Creatrix 58 Poetry

September 2022

Selectors: Peter Jeffery OAM and Jan Napier


d e barnes

Ananda Barton
       Anzac Day

Peter Burges
       Some disease affected my sight

Coral Carter
       Breaking the lockdown rules

Gary Colombo De Piazzi
       Dialect of Loss

Derek Fenton
       A Brief Moment in Time

Wendy Fleming
       Evening at Port Philip Bay

Ann Gilchrist
       The floor

Kevin Gillam
       between ten and twelve

Mike Greenacre

Jenifer Hetherington
       South Beach Ficus

Ross Jackson
       Trigg Bushland

Michael James
       Grey Morning

peter knight
       picture a window

Veronica Lake
       Sewing Room

Geoffrey Lilburne
       Saving the Universe

Mardi May
       All the Same

Glad McGough
       Metaphors and Symbols

Diana Messervy
       Tribal Bash

Jan Napier

Julian O’Dea
       Koala Dreaming

Virginia O’Keeffe
       The last jar

Allan Padgett
       Lorraine in Scintillating Lipstick Pink

Chris Palazzolo
       Sister Summer

Yvonne Patterson

Gail Robinson
       Retrieving toast with a fork

Barry Sanbrook
       The March of Time

Norma Schwind
       The Races

            62 Immigrants

       Blue Mountains

Geoff Spencer

Kaelin Stemmler
       just a few feet

Michael Stevens
       The Natural Advantage

Jill Taylor Neal
       One is a crowd

Suzette Thompson
       Darwin Bird

Rita Tognini
       Exit Pursued by Three Bears …

Mimma Tornatora …
       An Ode to Hugo & Katharine

Maggie Van Putten


intermingled – memories

I still
miss your clothes,
the trail sprinkled around
the bedroom

the times
we hastily undressed,
half-tripping stripping
scattered clothes mingled

hurriedly kicked off shoes
resting close to each other;

all these years, I still wonder
if I had a fetish;
for I was turned on
by the caress of your toes,
up the back of my legs.

And now
only memories
of scattered clothes remain.

d e barnes

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Anzac Day

Anzac Day
My niece is chasing pigeons
In Forrest Place
Pattering patient leather
Erupting feathers.

Ananda Barton

Armadale Line, 25th April 2022

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Some disease affected my sight

at seven. For a time in the flow of while,
cantilevered the world left of centre so colours
meant to feed outlines of goats and cows
bled outside borders set to restrain childhood
wanderings. My mother said nothing; continued
encouraging. My father grunted. I beavered on
producing masterpieces fit for ’fridge doors.

Cured, ’though lacking that terminology
which sparkles truth until it’s like sunlit
beach sand—truths of that while being particulate,
so unlike the wildness of colours, containable
within parents’ borderings—I was impressed
by the 3D nature of the drawings, felt for them
something of that later experienced before
ochre hands on cave walls: a demand

that I acknowledge connection—of flesh
with colour, colour with wall, wall with
generations of those dead/alive I might
otherwise have preferred be forgotten.

Years later, seeing blood of others country
dying, leaching misaligned across concrete swathes,
yet still knelling timbres of colours they had beamed
at me—words, smells, laws, foods, ways of loving
and hating, living and dying—it was the crudity
with which Truth could be twisted that amazed:
a crudity tinctured with autocrats’ primordiality,
sense of which the sophistication of bullets confuses,

So I thought again of borders; of fists and gun butts
imprinted bloodily into flesh; of how untruths
interleaving newspaper pages become inked typesets
obscuring connection with loved ones, with strangers,
with the secret-sacred we keep hidden in the linings
of our hearts’ ventricles, safe beyond the vast roar
of gun language which moils blood ’til connections,
made frangible, die in grassless fields.

Having no mother or father, I became child once more,
spooned about their absences, afraid the ways I was
navigating would grew grey again, as they had for that orphan
still daubing his colours outside my adult’s bounds.

Peter Burges

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Breaking the lockdown rules

Horizon hungry
I drove out to Yorkeys Crossing
to be where the sky began and ended
the air moved the leaves on the trees
sand lifted and fell grain by grain.

