Creatrix 7 Poetry

December 2009

Selectors/Editors: Peter Jeffery and Anne Dyson
Administration: Sally Clarke


Derek Fenton

Rocking Up On A Distant Shore
Rhythm and Blues, Missing Persons
Home Sweet Roam

Sue Clennell

Angry young girls
Black Genesis

Laurel Lamperd

Toxic Bloom

Flora Smith

Pure Bull 

Gary Colombo De Piazzi


David Barnes

on the edge
footprints fade

Rose van Son

Church: Old Town Warsaw

Colleen O’Grady

Ghost Town of Big Bell
National Emblems

Sally Clarke

Cloud Angels

Meryl Manoy

A Sonnet

Annie Otness

Dream Lover

Tash Adams

Note on Front Door
Nothing Rhymes with Orange

Brian Langley

Just a Butt

Paula Jones

Katharine’s Companion
Long Way from Home

Dean Meredith

Going Things

Michael Williams

Some Call It Dawn
Overnight Sounds

Coral Carter

Lowbrow in the Artists Home
Getting Away with It – James (Live)

Judy Paice

Wild North

Janet Jackson

Graham Nunn reading
suck faint amity
shitload of pain and all

Geoff Stevens

Shadow Puppets
Bonny And Snide

Jacqui Stewart

Burnt Toast
Last Morning

John McMullan

Anglo-Saxon Eyes

Tony O’Donnell


Liana Joy Christensen

Letting Go

Peter Bibby

Wheelchair in a Chapel
Garage Sale
Benthic Beat
Girl Power Three

Ron Okely

SMS from Ludlow
A Dog like this

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Rocking Up On A Distant Shore

At Augusta in Flinders Bay
on the southern tip of WA
there is a derelict jetty
with only a few rotting pylons
which once serviced a thriving
Karri timber industry.

Dotted among the flaking supports
are foreign misshapen rocks
brought from the Cape of Good Hope:
ballast, discarded and left to fend for itself
in shallows as beautiful as those from where they had come.

For over one hundred and fifty years
the ocean has hewn and polished them
so that, unless you were told,
you’d think they had been there always.

I paddle in the freezing pools among them
as I had done as a child in Cape Town
and wonder how long it will be
before Australian life rounds off
my sharp, misshapen edges.

Derek Fenton 

Rhythm and Blues, Missing Persons

I looked all over the United States,
but I just could not find them anywhere.
They had met the most terrible of fates
and seemed to have vanished into thin air.
In most places where they had tried to shout
their blasphemy at a poetry slam,
Derrida, Foucualt and Co. drove them out
onto a witness protection programme.

But they are persistent little buggers;
Reginald Rhythm and his brother Rhyme:
in a poetic scrap they are sluggers,
leaping from the canvas time after time.
When you think you have delivered the fatal blow,
they’ll be up and at you before you know!

Derek Fenton

Home Sweet Roam

My home is a backpack on wheels:
my front window two bloodshot eyes.
No idea how homesickness feels.
My home is a backpack on wheels;
different table for all my meals,
every day a pleasant surprise.
My home is a backpack on wheels:
My front window two bloodshot eyes.

Derek Fenton
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Angry young girls

Angry young girls
come out at night
to bury the bogey man,
buy houses bite necks
gatecrash glass ceilings
with back lane ladders
write graffiti on boys’ hearts.
Chic to the bone they
taste of ginger salt and sand,
wind snakes around wrists
dip their toes in stock markets and
keep love letters in kitchen drawers
next to the corkscrew.

Sue Clennell
_________ Previously Published by Speedpoets.

Black Genesis

I shall paint a tapestry of colours
with my blood
soil red, sun orange
bone white, think hot.
This is the centre heart
my heart beats with it
against it, a part of it.

I shall lick the brush
spittle becoming a pool, cool,
green not green, blue.
Blue mountains when they are really green
it is the air that makes them so
and makes the rock purple.
I did not mean to do it
but it is good.

The people will be brown
they need no clothes
the earth is theirs
to wander.
The man goes hunting
paint still fresh on his body
said is the woman at the going.

This is the way of it parratya,
the man kills the snake
karnalu pitiya wamana
or the snake kills the man
karnana pitiya wamalu.

From my armpits
from my groin
all which is bitter, sad, sweet.
Mine was the beginning
yours to finish.

