Creatrix 27 Poetry

December 2014

Selectors: Peter Jeffrey & Anne Dyson
Edition Manager: Jan Napier

Contributors:

debarnes (David Barnes)

In The Winter Of Adversity
The Gibson Desert   

Sue Clennell

In The Ukraine
Youkoso

Geraldine Day

Gethsamane

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

Branded Terrorist
Children’s Secret

Frances Faith

The Western Shore
Poolside

Derek Fenton

It’s Relative
Time Waster 

Margaret Ferrell

Yellow Room

Ros Franklin

The Old Brick Chimney
Boundaries Crossed

Kevin Gillam

Old Stones
The Colour Of Healing

Fran Graham

Beach Sculpture : Windows
Looking For Place

Mike Greenacre

Not This Time
Fremantle: In Spirit and Voice

Ann Harrison

The Peregrine

Ruari Jack Hughes

Did I Tell You The One About…
They Danced Because Dying Wasn’t An Option

Jackson

The Path And I

Ross Jackson

Commute From Sudan
A Crack, Then A Wisecrack

Chris Kennedy

Madness

Nada Kesic

Homage To The Sea

Meryl Manoy

Ancestral Pride

Dean Meredith

I’d Like To Meet Your Dragon
In Between

Jaqui Merkenschlager

A Prayer To The Progressives

Max Merkenschlager

Humble Hans

Jan Napier

Hand Me Downs
News Hound
Que Voulez Vous

Virginia O’ Keeffe

Summer Musing
They Came In The Heat Of Summer

Ron Okely

You Came Back To Me

Allan Padgett

Edged with Treacle
Oh Happy Night

Neil J. (BRillo) Pattinson

A Haunting

Lynne Talmont

A Question 

Faye Teale-Clavi

Could It Be? 

Rose van Son

Altitude
Night, Silk Road
 

Gail Willems

How Far Would She Go?
My Enemy

 

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BOOK REVIEW

Kevin Gillam

the astronomer’s wife   by Dick Alderson

 

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POLICY ON REVIEWS OF MEMBER’S POETRY BOOKS

 

Recently Kevin Gillam sent in to WAPI his review of Dick Alderson’s recent book and asked if it might be considered for publication in CREATRIX. Of its sort it is quite exemplary and supportive so it has been accepted for publication in this issue. However because this practice might lead to excessive promotional abuse and overload, or at its worst abusive and divisive comments, . WAPI has decided on the following policy for future reviews.

We will publish a single review for each issue of CREATRIX for a limited trial period, and any financial member can submit a review for consideration,

  • In length reviews will be an ideal 600 to 800 words but if the analysis is good we will consider an extended review.
  • The editors have right of acceptance and rejection and the submitter will be notified accordingly but no further correspondence will be entered.
  • On occasion the editorial board may commission a review in line with WAPI policy.

Members are advised that WRIT, our fellow online Poetry magazine edited by Alexis Lateef, will carry up to three commissioned reviews in their next issue and forthcoming ones and may be open to submissions.

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…………………………………
In The Winter Of Adversity.

memories remain
over time, pain softens diminishes
emptiness loneliness remains

the thought that you seek
love
tranquility
companionship
yet are afraid. by the thought
of betraying a deep lost love

you ask
in time, you ask  the question
should you
love again, will you ever love again

do you live for a new love, or live
in love of reminiscence
do you live in hope of a love in the future
torn between worlds, and you
ache within between two needs

you become retiring,
yet call out; long for the sun
waiting for fates finger to touch your heart
once again;

an old man fearful of the change
if love enters in to your heart and your mind
Cry out, cry out.

life take me to the unknown shores of fate
life shake the autumn leaves
before they wither towards winter’s fall
before I turn
to dust.

Yes, I must tell her I care
I must, even though we just met
last week
However, he knows
he will not, he knows
next month is the 20th year
And he is still in love.

debarnes

The Gibson Desert

my eyes
have seen all there is, and all that is not
………………………………………….in this timeless land
Blood-red sands ethereal illusions
images shimmering over
…………………………………….endless shifting grains

I embrace
her harshness, her shifting waves
her wondrous countenance
walking / driving  across a boundless beauty
………………………………………………………..impartial unimpeded

I came across a sandblasted human skull
………………….It stared remorseless,  partly sunken in the sand
the desert will claim any inexperienced      tourists
who midjudges’ her habitat

the evening breeze
…………………induce waves, rippling sparse grass tuffs
where the lizards hide, the dingo’s tread
waiting twilight, prey:
…………………………………..Survival or death’

there is no discord, animosity, all is in unity poised

Sunset unfurls exquisite
skies array stars beyond comprehension,
sounds of night carry as I turn to sleep
……….enfolded in my swag
…………………………………embers dying in the ether’

 debarnes

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In the Ukraine

Van Gogh bleeds yellow as
sunflowers grow through
aeroplane fragments.
Pollen drifts on to the eyelashes
of assorted bodies lying there,
drifts on men’s guns,
indiscriminately.

