“I always think that the best way to know God is to love many things.” ~ Vincent van Gogh

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Late Morning

He is resting under the blankets
one arm thrown up against his head,
eyes closed, face pale.

Later I hear him wake;
he is murmuring to the cat.
Then I hear him singing.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Myself at Breakfast

I tilt my head right back
draining the strawberry taste
of my diet shake breakfast
and its soft, creamy texture.
Then with one finger I prise off
the bright pink top of the shaker
to spoon out what’s left
on its sluggish way down the sides
thick like oozing lava, but cool,
deliciously cool.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Winter Evening, My Place

I can see the grey rain
hanging heavy in the clouds over there
coming down close to cover the mountains.
I can almost feel it in the cold air
which tingles like fine drops of water.

Two green lorikeets with deep red beaks
tumble above me, flying low
and disappear, shrieking in play,
into the bottlebrush tree.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


They were miaowing for breakfast.
I groaned, turned over, went back to sleep.
They waited awhile. A little later, the black one
leapt softly on to the bed. I opened my eyes
to a gentle touch on my arm with his paw
and an earnest, questioning gaze. He even
had his claws retracted. So polite!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

And It's Not Even Spring!

Hanging out the washing,
I hear, ‘Click, click’ on the fence posts,
turn and see green face, red beak
pecking at the vines, not a bit afraid
of my proximity. But by the time
I fetch the camera — gone.

I had to get the bird book out.
It was a Scaly Breasted Lorikeet,
my first. (I deplore the name.
Those ‘scales’ are bright feathers.)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Garden My Father Made

I wake from a dream 
of my childhood garden,
magical garden,
my personal Paradise.

Only now, in my old age,
I realise my Dad made it,
that place of my happiness.
Then, I simply enjoyed.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


That hard, percussive sound 
of a football repeatedly kicked
resounds along our street.
The boys are back from school.

The cats watch through the flywire.
They avoid catching my eye.
The fur is lifting on their necks. 
They do not ask to be let outside.

Friday, July 22, 2011


When the pain is bad,
sometimes he gets very quiet.
He seems absent-minded,
his expression saying
he can barely tell who I am.
Then it tires him at last
and he drops asleep in his chair.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I don’t know their name, but ...

The orange flowers on the vine
cascade down my fence,
brightening the dusk
as it comes to my garden.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What My Eye Lights On

(another six things)

The big tub of honey on the bench
candied now, dull gold through the plastic;
a present from our neighbour Joseph
whose friend has a hive.

My little red hand torch
in case of a blackout.

The blue handle of my office scissors
sticking out past the surrounding pens
in the white mug on my desk —

the mug, with drawings around the sides:
a delicate peacock; rosebuds. 

A photo of my firstborn, graduating
in his black gown and mortar-board, 
holding a rolled white scroll.
(He still had his blonde hair then.)

Overlooking my laptop
a tiny, gold-painted statue of Bast.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I wake up and see ...

Andrew pushing his wheely walker,
bending forward in his navy pyjamas.

The bright white mercury light globe
reflected in the bedroom mirror.

The dream catcher Irene made us years ago
hanging in the window; its feathers and beads.

Big black Levi climbing on the bed and purring,
making a pounce for a dangling cord.

Two little pictures my father painted,
one in northern Tasmania, one on Flinders Island.
Their dark wood frames; the orange tones of the earth;
the dull green trees, cloudy skies, pale water.

The discarded picnic rug thrown off the bed.
Its tartan pattern: warm red and lots of soft blue.

Inspired by Linda Gregg getting her writing students to write down every day six things they’d seen, as reported by Fiona Robyn in The physical world pours in.

Monday, July 18, 2011


The mountain is a profile of a man’s face. 
He lies on his side, looking up:
long nose, strong chin, sloping forehead. 
On a very clear day, the cave halfway up
is visible, forming an eye.

In Peru, the village of Aquas Calientes
is right beside a mountain
with a vast ear on its side ...

Oh, I have had and am having
such a lovely life!

(Apu is the Peruvian word for mountain spirits — to put it very simply.)


I pass the house that was Christa’s.
The weatherboards are blue now
under the white gables. 
All the same, it looks old.