For me
you too will paint
in caves
metals, plastics,

Your souls will galah screech at me
your wings will soar
to places I’ve forgotten.

So long as you remember
you are part of my picture
I will find it good.

Sue Clennell
_________Previously Published by Poetry Australia.

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Toxic Bloom

We saw the ibis
rise above the marshes
soaring in formation
towards the sun.

Below the red gum forest
waited their return.

The marsh is dying
said the scientist.

Civilization has tamed the river,
harnessed it
used it
for things alien to the land.
He picked up a stone
and tossed it
at the dead trunk
of a red gum.

Laurel Lamperd
_______ Previously Published in Grass Roots August 1994
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Pure Bull 

I am Blue Ribbon, Best in Show,
my head held high, huge testes low.
Reliabull, dependabull and infinitely capabull
of impregnating any old cow
from paddock runt to well-bred dam.
I show those cockies what I am
and when and where and how!
Adaptabull and sociabull, I charm them all;
so affabull, so truly incomparabull!

Flora Smith
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The beggar casts a pitiful look
fishes my depths for compassion.
My eyes avert to the sea of pavement
sidestepping to avoid the hook.

His circumstances unknown
all that exists presented here.
The unshaven face, city grimed
clothes that decry fashion, discards
an odour of more than city streets.

Drink to conjure it all away.
A life that never ends well
drifting away, wrecked out of existence.

Proffered hand presses closer.
A hand that once held
a life, the world
tender, creaseless
now calloused, sullied.

A hand that has caressed coldness,
craved overfilled bowls, grasped
endless handrails as he staggered
the streets searching for security
warmth of heart.
Unfound in a sterile city where people with
unseeing eyes rush to be somewhere else.

My step falters, something reels me in.
A camaraderie born of necessity
pangs of the Samaritan
or barbs of self-reproach.
Reach into my pocket for loose change
for this one touched my soul
gripped my heart.
For a moment our hands touch
and we stumble into each other’s eyes.

Loneliness knows no bounds.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi


And the drought begins to kill
sons and daughters fall prey.
Unseasonal dryness desiccates
the strongest will, shrivels
the most buoyant spirit.

Dust, fine as angel hair
billows in roiling clouds
rolling the landscape
fresh painted.

Seething carpet of grasshoppers
gnaw brittle twigs.
Crows caw, black shadows
in midday sun, a consort
of clouds flap their emptiness.

Emancipated sheep flock
green slimed troughs,
nuzzle life’s elixir, eyes glazed
on distant rememberings.

Farmer walks clouds of dust
each step loosens flocks
of dollars to the wind.

He tries to recall how big
this paddock is.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi
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on the edge

if you could hear me
screaming- not being heard –
invisible in this world i did not shape.

an ageing man
eyes looking for shadows,
of where I have been, where I am now.

if you could see the shrunken soul
Curled up in silent solitude,

i must close windows- pull the drapes
lock doors; the time of the interloper’s draws near –
two legged crows are what they are.

Crows would delight in my delicateness-

David Barnes


Today I saw Picasso
in my kitchen,
he glanced at me mournfully
a sinister jaded green, stark within the frame
on my wall …

thin, gaunt, haunted,
haunting eyes, frail flesh, skin on bone.
So much grief
cleaved to canvas.

Did he ever understand
understand the impression, he would leave …
that millions would pass,
through colors …
in to his world, of worlds within.

His gaze left me,
feeling …
Somehow, a work of art,

ready to dry out
drying, deteriorating with age.

I deduce one day,
my son will say of the picture
he holds of me;
my flesh, skin on bone, was pastel,
not jaded green;

and in my passing, I was no, Picasso.

David Barnes

footprints fade

as i hiked
along a blood-red sand track
of bush, with scattered gum-trees;

an elderly woman
wearing a sweat-stained stock hat
shuffles before me,
occasionally stooping over seas
of diverse wild flowers,
with arms, sun-blotched
withered by time.

i picked up a stem
of a dry, fragile leaf,
with asymmetrical
etched gossamer veins
its vascular tissue
visibly thin.

it reminds me
of a still image, an imprint
to the brittle leaf
I hold.

