February 20, 2023 · 7:34 pm
It’s been a long time since I’ve written a “good things only” post. But last week had a few highlights I wanted to record.
On Thursday on my evening walk I noticed a bat hanging on the top strand of the barbed-wire fence. One prong of wire had gone through a wing and it was pretty well stuck. I thought it was dead, especially given it had been a really hot day and it must have been there since the previous night. But when I started trying to get it loose, thinking I’d take it home for the kids to see, it turned its head and opened its mouth at me. I managed to get it loose and took it back to the house where it had a drink of water from an egg cup before flying away. I’d never held a bat before, or even seen one that close up. It was such a tiny, beautiful creature.
Then on Friday I got an unusual compliment. I think it was a compliment, anyway. As I was coming out of my office, someone knocking on the next door said “I like you hair! It’s the same colour as the undercoat on the F-35”. Which says something about my workplace… it may be frustrating to the point of infuriating at times, but it’s generally interesting at least.
Sunday was the Goulburn poultry auction. What more need be said? What could more exciting than that? Even if none of the birds I bought can fly. 😀
January 10, 2023 · 4:39 pm
Ginger-mutt growls at the thunder,
is unphased by fireworks.
He is the fiercest hunter
unafraid of whatever lurks
in the undergrowth. He laughs
at the rooster’s spurs and beak,
but at the sight of the little calf
the bold cattle dog just freaks.
Written for the dVerse Monday Quadrille prompt “Bold-ly go” – 44 words including ‘bold’ – about our red heeler cattle dog who is scared of cows. The calf kept following him and he kept hiding behind T1. He’s also scared of llamas, but that’s just sensible.
Filed under poem
Tagged as dog, dVerse, rurality
December 28, 2022 · 4:56 pm
The day is ending, let’s go outside,
and watch the sky slip into night
come, hold my hand, I’ll be your guide
as we wander through the fading light.
Around the clearing, the brittle-gums
stand tall in sunset-tinted columns
and honey the air as darkness comes
with massed bouquets of tiny blossom.
And on this stage among the trees
the couples form then float apart
pirouetting in the evening breeze
as from the gullies the night-rise starts.
A hundred maidens flutter by
pursued by a hundred eager swains
against the pale blue evening sky
and take with them the day’s remains.
Their peasant cloaks now drawn in tight
fastened, hiding brighter hues
the dancers leave us for the night
and the stage is put to other use.
So this dance ends, the next begins:
comes darting above the canopy
hunger born on cellophane wings –
hover and strike – how uncannily
their preys’ moves they anticipate.
Large eyes tracking tiny forms
and in a minute they decimate
the terrified and swirling swarms.
But darkness, risen like a tide,
has washed away the last pink light
and all the dancers depart to hide
wherever it is they spend the night.
And we also turn and leave this sight,
retrace our steps and go back inside.
My holiday writing project is to complete at least 16 ‘hours’ poems. I wrote a few a couple of years ago, as part of a back and forth with another writer of poems with times as the titles. I always meant to complete a full day but never have, although there are a few from around then on this blog. So this is my re-boot of that project. By the end of the holidays I want to have an April witch sort of poem for each hour from waking to going to sleep.
I would really love it if anyone else wants to join in and we can link to each other’s ‘hours’ poems. No particular form, and I’m going to try to use several different forms, generally shorter than this.
December 11, 2022 · 6:00 pm
December, and the first month of summer is upon us. Walking up the hill is an effort now in the heat. But I stay on the road in the sun, where any snakes are easier to see, rather than walk in the long dry grass or the leaflitter under the trees. Continue reading →
Filed under poem
Tagged as dog, haibun, rurality, summer
December 4, 2022 · 12:06 pm
I wanted to write something for the dVerse last line prompt, “in my end is my beginning“, but when I sat down to try to gather my last lines together I found I’d hardly written anything during November, or even the second half of this year. So instead I just grabbed a recent last line and used that as a starting point. Hence I haven’t joined the mr linky links, but have provided the link to the prompt (above).
