Creatrix 43 Poetry

December 2018 

Selectors: Peter Jeffery OAM and Jan Napier
Submissions Manager: Paige Spence

Contributors:

Kaye Brand

Medicine Unboxed

Peter Burges

A Walk through Manning Park
At Varanasi’s Ghats
The Session

Graeme Butler

Falling

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

Faded
On My Lips
The Woman with Lavender in her Hair

Edward Ebozo

Disbelief

Derek Fenton

Keeping Mum/Always Mum

Rosalind Franklin

What Is Gender

Ann Gilchrist

Working with George
Sacrifice
First loss

Kevin Gillam

a rusted swing / the suburb settles
twelve bar blues

Mike Greenacre

Third Generation
To The Edge of Now

Ruari Jack Hughes

Bridges
Once in a Blue Moon

Ross Jackson

Suits
Cowboy on and off the bus

Pat Johnson

Flotsam
Oriental Silks

Veronica Lake

A Pair of Pelicans

A.R. Levett

The Split

Meryl Manoy

Nature’s Way

Mardi May

Barking
Pulling Hair

Glad McGough

As Dry Fields Weep for the Rain
A Living Memory

Dean Meredith

A Dream After A War
Chance

Scott-Patrick Mitchell

thank you for your poem
dear writer
there, in the water

Julian O’Dea

True Spring

Virginia O’Keeffe

Shifting
Taking the side roads

Allan Padgett

i want for summer
aching digits

Joyce Parkes

Prepared
Books, Bread

Yvonne G Patterson

Out of Time

Laurie Smith

Sweet Scented Boronia

Rita Tognini

Cambridge Walkabout
Musicology (of sorts) from A-Z

Glen Hunting

Funeral Frisson (for Pattie Watts)

_______________________
Medicine Unboxed

The MRI scan continues its hammering and buzz,
imaging and recording this intimate part of her.
She focuses on tricking this medical monster
by contemplating the wonder of her existence.

Here conscious experiences define her life,
not this imaged recording of neurological disease.
Here medical frontiers draw complex diagnostic maps
while she lies, encased, skipping by melaleuca trees.

The enormity of this metal machine is diminished
by the strength of her emotional dimensions.
This quiet within, amidst the clatter of intervention
illuminates her consciousness like restarted campfires.

While this white matter disease is taped and measured,
her brain explores and fabricates bridges of hope.
Linkages that define thoughts, perception and truths.
No devastation here, just medicine unboxed.

Kaye Brand

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_______________________

A Walk through Manning Park

Mute magpies high-step across the grass,
bugs bury themselves—to no avail
since sharp eyes see tell-tale holes

and beaks tuck in black-white elbows,
bob stab shake batter and bash
until the bugs, pincered, hang utterly.

My sympathy’s tempered merely a little
by grass’s crass suggestions coffins aren’t
problematic where all compost into colognes

for slugs, that services are cheap
by the gross, and extremely efficient
since officiated by phalanxes of ants

while scything and carting off leftovers.
Across the swathe, svelte, middle-aged trees
lecture a group of resin-jeweled dowagers

on the unreliability of adolescent zephyrs,
studiously ignoring their own strapping youngsters
making middle-finger emojis behind their backs,

rubbing squeaky farts, snidely shivering leaves.
Off a ways, a stumpy Thinker
gloomily watches as a punk galah

skateboards down a slide’s pink bars.
Meanwhile, out on the light-riffing lake,
baby cobs are S-bending rubbery necks,

opening yellow drop-zone throats so wide
swatches of sky fall purply in
until evening, frantic, shuts everything down.

Peter Burges

At Varanasi’s Ghats

Life is raw here, ravenous as dysentery,
bleak as the glitter in blood dripping off a blade.
And ancient Varanasi’s ghats are never still.

All night, corpses swell, become youthful again
in the Nataraja’s blue-skinned flames
dancing, ecstatic, beneath the wheeling Moon

while my stomach, a turgid river, arrests,
erupts into riotous biliousness against
His implacable annihilation,

and heart abdicates, weeping, as half-starved,
half-naked men mash bones with blood-black bars
until, exhaling flares, they ash through red grids.

Yet, gradually, body quietens,
then, at some far off bird’s call, mind arises,
and clothed in garlands of sun-yellow flowers,
floats above Ganges into bhajans and ruddy clouds.

Peter Burges

The Session
(In Honour of the Children’s Hour: ABC, 1939 to 1972)

It’s five o’clock! so the time has come
to leave all our games and all of our toys,
to go with Tom Piper, and Jack and Jill,
with old Mother Hubbard and other girls and boys,
and, taking a hop, a skip, and a run, to set sail
across foaming oceans with loud heys! and ahoys!

Gathered about the radio, we forget all our cares,
so that gentle, fancy, can wrap her arms around,
open the vastnesses along wireless ways,
and, with only dreams in hand, hail for distant bounds
where we’ll fight monsers in terrible, dark lairs,
become the heros of isles dotting the medium of sound.