David Barnes
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Church: Old Town Warsaw

Her mother married here
where mosaics
carve windows
blind sky

Her mother
in childhood red
kneeled altar thin
to pray
make amends
while all around her signs of war
trembled walls

marbled floor and flowers
bell-like shrines

Maria in icon
halo shroud

Her mother married here
scarved in white.

Two from the back
her father draws a pew
earrings she wore the
tear in her dress that night.

How Maria’s halo turned white gold
in light

Silence sanguines his brow

Rose van Son


Do I pass you an olive branch
like notes we passed between desks
now that we no longer talk
tell secrets
the reasons for which we have both
long forgotten?
That last time we met the coffee was cold
long before your eyes closed the door
long before I had finished
licking froth from my cup

To speak of moments remembered
when we sat with small children
our knees knocking
the smiles on our faces
in bottles
birds laughed off the perch
taking time to talk
of nothing
special notes wedged between us

Mouthing words
locked out of our lives

Rose van Son
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Ghost Town of Big Bell

An hotel reared its lofty head
Beside a lilac.
No patrons now it could be said,
Not since way back.

The walls are dusty brown,
Once were white.
Inside curtains billow round,
Once were bright.

Pretty wallpaper covered in dirt
Peeling everywhere.
Drunken beds but no forms inert
Resting there.

Church with steeple rising high,
Pews in neat rows.
Long since pastor raised his cry
Of religious prose.

Bell no longer on its stand,
It tolls nearby
To call the boss and hired hands
Coodardy Station nigh.

House stumps stand neatly
Along the street.
Give mute testimony
Of houses once neat.

Pool is dry, hospital empty,
Creeper bloom.
Mine paraphernalia and shanty
Like the tomb.

Once a thriving community
But gold gone.
Now a dusty, dirty entity
A decade on!

Colleen O’Grady

National Emblems

I sit down to my humble meal
And see a new world there.
There are Mexican tomatoes and Inca corn
And English beef part of the fare

I gaze out of my window
And there I see with my eye
The Chinese rose, African Protea
And probably a Labrador fly!

Curious about our world now,
With things in such profusion,
I searched amid my humble home
And came to this conclusion:

My knickers were made in China,
My blouse is of Taiwan hue,
My jumper is off the Aussie sheep’s back
And my jeans are United States blue.

My radiogram came from Britain,
My radio is Japanese,
A cup is the product of the Philippines
And a statue is Javanese.

My Atlas was published in Hong Kong,
My novel in Singapore
My history drifted from the Deustchland
And my poetry from the English moor.

That is some of my home you know
And now its down to me,
For I’m more than curious to know
Something of my ancestry.

My birth is that of Australia,
My ancestors of Irish stock
Mixed with the British and Spanish.
I guess I’m one of God’s flock!

Colleen O’Grady
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Cloud Angels

Three days before Christmas,.
Gabriel flew over the suburbs,
large wings, celestial splendour,
mop of cloud-white curls
long robe streaming
in summer-blue sky.

Alongside him, a heavenly host,
haloes, wings slanting backwards,
flat-out, powering forward
like passenger jet liners—
having to go that fast
to get there in time,
alert the shepherds,
welcome the baby,
fill the sky with light and singing,
a two thousand years’ appointment.

Life not all rejoicing,
hopefully some would stay,
relinquish the honour,
gift soft white feather wings
to earthlings needing comfort
for saddened Christmases,
empty New Years.

Sally Clarke


handspan in height
she squats
on sandstone plinth,
smooth lines
exuding buddhist peace
calming our windowsill view

fresh from the river
hibiscus-knotted hair
brushed and brushed
to sunlight smoothness
magnolia petal feet
crossed at ankles
elbows/knees make
pointed meetings
palm-to-palm lotus hands
supporting right cheek

almond eyes closed
she is serenity

Sally Clarke
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A Sonnet

The sea like a capricious child
exhibits violent change of mood
some days quite restless some subdued
at times more boisterous and wild.
The weather may be calm and mild
with no disturbance to intrude
on thoughts so often misconstrued
of currents running deep inside.
The child is also quick to change
a mood of joy to one of doom
emotions have an octave range
from high delight to depth of gloom.
So why do adults think it strange
that children sometimes rage and fume?

Meryl Manoy
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In the summer that I stitched it seemed that with each stitch
I lashed down my thoughts and sewed them fast
To make a garment for the winter night.

