The chicken in autumn

No spring chicken, she fluffs up her hair.
Neck is turkeying, becoming its own scarf
of bumpy, gobbling skin.  She pushes at the strange,
frill neck, loose Elizabethan collar, gravity's triumph,
and remembers, stroking, the departed flesh of spring.

Pink buds looked upwards, as if watching clouds,
Her body watered itself, moistly rippled,
Holding itself tightly in an embrace
assumed to be everlasting, but like any flower
wind caressed too hard, and the petals fell. 

Autumn, they say, is fruitful, mellow, wiser,
tasting winter on the air, beyond mere promise
of that which can not last, of fairies or of flowers.
A graceful pause, equilibrium.  But falls of leaves
speak of falls of snow, of skin, of flesh, of life.

But still leaves may be kicked upwards, fluttering,
rudely resurrected out of  dignified piles, 
decorum shed like a lizard's skin, unwanted.
Half of life has been spent, but the legs still swing,
lovingly, the lungs embrace air.  The tough bird sings.

PS Cottier

That’s a very old poem, published in my first book, The Glass Violin, in 2008. It’s becoming more relevant every year! You know you’re getting a bit older when you forget the dates that you got various degrees, which is the over-educated version of where did I put my keys? Rereading the poem now, there are more flower images than I’d probably use now, but I quite like it.

Tuesday poem: If I could

September 20, 2021

If I could

I would infiltrate this page
with seeds, which would sprout
as you read down the few lines,
and leave you with a bush
which you would plant out
and wait for the blessings of birds.

PS Cottier

Aliens

September 13, 2021

Just had a poem published at Burrow, an on-line journal published by Old Water Rat Publishing, edited by Jillian Hall and Phillip Hall. It’s called The peculiar comfort of aliens, which was my response to the topic, non-human companions. I also put it one about a dog, but unsurprisingly, the submissions would have rained cats and dogs. Do have a look around the poems, it is a great collection.

Corrêa, Henrique Alvim

Speaking of aliens, you can read some great short science fiction stories at AntipodeanSF, where I also have a scifaiku about nasty things that can happen in space. I’ll be having one there every month for a while. This publication, which has been around for a very long time indeed, is edited by Ion Newcombe.

I thought that some readers might be interested in a review I wrote of Peter Doherty’s book An Insider’s Plague Year. And just in case I am right, here’s the link! The following illustration has nothing to do with the review, except that mice feature there, too. I just had to use this, so why not now?

‘The danger of eating mice’

My reviewing is picking up a lot after I made my first swag of selections for poetry at The Canberra Times, which took a great deal of thought. The straight ‘no’ is easy, as are the obvious yes poems. It’s the maybes that kill you.

A woman crossed the road

                         when she saw my Staffy
and I wanted to call out she’s a honey!
she only bites her food, and she loves
to lie on her back, let the sun delve
into her belly, and when I watch her,
I feel happy, almost as happy as when she
sees me, and her tail wags her body,
but I could not help but feel punctured
by the woman equating this dear dog with
violence, I could not help feeling anger,
and realised she had turned one part of me
into a poor imitation of how she sees Staffies,
for I felt like chasing her, shaking the nonsense out,
out of her head, and instead I reached down,
and patted the keg of a dog that she had spurned
just because dog-she carries a sad history 
written by some thoughtless people
upon her plump body and her muscled breed.

She wagged her tail, oblivious.
My lips stretched to a smile.

PS Cottier


Pretty self explanatory, that poem. We’ve been in lockdown in Canberra for a couple of days now, and walking the dog is the only exercise worth doing.