endlessly sliding down

green-white glaciers

Watching Canada geese

strand autumn

Awesomely insignificant

at the Grand Canyon

Trekking Tibet

towards reincarnation

In suburbia there are

other opportunities

Sally Clarke

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Bare at the beach

In crystalline minerals people sit to pay homage

to earth and sea. There are days here when paradise

is laid at your feet, free, a gift of sea colours

made luminescent in southern sun. Reef laid bare like ribs,

full cast ocean tide asunder and then

the sea she gives to me that come hither look,

and I am all bare flesh and sex on hot afternoons,

the sand   the salt   the sweat    the rhythms rising.

Miranda Aitken

Hippies in the river

Hippies in the river

are there to wash smooth skin

Loose tendrils of pubic hair adorn

the black bark of a fallen forest giant

bare bums turn tea-coloured

as washing and rinsing turns to play

and we kick off across the river’s deep,

her depths unknown, her hidden creatures

a mystery. Back on the log

flesh, bark,

water, tree and light

fuse

as sun dries skin washed river clean

Miranda Aitken

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Picasso and time

Picassos hang on museum walls
he had his time his time
a time of multi-coloured madness
his tormented short-lived mind so alive
paintings unrivalled over time.
scholarly academics
publish copious papers and books
as if they were Sigmund Freud
trying to dissect him –
he strolled though the countryside of his friend
stopped to paint lilies in the field.

His old Parisian world
of stained ceilings tarnished windowpanes
lipstick smears on dead-end butts
ashtrays spilling over
blood-red wine stains and leftover
bread crumbs on tables.
A clock ticks and ticks telling time
the night’s discussions and revellers depart
the door closes for another night
another time in time.
outside they walk past the drunk
sprawled in the sidewalk gutter
paper bottle still held in his hand
water spilling round past him down the drain
is it his time-time is irrelevant
there is no time at this point in time

Picasso hangs ageless
like this World.

David Barnes

tragic beauty

 

in the wilds
a cry filters through bare branches
brittle from winters tryst.

an eagle dies in iciness
bones scatter in the spring

reflections cry across wilderness
pictures on waterscapes

circle –  glide

David Barnes

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Physickal

Waves in my ventricles keep on buoying
Boats that want to capsize
Race tracks on my forehead are toying
With the idea of entering my eyes.

Wrists centrifugate with perpendicular intensity
Whirlpools the navel with umbilical force
Arching of the toes welcomes the propensity
To trace each bead of sweat to its source.

Sidelocks fade in maternal moisture
To resurrect and live as protein in nails
Elbows find that every posture
To make things less funny fails.

The amphi-theatre in the ear conducts
Shows every night under starlit skies
As scraping lips reluctantly induct
Pungent, onion-like layers of odours energised.

The architecture of my nose is founded

On designs thieved in the rush of creation.

The fabric of my back is pounded

With spiked follicles for sharp penetration.

Eyebrows are itching to come together
To form knots and rounds and shapes
Seeing which none can make out whether
His mouth is surprised when it gapes.

 

Subramanian Shankar

TEDIUM

Getting packed in the matchbox

That moves and jerks and is connected

With so many more, moving

Toward the end which is the start

Of another stage in our moving

Toward our occupational hazards.

We begin another day

In the empty security of our routine.

Scribbling, scratching, snapping, shirking,

The day is divided into so many pieces

Which are glued together with caffeine,

Tobacco, and other feelgoods.

Grabbing our grub we poke fun at each

Other’s idiotics and foolishms and the

Blandest of dough tastes so much

Better than it was intended to.

We get down to look at feminine endowments

And have the nerves to ogle and pop our eyes

Which bulge in proportion to the rounds

And curves they lecherously behold.

Back at the desks we are greeted by an

Unforgiving aria of phones which is orchestrated

By our own confusions, gaps, shortisms

And we all but despondently respond.

Out of the inner inertia emerge special moments

Of joy and genius which are modified and

Even played down to multiple opinions and

After some pull and plough emerges a communication something.

Now that it’s happened, we get back to dullery

And bide our time with consciences which

Are numb to their own pricking and we exhibit

The freaks in us and laugh and laugh till we cough.

Then the hands of deliverance herald the close

Of this claustrophobic experience and I get

Into the jerky match box and alight to light

My own matchbox as I drag on suburban ground.

