Creatrix 15 Poetry

 

December 2011

Selectors: Peter Jeffery and Sally Clarke
Managing Editor: Karen Murphy

Contributors:

Carolyn Abbs

The Milkmaid

Anil

Soldiers
Human Doings
Boundless

Alistair P D Bain

Untitled
Myalup

David Barnes

Cottesloe Breakwater

Graeme Butler

Chooks

Coral Carter

Found Feather

Liana Christense

Terminal Diagnosis for Trees
Sorry Business

Josephine Clarke

Walking Into Wind
Unaware

Sue Clennell and Jan Napier

Falling off the Edge

Geraldine Day

And He Looks At Me…

Christine Della Vedova

Plastic Wrist Watch

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

One More Argument
Anniversary

Terry Farrell

The Elder

Derek Fenton

Death in the Afternoon
A Fez of the Heart

Kevin Gillam

still as moss

Ken Hudso

Footsteps

Tanya Jaw

A Child Again

Paula Jones

Bringing in the Rain
Mothers and Whores
Collectors

Janet Jackson

a lark
unspoken

Tricia Kelly

Fragment
Fringe Dweller

Brian Langley

Fifty Acres

Lauren Lamperd

On Burying a Husband

Meryl Manoy

Man of the Woods

Mardi May

Airport
Hourglass

Max Merckenschlager

Channelled Energy
Easy in the Sun

Jacqui Merckenschlager

This Empty Space
Summer Bronzewings

Scott-Patrick Mitchell

death & all his friends (drive fast cars…
Summer

Colin Montford

Lace Curtain Cutouts
When You’re Not Here To Remind Me

Jan Napier

Dream

Colleen O’Grady

Walking By the Bay

Joyce Parkes

Time’s Twin

Chris Palazzolo

On Being Introduced to the Poetry of Francis Webb
The Float

Allan Padgett

Chewing the Cud of Mutual Pain
Hit Me With a Coconut, Sunshine

Renee Pettitt-Schipp

 Song to Self
Turbine

Glen Phillips

Jump To It

Peter Rondel

A Romany Summer
The Death of a Ship

Flora Smith

For Jean Kent

Traudl Tan

Dijeridoo

olly Tinsley

Blue Sky & Sunshine Pantoum Redux
Safe Harbour

Tineke Van der Eecken

Good Morning

Rose van Son

Harlequin
Psalm for St. Aidan

Julie Watts

As the Mauve Sky Deepens
The Box

Gail Willems

Riverwind
The Three Sisters

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The Milkmaid

stands at the table
near a clouded window
white grainy walls

Vermeer studies her
yellow bodice    blue apron
tilt of head in calico bonnet
sturdy arms
raising a brown jug
cream trickling
into a clay pot

When a blind lifts the sun
daffodils laugh
He strikes the canvas

but her eyes remain lowered
knowing he denies her
a name

A bell echoes its sonorous toll

 Carolyn Abbs

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Soldiers

Red soils,
Dire loss.
Sod liers
Lie, dross…

 Anil

Human Doings

Om handing us,
Hams undoing,
Ashing mound,
As dim hung on,
Dug in on sham,
Moaning “duhs”.

O hum and sing,
God’s in human,
Undo shaming,
Sad unhoming—
Is damn ‘nough!”

 Anil

 

Boundless

Bundles so bend souls,
Ends lob us blues nods.
Snub lodes,
Undo, bless!
Less bound, so blend us.

Anil 

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 Untitled

the day will be long
have no memory

the women dance
with burgundy scarves
laid upon their hair
that touch their cheeks
in honour of a death
no one alive has seen
to recall

a patio of blood
and instruments to wash
the bright and the dark mingled
first and early
on the long day
systole and diastole

the river runs the valley
down
the women sing
having to celebrate
and make steps
fitting where the men have been
where they have crossed
and disappeared*
he dies in case the sun sets
strength gone
as they say on the long day
mortal
might to metal
unwooded water
and bound again
swaddled in a rock

the women gather the plants
from their mothers’ memory
and make towards the rock
coin spent on another practicum

when will it finish?

later they find reason
to dance
the meetings
the voices     sightings
to remember
what they would forget

the men stink of fish
and sea     again
their fingers regather the old callouses
the old nets still dry at the gunwales
here     nothing gone     nothing stolen
skills unforgotten     fixed in the DNA of muscle

they say to the women
remember only the dance

Alistair P D Bain

Previously published in the Creative Connections 2011 Anthology

 

Myalup
_____ for P

one day working
the frets
i discovered the song

and played
it over and over
hoping she would

hear it in her distant
land where she
had sea and beach

long bush tracks
and a bike for
the lake’s perimeter

i dream that she
will hear it
still on an evening

sky and a darkly
hidden verandah
breathing my fingers’

lilting on my buzzing
sunburst axe* and
love’s discordant harmony

Alistair P D Bain
____ * 60s slang for guitar

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Cottesloe Breakwater

With finger entwined
I once walked along the Cottesloe groin
in the rough windswept hours of darkness
with my friend 

raging seas pounded the rock wall
she slipped her hand from min
looked back grinning

then raced
towards the end of the rocky breakwater
as surging waves break up, take flight, cascade
heavily over her head; as I pursue her,

seas clash, only to rise and fall
creating a remarkable harmony; its echo’ encircling all
with outstretched arms, she swirled round in circles
in unrestrained joy 

rich auburn hair, plastered, matted
across her face, as she laughed
at the craw of mer
 

in recalling
that incredible anomalous untamed night,
it stands forever framed within. this inherent
oneness that lies within us all.

