Only Pain

'It's only pain,' she says, appearing to shrug,
almost hiding her rigid back, her drawn white face, tight mouth.
The truth is, she is afraid of what is worse than this.
She fears it comes soon: her death.
And that dying will lacerate her with pain even more shriekingly extreme.
She's practising how to hold upright back, calm face against collapse,
against the screams she won't allow being heard.

(A fictional character, compounded of various people observed over the years.)

Sharing this poem at Poets United's Poetry Pantry #435

Love, Eventually

My black cat with white whiskers stares silently
eyes fixed on my face: the gaze of love and trust.
Then she blinks slowly, almost drowsily, snuggling against my leg, purring long.
A slight and dainty cat, she's ten.
When she came, she was eight; she stayed aloof, hiding behind curtains,
claws ready.... One year before purring; two to miaow. But now –
we anchor and
orbit each other; 
true minds.

This poem is in a new form invented by a friend who wishes to remain private. She calls the form 'arch', in which the 4th stanza is – as she says – 'much like the keystone is for an arch, holding both sides together'. I'll be sharing this poem via Poets United's Poetry Pantry #434 in the New Year.

Details: The poem is 7 stanzas long, with 69 words. Stanzas break down as follows: 1st stanza: 3 words/3 words/2 words 2nd stanza: 2 words/3 words/4 words/2 words 3rd stanza: 3 words/3 words/4 words/2 words 4th stanza: 2 words/3 words/2 words 5th stanza: 3 words/3 words/4 words/2 words 6th stanza: 2 words…

A Lament for the ‘Tasmanian Tiger’

Tiger, tiger, you didn’t burn bright in the Launceston Museum when I was a child. You looked pathetic: your pelt moth-eaten, your colour dull, head down as if dejected.
You were stuffed and stiff, and you looked it, although you were supposed to seem alive and wild. Even my naive young eyes could tell there was no spark left in you.
You were all gone even then, quite gone so I was told, the whole lot of you – three years before I was born. I almost  didn’t just miss you being alive and wild.
I think, though, I'd not have encountered you even then. You were a shy creature, nocturnal, secretive, hiding in the bush, quick and slinky to slide out of sight: a ghost, a shadow.
There were whispers. You weren’t extinct. You’d been seen. On the mainland too, even recently, right near where I live now. The locals nod, and keep their counsel.
I thought I saw you once, when I was still a child back in Tassie – a flicker of movement and a different colour, at the edge of a field, fading back into the bus…

Sometimes Glad They Didn't Live

There was a time, after my second husband died – to whom I was not married any more by then, but to someone else, but still I hadn't wanted him dead and it was a huge shock, and then to be dealing with our sons' grief, their storms of sobbing ...
there was that time when Holland lost to Argentina in the FIFA World Cup, after getting so far, and I was glad he was dead, to miss that huge disappointment that it would have been for him (Dutch till he was 15)....   Is that weird? Anyway I was.
And I caught myself feeling glad just now that my dear third husband is not still alive to learn that one of his favourite Aussie actors – the one we saw walking along St Kilda Road after we'd been to the Art Gallery, that last time we visited Melbourne together
(we had sat to rest on the low concrete ledge dividing pavement from Arts Centre precincts near the bridge above South Bank, and there he was coming towards us from the theatre complex. Yes, it was him! In the end, Andrew just called out, 'Good …

Of Roots, Cut Grass ...

On a high plain in Kashmir surrounded by mountains, in charge of a flock, he wanders them here and there across this changing plateau.
The days are hot, the nights are cold. Moving through the old realms, is one bell enough? Who marches at the head?
Evening. Men who had promised craftsmanship sat, talked, refilled glasses, looked out the window.
He never speaks. The animals twitch with energy, smell of death, confront, adapt, flow where they will.

Erasure poem, excerpted and rearranged from two short pieces of fiction: Hazel’s Haircut by Rob Swannock Fulton and Some Roots of Grass, author unknown.
Shared at Poets United's PoetryPantry #433

Slumbering Summer

Red geraniums grow tall. Their leaves, like hands, tap softly against my window
~ in the somnolent mid-afternoon ~
when the sun gets warmer, I start to drowse, and my tall geraniums also nod.

A puente for 'imaginary garden with real toads'.

The Way Opened

Below a pelt of thick, peaty soil the smells of aromatic spices mingle with oriental floral, trees straining under the weight of red and golden apples.
Nine mountains to the north, nine dragons protect the island and vibrant harbour.
With the arrival of this thought
in the orange glow of the morning sun, the departure of a hunger.

An erasure poem using lines from two pieces of fiction, The Chinese Way by Irene Tai and She Opened the Box by Rab Swannock Fulton, rearranged and intermingled.

Shared with Poets United's Poetry Pantry #432