Category Archives: poem

pretty mice all in a row

I dug the ground, I planted seed,
in the night, mice came to feed.
I bought more seed, planted again,
and in the night, yet more mice came.
Now I’m out of seed, and I’m out of nice,
I’ve laid the traps, and I’m planting mice.
and once I’ve planted a nice long row,
above the mice my seeds will grow.

and in ha’sonnet form for Stephen, here is the next episode:

I planted seed
all in a row.
The mice did feed,
no seed did grow.
Now planting mice
in rows all nice,
to feed the seed.

 

There is currently a mouse plague in western NSW. It’s not as bad here, but there are a lot more than usual. 

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Sonnet agin my pig

For the dVerse prompt MTB: Palinode this is a retraction of my earlier Sonnet for my pig, which was one of my first blog posts. Since I wrote that she has eaten hundreds of dollars of bulbs, two chickens, three doormats…. She has also stolen clothes and sheets from the line to build a nest, and bitten me unexpectedly.

 

My piggy’s eyes are little and evil,
But it’s the use of her snout that does tell,
That she’s the most wickedest of devils,
That has ever risen to Earth from Hell.
She snuffles and wuffles through the garden,
Leaving holes where once were lovely flowers.
I see the mess and feel my heart harden,
But the foolish pig ignores my glowers.
And standing now below the washing line,
As I hang the clothes, my piggy has come,
All quietly sneaking up from behind
and that monster pig has bitten my bum!
Oh piggy, to love you, I really tried,
But you’ll be your best as bacon crisp-fried.

Pigs can be taught to sit. But not to refrain from eating anything left outside, including doormats, tins of paint and garden beds.   

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The ghost kangaroo of Gundaroo II

I’ve written about the ghost kangaroo of Gundaroo before, that white beast that appears suddenly beside the road just after dusk.  But this time, as it’s in response to the dVerse prompt “Poetics: Exploring the Narrative Voice“, this is the story from the roo’s point of view… 

When the sun sinks behind the Brindabellas
and the darkness rises from the valleys,
I rise from my bed of leaf litter
and wait for the moon to light my path.
Then through the dry eucalypt forest
my footsteps pound like a heartbeat,
harder and faster as I cross the fields
to the Gundaroo road.

Ears twitching, I hear you coming,
the engine roar and rifle crack.
I see the headlights, spotlights
and the glint of moonlight on gunmetal.
I scent your sweat, your excitement
the beer on your breath
as you get closer to where I wait
by the Gundaroo road.

And as you close on me I leap from the trees,
white fur glowing in the headlights,
as I confront you and all your kind.
I see your pupils widen in shock,
your hands jerk on the wheel
as I stand here, unmoving,
beneath the trees, on the dust
of the Gundaroo road.

I stand still, pale in the moonlight,
as the wheels spin, sending up
a plume of dust between the trees
that wait, tall, sturdy, unmovable,
to receive you with a final crunch of metal,
as you futilely fight for control
already knowing you are spinning
off the Gundaroo road.

When the night is silent and dark again
I turn away, return across the fields,
feet pounding like a slow heartbeat
to the dry eucalypt forest
and to my leaf litter bed
leaving you in your crushed metal coffin,
just another unfortunate accident
on the Gundaroo road.

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less than half the story

I’ve been thinking about seeds a lot as I keep planting peas that get eaten by mice, and I’ve written a few poems about them. But pruning one into 44 words for Monday’s dVerse quadrille prompt “planting seeds” didn’t work for me. So I tried to think of what a seed is – enough genetic information for an organism (diploid), the machinery of a cell to start it all going (mitochondria, etc)… Did you know that mitochondrial DNA comes purely down the female line? Yours is the same as your mother’s, your grandmother’s, your great-grandmother’s, stretching back along a line of a hundred thousand women…

 

What arrogance,
what masculine conceit,
calling your semen ‘seed’!
Spill it on the ground,
wait for an army of sons to rise,
from those sad wrigglers –
haploid,
halfwit,
not even half the story.
Wait forever –
it’s not seed you sprayed,
just pollen.

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don’t tell me I’m your everything

Don’t tell me I’m your everything,
your universe, your all,
don’t place me on a pedestal
from which I’ll surely fall.
Your happiness is not
my responsibility,
even if I wanted to
I can’t meet all your needs.
I will not be your mother,
feeding up your fears,
nor will I be your Mrs
<insert husband’s name here>
I’ll sign my name to what I write –
if you’ll just let go my hand –
and though I walk beside you
on my own two feet I’ll stand.
At times I’ll lean on you,
at times you’ll lean on me,
at times there’ll be accord,
at times we’ll disagree.
But don’t avoid the eggshells
by climbing on my back,
if you want to walk beside me
along life’s winding track.