New signs had appeared
noted the bashed-in gates
piles of garbage dumped.

Drove to the gulf’s marshlands
where concrete pipes and a causeway
have tamed tidal waters
where oversized trucks
go to by-pass Port Augusta.

Parked my car and walked
back to tracks in the marshland mud
stood on the side of the road
said to the air as I examined
the splashed tracks
hop hop hop.

Alone in the bush hush
until a pilot vehicle
came barrelling toward me
red lights flashing
headlights flicking
horn sounding.

The OVERSIZED came roaring
five swimming pools wide
five swimming pools high
five swimming pools long
spraying dirt as it passed.

Wiped the back of my hand across my mouth
swallowed some sprayed dirt and tiny stones
tasted the salt
walked to an abandoned arm chair
watched the tide creep in.

Coral Carter


The paper daisies I broadcast into my native garden have heaved themselves up bent and bright green under the weight of red sand. I won’t be here to see them flower but they will self-seed after that.

distant rain—
I shake sand
out of the gauge

Coral Carter

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Dialect of Loss

Sunken cheeks and skin easing down.
The shared wisdom of sacrifice—
children’s hair preened around a pen
blond strands, the fine wire of ink
that shapes memory to a page.

It’s the shape of words that meld
who we are, who they were.
The old and the young
the quiet and the loud
and always trains that
clack the night with
dark windows and
faces that peer.

They come at night
these stories that hold the breath
collect as if drawn to some light
some revelation, missed in the space
and shudder of forgetting.

It is cold that binds them.
Collapses fine tremors of words
into a stutter as if holding on
can be an option and always
there are birds.

The sound of chatter
in the morning
and the sun is
a gold embrace
bound to a weave
of frost        the
smell of bacon
and eggs for

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

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A Brief Moment in Time

One second later and I’d have been dead—
a speeding scooter missed me by inches.
On day one in Bali, I would have bled
a cacophony of groans and winces.
Instead, a Dostoyevskyean moment,
the world jumped into a sharper focus.
Years peeled off like a blazing garment,
my life lurched  into a different locus.

Like Myshkin’s mesmerised friend on death’s cart,
I walked down the gang* completely entranced
by colours, the whole world a work of art,
every sense now absolutely enhanced.
  Reminding me of fifty years ago,
  when Fyodor set my spirits aglow!

Derek Fenton.

*An alleyway

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Evening at Port Phillip Bay

Like a bird that floats
My bare feet on silken sand

Embers streak the sea   
folding down the day

In the distance dogs run free
Socks of foam.

If I believed, maybe I can
here, with salty, tight skin 

I thank the painter
who brushed me in.

Wendy Fleming

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The floor

I have lain on the floor
with sickness, grief and pain
and the floor brought comfort
the cool tiles soothing my fever
carpet cushioning the pain
stillness steadying the nausea

an infant worms his way across
then crawls, totters tipsy on milk
and the floor is a magnet to him
to his peas, potatoes, porridge
spoon, cup, plate, tantrum
toilet trained potty spills and bleach

then the floor is school-day quiet
sanitised nine to five
between puppy walks
and kitty litter chalk dust
a dying fly spinning a frenzy
bouncing off the skirting

the floor becomes a distant thing
and mats curl with sly smiles
waiting to reconnect us with the floor
like my mother’s head
blood puddling into crisscross grout lines
paramedic tread marks
and the scent of rust staining the towels

my father in law lay down on the floor
next to his bed in quarantine
Alzheimer’s isolated him
from lost routes and passages
he died quietly on the floor in his care home

my mother fell six inches from bed time
softly alerting the pressure mat to her presence
aged care nurses picked her up
like a spoon, a cup, a toy, a tantrum
a toddler hangs over the edge of his high chair
he drops his sipping cup
and apple juice dribbles along the grout lines