I notice the blessing of breath.
After being breathless, I savour
breathing deep and free.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

In Pain

Pain reduces him.
A day of pain, and he
can focus on little else.
He becomes the pain;
it consumes him,
crowding out the not-pain
that used to be himself.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bed in the Morning

It’s cold, but they’re cosy:
the cats wound around each other
and the man who peeps bright-eyed
from piled-up pillows and doona.
And there's a space for me.

Friday, July 15, 2011

She wants her dinner early

With him, her miaow is low and plaintive.
She knows he, tender-hearted,
will give in to her pleading
unless I intervene.

I am the strict one 
who will make her wait.
With me, a different voice:
sharp and shrill, she swears at me in Cat.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Geraniums

The geraniums
newly replanted
lie all over the ground.

From their small pot
they grew up bright and tall.

Now in their bed of mulch
they sprawl horizontal
looking too tired to care.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


A ragged feather of smoke 
lifts from behind the hill
past darkening trees.

Birds are flocking 
for their resting places.

‘It’s cold,’ says Andrew.
‘Come inside 
and shut the door.’

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Writing Small Stones

‘It’s difficult,’ he says, and it is —
looking out, paying attention
to the world as it is, not
our ideas of the world.

‘Look!’ I say and he does, 
then struggles to write. I read 
and see that he, who is storyteller, 
must shape even these
into stories. Of course!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hospital Worker

She looks young:
quick stride, red shirt, 
blonde curls caught at the neck
and thick ponytail bouncing.

She rings the bell
at the Patient Area Centre,
walks straight in, drops
a document on a desk, returns.

Only then, as she strides back 
towards me, the way she came,
I notice that her face
is tired, and not young.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dining room / office: flashes of red

I look around the room and see flashes of red: the covers of scattered notebooks; a discarded cap slung over the back of a chair; the gauze bag holding talismans; a close-up tulip cut from a magazine and displayed on the facing wall of my desk; beside it the print of Bette’s woodcut, rose-hips on a branch; the ribbons and pom-poms on clown figurines I collect; the red ‘zero messages’ sign on my desktop phone;  the tomato sauce bottle nearly empty; the cap on the peanut butter jar; the torch handy on the bench in case of blackout; the handle of the little paring knife; the red plastic legs of the folding clothes-horse; a pair of bright red underpants hanging to dry; the stylised flowers on the cushion covers; pictures of fruit on the place mats — strawberries, apples, deep red grapes; my bookstand for easier reading at the table; the red star on my ‘urgent’ file; my tabasco sauce ...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

I watch the TV chef

I watch the TV chef 
preparing crayfish

the white flesh filling 
the bright orange shell.

He takes a fat claw
and slices it across.

As he pulls out the meat
and drops it into his mouth

I smell and taste it,
the succulent tang

as fresh and sweet
as in my childhood.

Note: Crayfish is the Australian term for lobster.

Friday, July 8, 2011


Watching a tense episode of ‘Angel’
I find myself sucking my thumb.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mixed Up

Autumn here fools the plants
with false Spring every year.
Now that it’s winter, the frangipani
has lost those brief, wrong blooms.

The lady who lived here before
planted cherry tomatoes. They
are still fruiting in winter, climbing
all over the bare frangipani stems.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The flowers Teresa gave me

The flowers Teresa gave me
are still fresh and bright

upright in the vase
after nine whole days

clumps of yellow and white
with long green leaves

and in the centre
one red carnation.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Close View

Looking out at my garden, I see
the tiniest spider, a delicate speck
on the other side of the glass.

A little further along, two insects,
small but twice the spider’s size,
hang wrapped and still in web cocoons.

Monday, July 4, 2011

At darkfall

Pale winter sunset. The trees
along the top of the far hill
make edges of black lace.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

As we lay in bed last night

As we lay in bed last night
a low, distant whirr began
only just audible, ominous.
The wind, I thought; but
it sounded unnatural.

Would this be the night
of the invader — human
or extraterrestrial, either way
alien — arriving by stealth;
would this be our death?

Saturday, July 2, 2011


The preacher spoke of inner joy,
how to find that in small things.

I looked up and saw my friend
coming in through the door.

The Cats Curled

The cats curled
at the foot of the bed
mirror each other's poses
exactly: two circles of fur.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Cat with Shining Eyes

The cat with shining eyes
rests in my arms all night,
her love no less deep or true
than that of humans.