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

Monday, December 31, 2012

At My Writing Table



Late afternoon. The hot day cools. I come outside to my back yard writing table, and the cats follow me out and settle themselves in their favourite spots. Levi goes and eats grass and throws up, with much body contortion. I'm glad this happens outside on the concrete, which I can hose down later. He positions himself on the doormat to have another go, but I whisk it out from under him and he chooses the dirt of the yard instead, where it soaks in and disappears. All organic, I tell myself, and biodegradable. Never mind the hose; I fetch a jug from inside and wash the mess on the concrete into the dirt as well. Freya decides to depart, wandering off around the side of the house. I expect she'll end up on the front doorstep, from where she likes to survey the street. (Later I find that she has gone through the cat-door instead, back inside.) I settle to my journalling finally, my water bottle beside me on the table, with my cordless landline phone as well as my mobile. I applied Rid before I came out, to keep me safe from mozzies and midges and other little bitey things. There should be no need to go back inside until I finish my writing. Levi is curled up peacefully now in a patch of late afternoon sunlight.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Nap Time


The 'children' sleep, foetally curled, too deep for purring now; but their little ears are still pointed forwards, part of the cat-brain forever alert.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Return


When I come back after a few days away, she comes to bed with me just as she always used to do, and we have big cuddles. But on subsequent nights she's out through the cat-door again: her new habit. 

I try to be glad she needed so little reassurance.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Echo

I hear myself as I talk to the cats. I hear my dead husband's voice — his tone, his inflection, his phraseology. So perhaps for them he is not quite gone.

I hadn't realised what an echo I had become.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

In the Guest Bedroom

1:
Hebe has put me in a bower of green and purple, the colours of feminism — in gentle tonings, leavened with white and accented with wood. There are plain, thin frames of dark wood around the windows and the built-in wardrobe. The bedside tables and the small semi-circular shelf in the corner are of blonder wood. The ceiling, the ceiling fan, and the wardrobe doors are white. So is the background material of doona cover and curtain. But the predominant hues are the soft green walls; the green leafy pot plants, their leaves ranging from dark to almost transparent; the pretty purple flowers on curtain and doona; the blown-up colour photo on the wall, of a spreading bush of mauve bougainevillea. The whole effect is of light and softness. I feel sheltered and expanded at once. I begin to imagine I can smell lavender.

2:
This bed I have never shared with Andrew. Nor this bedroom. It is a place where I can just be me without the memories, just for a few days. I would not want it to be like that all the time — I would not wish to be cut off from the memories — but it's good to have a short space in which they do not HAVE to be there. In my bed at home they are unavoidably ever-present. It's good to get away these few days. I do remember things while I'm here, too, of course, but only as they arise; they are not inevitable. Here I am predominantly myself, not first and foremost Andrew's widow. I am the self I have always been, underneath all the vagaries and vicissitudes of life. I like the experience. It's like a renewal. And I like this me.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Late Afternoon


Loving to sit at my new outdoor writing spot. The late afternoon is warm, not hot. The vines on the fence still have some flowers. There is only the faintest breeze stirring the palm fronds; I can't feel it.  A small butterfly flits among my thriving green weeds. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tree Gesture


That bare branch extends 
like a naked arm 
from its clothing of leaves,
the forked twig on the end
a thumb and pointing finger.

What does the tree want to say, 
gesticulating thus 
in graceful elegance
yet so significant?
'I am here,' it says. 'Here I am!'

'Here I am!' it says. 'I am here.'


(For Mindful Writing Day 2012)





Sunday, October 21, 2012

Odd


Odd things I remember.
He liked his shower
what I would call too hot.
When he got out, I'd see
red lines like long scratches
down his pale back.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Suddenly ...


Suddenly the jacaranda is blooming all along the road — misty-soft, a purple cloud. And then another and another.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

My Geraniums

In early Spring my geraniums flowered profusely. Already, after some very high temperatures, the cheerful blooms are few.



