Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Tribute

Nouns are deserting her.

Last week we had a long

conversation about “clutter”,

a catch-all phrase;

we agreed clutter needed

to be reduced, set in order.

I didn't know whether to call in

a gardener, housekeeper, doctor or priest.

There are other nouns;

but mostly it's a code I cannot break.

Would you expect the bonanza

of the royal wedding to become

the folks up north”?

I try to think myself into her mind

but without success.

Does she recognise me?

Does she see clearly a world

she can no longer describe?

She is left, a solitary survivor,

struggling to hold on to

the remnants of a language

only she can remember.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011



Imagine a celebration party,

a ceremony of blessing

for my walnut tree, planted

a tree-ling of four, now turned sixty.

I would have a circle of women

in dark hoods, dancing in the moonlight

to a ripple and swoosh of my wind harp

invoking the strength of the tree,

invoking its magic.

Once, just before midnight,

snow began to fall;

as the flakes drifted down

they woke the harp

which sang into the silence.


A bone carver chooses to live

on an estuary, awash

with moon-tugged tides,

a meeting place for earth, air and water.

I have no estuary.

But the morning after the snow,

my tree was shrouded in white;

garden and sky mirrored one another

so exactly, there was no horizon line.

I could have walked across my lawn,

climbed the rungs of my tree

up into the heavens,

leaving my harp to sing

a solitary requiem.

I have no estuary;

only a thrush's song

filled with moonlight.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A kindy question

A four year old question:

How do you become a poet?”

A poet must stalk like a cat,

dive deep like a fish, soar upwards

like a bird. She must love words,

their movement and sound,

making them dance and sing, tip-toe

and whisper, galumph and shout.

Like the wind, she must ripple across

her garden, dappling

light and shade, turning leaves

inside-out to shine against the sky.

All this, with only words.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Earthquake Spring

4th September

North of the equator, April

might be “the cruellest month”.

Down here, in the south,

August is cruel.

Spring, with its promise of hope

new growth, and plans for the future,

blossom, daffodils and birdsong

sits uneasily amidst shattered houses

with gaps where there used to be

a teeming metropolis.

Roses may flourish despite

liquefaction, but where are

the lost lives, missing pets,

uprooted and tortured trees?

Mine is a grieving city,

and grief heightens contrasts.

What is black looks more black,

what is white looks more white.

No wonder we are pulled apart

by this poignancy of seeing.