Two anthologies for spring

October 20, 2018

Very happy to have a poem in Best Australian Science Writing 2018, edited by John Pickrell (NewSouth Books), and another one in Poetry Bridges: Canberra/Nara Commemorative Anthology, edited by Saeko Ogi, Amelia Fielden and Noriko Tanaka (Ginninderra Press).

I just attended the launch of this second one, and it was a delight to hear the poems, including mine, translated into Japanese.  There is a Nara launch next month, where the Japanese poems will no doubt also be read in English.  Nara and Canberra are sister cities, and have been for 25 years. BASW is being launched in Sydney in November.

poetry bridges

basw

I am on two panels at Quantum Words in a couple of weeks; this is a day long festival looking at science and writing in Sydney. One is specifically about poetry and science, the other has the unassuming title ‘Writing the Universe’ which sounds vaguely biblical to my ears! To finish off, here is a very Japanese crane, at home in Hokkaido. We were lucky enough to see them in the wild, as well as at the sanctuary.

crane

Tuesday poem: Vista

July 20, 2018

Vista

Icarus was detected, soaring over
our skies, a blush of pink cloud,
without string or anchor, sans permit.
We deployed the net squad, caged him
in a convenient place up north.
He pined, seedy as a sick canary,
pleading and rattling and moulting.
Eventually, his heart broke like a promise.
Then we let him in,
just before it fluttered its last.
The man-flamingo had a lot to tell us,
and science has legitimate needs.

PS Cottier

waves-over-me

This poem was originally written as an entry for an ekphrastic poetry competition (not the image I include above) but I forgot to enter. As I was going to Japan, I forgive this errant dickheadedness, and the poem stands on its own, I think.

***

I am not one to pretend to know Japan because they spent 11 days there. But one thing I did learn is that Japanese mascots are far cooler than ours. Melon Kuma from Hokkaido is, as the name suggests, half melon, half bear, and given to biting the heads off other mascots (at least). I’ll leave you to google him, if you dare…Or here’s his Facebook page.

Budgerigar

Ten million green commas punctuate blue sky,
quick breaths of swooping wonder, multiplied.
Water-hole is your target; liquid rope pulls you down
and the whole emerald sky is falling, diving,
as miniature bodies scoop into pool.
Your individual markings have taken you
further than native flight; outside the Louvre
I saw you, cold, trying to break in, as pointillist
as Pissarro but acrylic in your finish.
A proud but damp escapee from French balcony,
regretting the lost seed and the found liberty.
So plump and fresh, I have heard you were good eating,
a winging fast food charred to a turn;
as far from stringy battery chook as fingers in the fire.
Most know you singly; whistling in cages,
bowing and bobbing, rattling plastic mirrors.
Driven mad you ring and ring chink-chinky bells
or make love to that hard, hard-to-get reflection.
What joy to see you
just once, as you swoop,
one stitch amongst the tapestry,
a blade of grass in feathered turf carpet, magically landing,
transforming dreary waterside with that fallen sward of Eire.
Swift dragon of twenty million wings,
fluorescing with your simple, beak-filled joys.

P.S.Cottier

artist at work

After boasting in various places that I post a new poem every week, here’s a repeat one for you! (Which is a damn subtle humblebrag…) That’s Chomp in the picture above, and I have to be careful, or I’ll join the endless stream of people blogging about pets.

All hail the tip turkey

Tip turkey works through the plastic — a TROJAN
Tip turkey has no time for posing — he’s no STATUE
Tip Turkey is adorned with smears — a saucy TOMATO
Tip Turkey cries to the sky — frogs smoking CIGARETTES
Tip turkey smells unpleasant — but not more than homely TIP
Tip turkey fell from perfect grace — some may even call him SACRED
Tip turkey is no pink flamingo — no smiling lawn adorning TIP
Tip turkey is flung at the margins — discarded CIGARETTES
Tip turkey is letting himself go — bald seedy as TOMATO
Tip turkey follows reckless trash — a tributary STATUE
Tip turkey has no hidden surprise — he’s no TROJAN

Poet’s note: Tip turkey is a common name for Threskiornis moluccus, the Australian white ibis.

PS Cottier

20170927_161516

The tip turkey came second in a recent poll of Australia’s favourite bird, beaten by a beak by the magpie. I voted for the budgie or the cockatoo; I can’t really remember. The idea of a ‘favourite bird’ is a bit silly, after all! This poem has been rummaging in the bins of my writing folder for ages, so I thought I’d share it.

The poem was originally called ‘But in the air they make such lovely arrows’ which explains the shape, but I thought it was a tad confusing. The tip turkey above was walking down a Canberra street like a particularly smelly ballet dancer.

UPDATE: The poem’s shape is lost on phone display. Sorry.

The backcomber

Her hair is coiffured once a month.
Though she goes to bed unkempt,
glamour descends like a dream.
A scissored were-poodle inflicts revenge
for ridiculous, hedgy trims,
those uncouth bubbles of fur he wore,
imposed without his will.
She awakes to a memory of spray
and a beehive, tall as any tower.
Next month’s moon may well mean quiff.
Next month’s moon may just mean mullet.

PS Cottier

headpiece-scene-3-1

If I didn’t think that my next dog must be a rescue dog, I’d be buying a poodle. One of the large ones. But I don’t think I’d clip it into weird shapes like a hedge. One of the more intelligent dogs has to put up with a lot; do they envy the border collie?

One another note, I have a kind of short story, of a vaguely horrible sort, published at AntipodeanSF, called The Blood Parrot. Enjoy!