Sue Clennell

Youkoso *

My hair up away from my face,
I am now old enough.
My bare neck poised as though
for the executioner,
although the only assassins here
are butterflies,
their wings flickering like
a samurai’s swords.
I wear my first kimono,
grey of thought
blue of sky.
I wait by the gate
for a glimpse of my first love.
I know he will come down this road
and will ask for me by name,
blossom rising from the mud.

Sue Clennell

* Japanese for Welcome

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Gethsamane 

Shadow box the day
pinch pleat humour in a corset of cloud
leapfrog the build of stones and stumbles.
Delete grey threads of wisdom
backtrack the algebra of ABC
sharpen nails and spittle.
Today oranges rhyme with lemons
and sandpapered innuendo walks
with skeletons on Escher’s staircase.

Geraldine Day

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Branded Terrorist

Constantly moving universe folds into
a subliminal conscience to grade everything
dark or light.
The demarcation between active and inactive
burrows into the relief of foreign assumptions.
How one face can stir the animosity of a nation.

Classified with generic faults and drilled
into the psyche of fear, the common step warily
carry the sidelong look of judge and jury.
And the devout adjuncts of society
that have no handle on miscreants
who favour reconciliation and anonymity
get lumbered with the same prejudice.

How a minority contaminate the majority
and fuel the storm to prejudice.
A cyclone of events propelled by the news scavengers
contaminates the everyday activities of innocents
converts them easily into manageable
movements from civil liberties.

How regulators converge freedom
and choice into governed alleys of action.
The subtle subjugation of the population
through the motive of public security
while the distorted views of fanatics go unchallenged,
by fears of racism and political correctness.

How terrorism leaves a bitter taste
on people forcibly branded the same.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

Children’s Secret

Can you jump with a child of words
skip hop scotch numbers two by one
or fly to fantasy on shifting clouds?

Find release in autumn rain
after the dust of summer and savour
the cooling taste of shortening days.

Latch onto the click of cycles
as faces flicker through their various acts
growing, shrinking, certain as seasons.

Each flavoured slightly different
and compact as calendars with days
accumulate celled divisions, row on row.

Mad rush coalesce of bodies squeezed
into close synchronised breathing
the fast, fast, slow scrapped beyond caring.

Consumed by inevitable mortality
wasted days float without meaning
in the mad grab for power, fame, wealth

sieved through greed and arrogance.
Simplicity surfaces in the process
finds relief in sunrise to savour old new again.

Counts hours as treasure and moves
clear through retreats of childish pleasure
jumping over words, skipping numbers, riding fantastic.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

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The Western Shore

I come freely to the western shore –
where the Pepper-maidens shake their tresses,
where the deep dances on foamy toes
over the crushed bones of the ages –
to lay down my weight on virgin glass
and breathe the salt on the wind.

My body borne by myriads of pyramids
feels the tug and hum of the grinding sea
gurring at my feet, running deep
underneath the scattered flotsam,
bringing and hauling away treasures,
depositing lost travellers.

The beaches beckon,
gleaming with broken teeth,
calling through windswept smiles
the weary souls traversing the waves
of famine and of judgement.
They come in splintering vessels,
they come clutching last hopes to lay down and kiss my sand.

Frances Faith

Poolside

Poolside.
It’s rather muggy.
Watching offspring frogging laps,
obediently breathing the pattern taught,
and I sit,
patiently, one eye on young feet splashing
and one
…. on
oh. He’s minus tie but the suit
is fitting him so well.
A guilty glance back to the lanes
where I know my gaze should be
but isn’t.
He’s padding confidently by.
Out of place on wet tiles,
taken straight from that bonds commercial.
Speedos hanging on tight,
beeline for the fast lane.
The kids are..
ok. Good thing to stretch like that.
Don’t want to pull
one of those tanned muscles.
Panther? Leopard? No, bear. Flexing before diving after that pike.
Poker face, like he’s oblivious.
Eyes down,
before his head turns my way.
That’s a lot of hair for one chest.
Just checking.. lesson is almost done..
he’s powering along. Speedy.
Back and forth.
I’ve lost count.
Not that I was.
Counting.
hope the class finishes before
he’s done and ready to spring
out of the water all
dripping
and ..
too well defined for my poor eyes to
stay down.
Type, type, type.
Fortunately I have my laptop
to occupy
.. still going,
arms like scythes
.. to occupy my mind.
Someone’s waving.
Well done junior!
.. yes mummy was watching you.
Good job!
Let’s go.
Towel dragging
tip toeing gingerly on slick paths,
I’m ushering my towel draped bundle
out.
Phew. It was hot in there. 

