Creatrix 14 Poetry

September 2011

 

Selectors: Peter Jeffrey and Sue Clennell
Managing Editor: Sally Clarke
WebMaster: Chris Arnold

Contributors:

Chris Palazzolo

White Noise
Where Is He Going?

John Bird

Wellhead, circa 1940

Kevin Gillam

out here

Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne

Camping in the eye of the storm
Pity

David Barnes

Episodes

Yin Xiaoyuan – Three Chinese Poets translation

That’s where my life belongs
My beloved mother
The Heart shaped like a harp

Christopher Konrad

Beautikon
Beehive at Alfama

Geoff Stevens

Cross Dressing

Flora Smith

Aid Worker’s Diary

Scott-Patrick Mitchell

Spring
tundra

Ron Okely

 Freedom

Colleen O’Grady

The Mystery

Dean Meredit

In Her Garden

Jan Napier

Muffet Take Two

Allan Padgett

David

Paula Jones

Chopping Wood In Winter
White Dove

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

No Sound In a Vacuum

Janet Jackson and Coral Carter

  tongue

Sarah Gamutan

The Gnawing Teeth

Mardi May

About Winter

Annamaria Weldon

Behold
Médecins Sans Frontières

Graeme Butler

There’s No Doubt About It

Anna Kiss-Gyorgy

Just For Tonight
It Ended in Oxford

Rose van Son

Last Morning

Derek Fenton

Visiting Dennis

Shey Marque

 Tulle

Peter Bibby

Sign in Central Station
Hope Lands Lightly

Sally Clark

ever present—
Stanley Spencer—Artist

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White Noise

 

Midnite tv noise—lonely hearts/
phone now/WA Salvage/CNN Americana—
celibate seen-the-light sales voices
(here’s a picture of it!) booming there,
shifting gently through the curtain here
with a sighing sough.
–––––––––––––––––– softly breeze.
As is the custom I will picture him:
my blue-stoned midnite neighbour
lying on his sofa watching tv.

Beyond these suburban dog-ears
of low light and noise, mine and his,
the city is a far roar,
like a distant jet forever taking off,
forever unfolded, forever taking off
far away, a ubiquitous white roar
unfurling under the desert’s night sky—
metallic trails of truck’s gears
or police sirens miles away,
beyond so many vacant bus-stops,
readerless signs on yellow posts,
deserted footpaths, distant and more
distant walls (streetlit black coignlines),
mothflecked lightpoles vanishing
rows down highways and freeways,
are the only other sounds,
sonic scrawls on its vast open whiteness.

Who of us is really awake,
him with his images, me with my text,
immersed in or scratching down signs?
Who of us will go outside
and walk these homeless spaces far away,
not in dreams, not in daydreams or words?

The hole in our hearts is an empty channel
through which we speak our love for our terror.
Who of us will speak now,
form words never spoken
out of this wordless void in white noise?
Chris Palozzolo
Where Is He Going?
Late-night cars whisper to me
mysterious errands and clandestine rendezvous.
My door is open on the cool gloom
and out there in the probing headlights I roam.
There I am, near the bus-stop
long after the buses have run
or walking the footpath by the cyclone fence
that borders the invisible reserve.
We are companions in mystery
me and these passing cars.
What thoughts play in those cabins
I’ll never know,
and where does that solitary man walk
at this late hour? Where?

Chris Palozzolo

 

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Wellhead, circa 1940

His mother knuckle-raps each rung
of the house rainwater tank. The tone changes
down near the bottom. Near empty.

Sets a straw hat on her boy’s head,
offers an apologetic smile. He, faking it, grabs
a wire-handled bucket, heads for the well

two hundred metres down the slope
of summer-polished grass. The well waits
under planks Dad adzed before he died.

Slides the centre plank aside—its fetid
earth-breath sticky as cobwebs swipe his face.
The water sulks twenty feet down.

