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.

Aliens

September 13, 2021

Just had a poem published at Burrow, an on-line journal published by Old Water Rat Publishing, edited by Jillian Hall and Phillip Hall. It’s called The peculiar comfort of aliens, which was my response to the topic, non-human companions. I also put it one about a dog, but unsurprisingly, the submissions would have rained cats and dogs. Do have a look around the poems, it is a great collection.

Corrêa, Henrique Alvim

Speaking of aliens, you can read some great short science fiction stories at AntipodeanSF, where I also have a scifaiku about nasty things that can happen in space. I’ll be having one there every month for a while. This publication, which has been around for a very long time indeed, is edited by Ion Newcombe.

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.

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.

I am very happy to be starting as Poetry Editor at The Canberra Times. Submissions are open now UNTIL 30th June. Please read the guidelines below before submitting, and send only to the email given. Any poems or queries sent through to another email will not be read. At the moment, I am unsure if overseas people can be paid, so poems from people in Australia only at this stage please. I am very much feeling my way into things, but have already received some wonderful poems.

Canberra Times Submission Guidelines June 2021

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

poetrycanbt [AT] gmail.com

POETRY SUBMISSION PERIODS: Usually MAR 15-31, JUN 15-30, SEPT 13-30, DEC 15-31 (These are subject to change, and submission may become half-yearly.)  Do not submit until there is a call-out. The Poetry Editor Penelope Cottier will be making selections.

·       • 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, to 

     • 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 designated 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. (Some will be notified much sooner.)

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

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

NB 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. 

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.

•    Please note that 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.

Submission periods are now quarterly (subject to change). Submission calls will be promoted to the list of poets who have previously submitted or enquired, and through social media and poetry networks — thank you for passing the word on.

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