Passing beauty: poem

January 10, 2023

Passing beauty

It's moving, just ahead
of the player's most clever feet.
Every four years, we fill a cup,
then pour it out, a month of dreams.
Was it just last week that Bergkamp
flicked with orange elegance,
side-footing space and time?
No, he is long gone now, 
off fielding fifty years.
Others follow.  Messy time
melts beauty, remoulds it, 
casts it always anew.
It never ages, constantly fired,
as we fade, we watchers,
yesterday's players, passing.
Twenty sips at the cup
will fill a lifetime;
held safe in keeper's hands.

PS Cottier


This football poem was first published in Eureka Street, and then in broadsheet (New Zealand), no 13, Special World Cup football issue, 2014.  Finally (before today!) in Boots, a new edition of Mark Pirie’s 2014 football poetry anthology, 2017.
I refuse to look up how old the Dutch player Bergkamp is now!

I am not the only one still suffering minor withdrawal symptoms after the end of the World Cup.  Great to see Argentina win, and the pun on the word 'messy' in my poem is deliberate.

I am very much looking forward to the Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand this year.  

Image Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Poem: Befitting

December 4, 2022

                                                                              
Twice as long as my palms,
my new loves sparkle,
shine, make no demands.
I do not intend to attract
anyone with them. 
They are certainly not
flashy signals or invitations.
I stroke the glassy sides,
kiss where a tongue would sit —
but neither has a tongue.
They glide onto my eager feet
just when I want, and if I dance,
I dance for myself, admiring
the play of sun on cupping glass.
My feet framed with transparency,
I skip, slide, saunter and spin
on the open, prince-less green —
slippers fitting just so.

PS Cottier

And I do note the overwhelming wee-ness of the slippers in that illustration! (Aubrey Beardsley)

If you go to this site, you’ll find a new poem I wrote called Amorphous Solid, which is about a person turning into glass. It’s included in an on-line journal called Liquid Imagination, which has been around for quite a long time. Have a browse around. Unfortunately this is the last edition of the journal. The Poetry Editor is John C. Mannone, and the Managing Editor is Sue Babcock.

I was meant to stride through

armour jingling, a whole orchestra
of metal bits, cymbals and triangles.
But something made me rest 
in the still, mushroom strewn wood,
dank and smelling like dogs’ paws.
Taking off the shiny carapace,
I wriggled into the moss, napped,
awoke to a gnome stealing gauntlets,
to store in some illicit cavern.
I decided not to give chase.
Let him take what he wanted.
Rolling over, my moist pillow
seemed to release rich spores
imbuing me with memories,
indistinguishable from dreams.
Before all this striving, all these 
ventures and clashes, I used to
take the time to examine things,
the varied feathers of birds, 
the damp exigencies of the frog.

Who knows? In a hundred years
someone may find a mossy log
shaped a little like a knight,
on which an escargatoire of snails
pursues the silver quests of their kind,
clothed in quiet brown armour of shell.

PS Cottier

Any excuse to use the word ‘escargatoire’…

New book: V8

September 13, 2022

This is a hand and the cover of my/our new book, called V8, written with most excellent poet Sandra Renew. It’s about cars, utes, motorbikes, bikes, public transport and even the occasional spaceship (well one or two, anyway). Journeys to Russia, through Melbourne, and into the Hindu Kush feature in its pages. It is quite a large poetry book at over 130 pages, and can be ordered here. Ginninderra Press is the publisher, and I really like the cover (and the contents). Thank you to Stephen Matthews.

The process of writing a book with another poet was surprisingly smooth. Sandra and I had noticed that we both write poems about vehicles, so it was an easy step to the idea of having a book on the subject. We will be arranging a launch.

This is the first of two books I will be having published in the next month or so.