Subramanian Shankar

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Praises & Singing

In the pursuit of excellence, some get left behind

Shape up and ship out, criticised behind their back

For those chasing the elusive goal, frustrate their mind

challenge themselves to become better and attack

the competition with confidence.

Disappointment after another then struggle to jump a fence

Climb a ladder of popularity to prosperity

If there is any money in the venture, never a salary

Prize’s won in their undertaking enlightens self fulfilment

While others scowl at the winner enviously

When it should be praises and singing for their achievement

Such is the awful spirit of humankind

When applause should be grand, rather there’s a lack

of it. I’m amazed at this when I remind

myself that winners are celebrated, the losers that

never win always take the chance

Never give up take the stance

Though their craft be not academically

pursued, they plough on proud and happily

Persevere not to be brilliant

They love their art and lack vocabulary

When it should be praises and singing for their achievement

Should they then be excluded? Should we remind

them there is no place for them? Should we not reflect

at our beginning as we learned to refine

the craft and evolved as a silverback

Protecting its integrity and dispense

with those that do not meet the challenge. The defence

is not the pursuit for the intellectual but for everyone

to participate and enjoy, sadly

to say there are those whom think their omnipotent

Pass judgement with objective subjectivity

When it should be praises and singing for their achievement

Should craft be measure on a yard stick? The necessity

for opinion is human nature’s brutality

Where self expression is paramount

A pursuit to find your voice is finality

When it should be praise and singing at their achievement

Mick Mezza

We will remember them

In the courtyard the night was framed

Scorpio and the Southern Cross moved into the picture

Charged cups, toasted to fallen stars

Lament on the cold autumn breeze

The black buds of May once visited upon us

A permanent stain sketched into memory

Can’t wash away these obscure reminders

No news, we drink and persevere happily

We talked of modern poets, their now distant passed

Reflecting on friendship, entwined by art

The thread that spins a tapestry that fruits at our heart

The black buds of May that tears us up.

Mick Mezza

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The Beginning

 

Begin

as all must have a beginning

Somewhere

someone

This is inevitable

Even if you do not bring this about yourself for

the universe does not sleep but flows

If you find yourself sitting anywhere

hold true to earth wind fire mountain where

change is the only truth we can count on and

in that find peace

False peace is an idol we seek but which is easily shattered

we are left with shards and scatteredness

Stand on mountain instead

warm by the fire

feel the breeze

stability on earth even as the wind howls

Christopher Konrad

Strength

The eye of the vernacular

Lingua franca

Call it what you will

It’s the breeze through your hair

The Romeo and Juliet

Fall of the messenger’s footsteps as

We stroll in the dark

The sway of the tide

Christopher Konrad

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After Donne’s Flea

 

Come on baby

Give it up

I’m just a flea

I’d like a suck

Of your sweet blood

You can’t deny

I know you want me

Caught my eye

So if this flea

Sucked me then you

Well, baby that’s kinda

What I’m asking, too

Stop shaking your head

And open your mind

Open your legs

See what we’ll find

Ah, damn it, girl

You killed it, see

The drop of blood

From that small flea

Upon this, my bed

That I left unmade

Incase you relented

And I got laid

The flea had you

Untasted by me

Your sweet, cross-legged

Virginity

Paula Jones

Albany Through a Window

 

At the window I am doing my hair

At the window I am watching for whales

At the window I am blowing at fog

At the window a thin thread of smoke rises

At the window a town opens a sleepy eye

At the window the jetty crooks an elbow

At the window the turbines turn on the hill

At the window a house leaves a light on

At the window the finches pinch at peppermints

At the window the bay is a pearlesque portrait

At the window I frame a leaning landscape

At the window my breath becomes air

At the window I could be something wonderful

At the window you are miles from me

And yet the moon is the same tossed coin

At the window moths bring in the dark

With their ghostlike, chalky wings

At the window the bay holds breath til morning

Paula Jones

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I AM COLOURED

I am COLOURED – what do you see

When furtively you look at me?

Fuzzy hair and dark skinned face,

A creature of a different race. ?

I’m placed in a category

Separating you from me.

I am COLOURED – what do you feel?

What prejudice do you reveal ?

Am I a person you can trust

Or am I full of hate and lust?

Could you accept me as your child

Or a stranger to be reviled?

I am COLOURED – what do you say

When you pass me on your way?

Do I get a welcome smile

Or are your words curt and vile?

Like “Go back home where you belong!”

Or sweeter words like a bird song.