Frogs see a skinny boy straddling the sky.
Walls ooze. A metronome of metallic drips.
Earth humours, primordial, malevolent.

This netherworld maw is the night stage
for dreams of drowning. The well knows he’s come
to take four gallons, no more, no less.

He casts the square-mouthed bucket down
so it bites off a chunk of water, settles, fills. He wraps
rope round wrist, braces legs astride the gap.

Suddenly, as if to catch the well off guard, he hauls
hand under hand. The bucket breaks clear, but gathers
full weight as the earth fights back.

For muscle-corded minutes the prize sways,
trembling in the clay throat of the world, balanced
between pull of the earth and a family’s need.

He hauls for dear life. To pause is to lose,
to restart with weakened muscles, diluted resolve.
Sobbing he lands the bucket, doubles up in pain.

Recovered, he ceremonially sips earth’s water,
his hands a communion cup. He reseals the hole to keep
cattle out, the unspeakable in, until next time.

John Bird

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out here

out here

out here, a different
quality of silence, as if
sifted, as if wrung of

possibility, as
if notes, the missing fourth and sev-
enth from a pentaton-

ic scale. out here no dis-
sonance, out here where the fur of
thought won’t crackle static,

out here just a petha-
dined blue. here you let, here you pause
and permit then pour, here

you lick behind shadows, find flight,
propose theories for déjà-vu

Kevin Gillam

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Camping in the Eye of the Storm

That snap-freeze moment
between soundless starry night
and urgent birdsong

where colours alight
skyward—a shimmering canvas
their cautionary ode
bounces from tree-to-tree

and like a crisp morning sun shower
unseen giants drop life to the forest floor.

Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne

Pity

Listen:
The words I select are carefully chosen,
searched for, rolled around my mouth
delivered with precision
and the correct amount of emotion.

Watch:
Your reaction is appropriate, elation
crinkles the corners of your eyes
as you cradle her,
it’s clear you haven’t detected my deception.

Feel:
I am torn to shreds
—please—
finger my jaggered edges
bleed just a little.

Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne

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Episodes

It was the wrong moment in time
to reach beyond the ambiance.
in retrospect—
I should have stayed in bed.

the suns ray’s claw
tearing night’s shroud, revealing mist floating—
above restless grass;

“a gentle breeze releases it from its earthly hover.”

I search for you, for release
where ever you are, rise; break in to my existence
waves across a desolate rock, aching
for your mind-touch

“with our mental images another night’ with dreams—irrationality.”

will we meet?
at the next juncture, when the mist rises clear—
where sails touch horizons, as twilight
is absorbed

Setting the patterns
for the tonight’s, new night-time visions’
where ever you are—I await
for you, with

Expectation.’

David Barnes

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Three Chinese Poets
––––––––––– Translated by—Yin Xiaoyuan

That’s where my life belongs

The man pulled a sleigh, from behind the tree
The fresh pork, frozen chicken, ducks and fish, frozen pears and persimmons
laid on it in perfect order
are like warm air out of a cotton oversleeve
The chapping northwest wind, must be a little too weak
to extinguish the fire flaming in his heart
The Korean Pine has weaved a magnificent dream with its twigs
And the silver birch, is tiptoeing to prime the sun with lamp-oil
Everyone brimming with happiness, shadows of the past become shallow

To the north of the northwest
There is a place named Xiao Hinggan Ling
Where firecrackers and red wedding-veils are used on weddings
A couple dived into the bosom of days, until the day when the cry of a baby
broke the ice of New Year’s Eve
In the iron pot with a long story, offsprings of grass are boiling with vigor.
Dumplings kneeled one after another, in front of the bowls
with kneecaps grateful
to ancestors and parents, by whom they were nurtured
And also to heaven and earth, and the prospering secular world