David Barnes 

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Chooks
____  And s/he shows you where to look
____ Amongst the Garbage and the Flowers
____________________________
Leonard Cohen

Little pretty feather foot
you run so warily
oh yes
I have seen you flattened forward
—beak touching earth –
ridden by rhode island ned
resplendent as a knight
whose thrusting weight
must have by your protest
made your insides ache
But look now
at the treasures he has uncovered
which once wrapped in membrane
now feather foot scurry after you
peeping so like homing devices
as you point your way
amidst he garbage in the yard
always with a wary weather eye open
—for the hand that steals your eggs
may steal you fleet feathered babies –
and rhode island ned
red knight in shining armour
true to his calling
shows you where to pick
amongst the garbage and the flowers … .

 Graeme Butler

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Found Feather

In the park, pink bike escapees
extradited from far countries
do the captives shuffle
back to the picnic rug.
Someone sings.
A football fights a tree,
gravity calls for a bounce.
Playground primary colours
outbright each other.
Women on the long stroll
to toilet and wait
indulge in a kid free gos sesh
A girl with a feather
brushes her cheeks
fans her lips
fans her cheeks
brushes her lips.
Shouts:
Look what I found
A small mob gathers,
crowds her.
Treasure changes hands.
Featherless
the girl outstares distance
and hums.

Coral Carter

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Terminal Diagnosis for Trees

I fall to my knees pleading
palms upturned offering
in one a marri blossom
in the other a honky nut

My prayer goes unheard

Wordless I stare until
beads of agony seep
through my brow and
my palms upturned

one bleeds gum
the other honey
stigmata as
red as blood

Liana Christensen

 

 

Sorry Business

Death comes calling
Heavy rocks percuss roof iron

The people pick up sticks and threaten
Their eyes focused in another world

In the day women weave
Plastic flowers through the fence wire

By night voices rise and fall in song
around the fire outside the church

Liana Christensen 

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Walking Into Wind.

Frenzy crashes over every south-facing part of me
grabbing my lobes and rushing into them,
raking my hair as far as it will go.

I am reminded that we are on a spinning globe
and the air is racing between vacuums,
spilling itself over me, under my cuffs,
pressing against my skin like a shout,
snaking inside my collar, down my shirt front.

Like walking into a sculptor’s mould,
I am made aware of the shape of me
where I am vulnerable, my inadequate armour.

It is a relief.
At last,
something to fall into.

Josephine Clarke

 

Unaware

my sadness is the afternoon light
catching the silk beneath the skin of your face
bathing you in gold
cauterising me, in passing,
I forgot to look
how precious you are

takes my breath away

Josephine Clarke 

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Falling Off the Edge

Blows behind closed doors.
No parachutes for the young,
nowhere to land,
no bedtime angels.
To school with a bag full of
rotten cores, wingless flies,
stained trouser seats, bruised teddies.
Adulthood on hold.

Sue Clennell & Jan Napier

 Published by Speedpoets.

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And He Looks At Me…

shrinking woman of the moment
a haggard mess of tears
and he laughs his yellow-toothed laugh
zips his pants, his farewell purple fuck
dismantled for younger game
and I gag on fragments of beige orgasms
emotions black bombing
and he looks at me and laughs
the doorway force feeding his ego
his shadow swaggering after him.
The smell on the pillow.

Geraldine Day

Previously published in windmills no 7

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Plastic Wrist Watch

Curse the hand that strikes us down
The arm, it goads itself around
Unfrozen behind exhibitionist glass
Death of batteries means peace at last.

 Christine Della Vedova

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One More Argument

Slugging my breath back, I stumble towards you
bruised, battered with heart shreds flapping.
Your eyes pierce the thin veneer of my courage
words freeze mid-thought, solidify and catch
in my throat. I never know what to say
and what little escapes is corrupted by air
reversed by your glare.

So I stand dumbly like a pathetic dog
with pleading eyes unable to comprehend
the voice and emotions flooding past
until in the anger and frustration
you turn your back and walk away.

And I am left standing, wanting to run
after you, to hold you, make it okay
but I’ve lost my oar and the tide is running.
I wallow, drifting hoping for a sandbar
an island, anything to latch onto
in this ocean where you are the wave
and I am a drop.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

Anniversary

When you put on the right witch doctor face
calmness seeps through your angry teeth
and your piercing explorer eyes soften.
Drumming heat quietens in firelight flicker
and demons withdraw to the dark.

The magic retrieved in your hands
works its camouflage and everything
returns to normal for a while.
Even the smile appears genuine.

The turning over of days continues
and each step plods after the other
in the silence of the night
with its moon of no significance.