Ann Gilchrist

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between ten and twelve

so yes, spend a few moments
upside down. tilt on that see-saw
of nontruth and unfiction.  chase

a déjà-vu or two – they come
in flocks. meet no-one’s gaze – exchanges
in sight brings friction.  do sonnet

breathing – in for eight, out for six.
you are the blind river, ever
feeling t’wards sea.  and gravity

is the friend, is the tempo.
you’re four, spinning, spinning, giddy
in sunshine.  place a tape measure

around your solitude. there’s a
half-gibbous moon waiting – swim to it

Kevin Gillam

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Listening to the rain
you’re tossed between
the nuance of meaning

from the soft pitter patter
like tentative footsteps
into somewhere unknown

to the thunderous roar
of an army of boots
stamping hold of ground

until you’re trapped by the
pounding of second thoughts—
the urge to run or hide

remembering the warmth
and security of the family home
where freedom of thought

lay somewhere outside,
waiting for you
in the driving rain.

Mike Greenacre

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South Beach Ficus

Storm tossed trees
with liquid shadows

dancing branches
seagrass under waves

tea-trees’ fandango belies
the weight of wood.

Snug in the dunes
rotund shrubs

flex and twist
close to the earth,

foam flecked gusts
rampage, a king-hit

the shriek of crack
shards of bark

fly on stinging sand,
the ripped limb

crushes a scooter.

The giant oozes
white rubber blood

such heft
yet transient as a cloud.

Jenifer Hetherington

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Trigg Bushland

looking out from this arid sentinel above the coast
wandering amid a tilting scrape of rabbit warrened sand
scanning for signs of quandong trees
at edges of the corral of scorched weeds
scavenging in the salvage yard of jarrah wrecks
where barbed banksia wire lies coiled
no quandong fruit to be gotten here!

hoarder of meteor blasted limestone
bleached skulls and rotten teeth
you blight my view to the sea
you’ re worn out, too cruelly wild
and though our boots degrade
your charmless trails
you’ll outstay us all

Ross Jackson

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Grey Morning

Under the Narrows Bridge
Rowers from the University
Found the body

Talking over the noise of the freeway,
Two women walking
With pink dumbbells.

At the coffee van
The uniformed officer
Gets four takeaways

The view is blocked by white plastic

A TV reporter
Makes sexual jokes
He is short in real life.

Two cyclists
Griping about Simon.

The fisherman says he did not see.
While a man looks through the bin
For recyclables. And,
On the ferry rail,

Three seagulls.

Michael James

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Picture a Window
West Moonah, Hobart

On this wet, wind-buffeted day,
my thoughts tumble and trouble
like leaves blown by a breeze,
whipped from trees,
and trashed without regard
for boundaries.

On this grey rain-veiled day,
the view from this house on the hill
is dimming but is panoramic still.
Thru the misting picture window
I strain out to see,
beyond my perimeter walls,
that I gaze at often,
now with a glazed fix.

What can be made of that below?
Cascades of peaked roofs
trailing down slopes,
lower hill-hugging houses
sprawling to the regimen
of suburbs spread out upon the flat,
major roads and intersections,
and clusters and strips
of an array of shops.

The fluorescent eye of the lit day
inside, overhead,
does not dispel grey specters.
Nor does the intermittent sun.
The picture window room,
upon the dulling of the light, cools.
An untended flicker of subdued coals
barely sustains warmth.

The roof now drums with the refrain
of renewed, hardening rain.
With earth and sky dulled outside,
the picture window mirrors
the room’s darkened features.
Its reflection presents me, more truthfully.
It shows a view of a different dark,
let loose within today.

peter knight

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It starts in the heavens,
a slow building of cloud
rumbling and grumbling
across a leaden sky.
A dark weight holds the horizon still.
Heaviness presses down,
pinning us like insects,
before the crackle and crack
of brilliance splits sky.

Waves creeping over beach
rustle and sigh with expectation.
Damp sand lies vulnerable,
exposed to laser-eye caprice.
Skewered in one sharp spear thrust,
conjoining earth and sky,
a million separate grains fuse
to a solid whole, a fragile worm,
twisting and curling in pale imitation
of a jagged stream of light.

Veronica Lake

Fulgurite:  known as “fossilized lightning”; natural tubes, clumps, or masses of vitrified, and/or fused soil, sand, rock, organic debris and sediments that sometimes form when lightning discharges into ground.