On the lips of a drop of sunshine, I sketched the glows
of a silver birch
the call of the shepherd for his flock to come home
and wisps of smoke under the wings of sparrows; I also sketched the red couplet
flaunting in the barks of dogs
and still, ‘le temps des fleurs’ of the earth
the dandelions, and fresh-green buds of Sheathed Monochoria
I sketched pure snowflakes on tops of miles of mountains too
There were one, two, three, four, five……
I brought the lamp back to heaven, and lit up on high
wishes of mortal lives, and the fragrance of laughter of brooks

Cao Liguang

My beloved mother

Flowers blooming on the surface of the earth, red or white
would finally bear fruits, and there would be bamboo-baskets full of them
like a mountain

This was a year, when all that glittered like rubies on the branches
were maidens to be betrothed, they had been embroidered stitch by stitch
by a mother

Peach blossoms were in profusion, over the mountains
under the trees, on the vests and
the fans. During all these years
my mother’s bridal dress
has been lying quietly, at the bottom of a wooden box
like a piece of peach blossom
Beginning of Spring

Qinghelingzi

The heart shaped like a Harp

My heart shaped like a harp, let moonlight in, to get closer to earth
and to become my motherland
Those invaluable times were gone on the back of a horse
to a faraway land
where a nameless Nobody is building a Great Wall.
You are suffering from what’s inside your heart

Above the autumn breeze, there flows blind love
and totems of a sunset.
The rhythm from inside overflows
but the starry sky remains silent

I walked along the bank
while stars revealed their shine slowly
A train rushed out of the coalmine and into the distance, roaring
like the horse of Time

I drank dewdrops, and chirps of birds
sat by the lotus lake, in the autumn wind
and became a silent mountain

Dark Horse (Hei Ma)

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Beautikon

It is towards the word-world I turn
______________________________ gaze secreted yet outside myself
______ drifts across a vista drawn wholly from within

Undines never seen and yet named
____________________________ half expectation, half hope
______ a dreamscape drapes the place between the image and I
beautikon: a munificent contagion the eye can never contain
__________________ intrepid explorers these neologisms and it is these
that must break fresh ground
for those too comfortable with the familiar or
____________ afraid to step into the unknown

beautikon: its counterpart—uglikon
not quite off the              tongue or rested  with undisguised ease
perhaps noxion, for all that is toxic in the world or
____ perilous potion of poison
____________ bereft of all art, dexterity and unpalatable

like the quark of Joyce the physicists loved and
____ there’s the truth and ruption of it all
new words pour forth in the language vacuum we
are entered into becoming speechless in non-verbal times
swallowed as we are
in the sea of numero-cyber diction salads

____________ New words out of dictionaries yet to be written
beautikon the eye can never behold
noxion the hand can never touch

more than a neologism oasis                 this love of words

Christopher Konrad

Beehive at Alfama

Down on the Rua Castela Picao at number seventeen
the kid and his dad tease the dog. May in Alfama, like January, June
or July it’s a honey comb life and people noise echoing off centuries old
walls. Kids in cobblestone alleys. A couple sit ruminating on steps
on the Beca de Santa Helena. Its late cafes and food
joints everywhere. No places for pollen, birds or bees but a thousand
outpouring orgasms into these beehive canyons, spills life down
shoulder width streets, tumbling towards the Tagus River. It’s the place

of the Fado: plaintive destiny played out and again for fishmongers
bakers, thieves and beggar kids. People lean out their windows
to watch it all wash by or out their doorways. Their blood
has seen it all before. Their eyes have ruled the waves of
distant lands which they now visit like long lost lovers or
distant relatives. Some return to Alfama to give directions
to those left behind.

Christopher Konrad

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Cross Dressing

Cross dressing?
Well I am some times
like when I can’t find a clean shirt
when the washing machine won’t work
or it’s been raining continually for ten days
and no thing will dry.
Or when I can’t find two socks that match
or the zip breaks on my trousers
or I start at the wrong place
doing up buttons
and end up all lop-sided.
When I can’t get my leg
down the hole of my underpants
without falling over.
Or when I find there’s egg
down the pullover
I’ve just put on
or paint on my shoes
or a button has come of somewhere
or there’s a tear under my armpit.
Yes
most days
I am cross dressing
and this is one of them.
Why does everything shrink?
None of these bloody jeans fit!

