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.

16 October 2017

My Favourite Metaphor for You

(courtesy of 'The Little Prince')

I didn't keep
the fox poster
that spoke of
you / our love /
your death, in
a secret language
made of images.

I had written
the fox poem,
and thought it
enough pain – more
would be wallowing 
but now seek
other fox pictures.

Their different landscapes
are immaterial. For
it's the fox
I crave, vivid
against any backdrop,
coming towards me
shy yet purposeful....

Bit by bit
I tamed you
with my words,
with my love;
but could, finally, 
not save you
from the hunters.

Written for The Poetry of Three facebook group.

Joining This Site

(Poetry of Three)

'You do know
this is not
a dating site?'

How I laughed!
Yes. Anyway, I'm 
not looking, thanks.

All the same,
a sweet fantasy:
partnering through poetry.

How utterly romantic,
if somewhat old-fashioned.
But after all –

there is that
obligatory number three.
No, better not.

Just think of
those messy, eternal 
triangles we'd generate.

'Poetry of Three' in which each line must have three words (no other restrictions) is a facebook group I just joined. They asked several leading questions including this one before accepting my application – and fair enough too, but this one did amuse me.

When I Came Here (Shadorma)

When I came
to this place of trees
their welcome
embraced me
and when I lay in your arms
enfolded us both.

Written for 'imaginary garden with real toads': Fussy Little Forms: Shadorma.

12 October 2017

Return Journey?

'How was it, coming back
after hard adventures, 
to normal?'
                     I've never 
known normal. My path leads 
ever on; a wild track.

8 October 2017

Games Cat

is chasing for toy,
dangling for toys.
Playmate must be me!

Solution one: there’s 
miaow. A try. Maybe even
(soon) me-against rubs.

Door. To - it - from: circles.
Chair (my): around she prowls.

Myself, I won’t risk the Her.
(Health / ill conflict ... as
food would relieve it too.)

I think she’s me-like.
She thinks me her-like.

Outside’s wet. It is.
Bored is She.

Although people enjoyed my recent poem Cat Games (because many people love cats) I myself soon came to the conclusion it was banal and boring. Under the influence of Carmen Giménez Smith's chapter, 'An Exercise in Derangement' in the book WINGBEATS II, I wrote it out backwards (incorporating two photo captions from that earlier post) and needed very few further changes to arrive at what I hope is a more dynamic poem.

7 October 2017

In the House of Love

In the house of love 
I am but a decoration. 
I hang on the wall, 
ignored for the most part. 

When anyone does notice, 

they smile. I am pretty. 
But I count for nothing. 

I would like to be a book, 

that people would open and read, 
exchange thoughts with. 

I would like to be a spoon, 

to be dipped into food and brought back 
full of nourishment and sweet tastes. 

But I am a mere decoration, 

useless, unnecessary, 
with nothing important to do. 

Occasionally someone dusts me off. 

No-one ever applies polish. 
No-one ever takes a photo. 

They moved the mirror opposite; 

now I am even forgetting what I look like. 
I cannot see myself. I cannot hear myself. 
Perhaps I will cease to exist.

This is a fictional character, NOT autobiographical! Written in response to a prompt in a writing group, which consisted of the first two lines of this poem. They are from a piece of writing by Kyminy Cricket.

I Sing

I sing softly and sadly
I sing sadly and softly

I sing in the middle of your delight
and at the edge of your last anguish

I sing as if the day would never end
I sing slowly at midnight and quickly at dawn

I sing to the wind and the stars and the dark
I sing to the treetops and to their trunks

I sing to small frogs in the rainwater pipe
also to the bees that visit my clover

I sing in the cities, among their towers
I sing in rainforests and alongside rivers

I sing with the sea and with thunder
with jagged rocks and rising mountains

I sing in the language of a cat
and in the colours of a butterfly

in the pouring rain I sing
in the burning sun I sing

I will never stop singing

6 October 2017

The Ground from Under

You are falling roses,
you are patches of darkness,
you are words unspoken.

Into the gashes between
your forms and seemings 
I plummet. Cliff walls are stone.

How can now an arrival
happen, let alone pertain?

Black and bloody, drifting,
I consign me to endless.

