Creatrix 59 Poetry 

December 2022

Selectors: Peter Jeffery AO, Mike Greenacre


Ananda Barton
           The Premier Visits the Cultural Centre

Carly Beth
           Fish and Robots

Peter Burges
           Year’s End

Gary Colombo De Piazzi
           Night’s Hollow Silence

Derek Fenton
           A Pat On The Head But Not With A Sword

Margaret Ferrell

David Flynn
           stolen generation

Warren Flynn
           Watercolours from Noongar Boodja

Sally Gaunt
           When I am Seventy-Two

Ann Gilchrist
           Bibra Lake

Kevin Gillam
           being four

Candy Gordon
           Holding On
           Are you listening

Mike Greenacre
           Beside You

Rhian Healy
           Carrying the dead

Jenifer Hetherington

Ruari Jack Hughes

Ross Jackson
           Birds in Dogland

Pantha Jaskiewicz 
           Camp at Lake Monger

peter knight

Veronica Lake

James Le Bas
           Vermillion Red

Geoffrey Lilburne
           Bruce Rock Dreaming

Mardi May

Diana Messervy
           Turning Point

Jan Napier

Julian O’Dea

Virginia O’Keeffe
           Lviv Farewell

Allan Padgett
           In the West a Cloudbank Squirmed

Christopher Palazzolo
           To Lorenzo
           Saturday Afternoon Orpheus

Glen Phillips
           The Rites of Spring

Gregory Piko
           We Met in a Valley
           Potential Energy

Gail Robinson
           The gravity of belief

Barry Sanbrook
           The Breaking Point

Norma Schwind
           Caring for Bill

Geoff Spencer
           White Noise (Holland Track

Kaelin Stemmler
           Wall Spiders

Maggie Van Putten
           The Elusive Now

Anne Warman

Ted Witham
           La Gaîté Parisienne

Back to Top


The Premier Visits the Cultural Centre

7.35 am, just arrived at work
A colleague points through the plate glass window,
Mark McGowan himself,
With an entourage of suits 
Is strolling through the Cultural Centre,
Ignoring huddled Aboriginals,
Homeless in their own land. 
I’ll ask him why he won’t give me a pay rise,
In line with inflation, 
As the union is asking.
Unfortunately, by the time I get there
He is gone. 
Is the secret of political success? 
rising early?
Avoiding embarrassing encounters 
With the public?  

Ananda Barton 

Back to Top


Fish and Robots

The food court is a living thing
Every wall, floor and roof has something
On it. 
A perfect place to take a child from
With no one noticing 
So I survey the scene.

I sit across from a huge fish tank 
With big, orange fish
That I can’t remember the name of
I could look it up
But I think some things are better
Left alone

The tall, long tanks are the walls
Of a multi-level playground
And on every corner is a robot sculpture
Over two metres tall
Made from metal scraps

The big wall of fish and robots 
Hides the small children
Away and the aesthetic is pleasing.

Behind me, a shop sells those flashing signs
You see out the front of businesses sometimes,
Flashing their parts at me, aggressively shouting
Open! And, Take-away Dim Sum!

I can hear at least four different pieces of music
A pigeon tip-toes past me 
Then, as if pleased with my permission,
Flies up to sit on a ceiling beam

The fish to my right are sucking on the glass
It feels mildly violating.
A man walks past me and
It feels mildly violating.

I know my three kids are
Running wild in the hidden multistorey
And I’m relieved a man can’t violate them
If the fish and robots don’t protect them
Their Mum will.

Like mine couldn’t.

Carly Beth

Back to Top


Year’s —————- end

hangs   now   as   a  door
ajar           past        where
shadows of months and
days shrink          become
increasingly dense as life
is   shortened  by    time’s
compressing   wormhole.

And                         beyond
sensed merely: burlesque
joys,   macabre      horrors
creak-crack     of      bones
metallic       chink           of
scything                     blade.

Yet                             before
closing    of     the      door:
wedges      of    moonlight
shimming      the       gaps
between   fact  and  hope
glimming      of     baubles

tinsel                   twinklings
scent      of     sapling       fir
or         eucalypt         round
rag-wrapped        puddings
laughter           of            kids
whose    eyes     have     not
forgotten   how   to  dream.

