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

Thursday, December 21, 2017

At Your Engagement Party

To Adam

I kept taking photos of
your gate-crasher, because
she couldn't resist the music, 
drawn in through open door 
of the party restaurant
to where the guitarist sat, 
in a corner so he wouldn’t be crowded. 
It was all those 
liquid Spanish tunes. How 
could she have refrained, how ever,  
from dancing?

And she was so bright, 
in her shiny, slinky, green-and-yellow dress,
and she clicked her heels Flamenco-style,
and clapped her hands over her head.
And she kept apologising, softly, shyly,
in her foreign accent, but 
she didn’t stop dancing, didn’t stop twirling,
didn’t stop brightening further –
as if under a spotlight …
creating her own spotlight –
the already-festive night.

(She gave permission for her photo to be used online. 
We never learned her name.)

Grand-daughter Requests

Grand-daughter requests help
with her maths homework.
I try. I can understand
the graphs, and confirm
her answers are perfect.
But ‘experimental probability’
is a foreign language for me.
I know what each word means,
but not together, and not in maths.
She is kind when I tell her,
‘This is far beyond me’; requests
I not worry or blame myself.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Rain Falling Hard

While I watch on TV
the scene of a British day
with black umbrellas raised
against pervasive rain –
at the same moment, here
in Melbourne, Australia,
the sky outside thunders
while heavy rain and hail
pelt the suburban garden.
Later the news tells of floods
and landslides. The world
is beset by storms. We prepare
for the coming Christmas.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


‘Answer a question,’ prompts facebook,
‘to help people get to know you’.

I write poems to help people know me – 
except when I make them opaque: 

distractingly ornamental
walls of flowers I lurk behind.

Monday, December 18, 2017

At the Family Gathering

I never knew this old man well,
but two years ago when we all met
for that particular Christmas,
he greeted me warmly.

This year he is blank, until his niece
tells him my name. Then a frail voice
recalls, with a questioning note,
the name of my late ex-husband.

Young Woman on a Tram

She almost flounces on board,
short skirt swirling her into her seat.
Dark hair and eyes, smooth golden skin ...
but the eyes glare, and the set
of the full, curvaceous lips
looks menacing.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

This Notebook I'm Using

My adopted brother
gave me this book
almost three years ago
on the first of January.

The paper was made from bark
in western Nepal, by an ancient method.
It will last a long time.

On the cover is a mandala,
symbol of impermanence.

I record in it moments of life.

Buddha Confronts Me

The eyes of the Buddha
gleam green from the page,
inked in elaborate whorls.
The perfect curves of the brows
seem to add intense focus.
The nose can be perceived
as the shape of a question-mark.
'Examine yourself!' I think he says.
But the rest of the face is missing.
I let myself visualise a secret smile.