Slightly Broken

Slightly broken by being 
so deeply misunderstood
(divine light fractured
lying spilled on the roadway)
I crawl off into invisible.

Mixing with grass and scrub
and thick leaf-litter, lacy fragments,
torn off, remain briefly. Soon 
the weather will turn them into
part of the earth and the air.

Resting alone tempts the wounded
into further silence. Today
you become far away, you become 
the nothing you would make
of me. And I am merely gone.

4 October 2017

Pretty Pierette

Some people hate clowns,
think them murderous 
with wide, round, staring eyes 
and crazy grins.

I, myself, despised
the lumbering, stupid
circus clowns of my childhood.
Then I found these others.

Now I am in love
with the clowns from the Carnival,
their patterned costumes,
their shapely masks.

Here at my left hand, overlooking 
the desk whereon I make poems,
there sits the loveliest of all –
a gift from a knowing friend.

Her white porcelain hands and face,
her elaborately painted eyes,
her bows and bells and glitter
show me she is beautiful but sad.

I know sad. Those frozen tears
on her blank, helpless face
remind me. They are for love lost:
remembering a different beauty.

Written for Poems of Garden Gnomes. The prompt: to write about whatever is just out of reach of one's left hand.

2 October 2017

Cat Games

She is bored.
It's wet outside.
Like me, she thinks
to relieve it with food,
but I don't inflict on her
the ill-health I risk for myself.

She prowls around my chair,
circles from it to the door,
rubs against me; soon
may even try a miaow.
There's one solution: 
I must be playmate.

Toys for dangling

Toy for chasing

Exercise: 55 words (excluding title)

Also linking to Monday Writes #125 and to Midweek Motif – Animals at Poets United

A Conversation with My Late Husband

He tells me, 'You need 
male energy around you. It's OK
if you have new relationships. Later, 
we'll be together forever. 
But for now ...'

'Listen,' I say, 'I like 
being with me now. (And 
with you, still so present in spirit.)
For the rest, my little cat
is my new love, my sweet, my treasure.

Exercise: 55 words (excluding title)


I signed, 'Love forever'. He replied:
'Forever is a long time to love. How about, 
Love – as long as you're still
the person you are today.'
(It was a promise, not a question.)

He died soon after. 
Decades later, 
love appears to be forever ...
after all, he is still 
the person he was that day.

Exercise: 55 words (excluding title)

Re-reading Martin Pippin*

I have been rambling for days
in an apple orchard and a daisy field, 
in the fine company of Martin Pippin
(introduced to me by Eleanor Farjeon).

I was a lonely girl, unlike those
who stopped their play to hear these tales –
yet my childhood too, I recollect,
had its daisy chains, its golden apples. 

* 'Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard' and 'Martin Pippin in the Daisy Field' by Eleanor Farjeon: classics still available in print and as ebooks.

Written for a 55-word prompt.

28 September 2017

Autumn on the Tweed

As I drive alongside the river
under a sunny sky,
the air seems blue and golden
up and down my way – 
my way along the river
now, and spreading forever.

Always it seems forever,
unbroken days of perfect weather,
Tweed River sparkling lazily –
untroubled, expansive,
mimicking Spring or even Summer. But
no, it's Autumn; that rich, warm season.

Autumn was always my favourite time
under Heaven, as the earth rolls around
to repeat its cycles over and over
until time spins to a standstill and stops.
Must we think of that while the sun is shining?
Never! Let's rest in the heartbeat of Autumn.

Note: This Tweed River is in Australia, not Scotland!

A triple acrostic, written for Form Friday – Acrostic (with Autumn theme) at Poems of Garden Gnomes. It is a hot Spring in Australia just now, but I love to celebrate Autumn in this sub-tropical part of the country. Not many coloured leaves; just glorious weather.

24 September 2017

My Boat Song

Once was a boat that was called after me,
named as the Mary Rose,
tiny but strong to fish in the sea.
How the wind blows, who knows?

Once I was small, lived on an isle;
Dad called me Mary Rose –
his special name, making me smile.
Who knows what stays, what goes?

When I grew up, then I could see
feet made of clay, not gold.
Gone was my god, gone from that day –
old stories long grown cold.