Sewing Room

Fabrics lie piled higgledy-piggledy;
warm wincey in nursery colours,
crisp linen, aubergine and white,
a pile of green silk on the desk,
soft, like new leaves in a forest.
Tumbled in a bag, scraps of plain cotton;
too good to be thrown away.
Striped suiting, quilt filling,
a swathe of sumptuous Chinese satin,
turquoise, glinting with golden embroidery.
Filmy chiffon, stiff rolls of damask
cuts of hessian for pot-holders,
and crisp cottons for shirts.

There’s a sandalwood box
full of buttons, zips, lengths of lace
and a spill of tangled ribbons.
One round pin-cushion sits studded with pins.
Skeins of embroidery silks smelling of yesterday,
multi-coloured sewing thread rolling in spools,
padding, binding, hooks and eyes,
and a pair of bright sharp scissors
to cut through everything.

Veronica Lake

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Saving the Universe.

              “the safekeeping of the small acreages of the
               universe… entrusted to us,” Wendell Berry

It’s come to this according to my guru
not the little ones, our family members
we have to guard, but the small farms
we keep in back blocks and backyards.

Around them gather sub-dividers
and agents, agri-business-men
who wish to turn a profit, accumulate
more by monocultures of destruction.

A friend wants to sell me his land
and I sure want to buy it, yet
by some grace of impecunity,
I say No. What I have is enough.

It passes to another instead
I have now a neighbour to help me
with my work, together we practice
safekeeping of the universe in our trust.

Geoffrey Lilburne

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All the Same

In the 50s us kids played
together on the rutted road

jumped bikes over puddles,
skited and fell off in the dirt;

names ending in ich and ski,
a few with van in the middle;

a mixed bunch of kids who
never saw the difference

The Italians grew vegies,
gave away garlic and sang;

we had chooks and a cow,
grew up on fresh eggs and cream.

A mealtime walk down the road
a journey across continents

sharp with cevaps and garlic,
and a waft of boiling cabbage.

Before Guy Fawkes Night
we collected stuff to burn,

our dads alert for plunder
guarded sheds and firewood.

The ichs, skis and vans
gathered in the leaping light

united by an ancient ritual of fire.
We all laughed and ate peanuts.

Mardi May

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Metaphors and Symbols 

And God’s cryptic message, sent by angel, came to the symbols on the hill
They’d never heard of fake news, but lived to do God’s will
Humble, diligent, humans working watchfully, o’er their sheep
Pondering on prophesies in night’s light frosty-sleet
Not for those, whose fans line streets to worship and adore, 
The message came not for celebs, or rich, instead God chose common poor.
                 Can we conceive the metaphor the shepherds were to hear?
The angel knew his presence would, the humble, give great fear
Assuring them, then heaven returned, and left them with a star
To guide them into the Bethlehem and there to find a babe
Not worshipped in a palace but a simple stable bare 
So have we learnt the lesson from the metaphor on the hill,
to live a simple life, with our neighbours share good will?

Glad McGough

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Tribal Bash

Workmate’s birthday bash
tribes cluster in his paddock
colleagues – mates – son’s friends

town clans – craft beer
prosecco in plastic
virgin akubras
sinking stilettos –
eye the bull at the fence

bush mob – flannel shirts
beanies or battered hats

‘lastic sides
swig tinnies and smoke

pierced students – slim hipped
slashed jeans
aspiring moustaches
balance in boots with
soles like bricks

bushies find last sun
students pitch tents on the hill
townies retreat to the marquee

abundance of bottles chip bowls
eskies under Bunnings tables
we share red and small talk
with strangers

pig grins on spit
drips into foil
dignity stripped
children point and stare

cold seeps into our feet
three men compete
with piggin tales

bonfire draws the crowd
well primed drinkers
shout and shove

country music cranks up
the brawling men
throw punches

we consider
an early exit

Diana Messervy

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When he first saw me my father cried
 pink and white like a new piglet, and she
not expecting it, just burst out laughing.

My babyskin was purply red, rolls of creases
around the neck, knees and fat little ankles
because the Lord knows you have to grow into it.