Friday, September 28, 2012

Waiting Room Shenanigans


The tiny blonde one
goes straight to the toy bin.

His brown-haired brother
has brought a Matchbox car from home
and says, 'Vroom vroom vroom'
as he rolls it across the table.

Then the little one comes to me.
He holds his arm up to my face
to show me the red stamp
on the back of his wrist.

His brother presents an arm too.
His stamp is grey. My cry of delight
is not so loud as I gave the younger.

So then he swirls the other wrist
revealing a coloured sticker, so bright
and sudden that I shout — and now he's glad.

White Hawk Flies


White hawk flies over the road.
Big flaps of strong slow wings.

When it rose from the trees
at first I thought ibis, then

I saw how round the head,
how curved the beak.

It skims low over the forest
head-down purposeful

heading away from the sea
towards the Border Ranges.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Angel


A sky of angel clouds:
wings and several faces.

None of the faces 
is yours, but I'm reminded

that those who can see 
always recognised you 

as an embodied angel ...
gone now, to join your own.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Completion

My beautiful man passed away today about 3.40 in the afternoon. The nursing home phoned me just after breakfast so I went straight there and our dear friend Maureen joined me there, and we sat with him all day. The nursing home fed us, and we reminisced about him and his life, and talked to him too, and held his hands, knowing he could feel and hear us although he was unable to respond. He was very peaceful and comfortable all day, and went quickly and easily. He did wonderful things in his life, and was a treasured friend and mentor to many. I have been very blessed to have 20 years with this incredibly loving man.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

First Day of Spring

I march out into the street, late afternoon,
the sun still bright, the air balmy.
New leaves are sprouting on all the trees.
A neighbour's bamboo hedge stands tall and thick.

Monday, August 27, 2012

I Step Outside

A cold, clear morning.
Ragged patches of cloud,
more navy-blue than grey,
linger after last night's
distant thunder.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Out On My Walk

Out on my walk
though I'm deep in grief
bright yellow Everlasting Daisies
with central circles of gold
cause brightness for me too
for a moment.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Lying Back in His Bed

Lying back in his bed
in the nursing home
he puts one arm up
behind his head.

'Why?' I ask him.
His eyes twinkle.
'Just because,' he says.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hospital Patients

Two elderly men sit side by side in armchairs, chatting happily. They are dressed in their outdoor clothes. One has a deep red jacket, the other a mauve shirt. Both are in jeans. They are white-haired and balding; one has a thick white brush moustache. They are smiling and laughing as they yarn to each other.

My Husband in Hospital

All day he has been by the window, looking out at the hills across the way. This morning he was sitting up, admiring them. This afternoon he was resting. When I asked, 'Are you awake?' he opened his eyes, looked out at the sky, and said with pleasure, 'Oh, it's all bright!'

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Early Morning Birds

Early morning birds
and the expectant hush
of Spring in the air
take me back

to my grandparents' house
amongst orchards
in Tasmania,
six decades gone.

Communication from a Friend

She sends me a song about holding on.
She sends me the image of a tree surrounding me:
a big trunk; strong roots going deep in the soil.
I won't fall, she says, no matter how windy the storm.
She doesn't realise that she has also told me
exactly how much I'll be buffeted and shaken.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Purple Daisies

The purple daisies —
four with short stems,
in my tiny, spherical
cut crystal vase —
half close at evening,
showing their darker
undersides.

I found them
two days ago
when I came home:
stuck in the wire
of my front door.
Who gave me
these purple daisies?

Monday, August 13, 2012

In the Hospital Bed

In the hospital bed I notice
under the white gown
how thin his arms have become.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Calling the Hospital

His voice on the phone is weak. And he can't hear me. No-one has remembered he needs his hearing aids. We yell at each other vainly, frustrated.

'Have you been to our place?' he asks.

'I'm here!' I tell him.

'I wish you were here,' he says.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Kay's Chicken Soup

Kay's good chicken soup
that she brought me
because I'm sick
stays with me.