I am COLOURED – what do you think

When you know my craft could sink

Coming unwanted to your shore?

Do you worry how many more

Wretched tortured souls might come

Seeking a place under the sun?

I am COLOURED – what do you do

For a human being just like you?

Escaping war and violation

Hoping for peace in this free nation,

Can you act right from the heart

And help us make a brand new start?

I am COLOURED and do declare

This land is rich enough to share

It’s wealth with many folks like me –

Not “them” and “us” but all are “we”

Contributing to this great land

Working together hand in hand.

Meryl Manoy

TO MY BELOVED

(OVER 50 YEARS MARRIED)

i LOVE YOUR GENTLENESS AND CONSIDERATION

i LOVE YOUR SENSE OF FUN.

i LOVE THE WAY YOU SHOW APPRECIATION

fOR LITTLE THINGS i’VE DONE.

i LOVETHE WAY WE SHARE TOGETHER

iNTERESTS LARGE AND SMALL

tHE WAY WE GO INTO FITS OF LAUGHTER

oVER NOTHING MUCH AT ALL.

i LOVE THE WAY YOU OFFER HELP

wITH THINGS i HAVE TO DO –

tO SUM IT UP, i LOVE YOU MOST

jUST BECAUSE YOU’RE you.

Meryl Manoy

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Lifes Great Light – My Friend


The beauty,the value in my life
I realise are the stars.
And those stars, my friends
theres nothing brighter,or more sure
on which I can depend.
This is what I know
to be the greatest truth
If I lose somehow those stars in my sky
I lose myself,as I lose you.
Reflecting back to me
the shine, the mystery,
the dark backdrop of a black black night
I could gaze into that for all eternity;
a tunnel of black is that,
through the maze of my mind,
an endless puzzle
up,around,and back to black is all I find.
So here you are,my shining star
within this stickiness, sorrow and fear
Please keep your light bright in the night
and I will always keep you near.

Ali Carter

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Lowering of the Sun

The day bestows its dawn upon us

mist is clearing, the clouds are almost no more

the leaves go to n fro with a gentle gust

as if sumone has opened up the door.

I hear the cars whirl by, the birds they sing

the footsteps of others as they approach

friends and foe alike to share in the gathering

yet so into my silence they do encroach

For this day is unlike any other

and into the darkness I dare not to slip

as in any other place else I would rather

then to be here on the verge of losing my grip

I do fear the darkness, even as it arrives

its meaning is full of  loss and despair

a struggle where one so rarely survives

as it comes to take my loved one there

My inner strength is drained as I let go

of the past the present, and the future no more

my heart so filled with confusion, pain and woe

as all at once it is time to shut the door

The porthole between us closing, like a final test

with only our memories to keep us as one

as into the earth they lay you lovingly to rest

your spirit soaring with the lowerin of the sun

Emily Schurman

(Dedication – SARC)

Haven

She loses herself in the rocking

Of the corner where she sways

All bundled in this haven

Safely forgetting away the days

To shut away all that is

The life the love the pain

For sometimes it is all too much

And the wish is for life to wane

Just vanish from existence

Even if only for a while

To not go on pretending

Or hiding behind that smile

As every now and then

What just is must be sown

Taking stock of all around

The good the bad the grown

For in this world of plenty

There is no time for such

So to the corner I must flee

The corner which sees so much

Emily Schurman

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CHANNELLED ENERGY

Jump in back, you kids

up in back o’ ute, under tarp.

Quiet now,       like little

tadpoles  –  no, not wrigglers!

Police might catch us.

Too many tadpoles

no seat belts.

OK,     all out!

Here – take them strings and bait.

Watch us catch them

yabbies in channel

Wall Flat channel.

Now you kids!

Jimmy, you got some?

Yeahs, three.        But need thirteen.

Promised thirteen

old ladies.   Yabbies been ordered. 

Saving biggest but

for my grandmother!

You kids done all right

today.       Better than

makin’ trouble in town, ana?

Trouble is,        gove’nment filling

them channels soon.

No yabbies then,               eh kids?

Max Merckenschlager

PASSING SWANS

 

Three drifting notes
on a liquid sheet
score music for my soul.

Max Merckenschlager

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Old Hector

He’d be sitting on the footpath as I walked by each day.

His skin that once was shiny black, it seemed a mottled grey.

Beneath the Poinciana tree, the sunlight’s dappled shade,

Hid disfigurations that the sun and time had made.

