It’s been too long since I posted here, which is not (only) due to laziness, but because I have been incredibly busy. I am coming up to my first year anniversary as Poetry Editor at The Canberra Times, have been doing multiple book reviews, and just gave a reading. I was very pleased to have a poem published in an American journal called Please See Me, in a special issue on Women’s Health.

I am reaching the age where they start to monitor my body for all sorts of complaints and illnesses, and this inspired the poem. I also read the poem at the page linked to above.

I woke from uneasy sleep, as feathers tickled
my suddenly sneezy nose. That has not stopped,
and I need to bless myself twelve times a day.
I carry tissues tucked between the feathers.
If you are hit by sodden snow, it is probably
a cloud-like tissue, slipping from inexpert wings.
I would call the wings adequate, though,
as I do not miss the morning commute.
Please do not mistake me for an angel.
I often swear, up here amongst the fluff,
and my fingers pluck no cunning harp.
Mittens cradle my blue-cold hands,
and a beanie holds my head like an egg.
Why this happened to me, I can't really say.
Who has not dreamt of flight? Yet so few
wake to feather doonas sprouting
from shoulders like quotation marks.
'Anything becomes usual, given you have 
enough time to get used to it,' as I said to the press.
I ride updrafts, and predict the patterns of sneeze.
It is quietly wonderful, to share a life with pigeons,
and to perch, a woolly gargoyle, for a quick cup of tea.

PS Cottier

A fun poem, more than the illustration by Hans Tegner, which is excellent but a bit grim. And everyone should recognise the origin of that first phrase!

Except for the cat

February 10, 2022

The cancer riddled Staffie, the muzzle white where it was brindle once, the Great Dane who clocked up only three years (for we breed dogs too big for their strained hearts to cope) the smelly terrier who outlived them all, sitting with the bald budgie Chomp on his head (something that would never have been allowed when the dog was alive), the coin-sized islands of terrapin, the scurry of guinea pigs, the cat that adopted you even though you don’t like cats, the many goldfish that floated to the tops of tanks, all come to greet you as you travel over to the other side. They bite and scratch and peck, and the ballooned goldfish push inside your throat, and you feel the choking although you are dead, and you realise that the animals did not enjoy their lives being stunted, to fit into your notion of pet like a blistered foot caught in a too small shoe.  Except for the cat, who never gave a shit.

PS Cottier

A fun piece of prose (poetry) in a vaguely horrific way. As an editor, I’m amazed by how many poems contain cats. Here’s my contribution.

Glossy black cockatoo

January 16, 2022

Spotted two glossy black cockatoos down at the coast, feasting in a (sort of) suburban yard. Is seeing them purely a good thing, given that so much of the bush burnt recently? Have they been driven beyond their comfort zone, looking for casuarina? The lovely photo of the female cockatoo was taken by a neighbour.

Trees gone glossy
gentle creaking of pods
displacement

PS Cottier

Tuesday poem: Where they go

December 8, 2021

Where they go

Full calls have no place among the clipped hedges,
the solid garages, or mere carports of suburbia.
There is indeed a farm where plucky roosters go,
invisible to the eyes of those who dispatched them
with handy axe, or squeamish vet.  In the sky 
the boy-chooks crow, show their bright red crowns, 
scratch the earth.  Executed for the lack of eggs,
they hatch sweet cockadoodle-doos to the moon.
The stars catch gleams of manic eye, 
the triumphant shake of crimson wattle.

PS Cottier

That’s a simple poem that was recently short-listed for a competition. (There are monthly competitions run by the publication Positive Words, for tiny stories and short poems.) I find it amazing how many people keep chooks but don’t think too much about the lack of male birds, all dispatched because they don’t meet our supposed needs. I’ll shut up now before I go the full vegan, and get back to perusing the 300 or so poems submitted for The Canberra Times.