Geoff Stevens

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Aid Worker’s Diary

Our villages are torched our boy children marched away at gunpoint. Are they taken to be soldiers? she asked.

Our lives are worth nothing more than these pebbles by the roadside, he said.

We ask God for help but none comes, they said.
Does this mean that God too is no longer alive?

We did the usual with the food    the wounds    the dead.
The hardest thing—their questions about God.

Learned formulas stick in my throat
like their lumps of month-old bread.

Flora Smith

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Spring

in my step, wildflowers crest
footfalls depth. we may sprawl
like california rolls, but we are
not so surgical. instead, this past
-oral is rare—so many species un
-known to the world thrive, drive
obscurity on: bush orchids; PARROT
-OLOGY; supermodelisms. these breed
, spring a POLLINIA of antihistamines
. but… it has shifted, has shorten
self invisible thin, almost imagining
: no longer an extended pause, wet
without cause. when it happens, spring
blooms with the seed of an in
-consequential downpour. we
drought
there will be enough rain, ever again

scott-patrick mitchell

tundra

you have shown me earth
‘s end. cold & barren zone

: your heart’s emptied ex
-panse, post love, that made

we
us (

1nce

) has become stretched into nothing

scott-patrick Mitchell

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Freedom

On my way to the shopping centre
I see this dark-skinned young man
collecting the trolleys
It is raining
He is wearing yellow
Waterproofed
from head to foot
He must work outside all day

The yellow of his rain gear
a striking contrast
to his jet black face

I fell to thinking
of other young men like him
quite able to collect trolleys
who are wasting away
in Leanora  Christmas Island  Curtin Air strip
And I am wondering
just how many poets
published in their
own country
would find
even collecting trolleys
a more stimulating exercise

Than staring through razor wire fences

Ron Okely

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The Myster
______ Warrawagine Station, East Pilbara, Western Australia 1997

A signature. Roman numerals.
Who was he?
Why did he write?
Name in concrete.
A mystery.
But gives away
Secrets.
A fan of
Rudyard Kipling
Concrete circles buried
half a drum.
Out bush
where dust swirls
across spinifex.
Distant station
untold story.
21 drums of
concrete!

Words written with knife bold.
And signed:
Coten, July, 1960.

Colleen O’Grady

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In Her Garden

That night
She took them all in
A shamble of strangers
And shone them a garden
The old warned of doubt
But lied
The young showed veins
Pulsing with truth
As her friend shared her bosom
She the enchantress
Collected their souls
The speaker stroked through
His father’s thick ether
And her golden boy
Plucked his harp full of hope
His soft furry friend
Purring along
The ghost of Othello
Burned like a Caesar
And two sons of madness
Confused egos with halos
While lost Magdalenes
Sang sad distant dirges
By the fading light
Of Kafka

Dean Meredith

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Muffet Take Two

Spare a thought for the spider
who sat down beside ‘er.
It wasn’t the poor creature’s fault.
Muffet’s a brat of a kid   she’s a dolt.
Who else but a wilful and contrary child
would wish to dine away out in the wild
and not in the nursery with nanny at six
snug in new jammies and scented with Vix?

Spanked with a slipper then sent straight to bed
without any supper   a bottom that’s red
for dirtying pinny, wasting good food
and putting nanny in such a bad mood
Miss Muffet is mad as a hornet from hell.
She’s got a plan but she’s not going to tell.
That spider is going to pay for her pain
she knows where it lives   she’ll go there again.