Congratulated for the years together
no one notices how taut the band
is stretched

and in the silence of your breathing
I revisit our lives and feel confined.
Like a train unable to deviate
on tracks set by someone else.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

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The Elder

The bearded elder sits before the fire,
at once full of mischief, silence and roundness,
rings the cymbals
beckons the well open
I listen, as the sound
rings outward, occupying the invisible,
now fading into the silent distance

A circle of men sitting
observed by the granite outbreak
trees and leaves bend to listen
their arms hang like so many
incomplete structures
empty handed

A black sky menaces
chases shadows across the earth
spills its thunder as applause
the ground around us
cracks and pops anticipating the rain
I feel its approach on my skin

I remember other times
life was this simple
days when I heard such words
as sounds with my whole body
times before walls
and weaponry

the rain falls now
on us quietly
perhaps equally
perhaps indifferently
either way it stays
only long enough
to dampen our clothes a little

a circle of men
perfumed by rain
all of us
split open like ripe almonds
completely incomplete
again

the cymbals chime
us back from the distance
again through the ages
the well closes
he smiles

Terry Farrell 

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Death In the Afternoon

I would like to live the rest of my life
with the intensity of a matador
in the moment, when he and the brave bull
face death with grace, concentrating only
on every second which may be their last..
I would like to live the rest of my life
like a flamenco dancer entranced
by the rhythm and the intensity
of the moment, leading to the final,
frozen celebration of life.
I would like to freeze, exhausted, sweating,
staring, unafraid, at nothingness….
waiting for eternity to applaud.

Derek Fenton

 

 

A Fez of the Heart

Most people asked before we left,
why would you go to Marrakesh
so soon after a bomb had cleft
a café leaving it bereft.
Why would you go to Marrakesh?
Otherwise it would be like theft
of life’s experiences left:
that’s why we went to Marakkesh!

Derek Fenton

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still as moss

symphony of spits and drips,
scent of wet bracken,
so very still, still as moss

hills, like boxes underneath the green rug,
congregation of tuarts standing,
a symphony of spits and drips

time isn’t vertical, isn’t horizontal,
after rain, one syllable talk,
and so very very still, like moss

then looking up,
sky unmaking itself,
symphony of drips and spits

greys and khakis and verdant and glistening.
where sits the god of drizzle?
so very still, still as moss

and the bush is a church with its
naves and prayer cushions and incense,
a symphony of spits and drips,
so very still, still as moss

Kevin Gillam

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Footsteps

Following faint ancestral footprints of my tribe
wherever they go
I end up learning
just like them
the more I learn the less I know.

Knowing is impossible.
A paradoxical Black Hole.
There’s no such thing as Solidness
beyond the event horizon.

So take care when you tread near edges.
Don’t want even more caving in.
We’ve lost too much ground already.
We’ll soon have nothing to stand on.

Ken Hudson 

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A Child Again

Seated with blanket and shroud
Blank paper and cold pen
I suddenly hear laughter aloud
A scattering of excited children

Across the green, amongst the trees
Running and yelling against the breeze

Russet red cheeks, tangled hair
Clamouring with jumpers dangling
Aeroplanes slicing the air
I see them rocking, swinging, hanging
Messy fingers, grass stained knees
Round the playground and up the trees

Pirates and superstars, Queens and kings
Games of love and acts of war
Rocket ships on soaring swings
Kicking balls in a free for all

The gaiety rings such that I want to sing
A poet inspired by such a spree
With all the joy it can bring
The rhythm and colour of spontaneity

My chair is big and my hair’s in a tangle
My fingers are messy and my feet dangle

For now at my desk
With my full pen and empty book
With each boisterous, frenzied quest
I do not have far to look

My heart beats where innocence reigns
And I’m free to play like a child again

Tanya Jaw 

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Bringing in the Rain
for yusuf

There is nothing
as alone as rain

Nothing as tin-hard
on a wide-eyed roof

When u speak
I think of rain

The way it gathers
the cloud of your voice

Reels towards me
like a thunder-curse

An ocean of water
that I cannot drink

Thin body of a man
I dare not touch

There is nothing quite
as cold and helpless

As rain against a window
looking out from within

It sinks in slow tears
Collects like regret

Or the realisation
the sun will never quite
rise again

Paula Jones

 

 

Mothers and Whores

In the book there are two types
of women, and my mother
blessed sacrifice, feared them both.

When I was 17 she forgot to mention
men and monsters, only the women
easy to spread as warmed butter.

In the book there are women
thin as papyrus, and the virgin mother
sniffed lips tighter than crossed legs.

She despised them especially Mrs Albion
from #28 with her sausage-wrap dresses
and too high hi-heels teetering a grubby

Chardonnay, laughing too loud
with my father as he smoked
on the porch like a filmstar.

It’s the children she would shake
her steelo-pad hair held with angry clips
slump her hands deep into pockets

set her mouth to don’t say a word
fingering her rosary beads,
it’s the children I feel sorry for…

Paula Jones

 

Collectors

some believe
they must bury the dead
of each clipped nail
strands of hair coiled tight
in the sharp teeth of a comb

baby teeth
are never pillow-talked
nor stored in small glass jars,
first haircuts ribbon-wrapped
and folded into an envelope

instead
each clip and curl
each thread from the fabric
of me/ of him/ of you
must be destroyed

as if even
discarded husks and strands
torn nail, a stray hair, a loose tooth
is enough to stir the ghosts
who walk in our invisible stride

enough to
awaken their pale desires
to breath and decay, make new
so they may collect these shreds
and resurrect the living

Paula Jones 

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a lark

By the river on Monday morning
under the narrow wood/iron framework
of the one-track bridge

I stood still
as the train rushed over with almost no sky
between the howling shaking commuting load
and my mortal body.
I braced my teeth,
hissed in a breath
and held it.
My whole skin
shrieked.