Francis Faith

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It’s Relative

A rice farmer in Ubud tends his paddies
as the dying sun tie dyes the clouds.
He only puts down his hoe once or twice
to help his grandson master kite flying
and as the sun drops over the horizon
he carries him home chorused by ducks.
At a villa overlooking the paddy
a father and son sit side by side
not noticing nature’s spectacle.
He checks the stock market on his Ipad,
while his son plays a game on his.
They will be the same at supper….
In a darkened hut, the farmer tells the boy a story
while their ducks chatter themselves to sleep.

Derek Fenton

Time Waster

You ask what I do all day in Bali.
I seem to do nothing but sit idly.
I ask what you do all day at home
you seem to spend it in your workshop
or in your garden, or in front of TV,
or chasing a ball down a fairway.
I ask if you think about your life-
what it was once and may later be.
I do the same, but occasionally
my thoughts become a poem or story
My mind is never idle
humming with ideas like a buzz saw.
Most of the time it produces sawdust
but sometimes a piece of furniture
an artifact which might just shine
a little after I am gone.

Derek Fenton

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Yellow Room

once there was a place
where the walls sang with yellow
in this town skies are often cloud-wrapped
cumulus and nimbus vie for authority
but to enter felt like walking into sunshine
weather ignored

impressionist prints drew eyes
the gaze held too by a riot of colour
in the garden adjoining
creative fingers worked in the kitchen
platters of freshness played with the palate

everywhere a zest for living
from minds and hands believing in beauty
with more than a spoonful of flair
to be there brought lightness
lifting of spirit and smiles

that yellow room is no more
but it stays in the memory
glowing in a world of  darkened corners

find a place to colour your days
perhaps a yellow room

Margaret Ferrell

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The Old Brick Chimney

Old brick chimney towers tall
Like a tombstone, cenotaph of the past.
Waiting crumbling remembering
Red hot mower razing the land
Gums resemble tall black matchsticks
House consumed by raging fireball.

But the old brick chimney stands tall
Glaring suns glowing moons marking time
Waiting sighing remembering
Cosy fires warming cold numb toes
Christmas stockings draped the mantle
Children’s laughter echoes through the years.

The old brick chimney erect proud
Landmark of times past
Waiting wondering anticipating
Charcoal gums have sprouted green
Sounds of churning cement saws and hammers
Another house, another family, a future.

Rosalind Franklin

Boundaries Crossed

He was only three
When he came to live with me
The grandson I had never met
Wide eyes big and blue
They filled with tears
He looked so lost
Alone just him and me
Strangers one old and one so young
He sobbed and thrashed around
His little limbs so strong
I could not hold him
Then our eyes connected
He climbed on to my knee
Snuggled into my pounding chest
I sang to him songs he knew
Twinkle twinkle little star
His eyes looked up and saw them
Mummy and Daddy walked in
He stayed in my arms
‘Hello’ he said and cuddled into me

Rosalind Franklin

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Old Stones

you’ll go on ahead.
you’ll tie the laces on the
sky. you’ll brill the moon.

I’ll bring up the rear.
I’ll find old stones filled with pock-
ets. I’ll tear my thoughts.

the sound of black

I understand the meaning
of her silence but don’t have
a word for it so I scournigh
t sky for a term for thesoun
d of black between stars
and moon and meteorites and
planets and us and come up
with ‘evol’ and write it
down and then show it to her and
she says “is that the root of
evolve like before stuff
moves or morphs?” and I say
“no, it’s love backwards” and she
stares at me and says nothing

Kevin Gillam

 

 

The Colour Of Healing

it’s a thick silence,
unrehearsed and accidental,
with the house suddenly empty.
rare, in a home like this –
grand piano, two ‘cellos, violin, guitar –
three musicians and a dog,
Bach Chaconnes, Chopin Preludes and
high pitched whines joining ‘cello duets

has me thinking though,
about the repositories of silence
because it’s been here and waiting,
in the 45 degrees of stairwell, the angle
providing harbour, a balloon of silence
the colour of healing

Kevin Gillam

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Beach Sculpture: Windows

oddly shaped
resemble smoke rings
lung pockets
platinum healing blown in from the sea
wind force scrapes your frames
your abstract lines
castaway clean.

In daylight
a mini-pavillion
in an overcoat of mystery.
People sigh conditional fondness
unsure of your conviction
a trophy on the sand
hinting at wholeness.

At night
the moon delivers a flattering illusion
a sacred light.
In the darkroom
of the night chill
I develop a fondness
for excellence. 

Fran Graham

 

 

Looking For Place

I am the only still life
in a moving painting.

On the populated boardwalk
I am a difficult equation.

Discordant dawdlers pass at close range
dodging and weaving like tired atoms.

In this Sunday miasma I choke on
the alien good time they think they’re having.

The rattling boards mumble the secrets
of decades of weekend visitors.

