Fairy Floss

 Fairy Floss

feathered my childhood. 

Americans call it cotton candy.

I know better: it’s magical.

Revellers in that realm craft it.

Young forever, they fill it with light.

Fluffy, clingy sweetness melts.

Loveliness fills the delighted mouth.

Oh, the zing that follows the airy touch!

Soft hints of fairyland linger.

Somehow, they never quite fade. 

In Australia we really do call it Fairy Floss.

For Weekly Scribblings #87 at Poets and Storytellers United, Rommy asked us to write on anything we might find at a fair.

Image: By Valerie Elash at Unsplash.




She seems big-boned – 

although she has fine ankles 

and shapely calves.

Two years ago 

she was frankly plump, 

soft and cushiony. 

Now she has become 

square, not round, 

and her body is firm.

She lights up when she smiles:

the sweetest, warmest smile,

more than a hint of mischief.

She is gentle and earthy, 


sometimes bossy. 

She’s alive to 

all the nuances 

of many different arts. 


she can get to the crux 

of any matter. 

She is serious, irreverent, 

and full of joy. 

She loves life.

She puts up 

no barriers / she is 

nobody’s fool.


She is 

ordinary / she is 


She looks as if 

she is made 

of sunlight.

From a journal entry written in 1987, as prose. I thought it would be fun to turn it into a poem – which turned out to need very few changes to the wording and punctuation. 

I can’t remember who this was!

Shared with Poets and Storytellers United at Weekly Scribblings #86.


Father’s Day Recollections

 Father’s Day Recollections

My father comes back to me now

in his prime, not as the old man

frail and forgetful – though even then

he found ways to be cheerful. No,

I see him as the wise counsellor

and personal friend; before

the flaws became visible

and filled my gaze … ah well, 

it was a brief time. But good.

I could go further back

to the fun young Dad, 

the one who rolled on the floor

as we tickled him, the one 

who hugged us, laughed, taught us 

our letters on alphabet blocks,

made us toy bows and arrows 

from his own home-grown bamboo.

(All his life, he loved to garden.)

Or I could focus on 

his walking-stick, his limp,

the suppressed winces of pain.

There were bad days and good.

I never asked what made

the difference. (Was it 

the weather?) All that 

was just part of the background 

of life, of what made him him.

I try not to think (but I must)

of the weakness, the betrayal.

I call it out now:

self-indulgence, cowardice.

The serial infidelities that at last 

lost him my mother’s love; the failure 

to guard his children from the cruel 

mad stepmother he gave us

in a face-saving, hasty remarriage.

Poor Dad! But was he? After 

she mentally castrated him (ironic 

fate) he taught himself to paint 

landscapes in oils, and sold them. 

(Some he gave away to my brother and me, 

after we were grown, living our own lives.)

And he wandered the Mallee, finding thick, 

knobbed, curling sticks which he sanded 

and polished as walking-sticks. Sold them too.

All this, and more, made up the man.

There was also the boy I heard about

from his sister my aunt, and my grandma

his mother. Crippled young by an accident, 

but cheerful, making the best. A dreamer, 

a reader. A lover of poetry, who wrote it too.

The man recited poems (other people’s)

at parties, where the leg didn’t stop him

being a smooth ballroom dancer….

But he comes back first

in his prime; the one I could talk to,

the kindred spirit, the companion

sharing favourite books, the knowing advisor

enlightening his teenage daughter

on the male point of view, the grown-up

expanding my understanding

of history, sociology, psychology,

nature. And of course literature.

He was in his way, I suppose,

a good-looking man – open countenance,

fair skin; pleasant, even features 

(apart from the family nose with its bump)

and well set-up, as they used to say.

What he couldn’t get from sport (because 

of the leg) he could from gardening. 

So he never got fat. Just squarer.

His usual expression was kindly.

He gave me my own poetry,

reading and writing. He gave me

my politics, and my belief

that intolerance is the thing

I should most be intolerant of.

(Perhaps he also gave me

a liking for liquor, and a sad lack

of Puritan morals!) I loved him again

and he knew it, shortly before he died.

I don't have any photos of him at the time I most like to recall, so instead I show him as a young man in father role, and as the elderly artist (resting his hand on one of the wooden walking-sticks he crafted).

And yes,  today is Father's Day in Australia.

I'm sharing this post in Writers' Pantry #86 at Poets and Storytellers United.