I stepped out releasing
the held air
and continued my walk, my work —
thin-strung, light-boned,
a kite, a lark.

Janet Jackson

 

unspoken

What I wanted was
to take your hand —
nothing more

Just to hold hands
like five-year-old sweethearts

A skin energy

A quiet giving and quieter taking
of a quiet love

Connection
unspoken.

But I am a woman
and you are a man

and to everyone else,
we are no longer five

Janet Jackson

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Fragment

She broke
Little shards of her
Sharp splinters
Fine grindings
Wishing she was plate glass
Knowing she would always be fine blown.

Each little fragment
Reflected a little her
The same picture
Magnified so many times.

The look of astonishment
A collage of the same
Over the carpet, the sideboard
The well-worn chair.

No one could pick up the pieces
So why did she let it happen?
The theme was central
Why did she let it happen

She just wanted to let go
Had had enough of holding it all together
The time was now
And wow!  What a crash!

He picked up a fragment
Examined it closely
As if seeing her anew
In all her vulnerability

Rather than the sheer solid beauty she was.
And he grew to like these fragments
These reflections playing with the light
But he’d rather not say
That he needed a little crack

To get a hold, get into her
Be a part of the life
That may have been too pristine
Too smooth, to allow purchase until the fragments.

Tricia Kelly

 

 

Fringe Dweller

I am writer
So I watch the world
I siphon fuel
From the soul.

People beware
Don’t get too close
The writer feeds
on Experience.

One day the thought
To let go
And then, and then
Maybe Not.

So cruel, it is
To be beside the sea
Of unknown waters
And freezing depths.

A lonely hold – all
By the cliff
Withstanding storm
As if, as if

It is just another day
And it is, of sorts
To bedazzle and jump for joy
But not get too close to the edge.

It makes people anxious.
Some sense of this
Holds me back
Within the bubble.

Tricia Kelly 

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Fifty Acres

A Man can do a lot with fifty acres,
He can raise a family, really get ahead,
Give up the daily struggle of the city,
And become a man of property instead.

The advert in the paper was inviting;
Make your selection now, the paper said;
Crown land that used to be the wealthy squatters –
But there was much the papers left unsaid.

Indeed, the land was there to be selected;
Unsurveyed, just a mark upon a map.
The intention was to have more agriculture
Fifty acres was enough for any chap.

A chap who had ambition (and deposit),
Was strong of arm and had a horse or two;
Experience not needed – There’s a booklet,
Tells everything a man will need to do.

But the booklet didn’t say that these selections
Were often land the squatter didn’t need.
The poorer land that he could be well rid of;
Unlikely, such selections could succeed

Rocky outcrops perched up high upon a hillside,
No water ‘cept at times the rains come down
Or perhaps the boggy swampland, inundated,
Where a man, his horse and family all might drown.

A man can’t do a lot with fifty acres,
That sees him, harder worked than any slave;
But fifty acres, is just enough for one thing,
It’s just enough to take him to his grave.

Brian Langley 

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On Burying a Husband  

Another funeral.
A well-lived fruitful life.
We sang hymns
to comfort my friend.

But oh
the long long nights
I search for you
on the rim of memory

listening for a silenced voice
and footsteps that never come.
The darkness swells and grows
the stillness deafens.

Laurel Lamperd 

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Man of the Woods

orang-utan
Man of the Woods,
shy, elusive,
intelligent.

endangered

What relentless pressures
force you to flee
your familiar
forest home?

endangered

Predatory poachers,
illegal logging,
palm oil plantations,
forest fires.

endangered

Nursing mother
slaughtered.
Few infants survive
prohibited pet trade.

endangered

Our closest relative
sharing our genes,
sharing our space.
No forests – No future.

endangered

Meryl Manoy 

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Airport

QF 506
Landed’
people slow-streaming
along the walkway

Gate 3             arrival lounge
arms reach      to close
the gap of        long absence

his hands caress
her silky fall of
hair u n l o o s e d

she fingertip traces
the crease of a smile
smoothes the rough
kiss of stubble

and people swirl around
their tight island
of rediscovery

lips are hungry
to taste the flavour
of long             distance love

a welded moment
this gift of the present
giving and receiving
the one action

past                 is an old story
a once-upon-a-time
tale of  beginning

future       vague       beyond
this now moment
a happy-ever-after
waiting to be written.

Mardi May

 

 

Hourglass

Skin of my face,
sand on a shoreline
where tides of emotion
leave a telltale wake.

I am daily rewritten
by internal elements
that shape my texture,
like water        sun
and moody wind.

Search me       Read me
before the light fades
to illegible shadow.
At night            in starlight,
I give nothing away
and the mirror is blind.

At daybreak,
this ephemeral ’scape,
a map as yet unmapped
by the trample of feet
across my waking surface,
before the story
of my day unfolds.

Mardi May

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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

Winner of 2007 Bundaberg Arts Festival open poetry award;
Friendly Street Poets’ ‘poem of the month’ Sept. 2011.