Its warmth and flavour
and sustenance
continue to fill me. She
boiled down a whole chicken.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I Sit Outside

I sit outside to meditate, my spirits immediately lifting as I look at my sweet, nurturing back yard. It is both enclosed like a shelter, and open to the sky and plethora of trees beyond the fences. I am both protected, and connected to the Vastness.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Bottlebrush

I step outside. Overnight
those dry trees on my lawn
have covered themselves
with bright red blooms.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Monday, July 30, 2012

Sunday, July 29, 2012

War Movie

We are watching a move about World War I, the trenches.

'My father endured that,' he says.

He thinks the movie is wonderful, but he is taut and angry as he gets ready for bed.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Rush of the Wind

The rush of the wind through the trees is quiet and sustained like white noise. I listen to it with joy and wonder. If I wasn't sitting still and paying attention, I might never notice. But I am and it sounds big, like the hum of the motors that drive the Universe.

Friday, July 27, 2012

I Like the Bite

I like the bite
of the evening air,
not really cold but fresh,
as I step out into
blue dusk
surrounded by mountains
familiar as bread;
they too are sustaining.

Oh, the Frangipanni Blossoms

Oh, the frangipanni blossoms
are a cloud of pink and white.
Spring is here at this bend of the road,
though Winter has another month to run.

Half Moon

the bright half-moon
lies on her back
floating
on a deep pool of sky

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My Hula Hoop

My hula hoop is silver
and hot pink, shiny.

Tess made it for me
because she knew

it's just what I need
right now and I love it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I Look Around ...

The cats are asleep on the armchairs. The coffee table and dining table are getting piled up with newspapers again. The clock on the window-sill ticks loudly, going slow. The light is bright and warm. There are too many ornaments crammed on the few shelves, and my desk has higgledy-piggledy piles of paper each side of the laptop.

Cluttered and untidy as it is, I like it. I see the items that speak of him and me and the life we live here. There is comfort and functionality. There is art and there are words, words on paper — words, words, words, piles of words. And the laptop and various pens. Over on the far wall is a bookshelf, chockablock. We are writers, we are readers, we are people of the word.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Contemplating Flies

I was brought up to see them
as dirty,
covered in germs,
particularly those fine back legs
hair-thin,
that pranced on food,
rubbed together, danced.

The back of this fly
is iridescent,
down at the end
under the flare of the wings.
The wings
are transparent silver;
they flutter lightly and flick.

(I know this observation
feels abrupt,
unfinished. There is little
more to say, having overcome
revulsion,
having contemplated and seen
what is still, after all, merely fly.)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Garden Time

Wind rustles my fern garden,
long fronds wave and toss.

I wipe the cobwebs away
from jade bush and umbrella plant.

Near the top of the plant's trunk
a circlet of tiny, bright leaves
glistens newborn, still sticky.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Two Young Women Jog.

They are slim and muscled.
One has a little white dog
running on a leash
just in front of her.
He scampers and bounces
turning his head as if to say,
'Come on, keep up!'

I Walk Out

I walk out into drizzle
perceiving the beauty
of this grey day

the mountains dimmed
their edges softy blurring
into the thick white sky

everything paled
everything gentled.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pausing to Listen

Internal voices crowd out any external sounds I might hear. So much chatter going on in my head! It is just on the edge of consciousness; I catch snippets of conversations.

Translucent Petals

On the wall of the private dining room at Heritage Lodge is a big painting of flowers — flowers I used to be very familiar with, since earliest childhood, but haven't seen in the decades since I moved away from temperate climes. They have an unusual form: two big, overlapping, curly petals. I try to remember what they are called. I know there's a delicate scent associated with them too, not sweet but ... clean.

Flowering beans? Bean blossoms? No, that's not right. Some kind of peas? I can see in my mind, vividly, the ones I used to see, the sun shining through their delicate blue and green petals with a faint hint of gold. The ones in the painting are soft pinky-red, like a blush.