And, right on the chime, the world’d fall perfectly still
as we recall the Argonauts’ great achievements,
and vow to be true to all that’s beautiful and brave,
to seek for far-off adventure and wonderment,
promise solemnly to share whatever thrills
we find in delight, and loveliness, and merriment!

First, we romp with the muddle-headed wombat,
and good old Mousie who never critiques
the silly things he says, like how bike ‘bit him
while he was doing repairs, or his ‘treely-ruly’ speak,
but sometimes we get fed up with Tabby the cat
who’s terribly vain and, well, so neurotically neat!

Then there’s ‘singos’ with ditties like “One Fish Ball”—
all the tucker some poor guy down on his luck can afford—
songs sung by ‘Orpheus’ who sings the words so clear
we can make out even ones we haven’t heard before;
and here’s old ‘Stewed Soup’ bringing tales so tall
we might pause to wonder, even as our hearts soar.

But as we grow older, the Club comes in tops,
for then all of us together are “bending to the oars”,
singing loud and strong our heart-rousing song
as we advance even further ‘to yet uncharted shores
where we find Argos’ stories, some great and some flops,
and shout out big halloos to all who are sick and sore,

’til, from over the waves, come smells of fresh bread,
for our mums know when the Session is nearly done,
so, we sing ‘a jolly good night to you and you’,
and, flushed by an hour of such great fun,
eat our dinner, do our homework, fall into bed
with our hearts still rowing to the Argonauts’ drum.

Peter Burges

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_______________________

Falling

It takes only the raised corner
of a slab to bring her foot up short –
for her arm to slip from his hold like a slackened rope.
So begins her slow fall down,
down as if sinking into quicksand.
Legless as her world shrinks to an instant
the single thought enthralls her, “I am falling!”
In blind self aware panic
her arms shoot forward, flailing,
as she tumbles into emptiness in which she is locked.
Feet gone, legs gone, her whole body becomes
a weightless inertia downwards – down,
so far down, and she cannot think.
As her body folds time, incongruous,
distorts into a drawn out instant,
no beginning, no end
only sick anticipation, and so she falls
and she falls,
her arms touching the ground, all out of place
barely soften her momentum.
She feels the sickening concussive blow,
and is blinded by its flash of light,
as her soft forehead rebounds off the ground.
Then confusion of mind, of limbs, and pain setting in.
Dazed she tries to find “up,” but has lost all strength
and sense of direction.
She collapses back lying down crying out
in caught surprise, “Ohh, oh, oh!”
“Are you right?” asks a voice from the air.
“No!” she quivers, “everything’s wrong – oh god!”
Shocked that she has slipped from his grip
he bends to tend her, but cannot properly reach.
“Oh god!” she groans, searching for a hold,
any hold, any hand, to steady her swaying ship.
Strong arms wrap round her shoulders.
A firm voice breaks through her confusion.
“I’ve got you – it’s all right – you have only fallen,
you’ll be right!”
“Will I?” she retorts, her eyes seeking somewhere,
on something,  to fix themselves, as pinned to the ground
she rocks and sways.
Then a calm voice near her ear says,
“You need to stand, I am going to lift you – are you ready?
One   two   three!
Steady, I’ve still got you!
Now here’s a chair, I want you to sit carefully.
There you are – beautiful!”
“Oh yes thank you!” she gasps,
her head in her hands.
With his arms still on her shoulders, he thinks,
she may be up-right, but her world
could be off centre for days, even weeks!

Graeme Butler

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_______________________

Faded

Faded colours collect around
sitting in the corner with grey walls
coming close and the sound of
next door’s cat meowing hungry.

There is a stray shaft of light
that creeps with the sun.
Angles the room into two
filled to random dust motes.

Somewhere, an engine backfires
an angry fist shattering the view.
The jagged outline of trees
and birds flying north.

Time builds its shield
and the door is always locked
but still, there is this urge
for one more breath.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

On My Lips

this
pear
seeking the
essence of wine
a Packham Josephine
moment curdled to the
taste of sweet bitter shaped
almost honey vinegar around
the feel of mouth on smooth
flesh a supple sense of what if
and days that blend in the
looking searching
from haste.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi 

The Woman with Lavender in her Hair

still as a tree
holds the look of stars
in her eyes
and breathes

catches the sun’s light
with the slow movement
of her hands
and follows
the flight of city gulls.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

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_______________________

Disbelief

When hearing stories of so much grief
do we turn away, hope it’s only fiction
and thus suspend our disbelief?
Or do we take in this harsh depiction
and rail against the greed and spite
of those who trample on the dispossessed?
But when we say we’ll join the fight
to save the poor, the hurt and stressed
what is it we really mean?
What is it we’re actually doing,
just expressing poison from our spleen
or really stepping out, actively pursuing
something far far more than a dream?
After this poem I’m sure to go back
to another task or two, a song maybe
or lie comfy on my middle class back
and read a book about some English lady
whose only dilemma was who to choose
between two men of the landed gentry
writ by a man who could never lose;
Ensconced I’ll be in some other century.
Or maybe we’ll all meet in a park
with candles, banners, beards and drums
hoping our voices might pierce the dark
and shake the rest from their hum drum
zombie state when the TV shows our chagrin.
Or will those images just release
another groan of ‘Oh, it’s them again!’
When will they ever cease?’
Fantasy, once again, is on the rise
as it was back in the 1930s
when people chose to avert their eyes
from the dying, sick, dislodged and dirty
whose ghost like forms were seen
outside those bold art deco expressions:
purpose built to hold a screen
between them and the great depression.