Peter Burges

shim = levelling

Back to Top


Night’s Hollow Silence

The weather comes in small whispers
the currency of dreams
scratched against the window.
Its sibilant song seeking the crack
as if the night has expectations
—waiting on company.

Each moment is a long step
in anticipation, words seeking
a blank space, the emptiness
of a new page

The full moon has fallen to rest
and it is dark without echo.
Ears tuned to the night
catch the roll of leaves

a brittle sound that rasps
between breaths
as if the world can concertina
into one existence.

The solitary closeness of one
distant from the scramble of day.

Without the reference point
of man-made noise, the night is foreign
distilled back to the talk of wind 
and the closeness of darkness—

nothing beyond this room
the next breath.

Gary Colombo De Piazzi

Back to Top


A Pat On The Head But Not With A Sword

My mom swore that she once patted me on the head
on a visit to a place called Khami.
Maybe apocryphal, though now she’s dead,
and I can’t ask if she met me
for, surely, she couldn’t forget that bonce
and would have said something like, “What a swede?
It is far to big to ever ensconce
in a hat an elephant would need;
and what if he ever becomes a knight,
how would I pass the sword over that mound
the poor man would get a terrible fright
thinking he was soon to be heaven bound.
Is this all that I can think of to say
on this dreadful day when she’s passed away? 

Derek Fenton

Back to Top



        Between the idea 
        And the reality
        Between the motion 
        And the act
        Falls the shadow

                  T.S. Eliot

She is recognised 
by the gathering, 
noticed as different now
not only from her apparel
but her whole demeanour.  

It is not long before there are 
sidelong glances, smiles,
occasional smirks
and turning away. She appears
to be unfazed and continues
to talk loudly, evidently
ignorant of the effect her
presence is provoking
in the onlookers.

Sadly, these onlookers show
intolerance to this person who
has changed identity since last 
appearing here. 

A shadow of non-empathy 
falls across the scene in a
venue where compassion
is assumed to be found.

Humans tend to fear difference,
often display sympathy to the
animal kingdom more readily 
than to their fellow humans.

In time to come awareness and
acceptance may weaken the shadow
by the light of understanding.

Margaret Ferrell

Back to Top


stolen generation

footprints in the sand
preserved in our ancient arid land
captured by their father
a sheet of corrugated iron propped up by stilts
their fragile shield from the copper sun
it was all he had left
a memory of dust to dust
his children

David Flynn

Back to Top



i.          Waijin (Norring Lake)

the dawning water is a black and white photograph
six kilometres across silver-grey and flat
reflecting black bush on the other side,
jet sound slip-stream from a mountain duck
heading for the mirror’s middle skiing feet slice the grey
i hear the white shlussh!
In front, the algaed waterand close behind, farm fence
constrain the breathing whea
hard worked, the land left nothing to chance except poisons.

By the shore, old men’s faces in the granite remember another time
while the foaming scum licks at their lips like sullied ice.
Gums scratch against a young sun rising fast.

ii.         Kwakoorillup (Nornalup River)

our hull slipstreams sliding glass
crisp eyes nose numbed sniffing 
last night’s camp in hair and wool
cold karris crackling like fire
the dripping paddle breaks a mirror of limbs, 
our wake wobbles foliage, folds it gently to the bank.

it’s called The Monastery
this space where every quiet rock of our craft is kept
in shafts of light that move each moment grace full. 

iii.        Torndirrup (May Day Parade)

No megaflags or goose-stepping robots
No Handmaids’ white bonnets red cloaks protesting Trump’s nastycism
just a silent squadron of silver gulls sweeping with stall turns 
snowboarding slaloms snatching flying ants above the emerald curve of swells and
curling crump of shorebreak
Seaweed turbans the only buried warriors here
strands of seagrass, lines scrawled in sandskrit.
Far away Phil and Ruby disappear into the saltlight of Mistaken Island.

my body’s long shadow wefts and warps across the shallows
touches toes, shakes hands of those who have known these shores
before jet skis before diesel before steamer and sail
before words perhaps
when dancers’ shadows echoed these shining waves
in firelight on this precious shore.

