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.

haiku

July 15, 2021

Grey pigeons
my father's colour
flown away

PS Cottier
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Rather cold Russian pigeons in that beautiful photograph, to accompany a quiet haiku about loss.

Very happy to see three of my poems published at Eureka Street today, called ‘In the back of this poem’, ‘The eclectus parrot’, and ‘The edge of empty’, which is about extinction due to mega fires caused by climate change. I hope you enjoy them. Here is a picture of the male and female eclectus parrot.

(Is a spoiler warning necessary for a book as old as The War of the Worlds? I don’t think so, but you are warned, anyway!)

Thinking about the virus, I remembered the end of The War of the Worlds, where bacteria are our best friends, defeating the Martians. It’s a great passage which I thought I’d post, although I’m not so sure that there are no bacteria on Mars? ‘Our microscopic allies’ does seem a strange phrase in the current climate, but it makes total sense in terms of the novel.

And scattered about it, some in their overturned war-machines, some in the now rigid handling-machines, and a dozen of them stark and silent and laid in a row, were the Martians—dead!—slain by the putrefactive and disease bacteria against which their systems were unprepared; slain as the red weed was being slain; slain, after all man’s devices had failed, by the humblest things that God, in his wisdom, has put upon this earth.

For so it had come about, as indeed I and many men might have foreseen had not terror and disaster blinded our minds. These germs of disease have taken toll of humanity since the beginning of things—taken toll of our prehuman ancestors since life began here. But by virtue of this natural selection of our kind we have developed resisting power; to no germs do we succumb without a struggle, and to many—those that cause putrefaction in dead matter, for instance—our living frames are altogether immune. But there are no bacteria in Mars, and directly these invaders arrived, directly they drank and fed, our microscopic allies began to work their overthrow. Already when I watched them they were irrevocably doomed, dying and rotting even as they went to and fro. It was inevitable. By the toll of a billion deaths man has bought his birthright of the earth, and it is his against all comers; it would still be his were the Martians ten times as mighty as they are. For neither do men live nor die in vain.

HG Wells The War of the Worlds

War_of_the_worlds_illustration_pearson
Warwick Goble