A pair of faded, once black shorts, was all Old Hector wore;

With reading glasses on his head, though I don’t know what for.

I never saw him read a book, I’m told he knew not how,

But he knew well, the book of life; On that I’d take a vow.

For I’d been told that in his day, he’d been a man of worth,

Known for his special skills, from Wyndham down to Perth.

For he could read the signs he saw, like footprints in the sand;

He could always find fresh water in this dusty arid land.

He’d track the flight of finches: He’d watch the eagles soar.

He’d see the trees along the creek from fifteen miles or more:

And food, he’d find, enough for all, when there was none to see.

A kangaroo, deep in the shade, beneath a stunted tree.

The old explorers knew him well, his skills they’d often use.

A young man then, his name unsung, he didn’t make the news;

For he was black, and if at all, his presence got a note;

“Accompanied by a black tracker” was all the papers wrote.

But had he not been with them, The chances are today

The history that we learned at school, would read a different way.

For the names that fill the journals, of travels far and wide

Would be, like Burke and Wills are known.  Just known for how they died.

The tribal scars that on his chest, he’d once displayed with pride

Some people now, within the town, insisted that he hide.

But Hector took no notice; he owned no shirt and tie,

He sat bare-chested on the path, as people walked on by.

Some turn away as they walk past, as if he wasn’t there.

A few cross to the other side, and some, they stop and stare.

But one or two, including me, we’d nod and say G’day.

He’d raise a hand, (he rarely spoke), and we’d go on our way.

And he would sit with tired eyes, beneath his silver hair,

A swarm of flies around his face, he didn’t seem to care.

He’d gaze up at the mountain-side, a smile upon his lips.

Perhaps he was remembering, those past exploring trips.

I don’t know much about him, there’s very few that do.

I’m told he had a family once, but they died from the flu.

I’d heard he used to help police, to find folks who were lost;

That he could ride a wild horse, and rarely he’d get tossed.

But who can know what is the truth, it’s all too long ago.

He’s sat upon the footpath here, for twenty years or so.

How old is he? I’ve no idea, perhaps he’s eighty five.

The folks who knew him in his youth, there’s few of them alive.

The district nurse looks after him, makes sure that he is fed.

He’s got a room around the back, It’s where he has his bed.

There’s some who say, he shouldn’t be, allowed to sit and stare,

The footpath is no place for him, that he should be in care.

But I believe that where he sits, is where he wants to be;

In the dappled shade beneath the Poinciana tree.

I know, one day, he wont be there.  His life will pass away.

But I’ll still see Old Hector there, and I’ll still say, G’day.

Brian Langley

The Forest

 

Can you see the soft leaves falling?

Do you hear the songbirds calling?

In the lush green forest tree tops

That shades the sunlight’s glare.

Do you see the orchids showing?

By the maidenhair fern growing.

In the misty gentle raindrops,

And there’s beauty everywhere.

Can you hear the axe blows ringing?

Do you hear the saw blade singing?

Do you hear the crash of thunder?

As the forest giants fall.

Can you see the forest dwindling?

As it’s all reduced to kindling.

Do you ever stop to wonder?

At the reason for it all.

Can you see the forest dying?

Do you hear the sound of crying?

In the valleys where the river

Has become a salty creek.

No more orchids shyly flowering,

‘Neath the forest giants towering.

And the whole world seems to shiver.

And the tears run down your cheek.

No more the soft leaves falling.

No more the song birds calling.

As they flutter through the tree tops,

For there are no tree tops there.

And there’s almost nothing growing,

For the desert wind is blowing.

And there isn’t any raindrops.

And there’s few who seem to care.

Brian Langley

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BY THE SEASHORE

The reckless waves

Crash on the innocent shore,

Child-fortresses, dispersed dreams,

No more.

The ubiquitous seagulls

Haggle in shrill voices,

Suspended above the wrinkled sea,

From whence they dive upon their meal below.

The young sculptors

Resume their futile tasks,

Caressing the patient sand

Into fantastic designs,

While the mothers watch with pride

Their artists by the sea.

Nick di Lello

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Wasp

Pergola over vine leaves shade

mother’s life

Wasps

pick

leftovers from cracks

in rocks

leave behind

the day still

as yesterday

Under the pergola they sit

checked napkins with cups

plates coloured

speckled plum

figs in grandmother’s pocket

hide dessert

Her shoulders list between blades

Rose van Son

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