Jack was my new step-father who
never usurped that name,
yet built a boat, showing me true
new ways that love became.

Once was a boat that was called after me,
named as the Mary Rose,
tiny but strong to fish in the sea.
How the wind blows, who knows?

And no, you are NOT allowed to call me Mary Rose! Seriously. The only other person who did was my favourite uncle, Tommy, who died in his nineties a few years back and who doesn't belong in this poem. It's a special name, not for general use, not even by best friends, lovers or husbands.

(I don't have a photo of the Mary Rose but she was something like this, with a pointier bow. This is from the Antique Boat Centre. As the image is marked as available to be saved, I am assuming Public Domain.)

At 'imaginary garden with real toads' Kim's weekend mini challenge is Boats, and she quotes many people's favourite boat song – certainly mine – The Skye Boat Song. Check out the link to find more boat poems.

I grew up on an island, often 'messing about in boats', and was later married for 27 years to a professional fisherman, so had many possibilities to write about ... but perhaps we all have one boat that is more special than others.

14 September 2017

Ghazal for —

Where shining joy was the most blended with piercing pain;
of many loves – all true, all lost – you are that one.

We meet in dreams, and in my memories, again
and yet again. It seems, briefly, death has not won.

‘Shall we meet once more in another life?’ I asked.
‘Nothing surer!’ declared my friend the magician.

With that I must be content as the slow years pass.
I was angry a long time that I must go on.

How full and rich life became for me after all.
Yet, still haunted, I never say your name, dear  —.

You owe me something. I will hold you to it, soul-
bound of old. I am your love. I claim reunion.

Written for Poets United's Midweek Motif ~ Reunions

13 September 2017

‘East West, Home’s Best.’ North South, Same Truth

They cry, ‘Here comes the cold!’
those Northern Hemispherists – bold
to ignore the other half of the world.
(Sigh!) That’s getting old.

Here, the cold is leaving. How sweet
to contemplate the return of heat.
Never mind what excesses we may meet
as we globally warm – still a treat.

Here in the sub-tropics, anyway, cold
is fleeting and slight. We find it sweet
that our winters are meek and bland, not bold
and harsh. We welcome the caress of heat.

Cold north, warm south; the twain don’t meet,
can’t cross from opposite sides of the world.
Never mind change or seasons, that much is old.
And perhaps we may count it a treat.

More and more I love home, as I get old.
When I was younger I travelled the world
and sampled other climates. Oh, I was bold!
Now – in all weathers, home keeps out the cold.

Written for 'Here Comes the Cold' at Poems of Garden Gnomes

I attempted a ‘Martin verse’, invented by Martin Kloess. Not easy! 
(At the link, scroll down to the poem 'Summer's Air'.)

10 September 2017

Letter to a Lasting Love

Little Prince, I loved you at first sight. 
When I came to know you better,
your inner beauty matched and deepened
the sweet exterior, so my love deepened too.

I grew more intimate with you; at first 
swiftly, immediately, filled with increasing 
excitement and wonder ... astonished, rapturous.
Then even closer and better: leisurely, gradually.

'Time cannot weary nor custom stale.' I return
again and again, sometimes after long absence –
yet, you are never truly far from me. Your words
whisper often in my innermost ear, sound in my heart.

Oh excellent teacher and friend, I am and am not
possessive. I hold your physical body close, clasped
to my breast. Yet I share you with many. Once you lent 
one man and me your language (before he returned to his star).

Responding to Magaly's irresistible prompt at 'imaginary garden with real toads': My Dearest Book, I Wrote You a Poem ...  
(But the phrase in quotes is, of course, from Shakespeare.)

Sevenling (Hope is the other side)

Hope is the other side of despair,
hope is the helpless cousin to prayer,
hope is what's left when nothing else is there.

I want to turn it into intention,
I want to transform it into action,
or better, use it in advance as prevention.

But sometimes there is only rage and blame.

Written for Poems of Garden Gnomes (a sevenling on hope).

9 September 2017

Book of Words

My book of words 
is a testament to rapture,
a mimicry of treasures I find
outside the book – leaves
in a tracery of lace on sky, 
clouds like angels 
vastly soaring aloft, 
liquid-throated calls 
of currawongs ... do you see
how my book of words
frees these delights 
and countless more
each time I open the cover?