The seconds were each a puncture of the silk
And dipping and diving, the needle made out a design
On the formless fabric of my years.

Long days inside I stitched away, and locked the wind and sunshine out,
I pinned my soul into each piece, and appliquéd my mind,
Seamed my heart and wore it on my sleeve.

An hour was measured in an inch of thread
The pattern was lost that summer that I stitched
And all the colours of the world were dyed or dead.

Annie Otness
_______Previously published in Thirst.

Dream Lover
a narrative poem in rhyming couplets.

Awake one morning surfacing upwards from the deep
She carried a up bright dream from her sleep.
There was a shadow in that night’s vivid dream
That fell beside her shadow, and would seem
A presence that was a featureless shade,
But cognizant of every place and thing she made
All day. There was no place or thought
Or task or song or dance or work that brought
A millisecond’s grace or freedom from his presence.
Then walking in the sunshine of the park, she felt a sense
Of company beside her on the lakeside path, with no escape.
Then looking down, she saw a shadow taking shape,
Blending with hers to make a conjoined pair.
But looking up saw only the clear winter air,
And in a chill wisp of breeze, his voice,
Echoing the dream. He said ‘the choice
Is made’, and understood the soul remembers–
That past extinguished fire, flaming from the embers.

Annie Otness
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Note on Front Door

Dear Burglar,

Please don’t break in today
you see I’ve hardly cleaned
the floors are in a mess
and I haven’t Mr Sheened

I hope you’ll understand,
good help is hard to find
and I can’t do it all
I barely have the time

With visits to the spa
and classes for my art.
My nails have just been done
I don’t know where to start

I need to hire a Nanny
And find a gardener too
A housewife’s life is hard
a stressful thing to do

You mustn’t see my house
in such a wretched state
kindly check your times
and advise another date

My cleaner comes on Friday
so could you come back then
please RSVP below
and let me know just when

Yours Truly
Merrillea Faux-Pride
Lady of Leisure (L.O.L)

Tash Adams

Nothing Rhymes with Orange

I sit here
in my office cell.

I’m surrounded
by grey partitioning
that multiplies
like a virus
into endless
grey cubicles.

We work
like battery hens.

Grey people
with grey faces,
hooked into
grey computers.

I need a break.

I walk
a few metres
to stand
by a grey photocopier.

I stare
at a gyprock wall
with grey scratches.
I wonder how
they got there?!

Nobody talks.
We’re not allowed to.
We do our work
and go home.

Its dark
when we leave for work
and its dark
when we get home.

People die in offices and sit there for days
before a someone smells their stench.

I eat the same
food every day.
Sit in the same
lunch room with the same

I think I’m going to die here.
I spend my whole life|
here. I’m dead already,

I throw my head back
and take some vitamins.

I wouldn’t know
what season it is
’cept I can smell someone
peeling an

I love that smell.

Tash Adams
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Just a Butt

Was just a butt I tossed away.
I know I’ve often heard you say,
“That’s all it needs, one tiny spark,
To start a fire, to burn a park.”

But I just didn’t think that far;
I flicked that butt out from the car
And drove away quite unaware
That single butt lay smould’ring there.

A seed, that in a few short hours
Had grown to massive flaming flowers,
Consuming all, as on it grew
Livestock, trees and houses too.

Destruction, total in its wake.
I find it’s just too much to take.
I can’t believe I caused today.
Was just a butt – I threw away.

Brian Langley
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Katharine’s Companion
for KSP

Shall I be your companion, dear lady?
Here in the growing gloom.
At the fraying edge of day.
As the parrots fill the sky with cheap talk.
In the buttersoft remembering,
or the hard forgotten?
Down the hall from the place where Hugo
finally fell.
The verandah still creaks with his step.

Beside the breathing, open fire
with flames like small stories
eager to chatter and be known.
Close the door. Let the copper kettle hiss.

Shall I be your companion
now that I am alone in this light?
Now that my coal grows cold
and the mandarins turn sour.
There are legends about this hill,
some are khaki; others black.
Men roam and men march these slips and knolls.
The crows hear their calls and cry.
In this living room there is me, and you.
I do not carry your story stones.
I do not know your song.
Let me be your companion, dear lady.
Let me share your load.