I hold the image of those others in my mind, a memory that goes right back to childhood. My Dad loved them too. I can see him standing beside them, talking ... ah yes, sweet peas, that's it!

My Mother's Perfume

Standing by the stove the other night, about to start cooking, I smelled, quite sharply, my mother's perfume. Unmistakable, and nothing in the surroundings to account for it.

She has been dead for 14 years now.

She always wore Tabu.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

My Weed Garden

My weed garden flourishes. Only the aloe vera persists, of the poor herbs we planted so many months ago. No, I'm wrong: the lemon verbena is still here, straggly but strong. And something which may be gota cola, but I'd have to check. Otherwise we have ferns and ground cover, quite pretty.

I take away the twitch grass, before it crowds out everything else. The rest can stay. My life's too busy now to look after a made garden; better to allow the things that insist on growing here.

The orange blooms on the vine wandering in from next door are festooning the fence.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Baby

The baby cuddles in.
I breathe the fragrance
of his warm scalp ...
instantly familiar,
after all these years.

Friday, July 13, 2012

I Sit In My car

I sit in my car at Knox Park, looking out at the trees, the play equipment, the houses beyond, the occasional bird. The rain has stopped; now the weather is steaming. I leave my door open.

I notice others in cars, with doors open, watching the park. It must be a Murwillumbah thing to do. Some of them are eating lunch. I'll just get mine out of my bag....

The Headlights Flash

The headlights flash
as the van goes over a rise
coming towards me
through the rain.
It veers, big green tank,
its muddy tyres squealing,
the low trailer behind it
jerking. I cringe
and then it's past,
rear view receding.

She Enters the Café

She enters the café
and sits with a sigh.
He looks at her
enquiringly. 'It's nice
to come to rest,' she says.

In the Doctor's Waiting Room

In the doctor's waiting room are the old and the young. The old sit quietly, the young are active and noisy — as it should be. At each end of life we are more vulnerable, more in need of care and maintenance.

The Children Roar

The children roar like wild animals, with laughter under the sound. They thump and run inside the fenced-off play area in the doctor's waiting-room.

The young mother sits calmly. gazing into space, her profile turned as if watching them, but her eyes distant, her body relaxed. She is used to this, able to tune out.

Then she returns to the here and now, goes in and fetches them out, puts the littlest on her lap and the other on a chair beside her, laughs with them.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day's Ends

A fragment of birdsong outside
greeted the sunny morning.
I opened the curtains. Change,
and a day of fine grey rain
moving slowly to cold night.
l close the blinds and curtains.
Outside, a fragment of birdsong.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Elfje Variant

Oh!
winter flowers
pink and white
like delicate Spring blossoms —
frangipanni.

Effective

A rainbow pennant flies
from the corner of the street
marking the entrance to town.

'Peace and pennants', she wished us,
joking (not 'peace and pennance').

And there on the café sign behind it
a painted lotus blossoms, its petals
open to the light ... a symbol of peace.

She does good wishing, that woman!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Elfje

orange
sudden blooms
on the vine
over my back fence
prolific

Having just discovered the Dutch form, elfje, had to have a go! For more information: http://simplyelfje.wordpress.com/

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Visible Sound

The wooden elephant
carved and painted
in lines of gold on black
is exaggeratedly narrow 
from chest to tail.

The legs are impossibly
tall and straight.
The head's thrown back,
ears falling long, and the trunk
raised high to the sky.

'I can hear him trumpeting,'
Andrew says. I look
and yes, the sound
is clarion. 'How joyous,'
I add, 'How triumphant!'

Friday, July 6, 2012

Tree Poems

Moving in the Breeze

I'm not the first to see
that the trees' bare branches
are like slender arms —

but I see this
as if for the first time 
now.

*******

Anchor

One old, thick trunk
among the more recent
and more delicate ...

from its solid width
the lowest boughs
extend like wings —

strong wings
of guardian angels.

The roots are spreading as far
as the tips of the topmost leaves.