A child forever pitching from my bike, the bay
pony, tumbling from the back yard apple tree,
scraping palms and shins, I grew bruises till Dad
asked if they’d sell better than cabbages.

I became seal girl or silkie in my teens.
With my wild kelp hair and strange pale pelt, folk said
I reminded them of the lady in that old fable.

At twenty, my body scooped and curved as kitchen
spoons, a loiter of tabasco boys outside the café
whistling, winking, offering lifts.

Winter is my season now and my love long fallen,
heart leafless as branches of aspen and ash. 
Your green jumper is soft against a cheek drifted

with ghost nets no salve can untangle. Endling,
I hobble cold sands, the water calling,

Jan Napier

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Koala Dreaming

Winter has begun like a long
argument you cannot win
Wrangling with the wind
and scolding cold
taking a dim

Canberra’s sky is blue with cold
A three-quarter moon hangs
half-way up
Single notes from an unseen bird
hang frigid in the air
Trees and shrubbed cliffs
crowd around below

There are supposed to be koalas
in this forest
hunched over and sleeping
in the recesses of winter
Hunched in my own coat I know
Koala Dreaming

Julian O’Dea

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The Last Jar

She shaved the peel with the sharpest of knives carefully missing the pith;
three bowls to hold flesh and skin, whole fruit and the unwanted inner blanket.
The board is scarred from years of use and juice runs off at will.
Uncontrolled, making marmalade is an act of grace and hope.
For sixty years she and the board have sat at the table near the window
after dawn while the house sleeps. The fruit is washed, the knife is sharpened.
She steadies into the task, rhythmically sliding, cutting deeper over the peduncle,
hands moving with surety despite the claw of a finger and a knuckle that is done for.
These fruits are gifts from a friend, they gathered them after the rainfall
getting their shoes wet and laughing as the leaves showered down.
Twisted the oranges from the branches, they have to come cleanly—
fruit that grabs to its stem is not ready for harvest.
She remembers this lesson at her auntie’s orchard, all of fifteen and ripe for the picking.
They harvested fruit till her hands were soft and oily, and oh the scent,
it stayed with her all the way home, a memory of carefree afternoons in the sun.
Outside the window the empty pool where the kids once swam, now bleak and blue
and void of of life except where water circles heavy raindrops.
They will be here soon. She is not ready. Has washed the jars but the jam has not set.
It needs a lemon to balance the hollow skin. As she cuts the lemon moves
beneath her knife, spitting pips and spilling juice, resisting.
Will there be oranges and a knife at The Home?

Virginia O’Keeffe

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Lorraine in Scintillating Lipstick Pink

Trailing up and over a raggedy old-style kind of picket fence,
its armour frightening butterflies and caterpillars and all,
thankfully, sap-sucking and bud-chewing arthropods. Flaming

lipstick pink in Winter and beyond, arching its strength
into adjacent palms and wisteria, blazing on the coldest,
darkest and wettest of days, so bright it seems to be signalling

life itself to our various worlds. Its extravagant beauty, its bounteous
comfort, its stupendous, irredeemably perfume-drenched scent,
far more and deeper-piercing than and from a bottle of Chanel

or related other could imbibe from rose petals harvested
in their multi-thousands from the fields of Provence or wherever.
It is so dense it nearly cloys, but at the last moment it rears back,

pulsing, there are waves of radiant light and perfume tracking
through our backyard skies, in scintillating haste, yet pausing
long enough, just enough, to settle on my vagrant lips, my hungry

nose, penetrating hard into two flaring nostrils, like breath, like
nature pushing oxygen deep to lung and absorption. This rose, so
pinkly bright and mood-changing, is Lorraine Lee – and it made me.

It, this sumptuous, voluptuous, climbing rose, has followed me all
my days, it has been there as needed, grown its vast armoury of thorns
and buds – bursting open in pursuit of constellations of gasp and wonder.

Bees suckle at its tenderness as birds and cabbage-white butterflies
pause for thought. I grab a visitor, take him down there, declaim at its
power and beauty. Clearly, it does not need my spluttered exclamations.

At other times I pick a stem, place in a long-necked vase, pause to admire.
It looks back, weeping, bends its neck within a day or two. Rejecting my
secateured needs, it says to me, I prefer to be exactly where and how I was.