 

 

Easy In The Sun

Old Man Collins lights his pipe to advertise the day’s begun.
Drawing on its blackened stem while resting easy in the sun,
he contemplates a cottage neat across the lane (between the plumes
of smoke) from which the master’s gone. His paintin’ neighbour, he assumes,
was long away to catch the rays of breakin’ dawn at sparrer fart
and probably till close of day he’ll harvest sunlight with his art.

Old Man Collins ruminates on coins that jingle in his coat,
the payment for his modellin’ – an easy take at Billygoat!
“Just walk him up and down the lane,” he says to me and so I do,
while him as asked me pencils fast to catch the mood and movements true.
“I’ll model for you’s anytime,” says I to Hans and, ‘taint no joke,
he pays me more to strike a match and light me pipe and have a smoke!

Old Man Collins cocks an eye and squints to block the brilliant light
while studying his neighbour’s art. “You’ve caught that mob of woollies right,”
says he to Heysen, “dwarfed by gums. I’d say your paintin’s like a po’m.”
The canvas Sallie knew she’d lose, yet named in hope ‘The Coming Home’,
Old Collins loved – he knew not why. Perhaps it was the Hahndorf hills
that Heysen, in his mystic way, had captured with his wondrous skills.

Old Man Collins taps his pipe against a leg of Sonnemann’s chair.
A wrinkled nose applauds the kuchen – heaven wafting on the air –
as Village folk discuss his neighbour, float their widely canvassed view
that ‘Heysen idles with his brushes, when the work is there to do.
Could a father feed his children, painting others as they toil?
Old Man Collins puffs an answer, ‘This one might, our prince of oil.’

Max Merckenschlager

Footnotes

  1.  Alfred (‘Old Man’) Collins was Sir Hans Heysen’s neighbour in Billygoat Lane (now English St., more’s the shame) Hahndorf, SA.
  1. ‘Sallie’ is the affectionate name that friends gave Hans’ wife Selma (Lady Selma Heysen). She regarded her husband’s paintings like ‘children’ and hated parting with them.
  2.  Sonnemann’s Bakery was located in Main Street Hahndorf. “Kuchen” is the German word for ;cake’.

Winner 2011 Grenfell Henry Lawson Festival trad. verse award: in 2010 Ginninderra Press Sir Hans Heysen anthology ‘That Which My Eyes See’.

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This Empty Space

 

Afterwards, after the weeping, the remembering,
love and laughter trickled into the void.
This empty space was flooded
by family and friends
and a sunshower sparkled on the wattles.

Afterwards they all went back to distant places,
silence and emptiness slipped through cracks
and hid amongst his clothes
and lurked between his books and tools,
while rosellas sipped nectar from the bluegums.

Afterwards, he was still there, tinkering,
toying with your feelings, reminding you
of the things he had achieved,
the trees he planted last May,
the letters he wrote when you were only nineteen.

Afterwards the ocean was royal blue, bottle green,
hiding shipwreck tragedies, drowned dreamers.
Fishing boats and ferries plied the waves
and tiny penguins nested in the bay.
He walked beside you everywhere, afterwards.

Jacqui Merckenschlager

 Winner  2011 Eyre Writers’ Award, open poetry.

Summer Bronzewings
____ Upon viewing ‘Bronzewings and Saplings’ by Hans Heysen 1921.

Sun has stripped crisp bark
from skinny-dipping saplings,
bathing in mid-morning glow

as turkeys strut and scatter litter
helter-skelter, scarcely seeing
your easel, your satisfied smile.

Exuberant in their love of life,
resplendent in their feathered finery,
they gobble-gossip loudly while they work.

Deftly you paint a complex pattern,
column and arc, column and arc,
show-off fans of white and bronze,

burnished blue on wings and blue on foliage,
red and bronze of wrinkled head and peeling bark
among the youthful sheen of saplings.

Clear light, warmth and harmony,
painted with a sure and steady hand.
Watercolour perfection, Hans.

Jacqui Merckenschlager

Published in 2010 Ginninderra Press Sir Hans Heysen anthology

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death & all his friends
(drive fast cars
____ for pup

noon burns         ,

. bushfire shadow
beneath eucalypt branches to
bower. bitumen crosshatches
, curbed with speed. read a
revhead’s handwritten track
calligraphically curled in cul
-de-sacs

. tyres squeal, draw in. reckless
hands break. suburbia wrestles
to sleep

. light’s highest peak reveals
night seeking danger’s appeal
, a thrill ride of roads wide, a
scribble in rubber & the smell
of things on fire

. wheels shall erode journeys
into white lines for following
& crosses white for sorrowing

.

