I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

24 April 2017

Reason for Shrieking?

Of all hues, 
the most beautiful blue
adorns the neck
of the male peacock,
his long satiny throat
shining as if for joy – 
and repeats at the centre
of each open eye
on the fan 
of his billowing tail.

The feathers
are called unlucky,
his singular cry 
heard as a death-knell. 
Why do we feel
threatened by beauty
so extreme; why see evil 
in innocence? Why? 
Is it because, unique, 
he is far too strange?

Labelled as vain
yet he struts for love,
holding his tail aloft
with effort that tires.
He is calling out
for home and family,
parading for a mate,
as all creatures
desire and need;
not for vanity.

In his Rajasthan home
his display is seasonal, 
pre-monsoon. He heralds 
the coming of rain 
to the parched land.
When I was a child 
in cold Tasmania,
peacocks at The Gorge
strutted, displayed and cried
at any time, sounding sad.

Written for Artistic Interpretations – Beauty, day 24 of April Poetry Month at 'imaginary garden with real toads' (we could write about beauty or peacocks or both), and for Magaly's Protest and Outrage: Dark Poetry for the Cruellest Month.

Planet Icarus

(in climate change future)

All day all the glass 
in all the buildings 
cracked then shattered.

That night many
no longer breathed –
not enough air.

The dirt turned red,
hard as stone. Only the ants 
marched across dry landscapes.

Even eagles faltered 
in the hot sun, and fell 
dead out of the sky.

Written for Magaly Guerrero's Protest and Outrage: Dark Poetry for the Cruellest Month.

This began as the following erasure poem from Michael Dransfield's 'Icarus', then I expanded it into something else (which nevertheless can't quite escape its origins).

All day
glass shattered
night breathed not
red stone marched 
eagles faltered 
in hot sun.

23 April 2017

Portraying Icarus

He makes death 
sound beautiful,
feel triumphant.

This he does 
with the music
of his words,
mellifluous words.

Does he want
that  humans,
aspiring to fly,
be angels?

Or is it 
the crash
he craves – 
its blaze of glory?

A response to Michael Dransfield's poem, Icarus, written for FASHION ME YOUR WORDS ~ The way you see it, day 23 of April Poetry Month at 'imaginary garden with real toads'.

Also submitted for Magaly's Protest and Outrage: Dark Poetry for the Cruellest Month

Luxuriant Saturday

An afternoon shower. Clean sheets 
and fresh pyjamas. The book I'm reading. 
Cushions to prop me up, half-sitting.
Raisin toast and coffee on the bedside table. 
My cat lying close beside me, purring.

Then the cat vacates, as I'm joined
by one of my favourite men. 'I'm having 
a little lie down,' I say. 'My dear,' says he, 
appreciating all the details, 'You're not 
just lying down – you're luxuriating!' 

We giggle, as he wickedly suggests 
I tell my girlfriends how my luxuriant event
was enhanced when a male friend joined me ... 
by phone of course! I inform him it's really
a threesome: one girlfriend too, via tablet.

We do love each other, though not 'like that'.
He tells me how to fill my spine with light
and send it out to the world through my crown –
and also what to use to clear my sinuses,
and things to be aware of when I set up my new telly.

Linda sends me a picture of her cat, which is
curled beside her on her bed, purring. She too
is having a lie down, with coffee and cake. I tell her
James calls it luxuriating. She embraces the word.
I compliment James on his use of language.

Linda's cat, Sarabi, in the photo she sent me.

I'm linking this poem to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #350

22 April 2017

A Painting by Mi Young Lee

The blue eye of the painting
looks out at me guilelessly.
There are windows of sky,
some sunny and one 
dark with storm clouds.
Green leaves fall brightly
past the panes, and a yellow
(this is Autumn) and some red.
Red tiles frame the glass.

I set this down, each element
as it strikes me, thinking
when I have accumulated 
the small pieces of description,
like a jigsaw they will combine
into clear meaning. This
does not happen. It wasn't
in pieces anyway, and the whole
painting, undisturbed, smiles at me.

Written for Bits of Inspiration, day 22 of April Poetry Month at 'imaginary garden with real toads'. We were asked to use this painting for inspiration.


I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream (Harlan Ellison)

You have taken my mouth, 
stolen it from me, 
sealed it up with chemicals.
What you seek to remove
is the scream, 
but it still lives inside me.
You thought you could freeze it 
into silence; instead
it is dammed up, and pushing
against the restraining wall.
It will break out –
it will reach the edge
and roll over it, pouring
into utterance. And then
you should watch out.

Written for Magaly's prompt: "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" (title of a short story by Harlan Ellison) for day 21 of April Poetry Month at 'imaginary garden with real toads'.

Also linked to Protest and Outrage: Dark Poetry for the Cruellest Month, 2017

I'm thankful not to have read the Ellison story; it sounds horrendous from the title alone! My poem is not autobiography but a fictional persona, based on things I have learned about psychiatric hospitals of the sixties and early seventies. 

20 April 2017

Encountering Crows

Hekate’s birds: I know
when I see three, 
She is sending a sign
and I smile. 

I might be walking
I might be driving.
Either way, 
my black cloak

wraps around me 
invisible to your sight.
But they see, the crows.

And She,
through their eyes,
looks and sees 

Written in response to Fireblossom Friday : Corvid and sit a while, day 20 of April Poetry Month at 'imaginary garden with real toads'.

Image: public domain.

Holidays, Holy Days

Well, you know, I'm an Aussie.
We're not very churchy.
Some of us do go (and then
there are all those other faiths) 
but, as I once explained to a Yank 
whose obscure – to me –
reference to Easter in a poem
he had to elucidate for yours truly:
Australia is a much more
secular country than the U S of A.

But holidays – we do have them.
Two in particular. Some of us (ssh!)
aren't all that sporty, but even we
hold it as our sacred duty
to drop everything twice a year – 
for the Melbourne Cup of course,
and the AFL grand final (footy to you ...
though different States have other codes).
Don't argue! We mean it seriously. 
And take it seriously too, by all that's holy!

(It is often said that our national religion is sport.)

Written for Midweek Motif ~ Holiness / Holy Day at  Poets United

19 April 2017

Clearing Out the Wardrobe

I was ruthless –
didn't want to keep
an empty shrine
of all your clothes
without you in them;
made the choice not
to open the cupboard,
look at them and cry.

I put them in a collection bag
I knew would be taken
far out of town, away 
from local op-shops
and the chance I might see
someone else wearing them –
even a whole lot of someones,
none of whom would be you.

I wanted them out of the house.
You were still here, lingering
in every room, walking
along the passage, sitting
at your desk in front of the computer
or in your favourite armchair.
I didn't need or desire 
physical reminders, I thought.

Of course I was too hasty.
Grieving, I caught a cold,
put myself, sneezing, to bed.
A bed without you in it
to cuddle and warm me.
I curled in a ball anyway –
but how I wished I could wrap myself
in your old green flannel pyjama jacket.

Written for Sanaa's inaugural prompt for day 19 of April Poetry Month at 'imaginary garden with real toads': to write about love, using a common everyday image.