Edward Ebozo

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_______________________

KEEPING MUM

I always knew I would meet you one day
although I had no idea where you were.
I’d not an inkling of what I would say,
but there’s certainly no way I’d defer
this the most important day in my life.
I knew there was no way you’d have left me
unless you were  in some terrible strife–
and that it would wound you to set me free…

Now, as I look into your probing eyes,
I see what I have always meant to you–
you are just what I hoped for, no surprise,
and most of my dreams have all come true.
.    You’re everything I wanted you to be
.    and I hope you feel the same about me!

ALWAYS MUM

I’ll never love you any less,
now that I’ve found my birth mother.
There’s no need for me to confess.
I’ll never love you any less,
because fate has chosen to bless
me with a Mum like no other.
I’ll never love you any less,
now that I’ve found my birth mother!

Derek Fenton

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_______________________

WHAT IS GENDER

A small child
hesitating at the gate
first day at school
adventures in learning
What is gender?

Books to read
wriggling on the mat
lunch box sharing
discovering the playground
chasing new friends
Is my teacher gender?

Entering Senior School
unsure vulnerable
hormones awakening
maybe even dating
just a human person
needing respect acceptance
Irrespective of gender

Rosalind Franklin

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_______________________

Working with George

George wears a toupee in the butcher’s shop,
four shades darker than the sawdust sprinkling it,
he up-ends cigarettes like incense sticks
and we breathe the scent of his nicotine addiction

his blue striped apron is smudged with carnage,
as he grinds carcasses into sausage casings,
emollient hands guiding fat snakes,
twisting tails into pink piglet amputees

my holiday job pockets a school girl’s pay packet,
I drain and scour the greasy meat boiler,
rinse congealing blood from metal trays,
deep and dark from the pluck of beasts

the radio DJ is upbeat – and from front of shop
a door bell jangles as customers arrive,
a narrow butcher in a cobblestone street,
“watch the traffic or you’ll be in my mincer,”

the cold room gallery hangs sculptures across the street,
torsos suspended from sharp steel hooks,
freezers with cling filmed body parts,
“ox tail please,” but I bring him ox tongue,
a cleaver is too abstract an artist for my palette

Ann Gilchrist

Sacrifice

when I was a child
a twig poked me as I walked by,
it blushed with a quickened sap,
bark shining like shellac

she held up a new bud,
the tightest fold of soft green lobes
slowly unsheathed into birdsong,
the coo of scented springtime

he stretched out sinewed veins
under translucent canopies
and the twig held him tightly,
bending in the storms,
protecting him with her vigour,
raising him to the sky

but discontentment gnawed weathered edges
and he longed to fly,
as untethered as the clouds and mayflies,
the leaf whispered to the frost,
begging release from the greenness,
he became brittle and jaundiced

the leaf consoled the twig,
if she did not let him go
the winter snow would break her,
but with his fall he would nourish her
and feed her every living breath

Ann Gilchrist

First loss

his unsheathed claws ripped a deeper hue,
rust scented rubies dotted
between old scars,
childhood stitched like silver thread,
middle age remembering an Egyptian god

when I stood on a pyramid of stairs,
the cold platinum moon
stealing heat from the sun,
stars hanging like asterisks,
post script notes pinned to the darkness

I called out his name
from the top step of a concrete mountain,
the night crawling up my ankles,
his absence sinking a deeper bite,
into a mist of broken breaths

my scalded face callously rejected
by pink Bri-nylon pillow slips,
indifferent to his absence,
unable to absorb his loss

my feline lover,
night’s purple purr gagged by silence,
his heat abandoning my flesh
to the cruel slap of mortality

Ann Gilchrist

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_______________________

a rusted swing

a rusted swing in the park
gives the afternoon
its ostinato over

which all talk of us
not bright or not beautiful
could be heard as hymn

the suburb settles
the suburb settles, bricks nestle,
the last train from Freo, coming off
its cantus firmus, glides into the station,
Gods hover waiting for manchester cupboard
minds to climb into

the suburb settles, white ants change shift
.and the talk of day crickles with
embers in the grate

the suburb settles, moths loop and feed on
streetlight, peppermint trees huddle,
an owl decides if to blink,
a wet tongue licks every gutter

the suburb settles, house lights blink out
in semaphore, shagpile silence descends,
front lawns continue to grow