Scott-Patrick Mitchell

 

 

Summer

sears. it is the thing our flesh
fears. isotopes elope & the
pressure drops. sustain a
humid smog drip. we singlet
, shorten hems. we thong our
feet, sluts thronging the thin
elastic line all year, regardless
: they think it makes them look
hot

. cold showers are never cold
enough for the men to whom
this is an appealing sight beneath
muffin-top

. moles populate malls, mellow
? no dear. they screech hellos &
bitch in decibels. outside, hoons
make bitumen bleed rubber. they
never tire, either of them

. arson soaks fire across the
escarpment like sex loosens
garments: frequency scars
, marks notched across the
landscape, while mates brag

. drought there will be enough
rain to whet those damned dams
ever again, the old timers mutter

. we all burn beneath this no go
zone ozone, tearing holes in the
ecological above so god can hear
us sweat, & complain about it

Scott-Patrick Mitchell 

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Lace Curtain Cut-outs

i don’t belong here in this strange hallucination
no one does
yet here we are
veiled in contradiction
i scratch a cryptic secret
in the wet sand
in consequence
a sewerage truck dumps on me
i try not to notice
hope i’ll understand when i’m awake
i’m floating back to childhood in pastel air
my intuition grapples with the tenor of the moment
and the lather on my tongue
i’m dizzy
i wander in and out of busy corridors and classrooms
trying not to stare or bat an eyelid
at the jackson pollock paintings on the blackboard
i’m looking for my father
long deceased
now breathing oh so gently on my shoulder
what would he make
of this silly dream
my brother pours a glass of red
and drinks a hearty toast from the bottle till it’s empty
my mother looks relaxed
she’s knitting us a tea cosy
humming to herself
in her remote control banana lounge
rainbow droplets glisten
in the woolly mist upon her lap
i feel myself drifting
but I don’t want to leave before my father’s had his say
morning light is streaming
through a faraway window
and lace-curtain cut outs dance lightly on my face

Colin Montfort

 

 

When You’re Not Here To Remind Me 

i thought i saw you sipping cappuccino
in a short denim skirt legs crossed upon a
tall fluorescent yellow stool your pink tongue
slithering the cream froth slipstream like a
psychedelic journey on a transcend-
dental wish across the hottest red
velvet lips your glazed eyes whispering
so far away from knox city plaza
as of course you were i knew it in an
instant though i lingered in the moment
as i think i always will when you’re not
here to remind me though i drift and swerve
between the lines you left me and
i wonder why you feel so close when
so many miles lie between us

                                   Colin Montfort

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Dream

I dream men with honeysuckle skin
and eyes hot as Etna.
Pencil in the moon
maybe some wisteria on a balcony
overlooking a lost ocean
which curls its so pale lips at me
dancing slow and perfumed
waiting      just waiting for the feel
of hands     quiet hands  to slide
and beckon    grasp     insist.

Jan Napier

Published in The Mozzie Sept. 2011

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Walking By the Bay

Sparkling flashes in distance seen;
Frolicking dolphins in the bay.
A mother pedals a pushbike green,
Pulling cart, little one to play.
Astonishing spectacles of two in love,
A senior cit with a cold, white nose,
Early morning joggers and a little dove,
A clouded sunlight like the rose.
Walking by the Bay.
Red kayak drifts across aquamarine.
Frothy wavelets march to shore.
Aboriginal folklore easily seen.
An afternoon knocks on the door,
Colour turns to grey and blue,
Clouds drift up, begin to lower,
Thunder rattles, sky changes hue,
Lightning crashes and comes a shower.
Walking by the Bay.
Rain hissing on the wavelets,
Wind rising, moaning pines,
People running with their pets,
Eager men with fishing lines.
Flying mullet with bellies silver,
Flickering in the scattered sunlight.
Double rainbows begin pink and quiver,
As daylight wains towards the night.
Walking by the Bay

Colleen O’Grady 

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Time’s Twin
____ For E.G., kin and kindreds

Time could be a friend or a foe,
a stretch with the nous to know
what matters most, depending on

how Stanley fared – sat, stood,
hobbled, rested – when he hoped
to go. Where his family and friends

have asked him to defend his
presence and the conversations
they embrace just a little longer.

 Joyce Parkes 

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On Being Introduced to the Poetry of Francis Webb 

How small we seem
in the face of your Modern Terror, Mr Webb,
how calm, unmoved, numb.

By way of introduction, we are the ringing
in your ears after the thunderclap
of God’s transformation into a meteorite – it comes
as no surprise to us
that it wasn’t even for ourselves we encased
our mother in plastic and shot her
to that dead stone falling in space (they tell us
she came back but we have our suspicions.)

As for the words:
they are beautiful, awesome.
All we can do now
is shuffle about glass blocks
of cliché, or reconfigure and slot
sets of nothings-in-somethings into assigned spaces,
remind us of our silence, our blindness
and paralysis in the shadow of these heavy
industrial monographs of Modern Genius.

Chris Palazzolo

 

 

The Float

When we were together
we were like pegged currencies
and sex was our Gold Standard –
it never lost its lustre
but restricted the range of our emotions
within a narrow band
of fluctuations that soon chafed
and diminished their value
causing inflation in depression
and falling profits in love

Chris Palazzolo 

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Chewing the Cud of Mutual Pain

I graze along the fabled edge of your indifference,
chewing the cud of mutual pain –

I taste your bitter tears as my roiling stomach acids
dissolve the residual fragments of our shared memory,
as they wash across my pleading lips
and sweep me to another you.

I peer deeply into the other side of you,
your inside –

where tangled thoughts and mangled asides construct a
fraught and rusted bridge to your soul,
and I stammer and wonder
if you are who you were,

if you are the phantom assaulting my sleep
as I toss and turn with casual rage,
as I turn the page to find your epilogue, and
cast my eyes in deepening pain
upon my dénouement.  You whisper,

it is over.  I swear I hear you now,
I know it.  A sledge-hammered invoice
costing the finale of our dissolving love,
confirming our loss,

arrives in the shattered post-box
of my swollen desire,
of my smitten brain –
I am lost again.