Warren Flynn

* Images of Wilman and Menang land, Western Australia.

Back to Top


When I Am Seventy-Two

When I am seventy-two
I shall wear red shoes and dance on the roof.
I shall talk to cats
about this and that
light candles in the darkness
even when it is not my birthday.
I shall collect colours to fold neatly into
my soft box of pastels;
walk in an arboretum under spangled stars
swing bottles about the moon
suck sherbet in the afternoon.
When I am seventy-two
I shall not have the TV repaired
and shall watch the gutters crumble
chocolate and honeycomb
I shall watch the bee in the bottle brush
hear the distinctive call of the red wattle bird
I shall walk more and think less
unless it is about the past kindnesses
of old friends.
When I am seventy-two I shall be aware
of my lungs as two healthy sacs drawing in
clean, dry air and exhaling contentedly
I shall make friends with my feet :
both of them,
and listen to the tender counsel of my orthotics.
I shall not be afraid

Sally Gaunt

Back to Top


Bibra Lake

magpies audition the dawn
their melodies ripple the lake
and swathes of mist
lick tongues of frog song

ducks shake out their down
tripping on the water’s edge
they launch a feathered fleet
webbing tucked between their toes

black swans honk their crimson horns
bright as bicycle reflectors

paperbarks paddle in the shallows
white corellas quarrel in their branches
yellow bags puffed under their eyes
they will bicker until evening

in the treetops a kookaburra turns over his engine
“kaa kaa kaakaa ko ko “
he stops, his battery is flat
and he settles back to sleep

snowy spoonbills sweep through the reeds
treading reflections like mine detectors
an egret watches in alabaster silence

bottlebrush flowers dress the lake edge
crimson as the colour splashed on the jaunty caps of swamp hens
flashes of purple in their black feathers
they strut with pompous agility

eucalyptus is scented with wild honey
a tree hollow is busy with the buzz of native bees
a honeyeater finds nectar of his own

above the pathways
alchemy is spun in strands of web
a golden orb spider splayed centre stage
strung between the trees
she awaits a mate for breakfast

a frog moans in the swampland
his voice hoarse after an a cappella night
then abrupt silence
as the heron wings in a quenda is late home
her night shift has been spent fossicking
she curls up with her brood
and sleeps the foxes away

dew sparkles at the feet of grass-trees
a blush of fat galahs waddle
stripping silver seed from the grasses
peeps exchanged through nibbling beaks
I jog past and their waddle accelerates
skipping between half-hearted flaps

the lake is fully awake now
pelicans descend like sea planes
their wake bobs a chorus of ducks
and it sounds like laughter

Ann Gilchrist

Back to Top


being four

the garden is in a great mess
but I’m intensely present
so I’m being four and giddy in sunshine –
dreams are so obliging

I’m intensely present
and lawn has me in its infinity,
dreams are so obliging
while anaesthetic slices clean

lawn has me in its infinity
and I’ve my crayons scribbling sky,
anaesthetic slices clean –
call it necessary forgetting

I’ve my crayons scribbling sky,
being four and giddy in sunshine,
call it necessary forgetting
that the garden is in a great mess

Kevin Gillam

Back to Top


Holding On

the axe has been embedded
in the chopping block
for days now

his boots at the back door
his hat and coat
hang from the same hook

neighbours phone
she can’t speak
the funeral’s tomorrow

she puts his pyjamas on
and crawls into bed

Candy Gordon

Are you listening

we’ve stopped him twice now
whether by design or accident
we don’t know
how do you know when to intervene
is it the sudden jocularity
that puts you on alert
or is it the quietness
that settles around him
then spreading out
fooling you into complacency
not realising in time
that this behaviour
is the alarm bell 
that should have sounded
in our psyches
long before its siren
screams in his

Candy Gordon

Back to Top


Beside You
for Davo

I arrive at his funeral
wearing a suit and tie
and yet feel like there’s 
another version of myself 
that can’t get out – to be
like we knew each other,
before the changes of now.

It was the coolness of the room
that stirred my senses, as if we 
were already six feet underground,
that sterile beyond touch feeling 
that separates your closeness 
when someone else is in command.