Kevin Gillam

twelve bar blues 

you begin stooped, growling, gravelly,
at home here, schmoozing upwards, licking
sideways at augmented fourth, glissing
and caressing the minor seventh

then falling to third, your voice sweeter,
less grunged, scuffing hearts, caramel hued

for home, gum leaves and pedal steel, whiff
of being in front bar carpet for

the wail of lost orphan drenched top noted,

the leaking, licorice left in sun,

the return, notes bent, borrowed, stolen,
gruff and under, shimmying back in

Kevin Gillam

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_______________________

Third Generation

Standing behind
at the piano
as a younger shadow

leaning over his shoulder
as if infiltrating
the brace of a jazz era

his fingers re-live
the irreverence of Fats Waller
at Harlem Nightclubs

or ‘Rent Parties’   as we lead
chorus line: “My very good
friend, the milkman says…”

stride pianos left hand
loose as a bohemian picking
out rolling notes and chords

that lead into ‘The Joint Is
Jumping’   minds mimicking
the screech of police sirens

and burlesque asides provoking
morality’s laws: “Don’t give
your right name, no no no!” 

I turn to my son “I never
got to see my dad doing
something with his”  who smiles

the bridge of generations
and picks up his trumpet,
he knows this one by heart.

Mike Greenacre

To the Edge of Now
in memory of Kim

More than thirty years gone
your memory still stirs
love’s places   Perth,
Lancelin and Sydney as
teenage to adult playgrounds,
locked inside our tears.

Only your letters remain
filled with energy and
commitment from anti-uranium
writing, marching and
Hiroshima Day, to your
sexual politics stripping
honesty and building wimin’s
self-image in discussion groups,
conferences and weekends away.

And yet your words always
regretted time’s double-
edge   the one that
offered fulfilment at a self-
destructive pace   freeing
doubt and loneliness
in relationships that reached
for what you were now without.

More than thirty years gone
your sister and I swap
knowings and tales
that bring your laughter
racing back.

Mike Greenacre

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_______________________

Bridges

Bridges are mostly functional
They get you from A to B
Links to the other side
Connections between people
Places and ideas, memories
Drawing the world together
.                  B
.                  R
.                   I
.                  D
.                  G
.                  E
When you are halfway across
There is no longer us and them
Here and there are reversed
Going and coming both at once
.                   E
.                   G
.                   D
.                    I
.                   R
.                   B
Bridges built in bricks and stone
Steel and ropes or longing hopes
Stretch out to somewhere else
Words are useful, even one word
A blessing or a welcome will do
Making half the circle back to you

Ruari Jack Hughes 

Once in a Blue Moon
These had been fields covered in green and gold
The crops ripe for harvesting, promise of nature
But he had never seen them in their natural beauty
They were only one hue, drably dark and grimy grey
No colour lightened the monotonous ugliness
Not even the scarlet blood pouring into the ground
Could suggest any liveliness, all was dead or dying

When the bugle sounded or the whistle shrilled
He and his mates rose from the stinking trenches
Teeth grinding in terror or determination
Fear the common condition among them all
Compelled to act in this strange, dreadful drama
Flimsy puppets turned and twisted by the bullets

The morning he enlisted, cheered on by his mates
The sun shone brightly on the high Otago plain
Off to do his bit for King and Country, a bonzer show
And home by Christmas, the Huns given their lesson
But it was Johnny Turk they met on Canakkale

Turned back from those sharp ridges, bitter valleys
What was left of his company walked off the beach
To the waiting ship which took him not home
Instead another horror, a place called Passchendaele

No beaches here, only the flattened dismal landscape
Of parallel ditches, shell-pitted acres of mud sown
With cruel garlands of barbed wire, shattered trees

A singular October day in 1917, miles and years away
That rare morning after a blue moon in a luminous sky

And despite the roar of cannon, a stillness came on him

Ruari Jack Hughes

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_______________________
Suits

‘The world is not beautiful like a horse, he said’
from ‘Visit’ by Manuel de Barros

they’re flushed out of office buildings
jackets unbuttoned, iPhone in hand
a horse is in the street, an ambling horse
for long after it has gone away-
bellies unprotected-
they roll and roll upside down
on meadowland hay
in the business park

Ross Jackson

Cowboy on and off the bus

without the drivers’ unburnished moods
there’re no having city trips
that smooth walk
or jolt up the aisle after boarding
depends on whether it’s happy
timetables or grimly endured schedules

in covering the short distance to their seats
cow folk ascended from the streets
are frisked by your narrowed eyes
Nashville, Bluegrass or the City Blues
piercing heads through wires

burbs are scrolling through
cobwebs of etched graffiti
as you keep on-just rollin’
rollin’, rollin’ past smudges
of hospitals, servos, delis

on your fall into city disorder
in Wellington Street
hammer of uninterested pavement
hugging possessions
disengaged as cirrus, flailing your rope
mustering-cars, people, noise.