 Allan Padgett

 

 

Hit Me With a Coconut, Sunshine

She asked me how I was, how I was
going, and I said I’ve got salty lips,
I’ve been down in the deep blue sea
biting shark’s penises, trying to control
the great white plague so they eat less of us,
less humans, so we can breed more of us while
killing more of them.  This is socio-pathism,
this is population dynamics in action, this is
crude justice: bite me, and I kill you.

Then, with you gone to the bottom
of the azure limpid sea with a hole through
your big ugly sharky head where
your brain used to be, then we can get on
with fornicating and making more of us, since
we are in charge, shark boy and shark girl –
and if you get in our way, and we don’t like you,
then we net you out of your grazing grounds
and we hire big fat ugly policemen
with bigger fatter uglier guns:
and we blow your fucking brains out,
fish head.

It makes me wonder, really,
who I am and who we are
and worse: where we are.
It is easy to get lost in this
undeclared war between top feeders.

I am confused, I hear it is
more likely that a man like me
can get killed by a falling
coconut than by a hungry
savage heavily-fanged pulsing
thrashing toothy fishy thing –
but I know what I’d prefer,
even if I don’t know who I
am: hit me with a coconut, sunshine!

 Allan Padgett 

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Song to Self 

Own me, like the space inside a cup
fill me, like sap rises in the sure wood of a lemon tree;
whisper where you come from.
I open my ribcage to you like a poor man’s door
fill the spaces called ‘between’.
Drown me like a monsoon and I will sink my roots deep
let my branches reach up to love the sun
and know the day.

Tell me, like the moon tells the tides
pull me, like the season draws thick fruit
claim me, like the hearts of children
be me, and I will
be still.

Renee Pettitt-Schipp

 

Turbine
Jurien Bay

You thought they were fans
to keep the sheep cool
and I laughed,
thinking of their fat
woolly coats, imagining a world
where we cared
that much.

Still,
the ‘fans’ stand with
tall, slim bodies, their three
arms mirroring the arc
of a dancer’s
graceful motion.
Green hill,
blue sky:-
a child’s landscape,
an army  of tall, white
toys.

Renee Pettitt-Schipp

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Jump To It

Once it seemed the calenture1 made me jump
and seek sea depths for prizes rare and wild.
Now it seems the rest of you, like stricken carp
in stagnant moat, leap from the waters craving lethal air.

Glen Phillips

1 Calenture: a tropical fever or heat-stroke, sometimes with delirium. The tale told that weeks of being becalmed in the Doldrums led sailors to imagine the sea as cool green fields of home, to be reached by jumping overboard.

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A Romany Summer

My summer came and went
wishes wrapped in dreams ,
while the cold edge of winter
began to whisper icy secrets.

Creatures hide below the earth
or fly towards tomorrow’s sun,
as the wind strips naked
the arbor’d edges of humanity.

The time is now that I must shake
the tiredness from my docile mind,
and in the dying embers of my fire,
fold the trappings of my summer home.

Somewhere in a distant day
I will find my summer once again,
and there where the world is green,
my vardo will find another season.

Peter Rondel

 

 

The Death of a Ship

So quiet now this place
of ships and men,
where the gulls hold council
on an ancient bollard.

When was the day that her life ended
and the bosun cursed no more?
No-one cleans the hardwood decks
or brightens up the once proud bell.

Somewhere below deck, the heart has stopped;
the throb of engines died away
with the final ringing
of the wheelhouse telegraph.

Only rust where once a chipping hammer
bounced its rhythm through the day,
while oily rags would wipe away the sweat
and bawdy songs rang out at sunset.

So quiet now this place of ships and men,
but I will take my place at jetty’s end
and as the sun retires once more,
I shall remember days when she still lived.

The stories of the sea shall be immortal,
just as the ocean breathes forever,
but the signs of man’s endeavours

will rust away, to lie upon the ocean floor.

Peter Rondel 

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For Jean Kent

We sat under the cafe trellis at lunch    the air heavy
with the scent of Cape Lilacs.
She picked fallen flowers from brick paving     pressed her face to them
delighted at the perfume on her hands,
at the dance of Jacaranda blooms against the sky.

We had talked history and poetry all day.
Now we walked among the Norfolk Pines    felt the spell
of green-clad Gandalfs guarding the ridge,
saw the old bricks turn to honey in the lowering sun.
You must dig here    she said    you must dig to mine your poetry here.

I think of her in Paris now    hunched into her coat for the cold
and I know that every evening she’ll be out walking.
She’ll see doors and windows of home-time dressed in gold
and lights pour out in a joyous crescendo from Notre Dame,
spilling rainbow stains on the day’s snow.

