He brought down the axe
on those prehistoric stones
that had regally edged his flower bed
public and permanent
undisputed leave to rule granted,
planted, for centuries.
Meaning to smash those stones,
dash them down to size
despising their indestructible
smooth confidence, since
his lay shattered,
he refused to be thwarted by disease,
disappointment and a blunt axe.
Raising his game he brought to bear
great anger and frustration,
torn muscles and brittle bones
screaming, tears streaming in rivers
past slivers of stone,
whilst they remained, undiminished
taking pain without complaint.
At the window in my front room
I watched umbrellas go up the hill
struggling in furious autumn gale
most black, some red or comically transparent
pulled down upon a woman’s shoulders
to protect her new hairdo from the rain.
The Georgian bay window shielded me from rain.
I loved to be alone. That cold front room
with long net curtains wrapped around young shoulders
and the weather beating, shining or racing down the hill
was my castle; huge windows on a world transparent,
sheltered from the furious autumn gale.
Round I whirled, a leaf dancing in the gale,
moving faster and higher, inspired by the rain.
The net meant giant windows were transparent
only from the inside, so to a clunky sale room
gramophone weighted with pennies, I was me on that hill,
before the world could press upon my shoulders.
I smelled the musty net around my shoulders
and knew the world was old and furious, though its gale
and torrential outpouring never rested on our hill,
forming pools in parks where tourists pulled on rain-
coats and stirred coffee with plastic spoons, in a room
where an organ played and people’s smiles were transparent.
When my cousin came, we served homemade sweets on transparent
plates and put on a show. On young shoulders
responsibility for choreography and costume. Front room
filled with patient eyes, we would anxiously regale
our aunties, mums and Nanna with entertainment, rain
dancing in accord, outside, thunder clapping on the hill.
Of course, I grew up, and went out from the hill,
down into murky valleys, away from transparent
umbrellas, aunties and sticky sweets, out into rain
that seemed more inhospitable when it landed on shoulders
bent and bowed with the weight of life’s gale.
But part of me will always dance in that front room.
Meet me on the hill, put a scarf around my shoulders,
transparent rivulets in a furious autumn gale,
blessed by rain, with no umbrella, let us dance in my front room.
Once upon a silken sleeping bag
I flew a merry while
across the seven continents
and wondered for a smile.
When all the sheep were snoring
and dingoes were the brass
I put a trumpet to my lips
and blew it through the grass.
The crocodiles were friendly
and the badgers very kind
the cockroaches misunderstood
and kidded me they rhymed.
We danced around a story
and sang a cup of cheer
A band of bees played harmonies
that lasted for a year.
And when my time was over
and light was in the sky
my sleeping bag woke up again
and bid the dream goodbye.
But in the morning’s glory
when I wake up at home
I know the verdant pastures
where imaginations roam.
On the shooting of a star
I hung my boots
and travelled far
In a book I read a line
thoughts of mine
In a tree I heard a crow
Through the keyhole of a dream
I saw a sheep…
What can it mean?
On the twenty second of October
shortly after dawn
they were curled up in their castle
when her radio alarm went off.
She didn’t have to go to work,
the moon was still in the sky,
so, What’s this? he called out.
She smiled. The cricket, she replied.
Springing forth, she grabbed jeans and tee
and caught a plane to Bangladesh.
It came as a bolt out of the blue
that she liked the game so much.
He turned over and pulled the covers
right up to his goateed chin.
My, my, he chuckled, throatily,
there is much to know about Mother.
One small boy climbed into an envelope
thinking he would not be noticed
thinking he would be safe.
He took a torch in with him
to ward off beetles
And a magnet
so he could attach himself
if the need should arise.
He was not a devious boy
And knew that trespassing could have consequences
But life outside the envelope
had worn little holes in the small boy’s soul
And as he posted himself
he felt only a sense of relief.
The tide tipped and turned
Sweep-blow-draining all away.
One cafe remains.
One broken cup man
orders customary chips
and consults his stars.
His hopeful soul
hangs loose in the empty bay
waiting for a wave.
A good idea
the coffee cup
with my name on
when ordered up;
A shame the man
upon the train
went to great lengths
to hide his name;
It would have been
a chance to meet
the friendly face
in the window seat.
There, decked in eiderdown, you lay counterpaned,
teased by a tide neither in or out,
held, for now, by four corners of an empty room,
inhabited only by the reluctant heartbeat of a sea bird,
aching to be airborne, or at least tethered no more.
Quietly, I awaited your departure, and wished your feet
be warm and your mouth be moist, wished most
your two new wings be sound and strong.
And I waited all night at that harbour wall
then set a breakfast plate, to see you fly again.
As the sun poured grains upon the crooked earth
I danced with our memories, and thought you smiled.
Then you untied me from your wrist, so gently;
and my eyes spread a mist over imperfections.
Thin limbs, sore lips and chest feathers a-tremble
you stood and turned to breath the ebbing waves.
Oh, I might have intervened, but you could only fly
whilst I must walk along the beach and meet you by and by.
I glance, and how to be a man with powerful thighs,
attired in far too tight a neutral suit?
‘to be unsure of why he feels so sick
and all he wants to eat? An aging tin of fruit.
Attired in far too tight a neutral suit
I glance and stride aside of some small woman
who wheels a squeaking trolley near my feet
maneuvering our empathetic plan.
I glance and stride aside of some small woman
and guess she hurries home to aging cat.
Is she as sick as I, and why today?
And serve herself tinned fruit? I feel she might.