Showing posts from November, 2019

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
(Observations on the foibles of human behaviour – 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.

For Fran: 2.

The first part of this two-poem sequence was posted a few days ago, under the post title 'An old story'.


2. Another epitaph
On neat quiet afternoons of leaves I visit clouds and pastures of the mind leafing through notes of your faces — which were always windy
exchange perhaps yours for mine almost find you there (sudden surge of hibiscus)
… but then you’re gone
glimpses of cards in a ruffled pack rippling too fast quick fingering piano after the keys have been touched
— flashes of shadows …
you are the past
frayed petals blowing down-mind: my black garden where you do not bloom flower-of-an-hour
my sister my ghost

Note: 'flower-of-an-hour': a type of hibiscus.
(Photo by 'American 187' licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-SA 4.0)

from Universe Cat, Pariah Press (Melb.) 1985
and Secret Leopard, Alyscamps Press (Paris) 2005. First published Poets Choice 1979 (The Last Poets Choice)

To be shared with Poets United's Pantry of Poetry and Prose #6


I long for sleep or tell myself I do, yet keep deferring bed-time.
I still sleep in the big bed I shared with you, when you were alive.
I have the bed all to myself now, can stretch out as I like; I don’t.
When I retire late, alone, wakeful, the true longing is not for sleep.

Written for Poets United's Midweek Motif ~ Longing

Each verse is a separate 'American sentence' – just because I wanted to give it some structure. This means that each could also stand alone, senryu-like.

Secret Blue

Secret Blue
They think I love purple best. They see me tenderly nurture my small pot of hearts-ease, surround myself with amethyst, wear clothes in all shades from soft lavender to rich magenta –
but no, my longest, deepest love is for blue – deep blue, the colour of ocean (the Pacific, that jewel adorning these shores) or the unequivocal, singing blue of a sunlit skyin high midsummer, uninterrupted vista ...
the blue of cornflowers and sky-high mountains, a love I shared with my Dad when I was very young, before I was disillusioned, learning him selfish and weak ... but the love of blue remains (and of cornflowers and mountains).
Blue is the colour of my true loves' eyes – two of my husbands, three of my lovers: (divided differently) three  the pure, soft blue of the sky in Spring;  two the blue of the sea lit with bright turquoise, or the centre of a flame.
The darkest blue is the sapphire in the ring you gave me – dear third husband and last lover – to declare your love and mark our marriage. The gold band is now so…

The Calling

The Calling
The moon high in my window floated, gazing, all the long nights, claiming me: whispering, singing – beginning in my far childhood and never ending, not yet.
I knew and did not resist. ‘You,’ I said in my silent thought, ‘are my lover, my mother, my teacher, my secret God.’ I chose with my whole heart.
Was chosen and chose. Was claimed and laid claim. It was written; witnessed by stars and by the dark space of night itself. Written in blood, carved deep.
It was always written. The rest I was free to invent. Life, other loves, children, even other work, other delights of the soul.
But here in the deep night which is home,  only this truth remains, all else extraneous  as the moon and I commune.

Written for Thotpurge's Poetry Tuesday #3 – Borrowed, where we are invited to 'borrow some magic' from a poem that inspires us. I've always loved Dylan Thomas's 'In my craft or sullen art'.
Also linking to Poets United's Pantry of Poetry and Prose #8. I'll be travelling when …

An old story ...

The United Nations General Assembly has designated November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, saying, 'Sexual violence against women and girls is rooted in centuries of male domination. Let us not forget that the gender inequalities that fuel rape culture are essentially a question of power imbalances.' — UN Secretary-General António Guterres. See further details here: Facts everyone should know.

To this end, the monthly 'Poets Out Loud' spoken word event in my town, which happened this last Thursday, had the
theme 'Women's Voices'. We were asked to wear orange, the colour associated with this issue. Not having a lot of orange in my wardrobe, I went op-shopping (i.e. thrift shopping, for those of you more used to that term). The only orange item I could find was a big sun-hat. So I decided, 'Yeah, why not? Let's make a statement.' A poet friend took a snap – a fuzzy shot which no amount of editing will fix…

The Possibilty of Peaceful Ageing

The Possibility of Peaceful Ageing
(on entering my ninth decade)
Now I am new, softly writing the winds of the past into history where they may blow unheard taking away the rains and storms and even also the fierce fires that sometimes in towering beauty flared and razed leaving scorched ground, with ruins to be repaired or be abandoned.
I turn and face forwards into a calm and gentle sunlight over fields and a river. There are trees. On one side is a three-humped cloud-catching mountain. From the other I smell hints, tangy and fresh, of the near ocean. A few white clouds sweep the sky like angel wings.
‘Follow me!’ she cries, that Goddess to whom I have given my heart and allegiance, and I step with assurance into the realms of light, calm and radiant. ‘Here is joy,’ she tells me, ‘embrace it. You’ve earned it.’ And I dare say I have. But I pause. While strife remains I have a duty of healing.
Also, when I sit in my armchair a small black cat climbs on to my lap – dead Selene, who settles as she did when she was alive. Or …


‘I hate you,’ she yelled at the drug dealer standing in the doorway of his other, legal business in the main street of town.
‘You ruined our boys!’ – the lads just out of school he gave jobs to and then got addicted. ‘I hate you!’ She bellowed his name.
‘I hear you,’ he said sourly, eventually. But it wasn’t him she was really telling, it was the town. Some muttered. Others clapped.
Maybe they knew she took those boys in, fed them from her own pocket, helped them set up a band…. One by one they got away.
She invited the whole town to her birthday party this year. ‘Just turn up,’ she said. Privately told me how honoured she felt as community elders turned up.
She never told me a lie, even when I didn’t like the truth. And she never told me a truth that wasn’t said in love, nor one that didn’t help.
At her memorial service, many wept. I made a speech and told the truth. The truth was, she was Love. (‘Hatred isn't wrong,’ she once said. ‘It springs from love.’
I didn’t understand at the time. Thinking back,…

Turning 80

Turning 80
For Karin
In a week it will be my birthday. People already tell me: ‘looking good’ – for my age. I’ll be turning 80.
I don’t wish to be younger. I want  to be 'young on the inside', as my friend 
who reached 80 a week ago says.
She is vibrant. Who sees wrinkles behind her laughter, or weight of years in her quick, jaunty steps and gestures?
I want to stay ever new, all 
my experiences kept, freshly alive. I tell her, ’We are becoming ageless.’
Karin on her 80th:

Linked to Poetry Tuesday at THOTPURGE,  where the word for Nov 5th is Old.

Her Teddy

Her Teddy
She kept her teddy close, I saw, in that last seven years of illness,
and obviously for much longer: the same one she’d had as a child.
He was by her big recliner chair every day, and next to her in bed. ‘When they’re loved,’ she told me, ‘Teddy Bears come to life.’
So I was horrified when her brother said they cremated him with her. Then I remembered. She had explained that between times they go dormant.
And anyway, I rationalised, it’s not the same kind of being alive as us – not with a functioning body. The burning wouldn’t, couldn’t have hurt.
Today I just had to go into Vinnie’s op-shop. I walked past, but I was drawn back. And I found him: a teddy, smaller than hers but otherwise matching, even the clothes.
(Did her dear ghost orchestrate this?) Of course I brought him home! I placed him with other mementos of her. But first I gave him a very long hug.

Sharing at Poets United's Midweek Motif: A MillionYears Howl....