Flora Smith 

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Dijeridoo

Broome’s ‘stairway to the moon’
casts its magic spell in golden ripples
across the vast expanse of tidal flats
where mangrove clusters retreat and watch

a dijeridoo begins to raise its voice
wakes hot tropical night under stars so bright
you can almost touch – their light pulsating
to the rhythmic throbbing of the music

dijeridoo echo stalks the shadows
on swift bare feet touching the country
connecting land and man with a call
deep and strong and infinitely eloquent

dijeridoo tone mesmerising, captivating,
warm and bewitching, music conceived
in the once upon a time of lost memory
hidden deep within this ancient continent

dijeridoo sound born in Gondwana land
of boab bottle trees that inhabit the place
like prehistoric sentries guard the unknown
and unknowable dreams of past eons

dijeridoo legend floats over the moon-lit bay
dances in dark sand dunes and softly whispers
among the paperbarks and billabongs
a history forgotten of people who belong

dijeridoo song like distant drums
and rolling thunder conveys a message
in this rite of passage under the rising moon,
interdependence of man and land is absolute

Traudl Tan

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Blue Sky & Sunshine Pantoum Redux

 

Its supposed to be rain…
Palm trees, gum trees
Swarming with birds
Magpies carolling love songs

Palm trees, gum trees
Wattle birds screech
Magpies carolling love songs
And one perfect white cloud dissolves in the sky

Wattle birds screech;
The lightcatchers twirl lazily

And one perfect white cloud dissolves in the sky…

Rainbows spin over the garden,

The lightcatchers twirl lazily;
The same light glitters like frost.
Rainbows spin over the garden;
On the trees, geez its warm.

The same light glitters like frost;
Its supposed to be rain
On the trees, geez its warm,
But its turned out all sunny.

Its supposed to be rain,
Swarming with birds;
But its turned out all sunny,
And blue skies again.

Molly Tinsley

 

 

Safe Harbour

Dip my oars gently
into the light-spangled water
slipping quietly through the Harbour
at dawn

Resting my head on my hand
at the fierce midday
smell the sweet salt
on my sun-warmed skin

At the soft gloaming
in my small hut
the quiet chop of waves on the dock
charcoal scents the breeze

In the deep unquiet night
gulls call – lost sailor’s souls
wind keens through the cracks
I dream of the safe harbour
of dawn.

Molly Tinsley 

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Good Morning
____ At four in the morning, in summer… Arthur Rimbaud

With the sound of roosters
and the waking of dogs
we talked and talked and talked.

At five in the morning
in the silence of snow falling
and the scentless morning cold
our breath moved as one,

but at five-thirty in the morning, in autumn
with the shaking of trees
and the letting go of leaves
you were not there.

Now it’s six in the morning
Spring has finally come.
I smell blossoms outside my window
and think of you
no more.

Tineke Van der Eecken

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Harlequin
____ Boronia megastigma
____________________ Francesco Barone 1769 – 1794

between granites the bones of a tree
shelter to absorb your fragrance
intense this afternoon light, bones
sharp, silhouette, your body slim
some part of you leaning westward
some would say swept by lover on granite rocks
sea breeze moulds your shape down stream

as fresh Boronia enters lips, bell shaped
megastigma your colour crème custard
copper red inside out, your roots Italian
the colour pursed to absorb you

Rose van Son

 

 

Psalm for St. Aidan

in the dark
deep window calling
light unfolding day

the moment a church door opens
a chill sets in-
waits for those recalcitrant to visit

whole families resting here
the graveyard fence pickets
prying eyes

pink flowers in early winter
blanket threadbare cover
all she hears are whispers

of his yearning            calling
in the dusk of their years

Rose van Son

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As the Mauve Sky Deepens

as the mauve sky deepens
deepens

and Venus on the neighbour’s chimney sits brighter
brighter

I slip into the water    naked
as silken-skinned      unsheathed and pure as any night

I join the bedding birds      stroke
by stroke

the settling of hatchlings      wing up and over
up and over

the summer crickets tuning up       kick
kick.

The night is thick as molasses
and as I step     saline clean into its sticky arms

I am slapped with layers      slippery as vernix
glow like phosphorous

a reflecting fossil of all days       dripping
into this night       sweetly.

 Julie Watts

The Box

There is a box in my soul
and every now and then

I open it
and have a play

hold the weight of you
the feel and the thrill

turn you over
examine you from all angles

and then you begin to grow
feeding on my fingers and fierce eyes

you become mean and
muscular         and I remember

why you are in a box
deep in my soul.

 Julie Watts 

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Riverwind

holds its breath
brief as a hyphen
in summer’s dog days

decaying weeds  dead fish
and salt  taste the air
in distant tears

wind music chants  sings
wraps around your throat
in a soft minor chord

my name in your mouth

dry leaves twist
water slap weaves a wave
let your slender masts go slack

your breath

caresses me with warmth
or slaps needles of cold

flays me so slowly:

Gail Willems

 

 

The Three Sisters
Katoomba N.S.W. from the Aboriginal myth

Errant shadows play around their shoulders
in November dusk   breeze blown eucalypts
ply the air. whispering cascades of blueness
woven into webs of light enfold bare limbs
in a soft caress

Feet cupped by the deepness of the earth
where long grasses sing on stony ankles
as they soar   still   over the blue valley
the echo of their souls simple as water
running silver sides on jutting bones

No days can match what was once before
ghostly eyes and hollow sighs in our ears
lost to their world   but here barefoot
under the ragged light of stars
they are the expression of circumstance

Long since fused to the past
the grained and woven lodes of their
bodies await the incantation   the key
to their silence and the wild airs
of lovers from the deep grave of time

Gail Willems

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