Memories flood the speeches
and yet there’s others
that only you and a few would
recall, like hidden parts that
have bound lives together
in a carefree student whirl.

And the music steps into
the Rock pool of adult years
that surround you with mates and  
those who would never let go,
as our lives are taken and
placed back beside
the you we know.

Mike Greenacre

Back to Top


Carrying the dead

I didn’t really like you, 
even though you were blood. 
I loved you, of course, 

as one loves family – 
with that bushfire heat 
that destroys as well as nurtures.

I was young and didn’t know 
there was a difference between love and like.
When you died

you thought I was my dad, 
both my dad and I unseen in your fugue.
Now my house is plagued by ants, 

and they remind me of you. 
They are in everything, 
their boofy heads clamped on 

bread crumbs, walnuts, coconut, dried apricots. 
They won’t touch potato chips though.
I drown them.

I wipe them away with a damp cloth.
They collect their dead 
and carry them back to their hill.

And come again,
in single file, protected from the front,
but susceptible to an enfilade of insect spray.

I love ants – 
their industriousness, 
their ability to move weight from place to place,

their instinct to survive.
I don’t like them in my house,
but I like them more than I liked you.

Rhian Healy

Back to Top



wind roars
the streets are wild
mess rampages
broken dreams clatter 
in the gutters
hefty junk pummelled
from stacks on verges– 
deadly tumble weed.

screeds burst free
from taped boxes,
mind junk flaps skyward
soars with space junk–
danse macabre
lit by lost stars.

Jenifer Hetherington

Back to Top



She looks at him
then looks away,
trying to come at the matter
from a different angle.
Moves back a pace or two
to see around the corner of his ear,
finding a plane sliding sideways,
the nose a sharp line escaping it.
Uncertain still, she turns her head
towards the floor.
Peers upwards at him.
It’s unsatisfactory and she boldly
stands in front to confront fully,
and is startled by the twinness of everything
though all is slightly akimbo, not equal.
It will not do:
another stance is required.
She circles right and swoops down
so that all is topsy-turvy.
Yes, that’s it!
She looks at him.
Stays looking.

Ruari Jack Hughes

Back to Top


Birds in Dogland

on a square of parkland, a crop of corellas
from moment to moment 
growing larger and larger 
as we approach

on seeing 
all those beady eyed
small, white parrots 
cropping the ground 

our working cocker 
though all the while 
she’s at the end of a leash 

only a few of the closest birds 
seem bothered
there’s barely a flutter
let alone, a mass flight

as she’s waggling home
might Bonnie be 
if she’s lost her touch?

Ross Jackson

Back to Top


Camp at Lake Monger. 1923.

Shy of
one hundred years. 
Between two worlds, 
tribal infinity and Wetjala ways. 

Humpy homes and European clothes 
Bibbulmun head and heart
Lake lunch, tuber buffet, aquatic edibles, home and hearth. 

swallowed by 

Empire expanding
Bibbulmun unravelling, 
Mitchell freeway, but not free. 

Ancient constrained by concrete 
a story,
an energy


Pantha Jaskiewicz

Back to Top


Flashback – 1978 
[caught in your family album]

who am i? 
fixed within this photo, 
trapped within its borders, 
now brought before your eyes.
Pictured in 2 flat dimensions, 
laid bare to your scrutiny 
in old-time black and white,
I am someone who was not 
until developed and exposed.

I’m that stranger, 
lurking between the pages,
standing behind your dad and mum,
awkwardly placed within 
your family’s photo album. 

who am I? you may say,
do I belong to her or him or both?
Ask them, but they will not 
acknowledge my ghostly re-appearance.
There will be no warm nod
to old acquaintance,
by chance revived.

does flickering friendship remain?
old flame aroused?
memory smouldering stubbornly
after my unexpected arrival,
a third in your parents’ parlour,
where you expected only two.