I stand in contrapuntal jarring.
No one notices I’m striking a different chord.

They ignore the sun I worship and tap
away at their technological addictions.

I crave time-travel to a rural setting
where language is melodic, soothing,

communication as eloquent and silent
as a smile, fluent as flowers

where I’m the only moving figure
in a lounging landscape

barely swaying to the country concerto.
Cows dot the hillside

like crochets on a stave
patterning the grass, four to the bar.

Little risk here of jostle and bump.
Time to read and interpret the music

a reassuring harmony, and the only
unsolicited calls are from the birds.

I am part of the canvas,
the softest brush stroke.

Fran Graham

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Not This Time

 

My eyes race through
poems – old works
that didn’t – and find
nothing flashes before me
or tugs at my line.

There’s too many loose ends
to inspiration   that watches
as I reel in a mass
of wordy weed, though
the hook was well primed.

Fishing for poems
from a menagerie of time
I only catch their tails –
flapping wildly with promise,
as they disappear over the side.

Mike Greenacre

Fremantle: In Spirit and Voice
______
for Liana Joy Christensen

We meet first on the lawn as
strangers outside the Round House
at Arthur Head   our bodies
shimmering in the reddened glows
of setting sun across the bay
while children free their
spirits in the shallows of
water and beach below.

We are led as prisoners
of time to our first destination,
down stairs to the Whaler’s
Tunnel that cuts through the
limestone cliffs of Arthur Head
to High Street as the sun falls sharply
into the ocean’s patient reach.
Suddenly a hundred strong,
crammed in with the years
inside this blackened archway
we listen to the ‘whispering walls’
tell of Aboriginal incarceration
in the Round House and of others
exiled to Rottnest’s ‘Aboriginal
Prison’- their tortured cries from
The Quod speaking out in Liana’s
poetry, echoing mysteriously on.

As we stand transfixed by the
savage text of our history, a
voice shoots out from the darkness
singing ‘Kiss the Children for Me
Mary’ with another voice
in harmony, as if to soothe
the fare of these colonial days,
before rousing the voices of all:

“Come all you screw warders and jailers
Remember Perth Regatta Day
Take care of the rest of your Fe-niens
Or the Yankees will steal them away”…

 

the tunnel bellowed in chorus,
as the lyrics from ‘The Catalpa’
became much more, stringing
a line tightly between us
as laden vessels tied to
this place and conviction.

Mike Greenacre

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The Peregrine 

Peregrination!
he yelled
flying into the arms
of faraway.
I will still be
when you have
finished….
your travels                  .
They say at the turn
of the season,
will he…
a male.
The call is strong,
stronger than me.
I must wait
and watch
as the seasons renew
themselves
not like my heart…
broken.
Peregrination.

Ann Harrison

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Did I tell you the one about…

 

End of the day, end of the week, another one down
Propped along the bar, haphazard on high stools
Another round of drinks, tall glasses of the amber stuff
Must be the third for the evening, or maybe the sixth
Nobody counts, barman keeps a tab, knows us all

It’s just another night like the one last week, last month
The music quietly blares in the corner, waves around
In and out between the shouts and the shuffling dancers
Across the room an angry argument briefly flares
Then fizzles, apparently not worth the effort this time

Hopeful young blokes, pretending casual while checking
The girls, just as anxious in pairs and small groups
Two business types, loudly trying to impress someone
Or just themselves, and a set of world-weary women
Past their use-by dates, not ready to believe it, not yet

A couple of hours amble by, going nowhere
Down the line he rests, anchoring the group
In his own time he sets down his glass, half full/half empty
Wipes the back of a hand over lips and stubbly chin
Waits for the rest of us to catch up, give him space

Lifts his head, a sweep of his eyes, sizing us up
Deciding which one tonight, what will do the trick
Another swig from his glass, not quite draining it
And then we know he’s ready, the curtain goes up
Did I tell you the one about…

I’ve never figured out how he does it, every week
Out they come, impossible stories, always true
Reports of daring, accounts of stupidity, recollections
Of friends, ne’er-do-wells, ordinary heroes, women
Loved and lost, others he’s known and wished he hadn’t

A different story every week, yet always the same story
A reckless love, the greatest of mates, inevitable loss
We follow him down the well-trod streets, into the bars
Across the seas, all those exotic locales lying just round
The corner from where we’ve lived all our lives

Tonight’s not different, though you know you’d be sorry
Not to be here, not to hear this evening’s recollection
Of someone he met once, a place he visited somewhere
Memories full of adventure, mishap, good luck
And love — never a tale of any sort without love

Back then, he starts, it must be more than forty years…
There were two men and a woman
Of course he was one of the men, they both loved her
In long-standing tradition, only one could win
The story gradually unwinds, another tale of love and loss

But it’s not the love story or the loss that holds our attention
Something else, something with a power that endures
Not love, but the memory of love
It’s always there, every night, every story brings us back
To the memories where we can’t find an end, can’t forget

The words of the story trail from the room, out the door
Each one of us follows them to a particular place
A remembered time, an intersection where tonight’s story
Converges with all the other stories, and it doesn’t matter
When he asks: Did I tell you the one about…?