Written for Words Count with Mama Zen at 'imaginary garden with real toads': a poem of up to 60 words, preferably entitled 'Book of Words', and including three words from a list of her children's favourites. (My three are 'testament', 'rapture' and 'mimicry'. Great words, kids!)

Also linked to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #370

6 September 2017

United, Not …

The Chilean composer (Ortega) wrote a song:
‘The people united will never be defeated’
based on a shouted slogan for social change
under the great Allende (three months before 
he fell to Pinochet). It was the time
of uniting classical music with popular 
melodies and the instruments of folk.
The American (Rzewski) then created
a piano opus: thirty-six variations
on the theme. And now on Labour Day
in Australia we shout the slogan, changed:
‘The workers united will never be
defeated!’ – although the fact that 
Labour Day happens on different days 
in different States makes you wonder
if Governments are making us 
subtly disunited, or maybe not so subtly 
when you think about many other 
things that go on – like tax breaks 
for huge corporations, like …
well, so much (attitudes and rulings;
erosion of wages, safeguards and conditions)  
which in the end, gradually, without 
bloodshed, make us feel bloody defeated. 

Written for the 'Getting to Work' Labor Day prompt at Poems of Garden Gnomes' Also linked to this week's Tuesday Platform at 'imaginary garden with real toads'.

1 September 2017

Respect (Argument)

Let's spread respect today. Let's show it and praise it and trouble it and mend it. – Susan Chast


Let’s get real on Unconditional Love. How can we
spread it to all those we can never like, admire,
respect or approve? Look around – evil abounds.
Today the world is full of the mad and the hateful.

Let’s admit, the task is impossible. They hurt me! 
Show me how I can find love for those people.
It’s not a thing I can feel for them, not for them,
and you shouldn’t ask it. I must defend myself.


Praise be, love is not a feeling; that’s a myth.
It is a choice, an attitude, a set of actions,
and we must not mistake it for softness of heart.
Trouble and hurt and evil will come. Nevertheless

it is possible to show respect, even kindness.
Then we do not ourselves grow hateful. We can
mend the broken, even though we must not yield.
It is respect which is the true Unconditional Love.

Written (simultaneously) for Poets United's Midweek Motif ~ Respect and dVerse's Meeting the Bar – the Acrostic. (This is a first word acrostic, using the words quoted.) It also grew out of a recent discussion in the local women's Wisdom Circle, on unconditional love.

30 August 2017


Will you not come,
lonely and broken,
to drink from my eyes
the love you are craving,
to receive from my hands
a softness like flowers?

I thought you would. I thought 
I could touch you, gaze on you, 
give you enfolding,
a caress like sleep
or the fragrance of roses
inhaled gently.

But then you let me see
the hard light of your stare,
let me hear the cold 
in your careless laugh.
The mask fallen can't be replaced.
It is I who am broken, lonely.

(Not directly autobiographical. An experiment in style as much as anything else.)

Linked to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #369

26 August 2017

We Gathered in the Sacred Grove

We then fanned out into the forest, each of us picking a tree:
our brothers and sisters who, like us, love you, Goddess of Light.

Goddess of Shining Light, we see your radiance; let it be
that which awakens us from the fearsome horrors of the night.

You are arising and shining, Goddess of the Forest. See,
we are here, who adore you – you limpid flame, you flaring bright.

Each of us stands with a tree, side by side, sharing all we be.
It is a custom here, and so it seems to us good and right.

We sing with strong voices; our breath, helped by the trees, pouring free.
Joining together to love you, we become one in your sight.

This ancient ceremony
is yours: oh love, oh delight!

Written for the Meme prompt at 'imaginary garden with real toads': using the 7th sentence on page 13 of a handy book as inspiration for a love poem.

The first line of this poem is the sentence, or as much of it as was on the page. The book (read as an ebook, so page numbers don't necessarily conform to the paperback edition) is
Fairies of the Wild Wild Moon by Vyvyan Ogma Wyverne. It seemed fitting, given the source, to make this a love poem to the Goddess.

It also seems to fit with Poets United's Midweek Motif ~ Nature: Her Words

And it's an attempt at the chanso form recently aired at Poetic Asides.

