Glossy black cockatoo

January 16, 2022

Spotted two glossy black cockatoos down at the coast, feasting in a (sort of) suburban yard. Is seeing them purely a good thing, given that so much of the bush burnt recently? Have they been driven beyond their comfort zone, looking for casuarina? The lovely photo of the female cockatoo was taken by a neighbour.

Trees gone glossy
gentle creaking of pods
displacement

PS Cottier

Tuesday poem: Where they go

December 8, 2021

Where they go

Full calls have no place among the clipped hedges,
the solid garages, or mere carports of suburbia.
There is indeed a farm where plucky roosters go,
invisible to the eyes of those who dispatched them
with handy axe, or squeamish vet.  In the sky 
the boy-chooks crow, show their bright red crowns, 
scratch the earth.  Executed for the lack of eggs,
they hatch sweet cockadoodle-doos to the moon.
The stars catch gleams of manic eye, 
the triumphant shake of crimson wattle.

PS Cottier

That’s a simple poem that was recently short-listed for a competition. (There are monthly competitions run by the publication Positive Words, for tiny stories and short poems.) I find it amazing how many people keep chooks but don’t think too much about the lack of male birds, all dispatched because they don’t meet our supposed needs. I’ll shut up now before I go the full vegan, and get back to perusing the 300 or so poems submitted for The Canberra Times.

Poetry at The Canberra Times

November 15, 2021

From today until 3rd December, I will be accepting submissions of poems for The Canberra Times, one of the very few newspapers that still publishes poetry. Please read the details below the poetic budgie. Note that at the current time, submissions can only be taken from those living in Australia.

Canberra Times Submission Guidelines November 2021

ALL CORRESPONDENCE REGARDING THE CANBERRA TIMES/PANORAMA POETRY SUBMISSIONS SHOULD BE SENT TO THE CANBERRA TIMES POETRY EMAIL ADDRESS:

poetrycanbt@gmail.com

POETRY SUBMISSION: Do not submit until there is a call-out. The dates will vary depending on the number of accepted poems awaiting publication. The Poetry Editor Penelope Cottier will be making selections.  If you are not sure if there is a current call-out, please send her a query rather than sending poems.

·       • Poems suitable for a general audience in most styles and on most subject matters are welcome.

·       • Please send up to 3 UNpublished (includes blogs etc) poems of up to 24 lines.

     • The 24 line maximum includes quotes/notes/references (but not title and stanza breaks). 

·       • Attach all poems in one Word file — please include your name in the document title. (You are welcome to also attach a PDF if you are concerned that formatting might slip in the Word doc. But do not send only a PDF. Pasting into an email, if you have to, is fine too.)

·       • Please submit poems during submission periods only

     • Poems should not be on offer to other print or online publications

·       • You will be notified by email either way, 6-8 weeks after close of submissions.

·       • If selected, your poem should generally be published in the Panorama arts section during the following several months. 

While everything possible is done to reduce the risk of a selected poem not appearing The Canberra Times cannot guarantee publication. Poets who submit poems should understand there is a chance their poem may not appear, even if selected.

      • Poets selected for publication are asked not to submit during the next submission period.

Hints

•      Send your stand-out poem(s).  Don’t feel you have to send in three!

•      Send a variety.

•      Be strategic — remember that poems are selected months in advance of publication.

•    Sometimes poems are published in a smaller font due to space limitations — if  you have an issue with this you might prefer to submit shorter poems.

•    For the same reason it is better not to send poems with very long lines or elaborate formatting. 

Bio

A biographical note is not necessary but is of interest — just one or two sentences will do. 


PLEASE KEEP READING:

The Canberra Times publishes one poem per week in its Saturday Panorama arts section, pending space availability. Payment is $60 per poem.

The aims are to ensure a diversity of voices, and to publish poems on a wide variety of subjects.

Poets selected for publication are asked to skip the next submission window. 

Please note The Canberra Times receives hundreds of poems and has space for just a fraction of those. Many quality submissions have to be declined each time.

If you can access The Canberra Times where you live, please buy it every Saturday.   Or you can subscribe to the on-line paper, to support fellow poets and a major newspaper that still publishes poetry.

Penelope (PS) Cottier

The Canberra Times Poetry Editor

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?

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.