Ruari Jack Hughes

 

They Danced Because Dying Wasn’t an Option

He remembered seeing a movie years ago
Depression times in America
Could have been anywhere
Could be now
Couples dancing
They called it dancing
Round and round and round
A scuffed, grubby floor
One of those revolving crystal balls
Scattering blades of light
Scimitars slashing pale faces
Bone-weary bodies
Minds running on auto

He felt they were doing it now
Been doing it
One way and another
Ever since he could remember
Maybe longer than that
For years now they’d been dancing
Turning around, trying to get a rhythm
Briefly falling into step
Comfortably leaning against each other
Until something caused a stumble
A step on a toe, not catching the beat
It’s easy to lose the synch
But you keep on, not wanting to let go

When the music stopped
Or was it when only one couple was left
The last dancers were supposed to win
So they kept going
Hours turned to days
Shuffling in grinding rotation
Around the room and other couples
Gyring about the centre-point of each other
The prize no longer
A few dollars and a bouquet
Standing up, holding to one another
There are things which hold value
Beyond contrived measure

In the end they seemed dead to the world
Certainly there was a detachment
He thought there was little difference
But they wouldn’t shoot them
Not like they shoot horses
They weren’t worth the price of the bullet
Men and women make their own values
The shining days are gone now, not coming back
The dance goes on
What else can be done
He knew they’d be there in the morning
Circling, going over the same ground
Dancing, because dying wasn’t an option

Ruari Jack Hughes

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The Path And I

On the bridge the laned cars
queue like cells in a narrowed artery.
Beneath all that
the river: a broad mirror

After rain
as I walk beside the mirror
I’m poor as an empty can
left on an exiled mattress

The path and I become
more travelled     Our spaces
open     Our stones
loosen

After rain     as the light rises
the twigs that hang
by the river     glint
with tiny gems

Jackson

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Commute From Sudan

tall black man exits
downstairs
out into darkness

slips on poncho
of Perth morning fog
long legs feel for lamp-lit path
weave along scarves
of shiny wet leaves
cigarette ends glow
as first peloton starts
on choked freeway below

Ross Jackson

 

A Crack, Then A Wisecrack

An alternating charge each time I passed
a begging bowl hat on the pavement
but I ignored pleading messages set down on cardboard

till just the other day, when reduced
by the strength of those charges to stopping
I then asked, “Would a decent feed help you at all?”

and when the slumped adolescent appeared
to quite shyly nod his assent
I said, “Goodo, you just wait there for a second.”

I went off and returned with the fruit of my quest
“There you go, young man, enjoy your healthy snack.”
I strode off on my purposeful heel

but after perhaps eight steps
I was surprised by the impact
of a firm Red Delicious on the back of my neck

a blow less severe than the strength
of the wisecrack which followed.

Ross Jackson

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Madness

Insanity made me turn
from the things that I loved –
sanity became a two-up ring ending in its’ loss  –
mercurial madness swam in the air I breathed
as the coins spun crazily
then fell crashing to the floor.
At last, I awoke – in asylum –
protected from a world that seemed
as mad as I once was.
I gorged on newspapers decrying “terror!”
on their front pages,
while I sat in a locked ward
laughing at their conceit.

Christopher Kennedy

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Homage To The Sea

Gulls like sentinels
Stand facing the sea.
We walk through their regiment
They barely move or turn a head.
They stand their ground.
We move on toward the light
Through well trodden valleys and peaks.
I turn, the gulls, white backs illumed
And stark against the black
Have kept their rigid formation.
For what do they wait?
What silent signal
Will make them break ranks?
To take to the sky,
To skim the waves
And fish the sea.

Nada Kesic

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Ancestral Pride

Proudly he stood on the rocky outcrop
declaring his love for this land
which nurtured him since he was a child.
Displayed his skill with spear and woomera,
showed us the bush-tucker plants to eat –
which skins he could marry and which were taboo
according to ancestral lore.

The features of this ancient land
created by the Rainbow Serpent
in the Dreamtime eons ago.
He and his people diligent keepers
of timeless rock art all around
made by ancestors and Mimi spirits
telling the stories of this place.

We learnt about the six season
indicating food to gather,
when and where their prey to hunt.
We thanked him for the privilege
to share his stories – walk his land;
an ambassador for his people
helping us to understand.