Paula Jones

Long Way from Home

Afghani boy in the classroom,

dark against the white-topped desk
hums so quietly a hill song
as his blunt pencil traces Spiderman
on his clean, flat worksheet;
blackens the eye sockets
leadens his skin
adds dust and grit beneath his toes.

Afghani boy in the schoolroom
cool and quiet as stone
hums a song of his grandfather
tall and thin and faraway,
caught in a web of caves and rock
his fingerbones clasp warm metal
his dry lips crack open a smile.

Inshallah, the tune carries
God willing I see you once more
Inshallah, the boy remembers
God willing you shall return.

The pencil continues to scratch
as the fat teacher scolds,
her chin the skin of a goat.
Umut! her voice bleats, throaty and deep
Time for you to do some work.

He throws the song off a distant rise
swallows it down like bitter weed.
Inshallah, I will see you once more
Inshallah, I shall return.

Paula Jones
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Going Things

And when you’re gone…
I’ll have one less thing…
And until all my other things go
I’ll have them…
And when they’re all gone …
I’ll have nothing…
Which is at least a word?

Dean Meredith
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Some Call It Dawn
a pantoum

The rising sun has broken night;
some call it dawn, some call it day.
In this morning’s growing light
the dark of night creeps quietly away.

Some call it dawn, some call it day,
as with my pen this verse I write.
The dark of night creeps quietly away,
the moonlight and stars fade from my sight.

As with my pen this verse I write
a multitude of thoughts flash through my brain.
The moonlight and stars fade from my sight,
and I’m aware that it is dawn again.

A multitude of thoughts flash through my brain
in this early morning’s growing light,
and I’m aware that it is dawn again,
the rising sun has broken night.

Michael Williams

Overnight Sounds

Sharing my insomnia,
carolling magpies
provide a 2am descant
to the rumbling bass

of loaded semi-trailers
passing towards the wharf.
Eventually, I doze off,
lulled by this orchestration

of overnight sounds,
and wake later
to find my pulsing bedside clock
winking a red-eyed 4.30.

Outside, honey-eaters and kookaburras
incessantly repeat dawn’s password,
summoning spreading daylight
to progressively extinguish

the myriad pinpoints of starlight
which dome the fading night sky.
Unperturbed by their sleepless night,
magpies perch in silhouetted trees,

whilst down at the wharf semis come and go;
cranes lump their loads;
fork-lifts pallet their way about,
and gulls scream their dawn protest.

Michael Williams
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Lowbrow in the Artists Home

I see gladiatorial battles rabbits versus sheep limbs being torn half human half mouse red in tooth and claw frying babies fed to dogs metal men nibble burning haystacks skewered humans scream over licking flames blood sucking flesh flowers bloom skulls in burning oil with eyes that still see the dead enlivened again again again bandaged heads leaking wounds pantry full of genitals living machines pump blood into rivers dams of pus filtered through the mouths of babies holes in stumps homes for furry creatures of evil intent armed with blades implements of torture half brains living a life of their own in forests of injured legs broken bones through rotted flesh nests for birds broken windmills turn without wind horse drawn boats and bees holding up the sky.

Coral Carter

Getting Away with It – James (Live)

We eat sesame seed crumbed pork
almost roasted too long wedges
blood orange with rocket salad
Greek yoghurt, mint and garlic
we are filled with

delicious edible divinity
glasses of champagne brut
drank ourselves to girlhood
played the music louder
Daniel’s saving Grace
I adore with the singer
my friend bags the keyboard player
she’s out in deep water
his sweat really undoes me
I hope he’s a good swimmer
all poets are now singers
she shouts as we are dancing
we dance never ending
until she is in love with the keyboard
and I am in love with the words
that’s called living.

Coral Carter
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Wild North

The Kimberly land apparent.
Sparse desert, bottle trees.
Helicopters flew overhead.
Water trickled over ancient rocks.

I don’t belong here:
Beehive mountains, red.
Moonlight on savannah grass.

I could perish here:
Waterless creeks of stone.
Blue winged kookaburra.
Billion years old gorges.

Parched earth, dead car bodies.
No fossils found, only art.
Unforgiven: I returned
To multicultural haven.

Judy Paice
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Graham Nunn reading
(The Queenslander)

Feet firm on his country’s ground. Head
among its stars.

