February 8, 2016
A lesson in trigonometry,
the white heron forms triangles
with legs as she inches forward
< obtuse, acute, obtuse >
and reeds write the shape’s third side,
grass and leg linked by my needy eye.
Each retraction from stillness
seems a matter of regret;
a fall from Greek statue
into hungry, stalking GIF.
Silent as a wish, she moves
towards the modest,
A split triangle
wedged into head axes down,
teaching the dumb water
a critical formula: working an equation
on softer bodies.
Heron swallows, then cries triumph,
and the noise is the croak
of a thirty-a-day frog
krarkkrarking imperfection —
a broken kaleidoscope of notes —
a pocket full of clashing change.
The breath of the eager teacher
who tried to show me the
dubious wonders of triangles,
to draw them on my brain,
swings into memory
with a scalene sharpness.
Sound conjures smell;
ear and nose separated only
by a stretched vinculum of years.
Angel microbes swarmed
in his every exhalation,
armed with gleeful mallets
for playing smell croquet —
sulphur tapped through nostrils —
blunt, yet sharp and jangling.
He could not know that
he was Alice with stink flamingos;
heroic feathers tickling
before, and after, each own goal.
How could I breathe and think
under such an unnumbered cloud?
A limp fish, I soon failed.
The elegance of herons
undercut by noise;
the perfection of mathematics
negated by disgust.
I paddle off, towards firm ground,
away from the sharp, white assassin,
and the chopped pools of recollection.
This poem was just commended in the World Wetlands Day Poetry Prize, judged by Sarah Day, so I thought it would be nice for people to be able to read it. The winning poems are posted at the link, and very good they are too. The site itself is as cool as a rockpool and thrice as pretty.
This is an unusual poem for me in that it combines the natural world and memory and mathematics. I am innumerate, so the maths is the most freaky part. The poem recalls someone being turned off the so-called Queen of the Sciences for life. Sometimes the division between authorial voice and real author is pretty swampy.
Heron’s formula has something clever to do with triangles, I think. Personally, I am satisfied that the sail on the swanboat in the picture above is a most definite triangle. I passed Shapes at kindergarten with flying colours.
Click this link to see which other poets are Tuesdaying.
February 2, 2016
My poem ‘Reading the frog economy’ was just published in Plumwood Mountain, an online journal specialising in ecopoetry and ecopoetics. It’s a slippery wee beast of a prose poem, so hop on the webs (as in froggy feet, ha ha sorry!) and check it out, along with all the other poems in Volume Three Number One, as selected by Tricia Dearborn.
This frog is urging you to check it out,or he will turn into into Donald Trump, which would be somewhat less than ideal.
January 25, 2016
A Great Perhaps revisited
the fantastic maybe
the I can’t believe it’s not heaven
the Ladbroke Lad’s uncertainty principle
the cliché feline done to death (and not done to death)
Rabelais lays down a beauty
the Artful Dodger’s silent handkerchief that never ends
caught in a pun, she giggled internally —
any more sir?
So François Rabelais, author of Gargantua and Pantagruel, allegedly uttered the words ‘I go to seek a Great Perhaps’ on his deathbed. One thing for sure is that he loved a good rude joke and a spirit of anarchic fun pervades his works. I am playing with puns and physics and farts and different ways of envisaging heaven in the above. Dickens is dragged in too, although I do not think that any of his characters ever farted, even on a deathbed.
Far too much for a Lilliputian poem, but I rather like glutting on ideas from time to time.
Next week things will make more sense. That’s a promise. Peut-être.
January 18, 2016
This poem is a birdbath
and it fills itself with bird,
the quick splash of silvereye
the suspicious sip of currawong,
unable to believe in non-carnivorous gift —
looking out for bigger beaks behind the bush.
This poem features no sudden cat, lurking,
a sonnet’s volta, waiting to rewrite the tone
from mild celebration to whiskered doom.
The water slops over the rim of
The mess feeds the grass below, as do the birds.
Birds draw no firm distinctions between bath
and toilet. They revel, quietly, and the poem
expresses gratitude, for being, for being merely.
That one doesn’t really need much exegesis! Annoyingly, a wee glitch (as opposed to an enormous GLITCH) is preventing me doing a broken line…’the poem’ is supposed to appear under the rest of the line. But I’ll try and stay positive rather than cursing my computer or the platform which allows for these posts!
See which Tuesday Poets are still posting poems by checking out the sidebar here: http://tuesdaypoem.blogspot.com.au
In other poetry doings, Michele Seminara has recently had four poems featured at Rochford Street Review, and it was a delight to find that one was dedicated to a certain P.S. Cottier. Michele’s first book, Engraft, in which these poems appear, will soon be launched in Sydney, Wagga Wagga and Melbourne. You can read the poems here, and also find details of the launches there. I am thinking of going to Wagga.
Apart from being a fine poet and editor, Michele is also a blogger.
January 10, 2016
The two items above are the subject of the following poem, written at the Green Shed in Civic, which is a store selling items mainly found at Canberra’s tips. Late last year, as part of the Design Canberra festival, punters were asked to write a response to objects at the Green Shed. I was the first to have a go, and set myself a ten minute limit. Here’s the poem, with just a couple of typos corrected:
Black rectangle of leather,
simple silver clasp. You smell
of clean secrets, of transparent glue,
or a genie addicted to soap.
Gold lettering spells ‘Lodge Elata’
but your elation long fled the bag.
She searches for crumbs, carolling.
Banana jug — cracked as if you were
yourself a punchline — jagged haha
or an inappropriate smirk,
yellowing a funeral with muted glee.
Three bananas. Two are thick lips,
and one a self-tasting tongue,
enjoying the flavour of milky jokes.
The masonic bag did become transparent after the poem was written, in the sense that I hear that someone stole it from the shop! Not a genie, either. Or so I suppose.
Thanks to Kaaron Warren for alerting me to this event.
And happy 2016!
Press this link to see what other poets have been doing. (Check out the sidebar.)