Ross Jackson

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_______________________

FLOTSAM

I broke my own heart   fell
. inward    deep into a river
a chaos of island choices

. I got lost at the crossings
never made it to the delta
. paddled through its seductive eddies

I broke my own heart
. but only after you had
stolen it forever

. I fell too far     now
I navigate the red arteries
. searching for any centre

. lost in their soft deceptive flow
still flotsam
. still here

Pat Johnson

Oriental Silks

light glances off your skin
leaps from eyes of Prussian blue
burns me alive
we turn
attach, detach
some other force at work
mocks us moves us
controls the steps
that we think are our own
my feet compelled
by an ancient roundel
never learnt but always known
and you
unaware of your own advance
I do not know
why I reach out
why you take my hand
a fragment of some god’s dance

Pat Johnson

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_______________________

A Pair of Pelicans
(for John)

A pair of pelicans sail past
puffed out like galleons.
Probing the river depths
with beak and eye
perusing the eddy of water
at their leisure,
they are intent in their purpose.
August and austere
as a pair of university dons,
these two consider the morning
ponder each afternoon.
Aloof and contained
they follow the river from here to beyond
finding things to be satisfactory.

Veronica Lake

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_______________________

The Split

Trailer loaded, Datsun filled
Melissa and I watch
from the kitchen.
Dad fights back tears
as Mum explains
this time it’s for good.
A musty scent permeates
our new asbestos home
on our grandparents’ farm.
The freestanding toilet bowl
a silent sentinel
in the cavernous red laundry.
Four or five to a cage
chickens squawk and peck
in haunting rhythm.
Beneath crimson carpet
wooden cellar door creaks
every time we cross.
A shallow, dry well
and rickety water tower
lurk beneath tea trees.
In the rusting tin garage
tattered cobwebs droop
into pools of grease.
Despite my childhood fears
that house shelters
my dearest memories.
Foremost the silence.
Mum’s callous temper
stilled by distance.

A. R. Levett

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_______________________

Nature’s Way

Skeins of mist rise from the valley floor
dissipating in the warming air
burgeoning spring
waves her magic wand.

The summit of the bluff enshrouded
in clouds of powder puffs and strands of wool
the heavy silence broken
by avian company.

Wildflowers abound beside the rugged track
in blue and yellow, violet, pink and white,
fragile spider orchids,
flaming banksia candles.

Flannel flowers, clematis, bridal creeper,
the humble sundew lies with captive tendrils
glistening in the sun
to trap unwary prey.

I start the steep ascent with spirits high
anticipating strenuous exercise –
a perfect vernal day
enjoying nature’s way.

Meryl Manoy

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_______________________
BARKING

In this garden weeds are lawless,
a creep of neglect along cracks in the path.
They say she was as crazed as old china,

walked streets late in slippered feet
barking at dogs, gleeful at their mad chorus,
bowing to spotlights beamed from parted blinds.

They took her away one day, from a house
foul with rotting food and mouse-fat cats,
furnished with one reeking lounge – a bed for all.

Neighbours’ kids broke in, fled all gag and horror
leaping the weedy cracks in her garden path –
.                                                       barking like dogs.

Mardi May

PULLING HAIR

I first noticed her hair –
a matted mesh of white
streaked with fading blond;
a lifetime of growth
netted and hanging like
a rucksack down her back.

A hunch in her shoulders
from the lean and pull of
this cumbersome weight,
like the pilgrim of Bunyan
carrying his penitent vow.

I quicken, turn to see
porcelain skin on
a bone china face,
lip-tight and fierce eyed,
bound to the burden of past.

Mardi May

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_______________________

As Dry Fields Weep for the Rain

When’re hurt is so deep speech departs the aching heart.
Anguish like a shroud, securely wraps all reason,
agony pervades the soul, and feeds upon despair.
This bleak and barren wretchedness, extrinsic for a season,
dominates depression and leaves the psyche bare.

Unfairness fuels the passion that this should ever be?
Why innocence must suffer, so undeservedly?
The troubled mind seeks solace, the answers never find.
Deserted, empty, barren, the soul becomes a stone
in solitary confusion . . . forlornly stands alone.

And then compassion, kindness, becomes a catalyst,
when barren-desolation, assuaged with tears that flow,
the seed of healing planted, to nurture and to grow.
The hurt begins to veil in mist with gentle sympathy
and psyche must learn, must not forget,
in turn, a kindness show.

Glad McGough

A Living Memory

I was walking in the garden of a church beneath a hill
And the perfume of the roses wafted softly on the air—
The perfume so nostalgic that I bent to smell the rose
And as I breathed its sweetness I read the message there.

A dedicated message from the donors of the rose
That told me it was put there long ago;
To celebrate the life of a loved one now long passed
And I wondered if the planter knew the joy it brings each spring.

For in that peaceful garden there are many, many more
Whose roses bloom so constantly year, by year, by year.
The planters’ left the garden now, Oh, so long ago,
But leave a living memory for those who wouldn’t know.