Janet Jackson

suck faint amity

At the end
the days are long and hot
and the nights are long and cold.
The only plants left
repel tongues, survive
fire. The only animals left
can hide anywhere.
The few remaining humans, knowing
no more, suck faint amity
from the bitter needles, greyish
trees, grey creatures and grey
and ochre rock.
Earthface thrusts out flare-flowers: one more vanity:
howl-azure, shriek-cerise, desperation-gold.

Janet Jackson

shitload of pain and all

I want to give you everything I have
while still keeping it all
for myself
And I want to take nothing, not your
freedom, never that
I don’t want to change you
I love you just as you are
shitload of pain and all
for no reason at all: simply
I can see your depths
No, not to drown in
I want to put my own depths
beside yours
and compare them

Janet Jackson
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Shadow Puppets

on an earth
cut into deltas
a flock of birds
flatten themselves
in flight

Geoff Stevens

Bonny And Snide

Finders is not necessarily keepers
cheating is a steal
men commit grievous mental harm
women manslaughter.
Togetherness can be a life sentence
but solitary is always so.
Get yourself a partner in crime.
Love is murder
is the electric chair.

Geoff Stevens
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Knife slips easily
fillets my finger to the bone,
flesh like soft cheese.

I watch the thin red line widen
into fear, panic pulsing like blood.

Bandages conceal distress,
the severed flesh.

But still I hear the muffled cry,
mourn the loss
of pale perfection.

Jacqui Stewart

Burnt Toast

Toasting bread
I glance at horror headlines

Young driver
New licence
Admiring friends

see where a tree’s embrace wastes
lives hardly begun.

Remember too that hot hot day
when anger drove our car
from airport bar at Don Muang–
while our young children, waited
at home

and wondered
why death always comes
at inconvenient times

before new words can be said
or postponed journeys

Seared by cinders of the past
I throw away burnt toast,
reach for fresh bread.

A second chance.

Jacqui Stewart

Last Morning

Two days before Christmas
I watched our cat digging hole after hole,
squatting on each before moving
to the next
in a futile effort of will.
The children thought it funny,
but I knew she wasn’t just practising.

As I stared at her
fear ambushed safe corners of my mind.
For seventeen summers she’d worn
our lives like a garment,
warm, soft and forever.
Was this now a trick
to get us used to her leaving?
A plan to dismiss our claims on her,
like an angry tenant looking for something better?

She stopped digging, paused
to rub grey fur onto my trouser leg,
waited for a scritch between the ears
before she was off again
to dig another hole,
hoping this time it would be different.
I knew it never would.

Jacqui Stewart
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Anglo-Saxon Eyes

My eyes are
Anglo-Saxon blue
attracting smiles
from doting matrons.

The memory of
my mother’s blue floral
dress brings a
glisten to my eye.

I treasure
precious moments when
sea and sky
seamlessly unite.

But nothing
can compare to
Antarctic ice as it
changes from light
blue to the colour
of a bruise.

My uniforms in
life are iris matched.
The suit, the shirt, the car
to pass the test
of peers, or my
reflection from an
unexpected glimpse.

My genes set
off a wariness
in those whose
eyes are brown.
I know a careless
signal can be read
as red, so I
avert my eyes or
bow my head in an
unaccustomed manner.

I always
do my best to
open up my heart
just in case my
eyes emit an
unintentioned slight.

John McMullan 
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Progress…is a change of taste. As,
when necessity made hunters into heroes,
and there were generations,
dynasties of these
Heroes, who now are distasteful,
no longer necessary to our continuance.

I saw one yesterday,
one of those old-style heroes, (there are
still a few of them about)
his battle now for market share
of the pet-food trade;
his foresight telescopic, his mount
diesel-powered with
four-wheel-drive, its tracks
engrave its progress in
6-ply hieroglyphics
by Bridgestone.

He was not very heroic,
believe me.
If you looked at him, and
smelled him
and listened to him,
and thought about him,
you would not want
to touch him.
You would not want
to know him.

He was pathetic, this hero,
unlaved, unloved,
unshaven, unkempt and haggard;
for he keeps hunters’ hours,
disturbing the darkness
with a Halogen spot,
a roar and rattle;
punctuating each
successful sentence
with a bang and
a whimper!

Tony O’Donnell
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Letting Go

Today I shall wear the river
striated in colours that become me
If clichés bloom like algae
blue-green, purple
let them.

