I was meant to stride through

armour jingling, a whole orchestra
of metal bits, cymbals and triangles.
But something made me rest 
in the still, mushroom strewn wood,
dank and smelling like dogs’ paws.
Taking off the shiny carapace,
I wriggled into the moss, napped,
awoke to a gnome stealing gauntlets,
to store in some illicit cavern.
I decided not to give chase.
Let him take what he wanted.
Rolling over, my moist pillow
seemed to release rich spores
imbuing me with memories,
indistinguishable from dreams.
Before all this striving, all these 
ventures and clashes, I used to
take the time to examine things,
the varied feathers of birds, 
the damp exigencies of the frog.

Who knows? In a hundred years
someone may find a mossy log
shaped a little like a knight,
on which an escargatoire of snails
pursues the silver quests of their kind,
clothed in quiet brown armour of shell.

PS Cottier

Any excuse to use the word ‘escargatoire’…

New book: V8

September 13, 2022

This is a hand and the cover of my/our new book, called V8, written with most excellent poet Sandra Renew. It’s about cars, utes, motorbikes, bikes, public transport and even the occasional spaceship (well one or two, anyway). Journeys to Russia, through Melbourne, and into the Hindu Kush feature in its pages. It is quite a large poetry book at over 130 pages, and can be ordered here. Ginninderra Press is the publisher, and I really like the cover (and the contents). Thank you to Stephen Matthews.

The process of writing a book with another poet was surprisingly smooth. Sandra and I had noticed that we both write poems about vehicles, so it was an easy step to the idea of having a book on the subject. We will be arranging a launch.

This is the first of two books I will be having published in the next month or so.

Poem: No genie, no wish

September 2, 2022

No genie, no wish

I thought it was a safe dwelling,
this huge shell, bright blue,
blooming on sand.
Not petty house for me, no
scrummaging for dangerous weeks.
My belly needs support,
is un-calcified, tending to slump.
I need other species to form
places for me to hide, to live,
and from where I scavenge,
daily, for minute bites of food.
Imagine my joy, at this mansion,
the cavity through which I pushed
an eager few centimetres of crab.
And now I find myself trapped,
unable to live in this blue world.
When I die, I send out a cry,
not in words but scent,
telling other hermits that a shell
has become vacant, and so,
how many others will meet inside
this treacherous, plastic tomb?
A million such containers
cover the beaches’ sheets of sand,
a kaleidoscope of pain.
Fake promises of security,
washing up with very wave.
I am a message, trapped inside
a blue bottle of disaster,
an artificial gift of doom.

PS Cottier

Hermit crabs are dying inside plastic and glass waste washed up on Australia’s remote islands: https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2019/12/05/what-happens-when-hermit-crabs-confuse-plastic-trash-shells-an-avalanche-death/
Chitinous plates
turtles party with roaches
zoot scutes 

PS Cottier


It’s lovely thing to have a blog, wherein one can post one’s weirdest creations. I was thinking of an old fashioned phrase for parties; bring a plate. And I had a vision of cockroaches and turtles partying, with plates attached to their bodies (part of their bodies). A scute is the hardened shell of a turtle. And an excuse for a pun. Look up zoot suit, if you need to.

That wonderful illustration is by Jean Ignace Isidore Gerard, who used the name Grandville. Courtesy of the site Old Book Illustrations, which is just fantastic.

I will shortly have news about forthcoming publications!

Poem: When I turn 100

August 5, 2022

When I turn 100

After the cake, 
sprinkled with patronising remarks
She’s doing so well!  She’s so sprightly!
I shall manoeuvre myself outside,
whether with cool cockatoo-head carved stick
or wheelchair.  I shall pour a whisky (large)
and light a cigarette, my first since 1986.
How sweet it will taste, my long-lost friend,
abandoned purely for health those many years.
Maybe they’ll be illegal by then,
but there’ll still be outlaw motorcycle gangs,
willing to supply the demand of a gran
(will they ride a whisper of e-bikes then?).
I’ll suck the smoke deep into my lungs,
and anyone who moans about cancer
or emphysema will get a chuckle.
Age will free me from responsibility.
I’ll clutch my carton like a prize.

PS Cottier