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

Thursday, January 31, 2013

White Sky

White sky this twilight
after rain, the day cooled
from its humid afternoon.
An exhausting day,
but now I know peace.
A plane drones over.
The Chardonnay
tastes light and tangy.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Last Light


In the last of the afternoon light
the sun appears, suddenly and quietly,
to light up the windless trees.
The palms in the neighbour's yard
form elegant fans. A cloud sails past
like a boat on blue water.
Then a plane goes over, noisy,
and the dusk settles down.

Me and My Gardener


Me and my gardener reminisce. 
We just found out we both grew up
in the same small town
on a cold, hilly, beautiful island.
Now we like the warmth.
'When I was in the Navy...' he adds
and I notice the dark tattoos
crawling from under his sleeve.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Young Single


My friend has cut his hair shorter,
smart. Suddenly he looks grown-up.
He says he shaved on Friday, and
already (Tuesday) must again.
He tells me all the things that prove
his new boyfriend loves him — really.
Although they aren't saying that yet. 

Silence after


Silence after 
days of downpour 
and shrieking wind —
as if the earth 
had stopped breathing.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Rain Storm


The water comes down in a roar,
speeded by the wind.
One of next-door's palm branches
crashes into my yard,
which is fast becoming mud;
others lash the fence.
In the northern hemisphere, I read,
this is the time of the Wolf Moon.
Here, the wind starts howling like a wolf.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Importunate

The wind and rain want to come in.
They ring my bells, they drive fists 
into my front door again and again.

I know it's not the cats demanding;
they are asleep in the house.

I do not open my door.

Friday, January 25, 2013

This Old Woman


(Describing myself from outside)

This old woman, slightly fat,
wears bright colours,
silver jewellery, crystals
and low-heeled shoes.

The pendants around her neck
are on cords she made
from shoelaces, knotted
to be adjustable.

The first one depicts
a five-pointed star
disguised inside
a five-petalled rose.

If people enquire,
to most she will say,
'Isn’t it beautiful?
It's a Celtic knot.'

Those to whom
she might say,
'It’s my pentacle; I'm Pagan,'
seldom need to ask.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Summer Country


Our mountain, Cloud Catcher
this morning has only one cloud 
held low in a long pocket 
half way.down the slope

where it stretches out
white and dazzling,
basking in the early sun,
prettier than pictures of snowfall.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Over the Road


To observe the world this afternoon
I decide on my front porch,
the tiny landing at the top of the steps.

From the house with the kids
diagonally opposite
obscured by trees,
come voices, and then
pop music, loud.

I know that some of the neighbours
will be feeling irritation, righteous.
But me I like the cheery beat.
I like the teenage voices laughing.

The Homeless


The homeless people gather —
half a dozen, maybe ten —
at the rotunda in the park.
They stay there most of the day.

Their voices are loud, some raucous.
Their movements are loose or jerky,
either way unrestrained ... free?
Freer, perhaps, than me?

They have community, 
they have laughter.
They are a closed circle
I would not approach. 

I have no wish
to change places.
My quieter, safer life
beckons me home. (I have cats.)

Winged


On the back of the chair
in my outdoor writing spot,
a winged being perches —
tiny, still, dark. 

The folded wings are black, 
with an underlay of deepest blue, 
edged with a line of green
which is its body.

Oh, the wonder of it — 
this small creature 
poised a moment 
showing me beauty.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Not-Noise


There is a continual pulsing
out here under the trees:
a form of white noise,
not from machines, but from
the grass and the dirt and the leaves
coming alive after rain. Birds
and tiny insects, hidden lizards
and all sorts of creatures I don't even guess
are swelling this noise, which is not
noise at all, it is active silence.
And the air is making it, rushing in and out
in long whispers as the earth breathes.
But there is no breeze, it is other
than wind; it is the planet's
usually inaudible
heartbeat.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Two New Ones for My Collection


A clown in green costume 
half of it sparkly
with big white pom-pom buttons
sits in front of my window 
and rocks on a swing.
Behind the red and white paint
his expression is little-boy direct.

On the sill of the smaller window
a girl clown lounges 
all in shocking pink. 
I have to say, she is rather blank-faced.
Her mother has dressed her up pretty
and the poor child doesn't know
what is expected, so she just sits.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Water Dragons


They have left some droppings
like soft mud on the rim of the pool.
There is no foul smell, no smell at all.
In the gravel patch at one corner
they dig holes to lay their eggs.
My friend has seen them swimming
when the pool is empty of people,
their armour flashing blue-green.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Breathing In

It's summer! A car rolls by
with a surfboard on its roof.

The scent of the sea begins
from over the next few hills.

Extreme heat has passed.
There is just enough breeze.

The sun is now a lover
with a warm, gentle caress.

Who could be sad - not me -
on a day like this? I'm glad

to be alive, and here,
breathing in the summer.

Rural


Road and sky stretch blank,
the sky without a cloud,
the road without a bend —
large spaces, free
of the interruptions of cities

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Purring

She used to squash in between us
and purr all night, loud and deep.
Now she sprawls in the space
where his pillow used to be.
When I reach to stroke her
she licks my fingers, and lately
she is beginning to purr again, a little.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Cool Change

Early evening and the cool change establishes itself, after taking all day to get a strong foothold. The freshness of the air soothes my skin. The trees rustle slightly. A few birds chirrup. The land starts to wake up ever so slightly from the weeks of searing heat.