Meryl Manoy

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I’d like to meet your dragon

I’d like to meet your dragon
The one who guards your cave
I’d promise not to enter
I‘d promise to behave
I’d try to see his colours
And maybe show him mine
Hopefully he’ll discover
I’m harmless and I’m fine
We’ll learn to trust each other
And never cross the line
I’d do that free and willingly
Without my shield or sword
Knowing he could be killing me
If I sought the wrong reward
Your cave is safe I won’t go in
My quest is pure and true
Nothing to do with perfect skin
Everything to do with you
Your treasures radiate and shine
For all the world to see
That’s the only wish of mine
A golden glimpse of thee

Dean Meredith

In Between

She was everything
And I was nothing
And her friend
In between
My heart so right
My head so wrong
And signs of truth
Flashed by unseen
Such were the sights
The sounds the dreams
The rights the wrongs
The in betweens
She came she went
Or so it seemed
The lies the truth
The in betweens
The birth the death
The in between
So weak so strong
So in between
So many ways
To live to die
So few days
So few nights
To wonder why
To be the dark
To be the light
And all the colours
In between

Dean Meredith

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A Prayer To The Progressives

Hans, in mid-life,
how crushing is the fall
of each forest giant.
You share its shudder,
hear it groan
and mourn the demise
of this Lord of the Bush.

“It is a poet’s tree, a painter’s tree,”
you say, but admiring one, it seems,
marks it for destruction.

Do you sigh in resignation
while your pencil and brush
through the echoing bush?

Jacqui Merkenschlager

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Humble Hans

Painters and poets,
divas and dancers
(peaches and prima donnas),
ministers and mimers
have graced your halls.
Olivier played Hamlet once
treading the boards
of your dining room stage.

Glitterati gathered in your stoep,
haunted your studio,
chatted by your evening fire.
But children, great levellers,
knew you best.
When asked, they chorused:
“Father makes the jam!”

Max Merckenschlager

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Hand Me Downs

Years of weatherboard and jam sandwiches
cold and sour as frost burnt limes
serendipitous trunks of paperbarks
enmeshed by bitter burrs
shanties and shotgun women
with itchy chilblain fingers.
Nobody bothers to untangle
the hand me down shalls and shan’ts
of childhood or hugs the kid
with holes in his jumper and blue feet
who brings home rabbits to stew.
It’s all forgotten in the ragged warmth
of moonshine and tomorrow’s cheque.

Jan Napier

News Hound 

My dog has a nose for news.
She finds snippets among pine needles
…………latest bulletins of canine doings
in long grass near the letter box.
Lamp posts are doggy gossip columns
…………and of course nuggets of information

found under rocks may lead to nuggets
…………of a chickeny nature.
Trees are checked for recent postings
…………and she’s expert at digging the dirt.
When she’s on the trail of a good story
…………nothing can restrain her.
This newshound uploads twenty four seven
but keeps the juicy bits to herself.

Jan Napier

Que Voulez Vous?*

Que voulez vous?
That you had sat    kettle steaming
tabby comma’d on your lap
not onion tongued      reptilian
hissing before unlit gas?
Had  hastened to cut crusty baguette
ladle out potage of leek and potato
as he slumped in soaked and black
from the cows ?
Had kissed his stubble    smiled
warmed him as he ate?
Que voulez vous?
That he had cocked an ear again
to your lack of lace and concerts
had not struck once and stopped
face set and white as the junket
his mother makes
leaving you frogged on flags
icy as a second wife’s heart?
Que voulez vous?
Shoving through to the bar.
His turn to shout.

Jan Napier

*what do you wish/ want

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Summer Musing

After the fires went through
some people rebuilt their houses.
Don’t know about their lives though.
And on the hill they’ve put in speed humps.
How can that help when the fire trucks run?
You can’t turn there unless you’re takin it slow.
Fireries are cowboys, Col says so and he should know;
he was one for thirty years till the beast
ate his home, they saved his sheds but…
He camps there now, hasn’t got the ticker;
too old, too slow, to put up
another Sitawhilelonger  [sharply
etched in Bali teak and black burned wood].
You’d think the houses on the creek
would’ve been ok but who’s to say
when the wind’s from the east and the

blast from the desert hits the spark and
up she goes along the trees,
jarrahs exploding like penny bungers
on the skyline.
We fled of course. Had no choice.
They wouldn’t let us back for a week
but some blue shirt let us know. No point.
Now she cries and
I  just  can’t…

Virginia O’Keeffe

They Came In The Heat Of Summer

When we were picking apricots
In the courtyard, and the air was
Alive with bees, our hands sticky
With fruit and sap.
My father fell in the doorway
My brother crumbled as red flowers,
Blossomed, but the bees didn’t want to know.
And a tarp frayed where the
Air lapped at my cheek with
A hint of frangipani and cloves.
We tumbled, stumbled, along the
Quivering jetty where oily green water
Tugged and ebbed in the mangrove roots.
They came out of the dawn as
The sun burned off the sea mists
Loomed up on the horizon like
A gray solid wave; my sister
Wept in excitement, we are saved,
We are safe, as the water lapped
Our ankles and I poked holes like
A worm in the blue faded planks.
They came to the camp one winter
Morning as the sun threw weak shadows
On the corners on the huts. We were
Done with paperwork and needles and questions.
My mother rocked, sobbed,
now she says Nothing.
My sister cuts her arms with shells and cries.
And me? I stare out of the wires
See my father’s feet in the doorway
And wish it were me lying with him in the dust.