My photographic testimony does not lie,
look into your parents’ concerned eyes,
not mine,
for an account of adultery 
which may connect
the one who knows,
[the other may suspect,]
and i.

peter knight 

Back to Top



i’m thistledown light 
floating on wind

a fine tipped feather 
soaring on wing 

a leaf plucked loose
fluttering in flight

a petal descending
coasting through air

my shackles are broken
cage door left open

confines dissolved
i’ve become liquid flowing 

i’m out and about 
seeing new worlds 

wandering fresh roads 
feet dancing wayward

exploring strange paths 
destinations exotic 

restrictions all gone
i’m wind tossed and free

independence is mine
i have found liberty

Veronica Lake

Back to Top


Vermilion Red

blue hands
blue heart, blue as Nile
arctic sun drowning in a cerulean sea
fathoms away my heart freezes over
// till the flush of spring rain
Provincial poppies, vermilion red
sun nourished crop
in the flourish of mercurial time
banksia spills its waterload and
insouciant, narnic gate inclines.
dusk hands, marine heart
dissolve in a dog’s bark.
I will defy this destiny

James Le Bas

Back to Top


Bruce Rock Dreaming
As a process…the muting of a large part of humanity by European colonisers cannot be separated from the simultaneous muting of “Nature”. (Amitav Ghosh, “The Nutmeg’s Curse”, p. 190.)

Mile upon mile of open crop lands,
wheat, canola and barley still green
beyond human scale. Giant machines
pass over it at seed time and harvest–
otherwise it is seldom visited let alone inhabited.
depopulated without song or story,
passed over in pursuit of profit,

The generations who once roamed
and danced these places
have been erased, without memorial.
In bustling Bruce Rock we found no
mention of the generations who once
occupied these spaces,
silence to cover an ancient theft?

The muting of the land is apparent
in these vast swathes of industrial landscape
Is Australian agriculture the latest expression
of the colonial enterprise and impulse?
Or are we settlers, yet to learn
what this place truly is?

Geoffrey Lilburne

Back to Top



Cellared deep in the genetic 
memory of ancient wood

the program of
a working vine,

the knowing of seasons
their leaving, unleaving,

when to release that
first green leaf-burst

tendrilling into sunlight;
to set grapes budding,

how to plump and ripen
to tight-skinned maturity.

After the burden of fruiting
the etiolation and leaf fall

as they release their grip 
on the succouring wood;

when a vine should call 
on the patience of sap,

keep faith with
genetic inheritance

as wine mellows in oak
and honours the vine.

Mardi May

Back to Top


Turning Point

Surgeon writes
hands me the paperwork
                     Letter for GP 
                     Pain medication
                     Referral to services
                     Incontinence nurse
                    Home modification

          How did it happen?
Shows me the MRI
                    Spinal Epidural Haematoma
                    T7 Paraplegia 
                    Cauda Equina Syndrome

He looks up    eyes stop shortof the negative outcomein front of him                    Early decompression
                    Cautiously optimistic

          What are the odds?
He sighspalms togetherfingers pressedto pursed lips                     Rare complication
                    No available figures
                    Measurable improvement in function
                    Expected     in time

         How long?
Taps pen                    Slow
                    Nerves repair 1 millimetre per day
                     At least 6 months     perhaps a year     more

Meets my gaze
              Some permanent impairment cannot be ruled out

On leaving
his hand on my shoulder
                    Can’t predict I’m afraid
                    It’s a waiting game 

Wheel myself out
impotent    resigned

Till gall kindles resolve
powers the struggle

first steps.

Diana Messervy

Back to Top



Hungry, we wrangle fence wires, outbreaths clouding
like smoke, hurry towards the overnight surprise  

of mushrooms, huddled like spot lit criminals by a shed.
Checking that gills are brown, we bucket upturned caps, 

wander long grasses, eyes down. Cows mooching toothless, 
raise motherly heads, flick ears at tummy rumbles other

than their own. Pail glutted, the pair of us ooh, and wow 
at giants sprouting in dung. Toy with the idea. Yeah, nah.

Toadstools!  Violet bells on slender stems. Hocus pocus 
left over from days when belief said pixies lived within. 

We repeat our teachings: toxic to stock, lob them like
bomblets, onto the track. Squash softness into dirt. 

Wet jeans, socks, sneakers heaped on laundry floor.
Hair slicked, fingers unblueing, we wait. Dad says Grace.
Mum ladles scoops of sizzle straight from pan to plates.  
Scoffing our bounty golden and fragrant on hot toast.