22 August 2017

My Garden Gnomes

They carry garden tools
but live in the house.

They have a job to do
and it’s not gardening.
They are my Finder Gnomes.

‘Silly,’ says my friend. ‘They 
aren’t alive. It’s your angels.’ 

All I know is, when I lose 
anything, I ask them.
Then it turns up.

Written for 'The Truth About Gnomes' at Poems of Garden Gnomes. 
Also shared with Poets United's Poetry Pantry #368

21 August 2017

Adopting an Older One

It’s really not complicated 
(though she is complex); it’s gradual. 
Over a year before she began to purr; 
closer to two until she learned, 
tentatively, to miaow.

This evening she gave my finger 
a tiny lick. Still I know – because 
she has taught me so – I must never
presume nor encroach. She makes all 
the running, sets the pace. It’s simple.

at 'imaginary garden with real toads' (10 lines)

20 August 2017

Sonnet Written Upon a Tim Tam

As requested by my friend Jim 

Yesterday I posted on facebook my pleasure
at eating Tim Tams and reading sonnets 
simultaneously, whilst also sitting in the sun
with my sweet cat. This post got a lot of likes. 

Then one friend asked, intending jocularity, 
'When will you publish "Sonnet Written 
Upon a Tim Tam"?' Why not? I thought, 
and replied, 'Tomorrow' – which is now today.

The taste is something between chocolate
and honey, a blend, and the texture also mixed:
creamy soft outside, the centre crisp yet melting. 

It takes six bites – or sometimes only four –
to savour and devour one whole, from the first
burst of joy in the mouth to the last lingering lick.

Linked to Meeting the Bar: Neruda and the free verse sonnet 
at dVerse Poets Pub.

19 August 2017

Brain Dysfunctions

Going off alone into other worlds
among dreams and shadows, she seeks
light-bearing clouds, warmth, and the feeling
of feet touching earth squarely, firmly.

Reality is itself too ephemeral
for her, with her several illnesses, her lack
of power and autonomy. But she persists
and gradually makes a way, here and there.

No-one on earth can help, she decides. 
Elsewhere encounters the dark ones who promise
to lend their strength to her will. She permits.

Now she can make things happen, despite
limitations she was born with. Fails to see
she is in their power: not using, being used.

Linked to dVerse Meeting the Bar: Neruda and the free verse sonnet.

16 August 2017


Oh, I am madly excited!!! My poetry collection, SECRET LEOPARD: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS 1974-2005, has just been reissued as an ebook, via my favourite publisher Content X Design. (Thank you, Delaina and Kristin!)

You can get it for only $2.99 USD in whatever format suits you (mobi for Kindle, epub for other e-readers or pdf for your computer).

Lots of wonderful poems, if I do say so myself 
 and you won't find them on my blog!

(There are still a VERY few paperback copies left which I am now selling for $10 USD — and to Aussies $10 AUD — plus postage. You'll have to message me if you want one of them.)

Here is the link to the ebook.

13 August 2017

She Writes Long Poems

She writes long poems which look calmly at pain
as though there is nothing wrong about feeling pain.

The night draws down cold after a day of cloud —
heavy cloud, formed to hold the painful threat of rain.

What night was it she wore that white flower? She forgets —
in any case has no power nor wish to call that pain back again.

Darkness is vast; words lengthen in silence, attenuate.
New shapes cast new meaning, pain slowly made plain.

(Note: I am not she who will write poems many pages long
so as to push back night, at once to confront and deaden pain.)

Playing with form; inspired by the 'quasi-ghazals' of John Calvin Rezmerski and the long poems of Judith Crispin. 

Linked to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #366

6 August 2017


for Sharon

Learning that light 
folds in on itself
as it simultaneously expands

I think of my friend at five, 
standing in front of a tree
and watching it dissolve

into patterns, into Tree pattern,
then feeling herself as Me pattern
and seeing the landscape fill with light

as all the patterns of all the beings
lit with joy to see her understand –
and I wonder if my experience 

of light swirling and folding, 
condensing and growing, 
irradiating Life,

is anything like her experience 
and the way she has built 
an ecology from seed shapes ...

or is that we 
are separate gods,
or possibly separate ants –

or fragments 
particles of light)?