Oasis

I enrolled in the Writing and Spiritual Practice course because I want an oasis, a space only for me. Late at night, I read the first questions and exercises. After awhile I notice I am sucking my thumb. I did that when I was a child. It gave me self-comfort and deep contentment.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Frog on the Pane

The window-frog
half the length of my thumb
has a pale underside
and littlle green toe-pads 
like pin-heads.

(Written 28 Nov. 2011 and just rediscovered.)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Sound

... the sound of the rain outside
like loud whispers, gradually 
surrounding the house ...

Monday, May 28, 2012

Man in Café

You can see
in his pose
how much he enjoys
that mug of coffee
at his lips:
the raised elbow,
the head tipped slightly back,
the rapt look.

Then, with what
diligent focus
he peels and eats
bite by bite
the long banana.
The strips of skin fall dangling
from its slender curve
becoming stump.

His gaze is focused, 
calmly intent. 
But underneath 
the straight-legged chair 
his sneakered feet 
are kicking up
in a tiny, involuntary 
joy-dance.


Based on a series of photos by John Palcewski.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I Open the Door


I open the door
on a cool, clear 
Autumn morning.
A chorus of birds
rises over the hill.

Friday, May 11, 2012

From Both Sides Now


My back yard is clear and sunny, even if a little chilly this autumn morning. I open my front door and there’s dense grey fog to the rooftops on the other side of the street; behind them nothing, everything gone.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Facebook Status Update

When all's said and done, it is calming to be able to stand in one's back yard, surrounded by trees, on a mild night, under the full moon (not quite obscured by cloud), pour a libation to Nature, perform a simple ritual and say some prayers.


(I looked at this next morning — this morning — and realised it could be a small stone too.)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Small Moments of Beauty


I am going through trouble and sorrow just now. But one day as I leave the hospital, I find a huge, thick, shiny golden leaf on the bonnet of my car. I take it home carefully and put it in front of my picture of Brighid, Goddess of Poetry. Another day, as I go to unlock my car door for my trip to visit the hospital, I find a butterfly perched on the handle. I put a finger close to its nearest wing without touching, and it gently flutters to a branch just above. Nature, I decide, is sending me comfort. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Best Feeling in the World

Another blogger invited people to add to her list. Here are my nominations:

Breathing air that’s clean.
Cresting a hill and seeing the sparkling blue ocean.
Stepping out my front door, early after sunrise, on a beautiful autumn morning (such as today's).

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cool Autumn Morning

cool autumn morning
rain clouds edged
with remnants of dawn

the cats go out early
liking this lapse in the heat

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Monday, March 5, 2012

Leaf

(Written as a WordsFlow exercise 11 Nov. 2011 and just rediscovered.)

I found a brown leaf, curled and twisted, with one red spot on the front near the stem, and a little hole the other end, like a pinprick. Did an insect start to eat it and give up? Did it get damaged falling from the tree? What tree? The wind must have blown it quite a way. It has yellow spots too, very small, very faint, and the veins are strongly marked in darker brown. The underside is paler, more golden brown. The stem is only half as long as the leaf. It’s a graceful, pretty thing, scalloped, fluted, with a point at the tip. It’s ephemeral, isn’t it? If I take it home to keep forever, it will dry and fade and crumble and I’ll end up throwing it away. I’ll throw it away now, back to the air and the earth.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I Open My Door

I open my door
to the wet world
morning after rain
the temperature now
cooling to autumn

even the near hills
are hidden by cloud
and the trees
in the still air
drip gently 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

From the Clouds

From the clouds piled above the mountains
tendrils of light reach down into crevices,
long white fingers probing.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Looking at those hills

Looking at those hills
I know an old home of mine
is still there beyond them.

Monday, January 30, 2012

This Kaleidoscope

This kaleidoscope that Janet gave me
twenty years ago
has never left my desk —
whatever desk, in whatever house.

Tiny gold tube
in slim black drawstring bag
of hard-wearing felt
(more like charcoal grey by now)

it’s a miniature kaleidoscope,
designed for reminding me
of childhood dreams
with grown-up elegance.