In candleless dark the servant arose
fumbled in dresser for knickers and hose
withdrew her digits all swollen and red
jerked a few times    collapsed on the bed.
‘No mother,’ says Muffet pleasant and polite
‘I haven’t seen Nanny since teatime last night.
‘Should you do that daddy? I thought they were rare.’
‘What, funnel webs princess? No, no.  Au contraire.’
‘It’s too late   how horrid    oh ick.
Someone bring a bucket I’m going to be sick.’

Jan Napier

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David

In 1970 I was in Italia.

On Sunday night I alighted in Firenze
______ from my hitchhiker’s Lamborghini
______ and sauntered as only a suntanned
______ twenty-two year old man can saunter
______ into a café selling wine, and people—
______ the people, they were laughing. So

______ I took a train to town, and overnight, stumbled
______ upon a peopled universe on the edge of where,
______ with hens, roosters, goats, in a green-clovered field. I woke
______ early, touched gently by an Italian dawn,
______ the blue smoke of last night’s
______ intercontinental conversations
______ masking my torpor,
______ and my wonder.

On Monday, slices of melting pink watermelon
______ squirted juices on my cheek, while
______ he stood majestic and naked, sculptured
______ into lifefulness, staring into fruitfulness
______ in a crowded room and copied way above, in a park,
______ towering over a burnished fabulous landscape—

______ as vendors and tourists crushed all
______ available space on the Ponte Vecchio
______ and the Arno flowed molten and
______ the shaking sky glowed golden. I made my

_______________ way home, knowing now, as
_______________  knew then, that in
_______________ another world and at
_______________ another time, you
_______________ would call me David.

Allan Padgett

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Chopping Wood In Winter

Axe is blunt and dull
and the grey wood pile
shouldered to sharp eye-line.
Over-sized gloves slip as
holes push fingers through,
tips frozen and white.

Breath horse-snorts,
blows steam out nostrils
and tight lips freeze dry.
Wooden handle feels
heavy and smooth in grip,
something solid in a sodden,
slipping landscape.

Calm the wood with talk,
eye each curve and line,
deciding where to lance.
Logs are knotted and tight,
need the gentle urging of
a woman whose warmth
depends upon it.

Blade stretches to sky,
lunges at the tilted branch,
foxtrot in sleazy mud.
Axe bludgeons ice,
bones grunt, blood heats
at the rippling of muscle,
ripping of wood-flesh.

Soothing sound like
the tear of a new page,
bite of a green apple.
Shards of red wood, broken
teeth sit silent at feet.
Heap the splintered stack
into a new pile beside,
bite-sized pieces.

Smell the wood smoke
before it rises thin
and reedy into bare air.
Feel the seeping warmth
before it offers
a winter coat.

Paula Jones

White Dove

I dreamed you held me
in cupped hands
the confetti of my life
left-over collections
wannabees and almosts
crumpled like lost words
tied to sheets of white

and in an eye-blink
because that’s all it takes
and the sleight of hand
as chance will have it be
a magician who never-was
and a mirror with no silver lining
I was transformed
and from the rubble
of your caged fingers
emerged a bird

from the fingerhold of forgetting
and the clenched fist of letting go
I was alone again
solitary as a white feather
and from this freedom
came the rain
as if it knew the price

Paula Jones

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No Sound in a Vacuum

The night waits for no one.
Sweeps cold through
trees of thought.
Captures effervescent dreams
in webs of malice.

Shattered concepts of self
left cowering beneath cold sheets.
Abandoned on unfamiliar beach.

Grit works into underwear
grating inconveniences
to abrade tender conceptions.
Fester the weak and corrugate
the timeless advance of doubt.

Cast alone in the roil and surf
disorientated,          manipulated
like a badly animated puppet.

