Tuesday poem: Limits

October 26, 2021

Limits


‘Nature cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves or as a mere setting in which we live.’ 
Pope Francis


Four months ago the trees looked like trees
drawn in charcoal by a depressed artist —
simple strokes of black connecting earth
to noon-time grey, throat-choking, skies.
Now, watch the festoons of green
circling the trunks, as if strewn
by the world’s worst exterior decorator.
Such vivid newness, almost artificial
in its neon promise.  And yet,

such trees have known blazes many years,
lightning-spat, or most carefully set,
by those who shaped the land, 
farmed with fire, forty thousand years or more.
We comfort ourselves, forget that this mega-blaze,
man-made, was the very opposite of skill.
We have changed the seasons, charged
the air, dried the possibilities of rain
into a parched riverbed of loss.

Yes, the trees still push out leaves.
Frail canopy above dead mounds of wombat,
of lyre-bird-less, song-lost, ground.
The reassurance of regeneration
this time asks us how many more
times green can possibly appear.
If next year, and the next, another
blaze exceeds all history,
will even gumtrees stay gloomed —

dead sticks we poked into a lessened land?

PS Cottier


Everyone is pleased to see the bush regenerating after a fire, but how many times can it do so after the mega fires that climate change brings?

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

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.

A nasty nursery rhyme

August 3, 2021

Diddle diddle cumquat
gnomes on the porch
eating all the fairies
with a golden fork

See thirteen budgies
aviary all full?
screaming at a guinea pig
red flag to wee bull

Poets are itching
itching with an itch
one is a rhymer
one is not so rich

Gnomes are coming
cumquat diddle dum
hungry for eyeballs
now they’ll have some fun!

PS Cottier

I seem to be writing a lot of fantasy lately, probably as an escape from the exigencies of editing. Just had another very little thing published at the venerable AntipodeanSF. A scifaiku, the first of a few to come.