Linking to Tuesday Platform at 'imaginary garden with real toads'.

My Mother Made Me a Cake for My Party

It was shaped and iced 
like a skirt for a princess, 
around an inserted plaster doll. 
She and my aunty spent hours
on painstaking details.

Another, a simple sponge,
had a section cut from the top
filled with dark green jelly, 
dotted with bought ornaments
(lilies, frogs). Easy! 
That was the one we children loved.

The illustration, included according to Fair Use, is by Erté (Romain de Tirtoff). Today in Flash 55 PLUS! at 'imaginary garden with real toads' we are invited to use one of his works as inspiration. This one, 'Costume of the Louis XV period', immediately threw me back into that childhood memory — though the skirt made of cake was more elaborately decorated.

5 August 2017

The Necessity of Being Specific

I pasted on my treasure map
the words ‘Bonjour Paris’
and a picture of the Eiffel Tower.

Be careful – not only what 
you wish for, but how! I dreamed
of visiting that legendary city, but

(this was already years ago) I never
went to Paris, walked those streets
nor drove ‘with the warm wind’ etc.

But treasure maps work! Backpacker son
surprised me one day that year, with
a phone call: ‘G’day! Guess where?’

This is a true story, but the illustration is not from my long-discarded treasure map (aka vision board) but a fabric detail photographed by Margaret Bednar who, in Artistic Interpretations at 'imaginary garden with real toads' invites us to choose one of several as inspiration.

3 August 2017

My Soul Says to My Heart:

Yes, there are horrors going on in the world.

Keep picking up the litter. Turn off the tap.
Gaze at trees where you find them;
touch them if possible.
Drink the sky.

Live now. Do the thing you can.
It is true that people kill people. It is true 
that our governments respond
with their own versions of terror. And 
it is true we are not being told the truth.

So sign a petition, or march, or even 
write a poem. Dream of another country
where there is peace and freedom. Dream
that you have the means to move,
and would be made welcome. Meanwhile….

Go outside. Find a flower or a leaf or
a blade of grass. They will not always
be common. Look at it, stroke it,
breathe its scent.

There is not much time. Get on with it!

2 August 2017

The Dreams We Don’t Remember

3.15 and the cold woke me.
I went stumbling out of bed
for hot water bottles, 
toasted raisin bread, and a nip
of Stones Green Ginger Wine.

I was crawling out of a cave,
I was blind and skinless, 
when the cold pierced
and rescued me
from all but that fragment.

What strange adventures
do we meet in the dark,
what selves unknown 
to our daylight hours
writhe and struggle?

Today in the Wisdom Circle
we who call ourselves Goddesses
pondered and wondered
about our past lives. Perhaps
we didn't go far enough back?

Perhaps we were, all of us, once
worms or insects, or grotesque 
sea things, deformities of the deep.
Do distant ancestors rise through time
to inhabit us while we sleep?

Linking to this week's Tuesday Platform at 'imaginary garden with real toads'.

30 July 2017

An Ironic Little Tale

How hard he strives to make her proud — 
chasing worldly success and money,
proclaiming his triumphs aloud.
If it wasn't sad it might be funny.
When he was young, he was a honey —
idealistic, kind and giving.
She was proud then of her sweet sonny.
Now she deplores his way of living.

Written for A Glance at Narrative at 'imaginary garden with real toads'. (And I wanted to try the huitain form.)

24 July 2017

July Nights: Sequence

July nights
darkness brings a chill
I’m alone

I huddle
into my jacket
deny cold

turn on light 
and warmth to cancel

five years ago, still
I shiver

(It's winter in Australia – and time for my 'anniversary reaction'.)

21 July 2017

The Misunderstanding

I said into her mind, ‘Today you can
come with me if you wish.’ I only meant
she could attach her mind to mine and see
and hear and feel and do alongside: scan
my own experiences and share. I sent,
I thought, that message. Sadly, she
received it literally, stood by the door
as if with whiskers spruced, bag packed, intent
and ready, proud to come along with me
on business. Had to tell her, ‘Sorry – you’re
Cat, see.’

Written for the curtal sonnet challenge at Poetic Asides.