perhaps they were just waiting for the storms to pass
before climbing from the cool earth
to sprinkle summer in great handfuls from the trees,
peppering the air with their tick-tick-tick
their buzz the simmering of the blue sky
that flows down, pouring between the trees
to the dry ochre ground
November 9, 2022 · 9:22 am
Under the blood moon
…no, that’s wrong, Continue reading →
Filed under poem
Tagged as dog, dVerse, moon, rurality
August 13, 2022 · 5:34 pm
After the flood
when the hiluxes have been dragged from the gullies
and the roads are cleared and open in town,
when the water is mopped from living rooms
and the ‘roos are drying along the roadsides
when the sheep are washed white as cotton wool
and the cockatoos are muddy as street urchins
when the gum-leaves glitter in the afternoon sun
and the water has fallen so that we can stride into the creek –
while the three-legged dog watches
(though we are hardly drovers’ wives),
we take our chainsaws,
and we clear the path
We got 80mm of rain in a few hours Thursday-week ago, which might not sound like a huge amount but with all the rain we’ve had recently the soil is saturated, the dams are full and there was nowhere for it to go. My neighbour was sending me texts on her way (trying to get) home of closed roads, vehicles large and small washed off and people being rescued. We live at the end of a dirt road past a creek crossing that floods a few times a year – and this time it was not only flooded, a tree had washed across it. She couldn’t get across until morning, when she waded across to where her three-legged dog was sitting in the cold waiting for her. I was home, but my family had stayed in Canberra to avoid the floods. In the afternoon, when the water had dropped enough, we each took a chainsaw and cleared the tree together. In the photo above you can see the “tide-line” just in front of the vehicle (well above the mud-line) where the water got to. Today we got another 40mm of rain, and it flooded again but nowhere near as high.
Filed under poem
Tagged as rurality, water, women
July 31, 2022 · 6:00 pm
Flames rise, pouring sparks upwards –
red specks flickering
among the billion bright
of a black winter sky. Continue reading →
Filed under poem
Tagged as kids, night, rurality, winter
July 9, 2022 · 9:42 pm
and the wood-smoke rolls
in a soft tumble from the roof.
Outside in the meagre sunshine,
it smells of home and warmth,
of our own small circle of firelight.
How does the meaning of a smell change so much?
Two summers ago,
smoke was the smell of fear
filling the air,
permeating every waking moment
penetrating our sleep
turning dreams to nightmares.
Two summers of rain have washed the fear away.
I know in time it will come again,
but for now
I am choosing
to let the smoke tumbling from the chimney
remind me of the warmth inside.
Filed under poem
Tagged as bushfires, rurality, winter
June 21, 2022 · 11:12 am
For the dVerse Haibun Monday prompt, “solstice”
On Sunday I walked down to my neighbour’s place to see if her overdue new calf had been born. I dawdled and delayed, scared to look in case it was still-born. But there it was, a few hours old, already fluffy and staggering around uncertainly. And I cried and cried when I saw it. Great sobs bringing up the darkness of the last months, washed out in a flood of tears (and, inevitably, quite a lot of snot). God knows what the cow thought of me, sobbing hysterically next to her. But she looked me in the eye and lowed loudly. I don’t think it was sympathy, she just wanted this mad human away from her calf.
Yesterday I planted two apricot trees, with a bag of manure each. The winter sun, even on the second-shortest of days, was warm in the garden and lifted sweet tendrils of scent from the horse and cow manure. Sweet scent of manure, sharp scent of calendulas, a comforting twist of woodsmoke from the chimney. Sitting on the ground, I day-dreamed of apricots – sun warmed, juicy and tangy-sweet, the colour of winter sunsets.
Today, my neighbour left a bunch of flowers on the gate for me. On this shortest day of the year, I have flowers on my kitchen table, the hope of summer apricots, and a fluffy calf I can visit later when the sun comes out. And if it doesn’t come out, perhaps there will be rain for my apricot trees.
let’s start the new year
with the solstice, so that each
new day is brighter