Jan Napier 

Back to Top



too many fine birds
in your head
cage of ivory, cage of bone

let one out to be a poem
to utter, flutter

off the tether
to feather on when you
are gone

to see the dawn alone

beats, beats
pump out poetry
from deepest veins

better to write
one fluttering poem
than one hundred poems
of death in life
to litter the future

Julian O’Dea

Back to Top


Lviv Farewell

The beanie pulls round his ears, face lined and wrinkled from farm labour.
In his hand he twists a toy, pressed on him as the train pulled away
carrying his little son. 
Outside the city ground shakes with incoming mortar dull thudding.
He hasn’t used a gun since his last hunting of boar and stag in the forest
and wonders what it will be like
killing a man.
In his heart he knows love is rattling away on tracks towards the west
threading veins of life on rails of metal, away, away to safety in a foreign land
and here he is, breathing hard air in gulps and trying so much not to cry.
Around him grown men wipe eyes with wet sleeves, they don’t speak.
He stares with perplexity at the toy.
His son has given him a white ambulance, his treasure. 
Stuffing it carefully in his parka pocket Oleksiy hopes it won’t come to that.

Tears on her face are not pretty, screwed eyes squirting bitter salt,
she has two kids, one on her hip, the girl in a stroller,
last week they were playing on swings below the flats.
Crammed with fear and hope, their train goes swaying on narrow rails.
Her heart is spooling away, from him, from home, from death.
She is unwinding, veins stretching, translucent skin tearing,
dying of a shattered heart is slower than a well aimed bomb.
Kalnya hushes their children, thumbs his rosary, lets her tears come.

Virginia O’Keeffe

Back to Top


In the West a Cloudbank Squirmed

Was at the doctor place, paying to flee its medicinal claws, 
got stabbed in upper left arm by a piercing prick. Triple ouch, 

why does a Gardasil vaccination hurt so much. It’s in the loaded 
intention, perhaps the shape of the prong, the viscosity of the dejected 

juicy stuff, murmured a generous nurse. Thanks, I cried, as a tear
or two besmirched my blinking eyes. Was at the counter, having a post – 

consultation experience, said to the helpful deckhand: Hey, my dog 
doesn’t bark at me, do you know why. Raising an eyebrow I heard 

a close to fricative response: No, why. Because, I said, he’s dead. 
O, she said, smiling, that’s a bit dark. I said, sorry, it was, 

but it was funny! Maybe, she said, as she led me to the exit. 
There were clients on the verandah but not even one was frowning.

In the west a cloudbank squirmed, inside my heart, a flutter. Being 
on the doctoral footpath I went back in, asked for a cardiogram,

said I think I’m about to die like those famous people keep on doing.
He said: Well, you clearly have nothing to worry about if that’s your measure.

Got home with my brand new hose, it’s out the front, in the sun, awaiting 
unfurlment, engorgement, distension. Squirting, flexing. So am I, but different.

Allan Padgett

Back to Top


To Lorenzo

I do remember but I never took it as far 
as you have – for me it was the smell
of spiked turf and the rush of sweat 
and racing heart and scrape of boot 
and bone. But I was so young
when I lost confidence, seeing you now, 
your strut upon that pitch, and your long 
teenage legs, so gauche and big footed
when stretched across your bed, moving 
like a dancer upon that wet ball; watching 
your gliding victory plane in the humid 
floodlights so supremely boy 
in your boastful show of skill makes me 
wonder, naturally, is a recessive trait 
in me now dominant in you? So contrary
in every way, if I’d pursued it as my glory, 
had my dreamed-about trophies
and club photos adorn your infant walls,
you would’ve chosen a different
obsession. So perhaps I threw it all off 
decades ago for you to run 
with what I once lay awake for; to riff 
off a curving cross a top foot volley past 
      the goalkeeper’s lunging glove-tips.

Christopher Palazzollo

Saturday Afternoon Orpheus

Despondency came up behind me
and covered my face 
with its black gloved hand – 
‘failure’ it hissed into my ear.

My wife had no time for it,
didn’t want to hear it,
‘We do our thing,’ she said
and shouldered off my hug.

The sleep that followed – was it
like a death? Dreamless, insensible,
and when I woke and looked 
at the clock an hour had gone.