Allan Padgett

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Sister Summer

My room in my sister’s flat
is just like a box: carpet-jam door.
Sometimes I think
I’m going to suffocate,
but the window is stuck open
           so I only think it.

My sister’s flat is like a corridor
and the rooms just cupboards
and in summer a hot wind
blows through, in the front door
out the kitchen window.

In and out like my sister’s friends,
talking, drinking, laughing
and smoking, coming and going
in their Holdens; tires
grind up the dead lawn, turn it
            to fine grey dirt.

I see their puzzled looks
when I write at my sister’s table,
I feel the racing heartbeat
just like they do,
and I dread the cop’s shadow
in the blaze of the flyscreen;
though he never appears
I’m including him too
             in my sister summer.

Chris Palazzolo

Rockingham 1988

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our gaze locks    we each hold lives
                 expressed within non-standard text
                            sculpted choreography threads
                                        the space between
                            measures distance

                 purposed gestures
pronoun selection
coded language
response analysis

a conversation
a dance
a duet?

Yvonne Patterson

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Retrieving toast with a fork

While we make plans for retirement
you continue    to rise first
iron your shirt shower and scroll the news
a family receives record payment for delivery rider dad
hit by bus
while you eat
porridge now it’s Winter
 the kettle boils makes two mugs strong white tea
sweet your slippers slap the hall floorboards
bedroom blind lifts you climb into bed
a kiss to witness the sunrise
a fiery freeway collision
while you drive to the airport
adds two names to the road tally
I write the usual three pages wait for the day’s angel to deliver
instead of a poem receive data
 your heart beating 120 times a minute calf swollen
 hard    to     breathe you are a stranger
 in another city 
          while I bide my time at work you text

emergency confirms DVT        Pandoras dive deeper
find multiple pulmonary embolisms block
 iron from the first collision of galaxies 
 to stop you synthesizing the breath of plants
while you leave the hospital news
cuts one in four   malignant you decide
 to fly home joke two kidneys are excessive anyway
while I ride the train home
a bald man lifts the eyebrows on the back of his head at me
a potato poster reveals why we shouldn’t teach ourselves to fly
 retrieve toast with a fork play on the train tracks
at least 21% of people pay attention
you arrive home land like a balloon
a breath away from exploding        fall
 into bed         I watch your chest         rise
what happens 
while you sleep

Gail Robinson  

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The March of Time

the very subtlety of time
the way it creeps up and overtakes
its exquisiteness of control
over the drama of life
and the changes the affect us
forcing modifications never considered
often never wanted
the impermanence of each moment
which of itself is in flux
never waiting for the next tick of the clock
as it passes and moves on
to become a second
a minute
an hour
until time is measured in
when that very subtlety
allows the changes that have occurred
during its march
to become apparent
although we will never notice
or fully understand

Barry Sanbrook

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The Races

they left in the cool air of a
rain-washed morning from
a town still waking. a horse
and cart, two swags camp
tucker for the journey.

three young horses tethered
behind, clip-clopped a rhythm
in sync with cartwheels
turning, collie to ravensthorpe
near on 300 miles

frederick george, samuel and
harry the jockey, travelled for
many days along endless avenues
of tall timber, leaves dancing in
stippled light

at each days end in deepening
dusk the brothers paused, lit a
campfire.  lulled by sounds of
horses, slept in swags ribboned
by moonlight

race-hardened by days on the
road, horses arrived in prime
condition, best in field. fred and
sam spoke with jockeys, trainers
owners, placed bets

fred whistled as usual as the
horses lined up.  three races, three
wins.  the men smiled shook
hands pocketed the winnings
hitched up, headed home

Norma Schwind

62 Immigrants

from a camp
             a bridge

on the edge

hitched a ride
             in a

wanted a new life
             in the land
             of the free

             san antonio

46 dead
             an abandoned

hot desert sun casts

Norma Schwind

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Blue Mountains

The blue breath
of blue gum trees, rises
and mingles in cyan wisps.

The stretchy azure patches
of boundless skies
intensify the bluest feelings.