Glad McGough

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_______________________

A Dream After A War

He dreamed he was alive again
Before he joined the war
When life was innocent back then
His family quite poor

He dreamed he was a boy again
The year before the war
His father and the other men
Ships sailing far from shore

He dreamed he was in love again
Before he joined the war
How lovely she had looked back then
Before he sailed from shore

He dreamed he was alive again
A time before the war
When boys were boys and men were men
When all he knew were poor

He dreamed of love and life again
He dreamed of nothing more
How life was hard for them back then
But his girl he could adore

He dreamed he roamed the earth again
Before what was in store
When boys were boys and men were men
And all he knew were poor

He dreamed that he woke up again
Was waving to the shore
Their loved ones waving back at them
As they sailed off to war

He wished he was alive again
He wished for no more war
He wished he was in love again
Though all he knew were poor

Dean Meredith

Chance

A few innocent words
Nothing is said
Time passes, she waits
One day they quarrel
It comes up, his distrust
Then the embrace, her mood
Their cruel passion ignites
Forgiveness, with doubt
He yearns for how it was
But both are changed
What wicked spell is this?
Who sent that wretch to you?
Or was there a secret invitation?
Madness, pure and sublime
Perspectives alter like mist
The wet chill engulfs
Their once happy house of fire
She teases and traps
He reacts, poor fool
To every leaking word
The wood burns slowly
A crackle is heard
And sparks fly freely
From flames quite absurd
His warmth flows through her
She takes him like a bird

Dean Meredith

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_______________________
thank you for your poem,

thank you for your poem, but it didn’t quite make the cut.
thank you for your poem, but this isn’t poetry, is it.
thank you for your poem, but a screenshot of a tweet ain’t poetry.
thank you for your poem, but due to circumstances beyond our control…
thank you for your poem – please stop, Mr Troll.
thank you for your poem, but Allen Ginsberg wrote it better.
thank you for your poem – please enjoy our rejection letter.
thank you for your poem: rhyme is dead.
thank you for your poem – try the Letters To The Editor instead?
thank you for your poem and the poem thanks you too.
thank you for your poem but yeah, but nah, but… yeah, nah dude.
thank you for your poem, but the rhythm just…
thank you for your poem – please stop.
thank you for your poem, but we only publish cat videos.
thank you for your poem, but this don’t make you some kinda hero.
thank you for your poem, but but but but…
thank you for your poem – yes, we know how much rejection hurts.
thank you for your poem: we’ll gladly publish it.
thank you for your poem – to give hope is to give.

Scott-Patrick Mitchell

dear writer

go
write your name
across the world
in letters so big
that when you
stand up close
it is like reading
seven & a half
billion stories
all at once &
in all of them
you are the
heroine & hero

because you always
have been, always
will be

so go
write your name
across the world

Scott-Patrick Mitchell

there, in the water

i wanted to write a poem about how a
tree can dance so i took a photograph
instead

& that answered all the questions i had.
but once in the frame, one must play a
certain game

committed – to madness, marriage – means
you must keep up the dance, travel into &
through, give passage:

this is a transmission

the message speaks of how trees have feet &
leaves can Lindsay or leap : the root of all
things

is that they move – in language, in breeze,
in bending. see how far you’ve come, branch
limbs to dip

& bring wordage to the lip: we are living an
anti-dirge, just holding back an inevitable. we
clear trees

don’t we? so what stops us from stopping us?
& before you know it, see poem emerge from
the water

you weep: we write to hold back death’s creep.

Scott-Patrick Mitchell

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TRUE SPRING

Hoverflies and the warm
smell of wattle hang in
the air under our pergola;
wattlebirds bully and
scrape on the aluminium
roof for scraps of food;
fruit flies scout the compost bin.
Nature clatters on.
Heat fills this upstairs
room and I turn on the fan;
it feels like angels’ wings
on the way back to Eden.

Julian O’Dea

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Shifting

You can smell your heart as you open the car, imprinted
with earth, leaves, lichen on branches turned to the south,
and Now you are home,
where no-one expects wonders of you in your skin
and what you say is accepted as straight as those trees that
soar through the sky of a picture book blue.
No clouds to disturb just the
dark of a curious bower bird, cautiously hopping and
nodding the wattle, a movement in shadows.
You
arranging the picnic of tea-takeaway cups
from the old bakery, that’s changed hands again —
vanilla slice pink iced not papery white.

The scent of wet stringybark, black sallee, a myrtle
and we follow the loggers’ trail out cross the plateau
sometimes in pine light, sometimes dipping and rising
till all we see is infinity; mountains in denim
clad buttocks curved to the heavens, if we keep driving?
Not sure where we’ll end.
But while they carve up the old forests and clothe them
in mockery
I’ll clutch my reality and breathe it in while I can.

Virginia O’Keeffe

Taking the side roads

In rare moments of proximity aligned with a vehicle
we travel the side roads on the trip up to home.
Have you ever been to Wombat he’ll ask with a glint
and we hive off the main drag, disappear into the bush.
Once we took a mountain pass so steep I nearly cried
and hid my eyes from sudden drops that launched me
in the void.
Up Granya way the track it twists like barleysugar sticks
and farms cleave to upended slopes while cows walk
lopsided on horizontal paths that wind the hills.
And still we climb till air is spilt with clouds, edges dissolve
in a nothingness of floss and the flap of startled crows
is hushed within your fear.