I’ll not disturb the sediment
The soft sucking doesn’t scare me
as much as the toxins locked undisturbed
leave them be

Today I will float with the jellyfish
see myself in the silvered mirror
let myself lie
open to the whole untroubled sky

Liana Joy Christensen


I did not expect the pest controller
to be seventeen
with skin the matte velvet
of moth wings
and pre-Raphaelite eyes

My startlement was no doubt
ill-concealed, but I tried
to keep my manner even

even when we crouched

side-by-side so he
could show me how my
dwarf peppermint housed
an empty termites’ nest

Driven out by black ants,
he told me,
touchingly earnest

Black ants
An unexpected ally in my
ongoing war against white ants
my shelter versus their food

It’s a dirty war I wanted to scream
Take you your youth and
your beauty and flee
Instead I simply refused his offer
of free rat baits or cockroach gel

Liana Joy Christensen
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Wheelchair in a Chapel

One would say at a glance there is much to pray about.
The chair stands empty at an angle to the altar.
A pair of wheels have the atrophied grace of athletes
On the blocks about to compete with one another.

The inner ring of the handrail, the outer ring of the tyre,
Circle within circle urging the ground to movement
But the brakes are on, the handles point backwards,
Suggesting what is past but always there behind.

The armrests imitate launching ramps
That know true aim and trajectory,
Canvas seat and upright back wait for—a weight.
Meanwhile the chair alone give thanks.

Peter Bibby

Garage Sale

One or two of these a week is usual but forty
per weekend tells you the town is going under.
The ground level ad, home-made and cheerful,
without commercial gloss or designer chic,
gives the latest address that someone is leaving
while they can still get out of the place
cut the losses, wrap the grieving.

At fraught crossroads and sweaty junctions,
running like a rash over traffic islands,
on cardboard boxes spared from the pack-up,
the signs are of what will no longer stack up:
dreams we can’t quite throw away,
things possessed too long for price,
junk that puts our frailty on display.

Peter Bibby

Benthic Beat

They debate the beach as a drive zone.
In it live worms that provision Siberia-bound birds,
Green turtles toil across it, egg-laden tractors,
and tenderest transparent sand-bubbler crabs
tiny as the fingernail-end of a newborn child
make miniscule devil’s marble arrangements
around a trillion trillion tidy holey-homes,
laundering the sand in grainy parcels.
Remade twice daily as the waters recede,
a crab conurbation, darkens the tidal plain.

At first there were only a few cars, now it’s traffic—
such fun does not stay long in the steering of a few—
they debate aesthetics, human freedoms, cultural rules
against reckless use, danger to infants, not crabs,
nor worms, nor migrating birds. With a hop and a flit
they can get out of the way, or dig for their lives—can’t they?

Peter Bibby

Girl Power Three

It’s a three girl burst,
A trio on the supermarket floor,
Close together, alternately
Leading, following
At a touching distance,
Laughing down the aisles
Hitting up the airwaves
With their game analysis
In their young team strip,
Gliding past the pasta banks
All rattle, like an empty trolley,
Wolverine, voracious,
Deciding they’ll have chips—
Agreement about that,
And the courtside antics
Of a certain fourth party
Male of course, seen in retro,
Have them in fits. By the blush
It seems he was a fan, not just of the team.
Seems by the sighs they had it won
Until that last-second shot.
Damp patches, tunics cling.
How those legs had run.

Peter Bibby
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SMS from Ludlow 

Dad, Hi

Just witnessed
a kite
swoop down
and almost catch
a bantam hen

just got away
by running
under the house

but not for the chook


Ron Okely

A Dog like this

With us–but not with us
Ninety-one years of living
Three years of slowly dying

Fractured hip
trussed up like a turkey
just out from the op
he was back on the mine
Just shift this girder Charlie
I can get myself out

In the ward
bright family idea
Let’s take the dog to see him
he loved it when he was well

Deep meaningful discussion with D.O.N.
Yes you can take the dog in
just don’t let it scratch my floor or
pee on the carpet.

Three flights of stairs
great fun for a lively German Shepherd
A few slips and slides
made it to the bedside

Old hand stretches out
to stroke the dog

Yes she’s great
My son’s got a dog like this

Ron Okely
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