There was little rain today. It came in tiny, light drops, but it lasted an hour or two, enough for the ground and the plants to drink and revive, reprieved for now. There's a hush; we scarcely dare hope this mercy will last. This is different from the somnolent, heavy, smothering hush of recent days.

The vine has suddenly put forth one perfect white flower.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Auditory


Yo Yo Ma's fine cello notes
linger in the air around me
long after the YouTube stops.

Top Cat


I know from my reading
the two pairs of eyes gazing up,
demanding extra breakfast,
are not pleading but aggressive.

I bend closer to their level 
and stare back, saying a firm 'No!'
They drop their eyes and slink away.
Aha! I'm still the Alpha.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Signs


The face in the mirror, caught, shocks. 
The chin has become truncated, the cheeks hollow, 
the small, staring eyes old.

It has changed overnight, the very shape 
altered by deep new grooves 
running down from the corners of the mouth. 

'You're doing so well!' friends tell me.
Here is the sudden evidence otherwise: 
private sorrow gouging visible tracks.

Already I don't look like me any more, 
the me that he would recognise and remember. 
This thought starts new tears. 

I remind myself he will know me by my essence, 
my energy. The strange little face — alien, unknown —
gazes back at me out of the mirror, blankly.

Friday, January 11, 2013

This Old Book


This old book with the blue, elaborate cover
ornamented in gold leaf and a painted inset
is called The Language of Flowers. It tells
of secret messages that might be conveyed
by particular blooms, each illustrated
by water colours on card, under smooth tissue.

But what it conveys to me is the remembrance
of my grandmother's face, who loved me
and gave me this book when I was a little girl.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Birth Day


My god-daughter Susie's first child
waited long in his mother's womb
or so it seemed to her, impatient to meet
face to face. His first pictures show him
robust, complete, rosy-cheeked
and utterly relaxed in his brand-new world.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Heat Wave


After the hot day, thunder
soft in the distance
and a cool breeze.

The cats are still by the fan
spreading their limbs
and their long backs.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Silver Leaves


Like flowers, 
like flowering trees,
like trees full of flowers —
these trees we drive past,
the silver undersides of their leaves
flickering and turning in the breeze
as we quickly drive past —
looking like white flowers,
trees full of flowers
flowering.

Monday, January 7, 2013

On the Verandah


The blue of the mountains deepens
in late afternoon light.
The space between them and me
is filled with trees and sky.
The breeze arrives lazily, greets us
and wanders away.


Seeing What Is Here


The person who lives here must be
in love with clowns — there are so many
sitting on the shelves, usually in pairs.

The walls are full of pictures,
all different kinds, with clashing colours —
pink and red, blue and green together.

One person lives here, with all these chairs.
How many visitors are constantly expected?
Or does she change position on a whim?

On the windowsill a bunch of geraniums
is stuffed into a little brown vase, 
leaves and flowers crowded yet jaunty.

The light in the room is warm and golden
from the unshaded mercury lamps
all burning brightly, somehow expectant.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Oh, Lovely Rain


Oh, lovely rain
too briefly —
now in aftermath
it drizzles down the pipe
rattling wetly
clang and slosh

then begins again
falling more gently
steadily,
whispers mingling
with the rattle 
of drips in the pipe

while soft, muffled thunder
booms in the background
from the west
from the mountains
and I open my doors 
wide to the cool.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Random New Year Observations


1.
The summer weeds rise up
profusely green on high stems.
The vine writhes, and intertwines
with its own long branches down the fence.
The squat pots for approved flowers
stand empty, their contents dead
long before the rain revived
the sleeping seeds of weeds
to green my garden beds.

2.
Languid Eleven drawls to enumerate
her list of expensive Christmas presents,
forgetting to thank her grandmother
for a thoughtful but more modest gift.
Observing surreptitiously,
I can almost discern the grandmother's hand
twitch (like mine) with a spanking itch.


Friday, January 4, 2013

Living in the Matrix


The shopping centre roars. Instead of tuning it out, I open my ears. It's closing time. The noise is made of individual sounds conglomerating — many loud voices, the clatter and clang of doors and bolts, the wind-rush of all the machinery that keeps this place functioning. That machinery wind-rush — also made up of different individual kinds of noise — is in the ceilings, the walls, and under the floors; it surrounds us. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Marian at Rainforest Creek

Long dark hair, slim back,
she crouches by the stream.

The small brown ducks,
the towering trees,
the rounded stones, shallow water,
the weeds, the patches of sunny sky
spread themselves before her —

surround, encompass her:
her natural habitat.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

This Morning in My Back Yard


The morning is bright early, with the blaze of true summer. Both expectancy and certainty are in the air. Yes it is warm, yes it will get hotter. The leaves are very still — no wind, not the slightest breeze. Even the tendrils of vine questing above the fence are motionless, balancing on air. My neighbour's roof makes patches of red through the green of palms and eucalypts.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Quiet Street


It's the evening of New Year's Day — an overcast day, all day, though seasonably warm. The street is quiet, no sign of human activity. An unseen bird gives an insistent chirp. Then I realise it is two birds answering each other. I watch as they fly briefly into view from out of the treetops, to disappear over my neighbour's fence and away. I leave my doors wide open, letting in the cooling air.