I hold it to the light
and turn the end.
The coloured lumps of glass
tumble, forming flowers and stars.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mouths

They are attracted,
you can see in their mouths
which look at each other like hungry eyes,
talk to each other like making kisses.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Dry Day

A dry day (mostly)
though heavy with cloud.
Town is grey,
empty. Even the air
feels exhausted.

There’s a piquant smell
not quite sour
not quite sweet —
some kind of plant
reacting with all that water?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The fallen frangipanni flowers

The fallen frangipanni flowers
white with yellow-gold centres
are like five-pointed stars
only softer, rounder. Their texture
looks somewhat like cream,
somewhat like very fine velvet.
Up the trumpet-shaped back
of the bloom, where it wants a stem,
are fine pink lines and green
fanning to the ends of the petals.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sheltering

Hunched, wet-feathered
on the veranda railings,
two Noisy Miners
don’t even squawk
when I open the door,
don’t even bother to move.
The street is awash, the sky
obliterated. This once
I don’t chase them away.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Suburban Vignette

Steady, heavy rain all morning.
Driving home up the hill, I see
that old dog, Coco, hunched
wet and shivering, poohing
in someone else’s gutter
across the road from his house.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Riding the Dragon

I cast circle,
ignite a red candle.
His white hair
shines in the light.

He closes his eyes
for the ritual,
speaks firmly aloud
his New Year desires.

He asks
to get closer to God,
resolves
to meditate on this.

Then, turning his hands,
he gives
energy back to the earth
with gratitude. So do I.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

More Rain Coming

Crickets loud
in misty dusk,
black shapes of birds
flying fast into dying light,
clouds looming grey.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

He sleeps pale

He sleeps pale
translucent,
wakes to talk of dying.

When I tickle him,
blood returns
with his laughter.


Submitted for dverse OpenLink Night #28

Friday, January 20, 2012

Bright

The flame trees are out now
all over the place,
orangey red
against our dear, drab greens:
explosions of sudden joy.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Smells of the Town

Perfume from one pharmacy, faint and floral. A sort of sterilised smell from the next, almost a non-smell, but stifling.

From the Austral Cafe I expect warm, savoury odours of the all-day breakfast, but there is only a whiff of tobacco from the cigarette butts in the ashtray outside.

The day is hot but there is just a trace in the air of the smell of coming rain.

In Coles a large, handsome man wearing only board shorts and a piece of cloth tying his ponytail drinks deeply from a big plastic bottle of milk before putting it into his trolley. I want to be close to enjoy looking at him, but his smell drives me away. He doesn’t look dirty but he smells unwashed — not reeking but stale. I decide he must be homeless.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Quiet Street

He opens the blinds.
Sunshine
and the leafy tops of trees.

I could be waking up
on a morning in Bali
nearly 40 years back.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Garden Drama

White butterfly —
no, moth, being a night creature —
on the other side of the glass.

I gaze, rapt,
at the snow-white body and legs,
the white wings outlined

by a stripe of black
following the curving shapes
just in from the edge.


Tonight again
it’s on the outside looking in
while I look back, and see

two rounded chunks
gone from the wings on one side
— torn or bitten out?

I slide open the door.
It flutters efficiently into the night
as if nothing was missing.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Photo of Mac

I see that his eyes are fierce and grumbly
with pain or worry — can cats frown?

His paws are pulled in close, tight
folded arms that say ‘Keep off’.

He is ginger and pretty, soft-furred (you can tell);
white nose and chin, tiger stripes all over.

Those eyes are a definite green, clear.
Most cats’ eyes are a definite yellow.

Crouched on his cushion, he glares as if
he’s just been woken to have his photo taken.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Old Basket

This round woven basket
was my mother’s button bag
when I was a little girl.

That red stain underneath
was there then, and
the green marks on the sides.

Now it’s grey with dust
in spite of washings. Straws
around the rim are broken.

