These weeks becoming months the clouded horizon merely thickens or thins – not with cloud, with smoke. It isn't true that smoke's evanescent, ethereal. Not this smoke. It blots out the sky; fluctuates, fades a trifle, only to come back denser, higher, closer. Where there's this smoke, there are certainly
fires; we can smell them. On our screens we see them tower, spread, engulf.
We live with it, begin to stop mentioning its presence to each other, knowing others in areas around us are worse off, this little town so far spared, although some smaller burns come close before being dowsed. Meanwhile we stockpile face masks, pack our emergency bags, conserve water (even before restrictions are announced). My own breathing remains unaffected – because, paradoxically, I already need to use an inhaler daily.
Eventually, as time goes on, I notice I no longer have to glance at the horizon in order to know when the haze presses close or lifts a little. It has entered into me, part of my person. I wa…

Mortar and Pestle

Mortar and Pestle
Wouldn’t you think a witch would cook? We imagine her over her cauldron, stirring potions to make someone fall in love, or hearty soups to keep her family healthy. We think she’ll be grinding herbs very fine for either of these recipes. Well, you know what? I haven’t the patience. I’m a quick-and-easy cook, and as for love potions, I think they’re unethical. I do use herbs, but I don’t grind them myself.
I was telling a friend only today (quoting Erica Jong, in Fear of Flying) ‘You’re a poet. You don’t have to cook too.’ I’m a witch and a poet. I make my magic with words. That might be the oldest way. It’s surely one of the most potent. With words and thoughts and passion. Not so much with plants. So I’m sorry, I can’t show you a photo of my mortar and pestle; I have none.

Written for #decemberwitch 9 on Instagram

The Only Constant

The Only Constant

Driving to town, I saw the old flower shed – still labelled with its big sign out front, still with sunflowers painted on the outside walls. It’s been closed for – my goodness, years. That’s what happens when you live in a town so long.
I wanted it to stay the same. Yet I like some of the changes: the new cafés, the pop-up gelato shop, the downtown arts precinct … and hey, the flowers at the shed 
were too expensive anyway.
Changes happen. Once more I’m without a cat. I decided I won’t get another, but maybe one is trying to get me. He came and sat peacefully in my back yard the other day. He jumped up and left when I spoke to him in surprise, but he didn’t run.
The place where I live has changed since Andrew lived with me. Gradually I’ve geared it more and more to one person living alone. No-one to please but me. I wonder if his spirit notices the changes to his last home?
Some people hate change. Some embrace it, find it exciting. Others are simply resigned: it’s what it is, no sense res…


I tag you by your fingernail clippings, lock them into the folds of a small doll, hidden from sight, and cast my spells.
Wicked witch? No, it’s a healing I am bringing about for you by means of this magical connection.
Secretive? No again. You knew. You willingly gave them to me, 
these cast off pieces of you, when I asked.
But it’s easy now to disbelieve ‘all that silly superstition’ when you’re walking around well.

Written for #decemberwitch 6 on Instagram


My main altar has a mirror with runes around its oval edge, drawers full of witchy supplies – incense, candles, a herb-cutting knife 
etcetera. All the four elements are represented and displayed on its surface, as on all my altars, even the tiny one in my bedroom;
even the writer’s altar above my desk with its pictures of wide-eyed Brigid wearing blue like Mary, and graceful Pan alive in black ink, fiercely intent.
On the desk itself Minerva stands with her owl. Close by are both Sekhmet and Thoth, he of course holding a tablet and stylus: inscribing.
The bedroom altar is more for healing. There’s a picture of the Blue Madonna with names on the back, in pencil to change for the now well, or new ill.
My working altar, my casting altar, has dragon statues; the oracle I channelled and made; several wands and my athame (a crystal laser).
Sometimes I think I want to spell it ‘alter’, 
for the work of change. Oops, that’s the other kind of ‘spell’. Or is it? Even before altars, we had Word.

Note for non-witches

Bushfire Season

Bushfire Season
Smoke fills all horizons while my geraniums still bloom.
Smoke blooms, fills all my still geraniums.
My still horizons fill with geraniums, all smoke.
My geraniums fill (still) smoke-bloom horizons.
Still smoke blooms; geraniums fill my horizons.
Still my smoke horizons fill geraniums, bloom.
Horizons fill with still blooms: smoke geraniums.
All my geraniums bloom smoke, while horizons still.

Written for Weekend Mini Challenge: The Uncertainty of the Poetat 'imaginary garden with real toads'.
(This is very much what my November has been like, here on the east coast of Australia!) 

I think about you: American sentences

I think about you: American sentences
(More senryu than haiku-like, these are meant to be read separately, not as a sequence.)

My past relationships taught me love has many forms and many ways.
How difficult and hard to reach she has become since her bereavement.
That girl with the sweet voice is always using it to stir up trouble.

They contest the will, wanting to hang on to more of their dead father.
It’s not that I’m still grief-struck – just that I think about you all the time.