Virginia O’Keeffe

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You Came Back To Me

It was the day
….you began picking up pieces of paper
….that weren’t there
The endless hours in casualty
The questions
The testing
Over and over again
I felt you were slipping away
….from me

You might as well
….have been in Never-land
….with Tinkerbelle and Captain Hook

I left you that evening
….to come home to the empty house
….resonating drum like
….to my every step
Had I lost you forever
I knew I had never felt this way before

Uneasy sleep
Then back for another day
More of the same
….when all I could do
….was hold your hand
….and let you walk
I couldn’t tell if you really knew me

Home again to the lonely empty house
Without you I am nothing

Rising early
….before the world began
….to clamour around us
….I returned

Hesitatingly I walked to your bed
I saw your eyes light up
I heard your soft sweet voice
….whisper my name

I knew that you had come back to me

Ron Okely

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Edged With Treacle

there
is nothing
sticky about the
shape of this poem
but it is edged with
treacle and deserves a good lick
and a gentle stroking until
all heart and soul
coalesce and submit
to your
tenderness

Allan Padgett

O Happy Night

The house you’re living in …………

doesn’t make you happy.

The dog next door barks at
……………the rat eating your swollen seedy
……………pomegranates and tears your
……………fretful dialogue with the vapid
……………night to pieces and that …………

doesn’t make you happy.

A raft of IEDs rips a few more
……………hundred bodies to pieces.

Another suburb of settlers brings
……………another round of strife
……………and diplomatic solutions that
……………smell of bandaids and dettol
……………and that ………..

doesn’t make you happy.
……………The night eats your sleep as
……………the dog licks your neck
……………and his eyes sob into yours
……………so you smile and hug your sorrow.

And that …………  makes you happy.

Allan Padgett

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A Haunting 

AH Where to Start
Should’A Jotted it Down in that                Red Brick
Alcove, Brown Paper Bag Crumpled, round LONG
NECK                                          So, That Does Make Me a
Lyre!                                       Twas N11, Silver City,
__________ Opposite, He Did         A’Slab’a Emu Export Per
Night,  that Was Afta              Married Quarter’z, Town
House, Tom Price,                  too Garner Favour With
Young Lad’z?                         (Passed on THAT)
So,       the Draught Neva Saved Me from a
BLUDGONING from those Mosquito’z                    still
______ there                was                  A Haunting      Canvas
Tavern, Great Sandy Desert Numerous Art Deco
Establishment’z   Wimmera & the Mallee
without even Mentioning, Shearer’z Quarter’z,
Pooncarie         So,                  D’Ya think those Corella’z
______       are Displaced,                      Juzt Like Me
____________       BRiLO,           Azure Blue

Neil J (BRiLO) Pattinson

Inspired upon travelling to Armadale for a Poetry Reading

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A Question

What if, that time in the swanky place with the red-flocked walls
where gins arrived on snap and cigarettes were discreetly lit
what if then, sometime between a three course summer noon and three
what if then I’d said yes to the Jimmy Choos and the harbour views
displayed before me like the pigeon en croute
what if I’d agreed to be slathered
on my back in a grateful embrace
blank eyes fixed on the ceiling
counting the minutes, no seconds
until it was time for you to come and then go
left alone then in my eyrie until next time
what if I’d said yes
where would I be now
with you gone
and me alone
with my Jimmy Choos
and my harbour views?

 

Lynne Talmont

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Could It Be ?

Sunflowers dance
in the fields
stand tall
amidst the grasses
that  intrude
warm their feet
black faces full
smile in abundance
as sunshine kisses
their adorned yellow bonnets
a breeze whispers
around their ears
they sway
with the grace of a ballerina

In a blaze of colour
alongside a green stage
the blue sky
empty of clouds
touches their heads
a golden portrait woven
on a backcloth
that borders
you could observe
cover the scene

frame it
to resemble
a ……
Van Gogh

Faye Teale-Clavi

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Altitude
______
Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet A.K. 581 Larghetto

Plugged in
I listen to your melody
at times melancholy
at times still as evening air

lifting the heart with notes
breathed and held
warm as new spring
whistling in my ear

words float on mountain air
in a sigh of unbearable beauty
smooth as honey pear
as the air releases you

once with us
now take steps            alone.