The fan spun as before – 
the cicadas sprayed as before – 
My wife slept beside me.

I said: ‘I mug you 
with my gloom and you share
a complete excision of time with me.’

And she said: ‘You must know
love will reflect on my face
the spite you smother your own face.’

Later, we left the kids to their devices
and climbed the bluff above town.
Our shades slept the lost hour below.

Christopher Palazzollo

Back to Top


The Rites Of Spring
fifty-fifth birthday poem

Weeds turn quickly from green tinge to tangles 
as the sun becomes assertive, rising
earlier day by day until our young 
lives tint tawny at the edges. White strands
insert themselves among the gold. Life spans
are a sundial anyway, where the shadow 
imperceptibly creeps each year 
to another segment on the dial. Like
that old song sung again. Glasses half full
at least, when candles are lit one more time
but briefly. The truth is the sudden breath
of love flows out willingly, even in
rituals, confirming that we live again.

Glen Phillips 

Back to Top


We Met in a Valley

We met in a valley
where the grass was green
ripe fruit fell to the ground

and conversation came
easily, like clear water
chattering in a brook.

She followed me wide-eyed
along the stream until it slowed
and grew quiet, in a place

where the soil was tended
by families working in the warmth
of a harvest sun.

We made our way out
onto the plain, past machines
that groaned like rusty dragons

carving crater after crater
to fill the bloated belly
of the ever-burning furnace.

Together, we stepped
heedlessly over rivers
of blood belonging

to those who saw fit to fight
for a pock-marked landscape parked
under a bleak chocolate sunset.

She followed as we picked
our way along blistering
ribbons of bitumen

to a haven with glass walls
set high above the anarchy
where food was packaged

and decontaminated
air was pumped in

Then, as we looked out upon
the storms that raged as red as rubies
across the sea, and the gauge

on our habitat scan
fell silently
to a darker shade of amber

she walked to the door
took down two dusty masks
and holding one out, said

it’s time for you
to follow me

Gregory Piko

Potential Energy
after “The Oil Drums” by Jeffrey Smart

If a shrill note from a trumpet
were to unsettle
those casually stacked drums,
if they were to tumble and rumble
apart, the way hollow barrels of thunder
roll, unchecked, around an oily sky
what a waste that would be.
Their potency, lost in one brief cacophony
of movement and disarray.
But until that note is played, the potential
energy of this fickle world remains

Gregory Piko

Back to Top


The gravity of belief

You tried to tell me that science is not God   that even scientists
have closed minds
so I closed my mind to your idea that            gravity is not absolute that
the speed of light is jittery
I get the jitters thinking           that invisible cars don’t make an impact and
speed is relative
isn’t that what Einstein said? Comparing time
with hand on hotplate to
time holding a lover
I love Einstein   he knew so I didn’t have to
Such a peaceful place Lewis Carroll    a rippling pool
all things that God gave us you say
cleaving Darwin in two
two of us outsourcing certainty to those that matter           is energy after all
the observable universe                      as seen on daytime tv
the oracle in the corner of the room
where dust mites and cockroaches reproduce           a circle     pi
spliced atoms    molecules      from the beginning 
of time            scientists say
will outlast us            you say
we will last forever
I guess we all   need
           to believe in

Gail Robinson

Back to Top


The Breaking Point

I watched her bend
almost to breaking point
her brittleness tested
ready to snap
like a dry twig underfoot
giving away her position
exposing her
but she isn’t a twig
just a girl who leans on me
her head on my chest
in time to my heartbeat
her sense of purpose drained
washed away with tears

She cries for him
my friend
our love

I hold her tightly
now he may be mine

next morning he called me
I want her back
he said

my sobs 
could not keep time
with my heart

Barry Sanbrook

Back to Top


Caring for Bill

the police reckoned he’d been
dead a month or more when 
they found him on a cold, wet 
tuesday morning

a morning crouched under 
dark billowing clouds. icy gusts 
of wind skittered rubbish,
turned umbrellas, teased collars

bill’s block of homeswest flats 
skeined by circumstance, home
to a disparate group of people
living on the fringe 

neighbours never noticed he 
wasn’t around, until the day 
his pot dealer wondered why the 
doorknock went unanswered

silence, save the sound of flies 
buzzing within and a strong 
strange smell.  he waited a day 
or so, then called the cops.