Virginia O’Keeffe

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i want for summer

i wait for summer to
unstick my toes
unglue my nose
point to the left or right-hand road
i wait for summer to
prickle the lobes of my ears
melt down my winter fears
i see summer coming
in waves of warming dawn
it is an early hands-on blushing pink
horizon close enough to feel
stained with hints of sapphire
& jade & yesterday’s sticky memories
a head pumped full of song by
chirpy tumbling whatsit birds
a winter-exit body warming
like a dugite on a sunny
rock ledge in & under vibrating rays
waiting for the sting
i long for summer’s touch
for naked plunging
into heaving salted pools
fringed with waving anemones
on unkempt rocky foreshores
they swirl & suck
i wait for summer
for kisses that hold & stick
& linger that do far more
than breaking ice
summer brings its share

of molten treats as icecream
runs down cones as muscle
loosens on bones
as tomatoes ripen & scent-drench
a bee-filled buzzing sky
& even then are bitten into
by green & looping caterpillars
with inquiring eyes
& questions without notice
no easy answer
they just are & in are-ing
morph without a leave form into fluttering
white thingamajigs who flit & linger
filling my field of urban
dreams with restless chunks
of need & hunger
summer brings the warm i need
to simply be
it shunts doonas into hibernation
& lets me sleep with no clothes on
tickled by the comfort
of subtle night-wise breeze
& your smooth proximity
it promotes fertility
it generates need
& lubricates desire
summer gets hot
but that’s just how it is
i want for summer

Allan Padgett 

aching digits

what was the matter with memory
why are we now
what is now a singular moment
like a weeping lonely digit
as a one or a zero or sextillions of them glowing
feeling for my once hard software
all those photos and poems, oh the emails and fiction
all those missile-fed trajectories
toward atomisation
and laughter and tears in or on
a cloud and or a thunderstorm’s entrails
our lives held in diminishing space for a tiny moment
a flash and gone
gagging gone what did you say
about a back-up
I backed up once then forgot
it hurt too much the tears
stained the blighted path to my passwords
retreating to last century’s ageing album
I pull together an horizon of bits
and glue to aching thorns
of gone –
then weep as history disassembles
like a stroke of lightning
blows the feathers off a bird

Allan Padgett

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_______________________
Prepared

Would you? Oh yes
she thought
then said in retrospect,
not always though –

being mindful of
the two exceptions
on the canvas of cathexis
and the senses; pre-

pared for
colour and call,
interpreted and framed
by a painter’s

thrall, who writes
with paint, wondering
if a writer paints
with words.

Joyce Parkes 

Books, Bread
(In memory of my mother, father
and his mother who raised me.)   

When clouds blink, remember blue
ink, when the moon sings,

remember the link, when the sun
flares, celebrate the shade,

when the wind blows,
close your wings; land to see,

she first said to herself,
what the privilege of having

kin, kindreds, a dwelling,
a cheerful neighbour,

a conscientious  G.P., and
Specialist, as well as books,

bread, and a garden in a sub-
urb of Perth could bring.

Joyce Parkes

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Out of Time

Last night, the falcon took its final flight. Torn claws
now grasped the gnarled grey branch. The last tall tree in sight.
No leaves carpet, this dark dry earth,
no birdsong fills the dark and dusty midday air,
.                no answer to it’s rasping hollow caw, in this midday night.

Yesterday the stream had dried.
Sentinels gently stroked its stony bed,
.               questing fingers, willing moisture, to magically reappear.

The last child had gone the year before,
.            bequeathing earthborn childhood to a time of myth,
.                     bequeathing dreams of futures’ bright
.                              to quiet thoughts in the deepest night,
of those last few Sentinels, who chose to stay behind

bearing witness to past times:
.             of towns and cities, filled with busy lives,
.                      of fecund forests, filled with life,
.                                of life rich seas,
.                                            of science, arts and dreams,
without humans, with the will to care,
without the will to shepherd life,

.              before the earth was out of time.

Last month marked the leaving of the last earth refugees,
shipping out to Sol’s young city States and distant colonies.

Some few now stayed to witness, to hold the final vigils,
the final benedictions, bearing witness to the past.

Yvonne G Patterson

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Sweet Scented Boronia

Remember Hay Street in its hey day?

“SWEET SCENTED BORONIA…  sprukes a waist-coated gent in brogues
 sheafs of russet-yellow cat’s eyes wink from the wicker basket slung on his burly arm.

Omnipresent tram trundles by     sash windows rattle
frugal wooden jarring slatted seats     ormolu  cast iron armrests     bite elbows.

“SWEET SCENTED BORONIA… two and six a bunch”
reverberates up and down Hay Street drowns out the traffic policeman’s whistle.

Sidewalk crowded     lady in neat pleats twin set hat like a box     highly polished lace-ups
shoes for Matrons they called them     gent suited double-breasted pin-stripes
a modest feather in the band of his Akubra.

