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

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


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


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,
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
wakes to talk of dying.

When I tickle him,
blood returns
with his laughter.

Submitted for dverse OpenLink Night #28

Friday, January 20, 2012


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.
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


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


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


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


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


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.