a harmless loner, bill spent most 
days watching telly.  had a love 
of fishing, often walked from 
balga to the beach, ever hopeful.

bill’s sister kept in touch from 
time to time, washed his clothes 
gave him a feed and a doggie 
bag to go

communication went awry when
covid came, the family lost touch,
then the police came knocking 
on her door.  

a life so small, left little behind

Norma Schwind

Back to Top


white   noise    {Holland  Track}


as   a   carpet   carries   dreams
eats   into   a   core   of   decay
fallen   from   an   alphabet
of   branches

mud   of   the   earth
splattered   across   the 
window   of   travel
through   the   prism
of   a   wide   lens
capturing   the   colours   of   my   

light   drawn   out
from   darkness

as   a   billion   stars
into   a   blackness   of   time
a   warped   canvas
swallowed   by   gravity


Jackson   Pollock

Geoff   Spencer 

Back to Top


Wall Spiders

Dead spider 
Adorns my wall 
I fear I betrayed him 
With my room’s inadequate haul

Like the child 
Who finally leaves home
You curse them while they’re here 
But miss them when they’re gone

Dangling now
From a single thread 
Wall spider 
I wish you weren’t dead

Kaelin Stemmler

Back to Top


The Elusive Now

  1. They mean well, these therapists,
    with their clever aids for daily living,
    but it’s terribly hard to be grateful
    when each one means a battle lost.

2.Early evening walking alone by the river
past the tents, boats drawn up, anchored.
Feeling at peace in the wood smoked air,
I wait for the first star to wish on.

3.There’s a new white cross on the roadside
decked with bright pinwheels and flowers.
He was eighteen, friends and family sob.
Their happy baby is now grown, and gone.

4.In my garden mom’s scarlet geraniums 
with their ragged, neglected greenery 
are blooming again. Their spicy fragrance
is an unexpected homesick perfume.

5.Outside the conversation grows louder,
with undertones of annoyance. Doors open,
finally. Spotlights glare in the empty theatre – 
backstage my only thought: I hope they like me.

Maggie Van Putten

Back to Top



Formless entities
Joined by infinity
Energies shared
Beyond flesh and time
Cycles passed
Waxing and waning
That which is temporary
Soon falls away
One constant remains
At the heart of all things
What once was
Shall be again
Endlessly repeating
In continuum
Wholly realised
From individual parts
Balance maintained
From moment to moment
World without end

Anne Warman

Back to Top


La Gaîté Parisienne 1980 – a Rhymed Sestina

We travelled by train, teuf-teuf, through France,
Arriving in Paris at the Gare du Nord,
We found a little hotel to stay in, 
Our lofty room, five storeys up,
A cramped stairway to carry our case, 
A tiny bed, just room for two. 

I wanted the Comédie-française, and view 
(As we were in Paris and had the chance)
French classic theatre in place – 
But our host dissented. ‘Madame will adore 
Not Molière or Racine, theatre for the cultured-up, 
But Offenbach. It’s on at the Bouffe-Parisien.’

Up five floors we climbed again.
A panoramic distant view, 
But close enough to see the set-up: 
A giant train, teuf-teuf, advance 
Across the stage to a charming score.
Violins, sax and double bass. 

The story moved with mesmerising pace: 
Act Two began, music up, the curtain
Down. The curtain rose then on cue: 
On stage, seating stalls, then more: 
Another curtain’s blue expanse,
Can-can girls revealed at curtain up.

Luscious in their jaunty line-up
They can-canned with lively grace 
In frocks, frou-frou, for their dance.
My love and I cheered those thespians.
They danced on; others threw
Flowers onto the stage. ‘Encore!’

Brimful with these joys galore, 
We left this drama pick-me-up, 
Back in our hotel to review
That astonishing showcase, 
The marvels Gaîté did contain, 
Beguiled by Offenbach’s romance.

Into the tiny room we flew, 
And the tidy bed again, 
Teuf-teuf we can-canned our way through France.

Ted Witham

Back to Top