At London Court little kids squint upwards    watch time    wait for chimes
eager to see two brightly painted jousters clash at a portal     above Big Ben’s face.

“SWEET SCENTED BORONIA… two and six a bunch”
sir     “a sprig for your lapel only one shilling”.

Laurie Smith

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Cambridge Walkabout

That little creek
.              the Cam
looks onto grassy ‘Backs’ of Colleges–
Magdalene and Queens’
.             King’s and Clare
Trinity Hall and St John’s.

.                                                 That little creek
.                                                               the Cam
.                                                 crossed by many bridges–
.                                                 one melancholy
.                                                                a Bridge of Sighs
.                                                 another exactly ‘Mathematical’.

.                                                                                               That little creek
.                                                                                                             the Cam
.                                                                                               willow-fringed and festive
.                                                                                               in spring and summer
.                                                                                                             punts
.                                                                                               crowded with friends and
.                                                                                               lovers.

.                                                 That little creek
.                                                               the Cam
.                                                 desolate in winter drizzle
.                                                               punts
.                                                               marooned on banks
.                                                 crammed under bridges.

That little creek
.              the Cam
so manicured and managed
yet modest
.              as any antipodean stream

that little creek
.              the Cam.

Rita Tognini 

Musicology (of sorts) from A-Z
Une Étude

Albinoni probably didn’t pen his adagio.  There’s the rub.
Czerny though, produced all those études practised
endlessly by students.  Some say Bach’s Anna Magdalena dashed off
graceful and well-tempered melodies for the clavier, and oh,
impishly attributed them to JSB (he made her do it?).  Liszt’s love raj,
legitimate or not, produced daughter Cosima.  She famously fell
madly in love with that Wagner– genius musical magician,
Opera’s entrepreneur, who with deranged Leopold’s money set up,
querulously, a Festspielhaus in Bayreuth. There, soprano, baritone, bass and tenor
still sing Siegmund, Brünnhilde, the Valkyrie and Wotan, as gods fade in twilight
under Rhineland peaks.  A cycle that makes me long for Vivaldi, redhead spiv,
Wolfgang A Mozart, Verdi, Donizetti, Bellini, and Puccini’s complex,
young (and bruised) butterfly, or even the robust horns of Der Freischutz.

Rita Tognini

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VALE PATTIE WATTS / FAWWA GUARDIAN ANGEL

In all my dealings with Pattie from early days when I was on the FAWWA committee, Pattie was one of the kindest, open hearted people I have ever known. Forever with encouragement in my literary endeavours and interested in my family affairs and ever hard working to benefit FAWWA to the point of being a true guardian angel. Indeed it was her encouragement that led to Trisha Ewers taking on the mantle of Chair for the custodianship of FAWWA for many years.

When Pattie passed away I felt we had lost a national treasure and similarly FAWWA regarded her in the same light. Recently they held a memorial celebration and as a centrepiece they asked Glen Hunting to write a eulogy/elegy in that light and as Creatrix selector I am happy to present it below.

Funereal Frisson
(for Pattie Watts)

It isn’t a funeral unless there are babies.
Or rather, they come into their own
at the wake, or if it’s a party all-round.

Today’s aggregation of ebullient remembrance
is the benediction we were told to expect.
Observed in particular, I see, by one new arrival,
nodding her flaxen, fluff-bound head
and curling her romper-clad leg
as though in upturned genuflection,
lying as she is in her father’s lap,
almost meditative in her uncanny melding
of innocence and gravitas.
Her opalescent eyes betoken
her absorption of a son’s gracious précis
of the passed-one’s progress
Then, zeroing-in on her nose
they relax; her cheeks swell like tiny tomatoes,
and a thoughtful bubble blooms and bursts
from the puckered orb between them…

I ought to be just as attentive as you
to the mellowing sighs
that run through the relatives’ narratives.
Or else I’m mistaken, and you’re elsewhere entirely,
musing upon your tragedies—
cold, fatigue, wind both within and without—
stark against the sliver of your experience,
perhaps suspecting, by an unplumbed instinct,
that all expression is an end,
but not always a means.
But all age-appropriate modes of complaint
are as foreign to you in this moment
as beating breasts and tearing clothes would be
amongst the assembled brethren and friends.

And now I espy a contemporary of yours,
Her would-be companion, with you,
in delight and investment,
surrendered to the quiescent joy
of his own mother’s arms…
infant, infant, father, mother:
all accords with the spirit
that’s only stepped sideways
with the fleshly desistance that’s brought us all here,
and which now permeates and enlivens the tent,
and the tray after tray, and the jug after jug,
and the impeccable style and warmth
of the outwardly buoyant,
probably inwardly keening name-bearing hosts,
and the whole irrepressible, sun-kissed veneration
we’ve managed to enact without scripting
beyond Her blueprint, Her cursive request
and bequest, before Her time came, for beyond:
an unrepeatable incidence
of Wonder in Commemorated Absentia.

Glen Hunting

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