It’s lost the drawstring cloth
that used to be its top,
and where have the buttons gone?

I was allowed to play with them,
lifting them out, sorting
the different colours.

I let them run, rattling,
through my fingers. Sometimes
I played they were people

My mother was 83
when she died,
thirteen years ago.

I didn’t want
expensive mementoes,
just this basket of memories.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

In the Distance

Two birds fly the evening cool,
one dark and quick 
against the cloudy sky,
the other moving lazily,
white wings flashing 
rhythmically on the dark blue hill.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Nightfall

Through the blinds, dying light
pushes the trees closer

looming silhouettes, like ghosts
ringing the house

the fading sky a backdrop
for their dark shapes

which intermingle, crowding
together, drawing in

until the darkness deepens
and they vanish.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Arthritic

My black cat, sleek as a snake,
climbs on to the coffee table beside me.
I take everything off to give him room.

He gazes mournfully into my eyes
swishing his long tail.
I think his arthritis is playing up again.

Tomorrow he gets his monthly injection.
It keeps him light on his feet.
I wish I could get one for mine.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

For Daniel

After a hard day
I read a friend’s poem online,
phrases of evocative beauty

and I play the music he posted.
Its sonorous notes roll over me
sweet, and I lose myself.

For a long, deep moment, I want
to be eaten up by it, swallowed whole,
stay there forever, but I shake myself free.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Spider

How fast and purposeful, 
the small Huntsman spider 
navigating our wall and ceiling —
small enough that I can see its beauty.

Yet I don’t want it above me
where it might drop.
I don’t kill these creatures,
but I do guide it outside.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Tennis

She moves so fast
in that low shot,
I think I see flame
rising from the court.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

When People Die

I write very good poems
when people die.
Grief pulls them out of me.

And if there is grief
there might as well be poems,
turning a terrible event
to some kind of good account.

But I’d rather
still have those friends
than all the poems I wrote them.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Last Night

I found out my friend died.
We have been expecting this,
still I am wrecked by it,
broken into pieces
and I can’t come back.

This morning
I woke up different,
a different person,
one I don’t know,
clumsy, ungainly stranger.
Nothing fits.

I feel lost like a child,
ugly like a child unloved.
And I don’t care
that I’m doing it wrong,
not looking at the world.

I am the world
and this morning
I woke up wrong.
Pay attention!
Last night everything
went wrong with the world.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Construction Worker

His hard hat
bright yellow
sits aslant.
His smile is crooked too.

This makes him
look amused
or cheeky.
Is that an illusion?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Focus of Attention

The pain in my shoulder extends
across and down and up
behind the ear
along the neck
and halfway down my back —
in all my world today
the most noticeable thing.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

At Last, Summer

Sun bright hot
in ample sky,
warming through skin
easing my spine.

Trees and mountains
clear, sharp-edged.
The lightest breeze.
A deep breath in.

Notes on the Process

Very strange this time. I have been much indoors the last few days, therefore attending to things close at hand. Far from falling in love with the world, I seem to be taking a rather jaundiced view! Which is interesting and potentially useful to notice.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Facing Up To It

My one surviving broccoli plant
finally put forth a head
from its tattered, bug-eaten leaves —
a dry, tiny thing, mostly yellow.

So I see it’s been starved for water
despite hosings, and despite
torrential downpours every other day.
I can’t slake such a thirst!

Poor thing, it’s struggled on
gamely, with great perseverance.
But it’s doomed. I have decided
not to repeat this failed experiment.

(I mean, you couldn’t even
eat the damn thing.)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Reality

The cats mew plaintively
they say they are starving
but I find black feathers
scattered in ugly profusion
just outside the back door.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

January 1st

The new calendar
is rows of white spaces

daily doses of medicine
listed in green

pension days marked
with a big P

a few appointments
already pencilled in

no crossings out yet
no corrections

no circles with arrows
from one date to the next

nothing red for urgent
no boxes filled to overflowing

but I know it will get messy
as life does.