The singing sapphire stream,
spouts, spurts, and sprints
spilling intently o’er the cliffs.

Distant and forlorn,
on the jagged edges, mossy ledges of rocks,
our cerulean breath shakes out of us.

Mixing with the enlivening breath
of blue gum trees that rise
like saxe fingers to the sky.

Blue trembling on blue,
this hue so becoming upon the placid,
painted blue mountains.


After Henry Lawson’s poem, ‘The Blue Mountains’

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l a   tristesse   durera   pour  toujours
—  Vincent

the    brevity   of   life
shadowed   through   the   canopy   of   lament
as   rustling    leaves   fall   in   a   dark   space

tears   shed   from   the   sky
dry   in   the   heat   of   forgetting
yet   fill   the   empty   room
with   their   own   memories
as   sleep  ..  .. 
the   bridge   which   carries   the   heavy   load
that   burdens   some   each   day
..  ..   evaporates

a   severed   ear
an   ugly   wound
crows   rise   from   the   wheatfield
his   colour

ici   repose

Geoff   Spencer 

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just a few feet

last night I dreamt
we never did meet
out paths diverged
by just a few feet

Kaelin Stemmler

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The Natural Advantage

I can hear an echo of a strong voice
reverberating without form,
seeking recognition of difference.

We sat four to an island,
four inkwells, four pencil slots
all looking inward at faces
interested, in a curious way.

My opposite was a mirror
in name only,
he was black I white.

I know the difference now
you learn that kind of thing,
then it wasn’t obvious.

He was just another snotty nosed kid
who lived down by the railway track,
a little way out of town.

I would sometimes see him
walking home from school,
out of the school bus window.

He always seemed normal to me,
I didn’t know he had an advantage
of his ancestor’s hand-me-down talent

Much later I watched him play state footy.
I wonder if he remembers me, as
just another snotty nosed kid.

Michael Stevens

Written with the support of “Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship”.

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One is a crowd

I like waking up
when it’s quiet

sometimes, I’ll write a poem
stare at myself in the mirror
take off my clothes and dance
in awe of my own nakedness

sometimes, I’ll turn up the TV
let its blaring fill the room

sometimes, it can’t be loud enough

I watch the clock
count the cars

life fleeting by my window

there are three windows in my house

one is a screen
the other is a mirror

Jill Taylor Neal

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Darwin Bird

A baby bird fell at my feet
Lay on the grass, head folded against its chest
Soft feathered wings still uncurled.

 It lay there, just breathing.
I picked it up and fitted the delicate bones into the palm of my hand.
It’s heart beat still, head tucked under
as if to keep from seeing death.
Sure to die outside a nest.

Birds flapped in trees above
But this little one was unclaimed.
Take a baby home with me.
How could I care for a baby?
How would it survive, anyway?

I put it back in the tree
Prolonging the death knell.
Further to fall
Longer to die.

Suzette Thompson

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Exit Pursued by Three Bears

I found an UGG bootie with black bead eyes,
bear nose toe and lacy white ears
on a low garden wall.‘Is this yours?’
some Goldilocks had scrawled
on a white sheet as she fled chair, bed and bowl—
for her next home invasion.

Rita Tognini

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An Ode to Hugo & Katharine

On the veranda, toiling with thoughts
glass of wine
plate of delicacies
Lovely way to end the afternoon.

Soaked to the skin
feeling abandoned,
he craves safety
in the darkness of the fetid trench.

Torrential rains hammer his body
like a hypnotic sensation.
With Hill 60 behind him
the allure of sleep presents.

His heart infused
with scent of eucalyptus droplets
falling from open skies.
Love making in front of an open fireplace.

Cascading violently,
the rain unrelenting.
He knows it is time to leave
the confines of the dark

and move warily into the unknown.

A solitary gunshot fell on Greenmount Hill.
He was gone.
She, not there
consumed by grief in a distant land.

Mimma Tornatora

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the chair
tall, cushioned, blue
a calm colour, secure
on the other side of the room
so far

for me to stand up on my own
and walk: bad leg, good leg
turn with great care
sigh down

Maggie Van Putten

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