Rose van Son

Night, Silk Road
______
Jiayuguan, China

Your slippers
under the bed
the train slows
and we wait
the promised meal
rolls off our tongue
like lost conversation

the brakes long and low
yet your slippers
do not move

one foot
before the other
we are reluctant
to leave the conversation to our son
the sms
just left your fingers
we wait for his reply.

Rose van Son

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How Far Would She Go?

in the Dead Sea her breasts hang hands claw
a face once taut now stepped in ridges

floats in the fantasy of wet green
woman caught in a web of fractured light

agony of age bending her bones    kissed by salt
etched in dead sea mud

how far would she go to bargain with Time
bicker with the Fates    look for a ride back to youth

she knuckles her way out through the folds of her skin
remembers a girl who disappeared in another green

an echo in the shadows

Gail Willems

My Enemy

I watch the blood that drips and drips
I wear gloves that fit too long
They seem to gather at the tips
Rub skin that feels all wrong

I wear gloves that fit too long
I can’t hold the needle fast
Rub skin that feels all wrong
I curse and pray it will not last

I can’t hold the needle fast
And yet he doesn’t complain
I curse and pray it will not last
He must still feel the pain

And yet he doesn’t complain
With no one still to help me
He must still feel the pain
But his tears I just can’t see

With no one still to help m
They seem to gather at the tips
And fast become my enemy
I watch the blood that drips and drips

Gail Willems

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BOOK REVIEW

“the astronomer’s wife”   Dick Alderson

 

“the astronomer’s wife” (Sunline Press) by Dick Alderson is an assured and finely crafted first collection of poems. The writing is precise yet never bereft of detail, carefully constructed in terms of forms and line breaks, and employs some wonderfully quick and sly imagery. The author flits between kitchen tables, lemons, boyhood memories, moons and games of scrabble, all with a deft touch and real intimacy of voice. Alderson’s professional life as an engineer seems all too apparent in this distinctively written verse.

The real art of poetry, and indeed of any form of writing, is in the author’s creation of voice. In the case of a poetry collection, this means a different voice for each of the poems. The voice needs to be palpable, confident in terms of tone and delivery and, most importantly, consistent in its links between content an emotional implications. This final element creates the lift from page to reader. ‘the astronomer’s wife’ contains some very fine examples of voicing. In ‘Lighthouse Hill’ we read:

Yet there’s a grim intent:
even on those days the light
and the house stare the same way,

we have to imagine cliffs
and the light-keeper sleeping
or not sleeping
in that one-eyed room above the door

The use of ‘we’ as persona, as in many of the poems, gives the writing a universal and fable-like quality. But Alderson does not allow the poetry to become ponderous or sermon-like in tone. Instead, he often employs whimsy and the light-hearted or jocular ‘pull back’ from a scene or memory to create room for distance and perspective. In ‘Old Blue-Chin’ the last lines serve as a good example of this:

Someone’s had a piece of you,
knocked a dent
in your putty-head
and walked out of your life.

Let’s sit and commiserate
old Blue-Chin, old Moon.

Alderson’s use of imagery is often fleeting but always precise. He occasionally employs extended metaphor but prefers the furtive glance of words with the associated sudden rainbow of association and meaning. In ‘Almond Trees’ we read:

My mother was the soft-shelled almond.
Her silver skin peeling back,
we would pick her every day

Here, and very often, the writing is rich in sensory detail. Alderson has a real affinity with the tactile and what it offers in terms of memory and mood. Another poem concerning childhood experiences, ‘Going to the Coast’, pulls the reader back to the car journey:

the car grinding up through the three gears,
sound as familiar to me
as my parents talking, the tones
and growl of words, part understood

And throughout the collection, the light-hearted use of simile, always accurate in perception and deceptively deep in terms of resonance. This from ‘Ibis’:

their long beaks, spiky feathers
fastidious but practical legs,
like old aunts doing a chore thoroughly

Alderson employs both line breaks and form in a thoughtful and subtle manner. He wisely allows the stanza breaks to work as silence, change of camera angle, shift of time perspective and moment of ponder. The use of ‘white space’ is perhaps one of the most powerful elements in the collection. ‘Forecast’ begins with the following 2 stanzas:

We have heard it of course
but the ants
tell it better

their queen has rheumatism
feels it
on her bones

The technique of starting wide and then tightening the focus is used quite frequently in this collection. The poem ‘Fall’, quoted below in its entirety, is a wonderful example of the many well crafted poems with its sharp diction, subtle imagery and well planed denouement:

It clatters down

brown hand
curved and buckled
longest finger sticking
skew

cracked alien veins
and skinniest of arms
end in a burnt
desocketed elbow

a leaf
quite unlike
the poem I had thought
to write

There is much to like in this collection and many reasons to recommend it as a volume of very accessible and thoughtful prose. The poetry leaves the reader with a sense of wonder, a kindling of a primary curiosity in our surrounds and what they contain and promise.

Kevin Gillam

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