 

I was listening to one of those songs in the car recently that goes along the lines of “you’re all I want, you’re all I need, you’re everything… oooohhhh…… ooooh…”, and while I quite like the song it occurred to me that that’s a hell of a burden to place on another human being – to be everything to someone else. What an outrageous responsibility – like being a parent, but with no hope of the child growing up (unless they shift the creepy obsession to someone else). It’s also pretty risky (and probably unhealthy) for the person making that claim. Call me cynical (you wouldn’t be the first) but I think that sort of dependency is unlikely to end well. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating polygamy (nor am I condemning it), but if there is only one person providing all your emotional needs, that’s risky. There’s a reason very few buildings have a single support. Stability requires a strong foundation, and some redundancy in supports helps a lot during earthquakes. More supports also mean less pressure on any given support, less likelihood that you collapse a support, and less likelihood of a catastrophic collapse if any one support does fail. It’s just responsible engineering to spread the load…   

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truss no one

I couldn’t help thinking of my students when I read today’s dVerse prompt, Poetics: build a bridge” I tell them truss analysis is just like Sudoku but more fun – just lay out your equations, fill in the gaps, and truss me, that’s all there is to it! Until the build and test, that is. 

Every member – tension or compression?
Every joint – apply Newton’s second.
Have you considered load distribution?
What external forces make a contribution?

~put theory into practice~

Embody your equations in concrete and steel,
Now do the forces balance, for real?
Have you proved yourself a truss design master?
Or will your bridge feature on Engineering Disasters?

 

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no loose ‘roos in here

This is for d’Verse’s Haibun Monday: The present moment. I got into the office, opened my email, my calendar, my magic pudding TO DO list, and then… though I knew I oughtn’t… checked the Monday dVerse prompt.

 

H_ opens the gate at the top of the driveway, swinging on it the last 45 degrees, though I always tell her not to. She gets back in and we barrel on down the hill. A flock of cockatoos, white against a blue sky, swoops across the road in front of me to land in a paddock among the ‘roos. “Got a ‘roo loose in the top paddock” I say, but H_ doesn’t get the joke, yet.
We lurch and bounce over potholes and gullies, until dirt gives way to gravel, gives way to bitumen and we admire the autumn colours as we trundle into the village – claret ash, golden ash, scarlet pin oak, Chinese pistachio and liquidambar… even the names speak of flames, of flaring vivid transience, of an excitability beyond tulips.
A quick hug, an “I love you, have a good day” and H_ is running for the school gate and I am heading for the highway, the parkway, past the airport where a jet roars overhead, white as a cockatoo in the sun, packed with pollies heading for Sydney. Traffic lights, merging lanes, security gate, carpark, swipe card entry so my presence is known, my whereabouts tracked. Down corridors where crimsons have been safely ritalined into placid rose, all verdant greens safely, sagely, Valium-dulled (although I think the ceiling is giving me separation anxiety).

Don’t swing on the gate,
it could come unhinged – we don’t
want ‘roos loose in here.

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above the city II

On the hill above the city,
on an afternoon all green and blue:

Picnics are spread, a tea-party laid out.
A small boy joyfully kicks
a large plush toy down the hill,
as a wedding party poses by the pavilion.
Happily discordant strains
of “happy birthday to you”
drift from a nearby teenage group,
set apart from the many little ones
who are running,
rolling,
laughing
beneath a bright flock of kites.

 

I took my daughter and a couple of her friends for a picnic and kite flying at the Arboretum yesterday. It was one of those perfect Canberra autumn afternoons – mild and sunny, and almost unbearably blue. The sort you want to keep preserved in glass, for later revisiting. 

At least it was perfect until I decided to have a go at rolling down the hill. The kids were having a great time doing it, and who cares what other people think, right? Turns out all those other adults were smarter than me. Barely a quarter of the way down I had to stop, head spinning and almost throwing up. Sigh. Next time I will stick to flying kites.  

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above the city I

The string slides through my fingers
as the kite leaps up,
impatient to join the bright flock.

Riding the wind,
string humming in my hand,
it tugs like a fish with each gust –
a dot-dash transmission:
let me go

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hopscotch and vegemite sandwiches

This is for the dVerse prompt “hopscotch with anapestic tetrameter” and is another collaborative effort with my daughter, although it reflects my school days more than hers – she wanted to know why a teacher would use chalk instead of a screen… 🙄

Term’s begun,
back to school.
No more fun,
that’s the rule.
Teacher writes,
squeaky chalk,
“All be quiet!
No more talk, Continue reading

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