February 20, 2017
What I see is not forever
Around the world we hear
that sweetness is dwindling;
at least the bee-borne sort.
They’re in my garden though,
have claimed the bird bath
as bee bath, sipping relief
from forty harsh degrees.
Colonies are collapsing.
Sudden buzzless fields,
quiet stingless grasses —
husk bodies whisper warnings.
Yet here, this weird abundance,
writing a million hovering lines.
How long? I ask the bees.
But bees know neither science
nor faith, except, perhaps,
that this shallow bath
holds water, and may yet
cup a cool tomorrow or two.
Read about hive collapse syndrome: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci-tech/australian-scientists-may-have-solved-the-mystery-of-bee-colony-collapse-20150209-13a6ss.html
I am always frustrated by the kind of comment to articles about climate change that says ‘Well it’s cold in [insert locale] now so global warming is nothing to worry about!’. This got me thinking that the abundance of bees in my garden may be something that could disappear quite quickly; that one person’s eyes are never enough to give a comprehensive view.
Whether the fate of the bees is directly related to climate change is something I don’t know, but their dwindling numbers is a worrying phenomenon.
January 20, 2017
On the sticky retirement of myth
Pegasus got too old
so Bellerophon melted him for glue.
Useless glue; for each pot is full
of feathers. Lovely scrapbooks
are ruined by inconvenient discards,
as grandmothers grow downy beards,
and babies sport Trumpy wigs.
And they fly into the air, too,
the photos, nay, the very books,
and escape into the ether,
to gallivant with feckless clouds.
Never use a famous wingéd horse,
where a broken legged nag will do.
There’s a bit of my recently adopted veganism peeking around the corner of that poem!
A thoughtful review of my chapbook Quick Bright Things: Poems of Fantasy and Myth just appeared at the Science Fiction Poetry Association website (also extracts of the review appear in in Star*Line, the Association’s journal). The reviewer is Sandra J. Lindow, a well-known poet in the speculative field. (The review appears quite a way down the linked page.)
Ms Lindow writes of the chapbook that that ‘(t)he tone clip-clops down a slope elevated by the language [of] Victorian fairy-lore poetry…’. I hadn’t consciously thought of that, but she is quite right. That’s what happens when you write a PhD on Dickens, I guess! And Goblin Market has always fascinated me. The review refers to Christina Rossetti, author of that long poem.
Nice to have an Australian chapbook reviewed at the US based site. I am a member of the SFPA, and recommend it to anyone interested in science fiction, horror, or fantasy poetry.
I was rapt to read that ‘P.S. Cottier’s slender chapbook of nineteen fantastic poems is like an elegant carriage ride through a department store of social criticism.’ Or perhaps I should say enraptured, in keeping with that older time?
Now I’m putting my fingers in my ears and repeating ‘la-la-la’ during a certain inauguration ceremony. Feel free to join in.
February 2, 2016
My poem ‘Reading the frog economy’ was just published in Plumwood Mountain, an online journal specialising in ecopoetry and ecopoetics. It’s a slippery wee beast of a prose poem, so hop on the webs (as in froggy feet, ha ha sorry!) and check it out, along with all the other poems in Volume Three Number One, as selected by Tricia Dearborn.
This frog is urging you to check it out,or he will turn into into Donald Trump, which would be somewhat less than ideal.
December 17, 2015
At the ACT Writers Centre Christmas Party earlier tonight, The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry edited by Tim Jones and myself, was highly commended in the Poetry category of the Publishing Awards. The winner was John Stokes, whose collection Fire in the Afternoon is quietly brilliant. Congratulations John!
Shortly after that photo was taken, I felt I had to get home and rest. I have had a strange and emotionally intense week, as one of my dogs (the idiotic Staffie) managed to eat bones without actually chewing, necessitating urgent vet action. $1000 later, she is nearly better. Our credit card is also exhausted.
I want to write a serious article about the morality of pet ownership some time, somewhere. But that time is definitely not tonight, as I sup and sip and pat the dog who has yet to learn that bones must be chewed, as she is not actually a crocodile, despite the ludicrous strength of her jaws. She will never be offered another bone though!
UPDATE: This is a link to the official announcements and the judges’ reports in all categories.
October 26, 2015
Ten million green commas punctuate blue sky,
quick breaths of swooping wonder, multiplied.
Water-hole is your target; liquid rope pulls you
and the whole emerald sky is diving,
as miniature bodies scoop down to pool.
Your individual markings have taken you
further than native flight; outside the Louvre
I saw you, cold, trying to break in, as pointillist
as Pissarro, but so acrylic in your finish.
Proud but damp escapee from French balcony,
regretting the lost seed and the found liberty.
Plump and fresh, I have heard you were good eating,
a winging fast food charred to a turn;
as far from stringy battery chook as fingers in the fire.
Most know you singly: whistling in cages,
bowing and bobbing, rattling plastic mirrors.
Driven mad you ring and ring chink-chinky bells
or make love to that hard, hard-to-get reflection.
What joy to see you
just once, as you swoop,
one stitch amongst the tapestry,
a blade of grass in feathered turf carpet,
transforming dreary waterside
with that fallen sward of Eire.
Swift dragon of twenty million wings,
fluorescing with your simple, beak-filled joys.
As to the redux, this poem was posted here once before, a couple of years ago. But it deserves a new airing. The photo shows my new budgie, more pastel than the wild bird’s near-emerald. He was bought with the seeds of poetry. I am now spending my life moving his cage around and letting him out in safe places, away from my dogs.
His name is Chomp.
Next week I promise to use words that rest on a thin perch of ideas, as the last twos paras were totally and tragically Facebook. Status: idiotic.
In the meantime, fly your way to New Zealand. (She inserts something witty and slightly patriotic about rugby finals. There is a poem to be written about that, but not here, not this week. Though ‘The Ode of David Pocock’s Calf’ has potential. I’m seeing Victory born from its swelling pregnant muscles.)