….
Laugh’d every goblin
When they spied her peeping:
Came towards her hobbling,
Flying, running, leaping,
Puffing and blowing,
Chuckling, clapping, crowing,
Clucking and gobbling,
Mopping and mowing,
Full of airs and graces,
Pulling wry faces,
Demure grimaces,
Cat-like and rat-like,
Ratel- and wombat-like,
Snail-paced in a hurry,
Parrot-voiced and whistler,
Helter skelter, hurry skurry,
Chattering like magpies,
Fluttering like pigeons,
Gliding like fishes,—
Hugg’d her and kiss’d her:
Squeez’d and caress’d her:
Stretch’d up their dishes,
Panniers, and plates:
“Look at our apples
Russet and dun,
Bob at our cherries,
Bite at our peaches,
Citrons and dates,
Grapes for the asking,
Pears red with basking
Out in the sun,
Plums on their twigs;
Pluck them and suck them,
Pomegranates, figs.”—

peaches

That extract tells of Lizzie visiting the goblins in an attempt to save her sister, Laura, who has feasted on the goblins’ fruit. I find it fascinating that the wombat is mentioned in this poem; the goblins’ appearance is not limited by mere geography. A ratel is a honey-badger, by the way, also found far from England (except in zoos). The full poem can be read here.

The use of verbs alone from ‘flying’ to ‘mowing’ sounds modern, somehow. This is one of my favourite poems. It has been analysed so much, yet remains fresh as an addictive peach.

I wrote this one before reading how four miners have died in Queensland this year. Appalling to think that people are dying like that; something is obviously very wrong.

Makes my last line seem a little optimistic, and the illustration of nineteenth century safety lamps seem appropriate.

The canary, the pony, and the man

It sounds like a joke’s first line,
a trio who walked into a bar.
But no, these are the three who
went below, swung down from the light.

One was there to pull loads
through dark roads carved
far from the sun, far from meadow,
half horse and half mole.

The bright bird, born for the sky,
would die first if the air was turning.
Now he is mere metaphor, cliché;
canary in the coal-mine has had his day.

Only the man still mines.
Each day he dives down to work,
amongst rich minerals and dust —
every day rising like Lazarus.

PS Cottier

safety-lamps

Tuesday poem: Freckles

May 26, 2019

Another poem via link, this time to New Zealand speculative publication Sponge. ‘Freckles’ is a prose poem meditation on those weird little skin-flecks that many of us have. You can listen to me read the poem, too, if you like.

This one is via link to Eye To The Telescope, an online journal of speculative poetry run by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association, based in the United States. The issue on ‘Sports and Games’ was edited by Lisa Timpf, who I believe is Canadian, so I’m extra pleased to have a poem about cricket published there. My poem is second in the issue, but have a look at all the poetry!

Magic!

I have just heard that the poet Les Murray has died, and I am rereading some of his best work, such as The Cows on Killing Day. I remember talking to him about this poem, and whether he had thought of becoming vegetarian, and he said that that would mean a lot fewer cows in existence!

In person I found him to be an affable and funny man, and on the day of his death that is a good way to remember him. There will be a lot of proper obituaries appearing tomorrow.

Cheers, Les.

Stealing Les Murray’s beer

This poem was published last weekend in The Canberra Times, one of the few newspapers to still have a regular ‘corner’ for poetry. You can see ‘corner’ in terms of a place to hide, or the place where boxers go between rounds. I prefer the latter idea!

The poetry section is edited by the indefatigable Lizz Murphy, who also has a blog.

UPDATE: The Canberra Times will soon be open for submissions of poetry. The editor is particularly interested in work by Indigenous poets. Here are some details.