A cry for help
no one hears.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

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tongue

the
_ girled
__ garden

we water lust’s gownly lick
frantic meat death apparatus
_______________ please

tongue
waxed bare with whispers

________ here
I want you raw not elaborately
_______________^                     drunk

Janet Jackson & Coral Carter
_______________
using the magnetic poetry kit

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The Gnawing Teeth

A smile unacceptable, a grin
Unimaginable. Yet, I challenge you—
That whoever wins the game of the

Strongest guffaw amidst the penury
Must bathe himself with dearth. Nay,
The rodents will still stroll on the paddy

Field looking for a chap. On a
Sunny day, the gnawing teeth will
Be like a rodent. I challenge you.
They are all around

Sarah Gamutan

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About Winter

Winter written as a poem,
would be Braille with goosebumps
read through gloved fingertips,
in the blinding glare of snow.

The ink would be cyanosed blue
across the frost of a white page,
the driving sleet—rain in italics
with exclamation marks of hail.

Adjectives with muscle would
describe the power of wind,
an anchor of strong images holding
firm against its spinnaker breath.

And those similes like chill as ice,
a scatter of snap-frozen metaphors;
and the slow carving of glacial lines
across a wordless paper landscape.

Mardi May

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Behold
_______________
‘Behold I am making all things new’ Revelations 21:5

Each dusk is holy hour at the lake
incense and litanies of light, frog choirs
in sideways sun, midges, dust motes rising
like smoke, the city so far behind me
it might be a fading memory. Soon
the tawny hour between wolf and dog
when things will not be what they seem. The night
marsh drawing dark over creatures of day,
until we rise to take the wings of dawn.

Behold how everything returns: sweet rain
softens the salt-crust of parched wetlands, red
knots and sandpipers flock back each spring. So
it is here, where all things are made new that
I shall find you again, or never more.

Annamaria Weldon

Médecins Sans Frontières

In the Sudan
my broken friend
spent three years
setting bones.

Far now
from her home sands
she haunts Trigg Beach
a Kola-dyed sarong

and tribal scarf
wound tight
waits for sunrise
with a water-bearer’s poise

holds back her tears
won’t spill a drop
to cool the scald inside
a silence learned

from refugees in crowded tents
from mothers cradling their grief
from the bereaved
who made no sound at all.

Annamaria Weldon

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There’s No Doubt About It

If stars were bush or shells on a shore,
we’d stroll and pick them for pockets and
collections—
big star Alpha Centauri found on
outer reach.
The Cross of course would be preserved
in a stellar park.
And finally, when few stars remained
the heavens would be ploughed
and star seed sown
in neat geometric patterns
according to management plans.

Graeme Butler

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Just For Tonight

Just for tonight, can we sit quietly?
But not in the pushy silence
That confiscates air—

Just for tonight, can we recognise
Yellow flowers
And be glad for them?

Tonight—
Would it be okay if it was just us?
The world will pant patiently at the door
Waiting for another dawn

And we can sit in generous candlelight
Watching the hours change.

Just tonight,
I’m going to leave
My burden of regrets outside

And not sigh, under the weight
Of wishes that everything was different.

I’m bringing this fruit to you,
An armload of oranges-
To remember our dusty summers
Full of light

Our backward steps will be refracted
Blanket light
And silent banquet

I’m bringing this fruit
And leaving my guilt at the door
Just tonight,
Will you join me,
Unarmed
And open handed?

Anna Kiss-Gyorgy

It Ended in Oxford

Shall we continue in mime?
You said
Shall we continue at all?

—between dough balls and dessert
At pizza express
We verbalized the rubber-soled
Sneaking indifference
That had crept up on us|
And snatched fistfuls of happy
From out of our bubble.

Time and distance
Wrapped in oxidized cliché
Without argument, or proper breakage
The unexplained and unsolvable:
We nearly missed dessert altogether.

There was the verdigris
On our recent days,
The creeping moss and all those
Sentences:
Now to remain unfinished.

What began with imaginary superheroes
And shepherd’s pie
Gay piano players and
Dead daffodils
Is now a memory
Following looping tear tracks
Splashed over tiramisu.

