Monday, May 23, 2011

fragments on a file

from w
Cleaning up the desktop and 'My Documents' I've been deleting old files and found fragments of small poems I'd forgotten I had ever written. Just small observations of life or incidents. Here are a few:


Fishing in the shallows is easy,
fossicking in a rock pool,
scooping creatures in warm shallows,
placing them into my hands.
Fishing in the deep is different,
nets need to be tight and strong,
you need to know the winds,
the currents, the tides.
Dangers lurk there.
Life as lived in shallows has a certain ease,
there may be little pain
but moving in to the deep
is a better challenge
with a possibility of pain
or even death.

Lost in the City

Waiting under the clock,
waiting for birds to twitter,
mandolins to play
‘We’ll come a’waltzing Matilda ‘
the brown skin girl baulked by escalators
is lost so we watch for her scarlet dress
moving along a gallery
and a shout of recognition.


We are tired of television repetition,
the rat-tat-tat of journalist’s rapid fire,
voyeurs of agendas and evasions,
smirks, scowls and masks.
We name people by race, class, colour,
classify and do not trust them,
separate ‘them’ from ‘us’.
They say, order is the best response,
a firm rule better than chaos.
Fragmentation will be curbed by decrees.
but when do controllers become brutes?

Shore Bird

One legged he stands,
peers at me with soft dark eyes
without fear or greed
unlike the urban scavengers.
He looks smart in his jacket
patterned with pockets.
prepares to fly
unhooking his second leg
to leap skyward.

Seagrasses pile up,
cigarette butts form a crisscross
amidst broken glass catching the sun.
My low green-tinged pine log seat
is tainted with arsenic they say.


I connected with colour at Victoria market,
pressed oil pastels fiercely into the cartridge,
made clusters of German sausage,
cubist cheeses, curling Matisse leaves.
I was a Fauve, a wild thing.
Framed some, others became lost,
gave many drawings away.
Relatives remarked behind manicured hands,
‘Why doesn’t she paint gum trees, pretty mountains?’
Others accepted the gifts with good manners
but one golden scene based on the Trentham tip
was hung on a toilet door.

A disconnect with Paris
as the South Pacific beckoned.
I asked questions - who am I,
where did I come from, where am I going.
At an exhibition in Canberra,
entitled the Impressionists
though it did include Gauguin, (who was post)
I was let down; his colours dull.
The art books had lied.

Christmas gifts

She knew I wanted to be a missionary overseas,
an art teacher among eager black-eyed teenagers.
I was twenty three,
had just finished my teaching bond of three years.
She went to the bookshop,
bought a beautifully crafted King James leather-bound Bible.
’Happy Christmas dear,’ she said.

I knew that the Bible had the answers
to the world’s problems
and that she barely had time to sit down and read
over those twenty-odd years of raising five children.
So I went to the bookshop,
bought a green cloth covered New English edition of the Bible.
‘Happy Christmas Mum,’ I said.

A relationship

Stop nagging, Where’s my coffee.
You’ve been on my computer again.
Haven’t you paid the bill yet.
I hate smoke in the house.
You’ve forgotten the toast again.
You’re driving too fast.
You look like death warmed up.
You used to bring me flowers.
Move over. You’re on my side of the bed.
Where’s my glasses.

Sometimes she hovers like an albatross
Spreading arms wide
Waiting for the wind
But it does not come.

God is not everywhere,
this absence is the hardest test of faith.
Morris West said something like that.


Awkwardly I waddle
But with pride and confidence
with the promise of an easy time of it.
My breathing will be controlled,
slow and rhythmic,
then the panting for ten seconds,
it will be easy.

The Bay

I love the ocean.
I would like to live by the sea forever,
feel the changing winds and weathers,
the calm, the impact of summer.
All I needs is a house on the bluff
overlooking this bay.
the rich foreigners have taken up
all the land.

Married to a composer

You cannot eat grace notes, she said.
I don’t know what you mean.
It’s not complicated she said.
Why do you play such loud music
and write such complicated songs?
As you say, you can’t eat it,
perhaps you can’t eat manuscript paper either.
It’s my bread and butter.
I’m a full time composer.
Let’s take the day off,
away from the clutter of those intensive people.
But I’m not a sociable person.
I like my own company, rather than the hustle
of other people butting in with their notions.
Now that’s egotistical,
to think your ways, mind, thoughts are so good
that they can’t be muddied by the intrusion of others.
You need, we need, a wild kind of courage at times,
a security, yes, but
we need to be prepared to take risks.

A half-life

He lived in and out of the lives of other people,
a voyeur, his energetic mind focussed
on others’ stories and frailties.
He never dared to examine his own mind.
He realized this was not the way to live,
but how can you break the pattern
of being a do-gooder,
a bleeding heart,
a pillar of the community?

Without peace

Death had broken into her life
grey weals scarred every moment.
She could not read,
could not write letters.
Her body did not want to even move
as a kind of paralysis set in.
She was barely breathing.
The sky outside a weighty grey,
blotting out the usual softness,
the pearl grey of soft rain.
When sharp noises cut into the room
as the others in the household went about tasks
ignoring her need for absolutes –
absolute silence.
The sudden scrape of a chair
or spurt of a stove were hammers.


Reading the paper with her glasses off,
the myopia gave her clarity up close.
She was astonished to see
the texture of skin on her knuckles.
It was like filo pastry
or the skin of a turtle.
Inside the skin though
she is only eighteen.

The past is still there,
the recollection of lilac,
murmur of tentative voices,
the wind in the casuarinas,
the chattering of nesting birds.
The recollection of things past
is as real as the Twinings tea-bags
discarded on the Vietnamese saucer.

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Blogger Penny said...

Interesting, says a lot.

2:50 AM  

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