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 poem was just republished in Boots:A Selections of Football Poetry 1890-2017, edited by Mark Pirie of New Zealand. As Mark has it up as an sample from the book, I thought I would also republish it here. It was first published in Eureka Street here in Australia.

The book contains poems from New Zealand, England, France and the Netherlands, with New Zealand being the home of most. It is well worth reading for the diversity of approaches: biographical, political, elegiac (mine, for once!) humorous and historical. A lovely present for anyone interested in football.

It can be ordered through Lulu through the publisher’s website (HeadworX Publishers). Boots is an expanded edition of a previous collection first published in 2014.

I am very happy to have my first publication in India.

The poem ‘Canberra’ appears in the book Capitals, edited by Abhay K.  The anthology contains poems about nearly all of the world’s capital cities, and is published by Bloomsbury, India.  I came across this YouTube film of the book being launched recently at the Jaipur Literature Festival, by Ruth Padel:

Canberra is represented by two poems; the other one is by Michelle Cahill, which I am hanging out to read.  So we’re really writing above our weight division in terms of population, particularly as Oceania is merged with Asia in the book.

I am very much looking forward to receiving my contributor’s copy.  Here is the cover, which is stompingly cool:


I responded to a call-out for poems for the anthology on the Australian Poetry website, and feel honoured to be included with my mild little poem about Canberra.  Poets in the anthology include Ms Padel, the late Mahmoud Darwish, Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva and Derek Walcott.  Just shows that you should always submit a poem if the project interests you. You have nothing to lose but your quatrains, as Marx didn’t say.

Most of all though, I’m delighted to be published in India, which is home to the world’s second largest number of speakers of English.  It makes a welcome change from Oz or the USA.  My poems are becoming much more well-travelled than I am!  (I’m usually beyond rapt when I do a reading in Melbourne or Sydney.)

The book can be ordered through Amazon India, from late April, according to that site, or from Bloomsbury, also in April.  No doubt it will be available elsewhere as well.

UPDATE: I just I just found out that the Jaipur Literature Festival is coming to Melbourne!  Exciting stuff.

Endgame: The anthology

November 12, 2013

We are finalising The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry. Here is a recent photograph of me as I enjoy the process of fine-tuning things:

Editing- A beginner's guide

I am both the one in the hole and the one with the weapon.

My only consolation is that Tim Jones, co-editor, probably looks worse…

It will be a wonderful day when I hold the book in my hands, and all this egregious checking is out of the way. Then I’ll no doubt find a typo, and hit myself over the head with that.

Australian poets! If you have been sitting on your elegant bottoms thinking ‘I may submit this excellent poem to an anthology of speculative poetry written by Australians some day,’ well that day is today.

Submissions for The Stars Like Sand close on June 4th, so read the full submission guidelines:

And submit yourself to my tender mercies, and those of my co-editor, Tim Jones.


The poetry semi is about to leave…

We have already received a large number of submissions from Australia and from Australians living in other places. Add yourself to this roll of honour today! And next year you may be reading your work in an Interactive Publications tome.

Science and Poetry

September 1, 2010

Three poetry books were recently launched containing poems on scientific themes.  They are called Law and Impulse (maths and chemistry) Earthly Matters (biology and geology) and Holding Patterns (physics and engineering).  The project was called Science Made Marvellous, and organised by the Poets Union Inc as part of National Science Week.  All three books were edited by Brook Emery and Victoria Haritos, and the whole project was organised by Carol Jenkins.

I have a poem about Galileo in Holding Patterns and two about the Darwins (Emma and Charles) in Earthly Matters.  As an innumerate, I found the fact that I have a poem in the physics and engineering book more than funny.

For a limited time the books can be also downloaded as free PDFs from the Poets Union website at  .  (Sorry, you’ll have to copy and paste.)

Here’s my Galileo poem to whet (or blunt)  your appetite.

Galileo’s dance

Liquid turned hard, glass turned to heaven

and you saw that we must be mutable;

changed the rock sure eye of earth

into a speck, one amongst the masses,

all moving. They locked you down,

house-bound, a threat to galactic security;

to a solidity that had already mutated,

as they might have melted you on fire,

a terrorist of unrepentant reason.

So silly to say you were a still centre

from which ideas flowed. No, no,

you went far further; questioning the

questioner’s position, pulling security

blankets away from under fatty,

fixated minds of certainty.


describing detail,

you precisely put an end

to the lie that we are the answer to all.

Others would follow in the ark of wonder;

Charles waltzing hand in hand with Albert;

broad ramp providing access to genius

on wheels. Moving, always moving,

accelerating now in race-track science,

or rockets sifting star-flour for other, further Earths.

But you, with your glass, your eyes,

your paints, you showed the way.

Your gravity can still be detected,

for four hundred years is barely a blink,

a twitch in this dance without choreography.

Swinging on, we too shift, stare, move and parry

and recall long leaps first performed in Tuscany.

P.S. Cottier