Anna Kiss-Gyorgy

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Last Morning

in perfumed air
_________ she slips into the boat
__________________ wipes clean the overnight dew

dips red shoes deep
into shallows
_________ pushes
__________________ then rows

stopping only
_________ to remove
__________________ her sleeved shirt

her hat brims shade
_________ a wave from an open hand
__________________ and she is gone…

the sky
_________ an everlasting
__________________ blue

Rose van Son

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Visiting Dennis

As a young boy I’d arrive to visit
with a rugby ball or cricket bat.
Now I carry them inside my head
and when he invites me to sit outside
I wait for him to speak through his affliction
and throw him a return pass or googly.
His response is slow and hard to understand
but as sharp as any bouncer I’ve received.
Body language and facial cues
are suppressed  by his Parkinson’s,
but I am learning to look into his eyes
and, for the most part, read their sparkle.
Sometimes, he seems to be frustrated
at the slowness of his responses;
and it is hard to not bend over backwards,
not to bend over backwards…
but often I see in his eyes
the joy of following a drive to the boundary,
or running around behind the posts to score.

Derek Fenton

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Tulle
_________ An ekphrastic poem based on ‘Still Life’ by Christopher Paudiss

I.

On the wall
patch of banality displaced
theft cut neatly from
another room,
artful magician
leaving behind empty space

II.

You see as I
shadow layers, phantoms
behind gossamer tulle
definitions dissolve
bleed into opposites
organic with the mineral
paper with the ink,
myopic means
everything is beautiful

III.

Impressions of tomorrow
lurk in the midst
intuit Monet on the wall

Shey Marque

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Sign in Central Station

Hailed from behind with a slap on the back
The young man turned, unalarmed on the concourse
And with such delight in what is unexpected
Four hands flew to the life-raft of friendship
Like the wings of birds where no pigeons are allowed
To pick the crumbs at coffee stalls or wheel across
A seething egress from the city at the end of day.
Only their plucking fingertips wove this way and that
In the airy stream of question and report
But this did not complete their conversation
Any more than hunters, disciplined by pursuit
Of game to nods, in gesture convey all intelligence
With pursed pointing lips and deftly wafting palms —
It was in their faces flitted silent animation.

Peter Bibby

Hope Lands Lightly

A dark duster-pass among the ferns
a muted booming mating call
that basso heckles our composure,
pheasants make a leafy splash,
wild attachments to the town plan,
living with us by their right,
hatching out no one knows where.
Lizards, weeds, the rats in the roof,
turtle tracks across the driven beach:
impromptu they catch us ordered,
remind us to be wayward, unadjusted
except on our own terms, unpaved,
our minds not streets for platitudes
to roll down from the paranoia feeders.

Peter Bibby

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ever present—
_________ dying wasps crawl into shoes,
_________ settle and curl
__________________ Lavinia Greenlaw

is this your only pair of shoes?
you’ll need to shake bang
take a brush duster
to remove possible detached stings
possibly still-attached stings
to prevent swollen reddened feet

should this be your second pair of shoes
you could let the wasps settle further
admire their gold black curves
admit their hidden danger
love them for it     toes tingling
crunched in anticipation

a worn-out pair of shoes might be
discarded in a corner      left
as ever-present reminder
’til you come to throw them out—
the wasps papery skeletons
____ fully dead

Sally Clarke

Stanley Spencer—Artist
_________ From the Artist’s Window, Cookham 1938
_________ On display at Carrick Hill, Adelaide

Cold days he layered
outer clothes over pyjamas,
trundled an old child’s pram
filled with canvas, easel, paints.

Self-sufficient in his craft,
artist intent on depicting
his village, his ‘earthly paradise’,
villagers as heavenly beings.

Cookham they called him
for his love of the place
he elevated into biblical theme,
sometimes doffing all for nudity.

Pale yellow jonquils,
spring’s first arranged careless
spread wide on the windowsill,
water half-filling the shallow dish,

the light he always waited for
catching each flower and stem,
delicate curtains softening
his constant backdrop,
orderly cottages, village life.

Sally Clarke

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