Cetaceous floater
chewing soft cud of sky krill
blubbered cumulus

P.S. Cottier
skywhale launch

The best thing to happen during Canberra’s Centenary Celebrations (there are a lot of capitals around at the moment in the nations’s capital) took to the air outside the National Gallery on Saturday.

Skywhale, a balloon sculpture designed by Patricia Piccinini, is not exactly your typical whale. She has a bit of the turtle about her, and wings made of breasts. Is she an angel? I don’t know, but her presence is peaceful and wonderful; confusing those who like straight lines and easy classifications.

The money, some people are shouting! The outrageousness of producing a whale that isn’t even a proper whale for the centenary of an inland city! The threat to mental law and order! Read some of the comments here on RiotACT, where the haiku was posted by me as a comment. I didn’t want to argue the case, as Skywhale seemed so strangely perfect in her ambiguity. A poem seemed more appropriate.

There should be more of this sort of perplexing beauty, confounding those who think that art should be confined to easily recognisable portraits and lovely landscapes punctuated with useful sheep:

Moustaches and merinos
made Australia what she is today.
No fleecy clouds of maybe here!
No blubbering queens of perhaps,
with flowing boas of breast to tease
certainty into mere sniffle;
our capital’s castaway.

P.S. Cottier

Through all the controversy, Skywhale maintains her dignity, moving gently through the sky with her wings of breasts, a kindly and whimsical presence, powered by hot air but quite serene. Skywhale is certainly the Queen of the Centenary. She will soon be touring the country, looking down on her subjects with that benign and somewhat Mona Lisa smile.

Mona Lisa with barnacles

Mona Lisa with barnacles

Long may she swish through the skies, delighting those who prefer their art to have a little whimsy, and to pose a few questions, at the same time that it delights and sets us free.

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Tuesday Poem

the wealth of poetry

January 25, 2010

I don’t mean filthy lucre, or even clean lucre for that matter…

I was just thinking about where writing poetry and short stories has taken me over the last year, since I started this blog:

In Melbourne, I received a brass horse for a poem about Adam Lindsay Gordon (a famous Oz poet of the nineteenth century, buried at Westminster Abbey in London);

I went to Sydney for the Society of Women Writers biennial book awards, in which my book The Glass Violin was highly commended, AND I WON THE LUCKY DOOR PRIZE!!!;

Recently I was back in Victoria for the inaugural tango poetry prize and saw a beautiful dance based on the winning poem by Charles D’Anastasi;

I have read my work a few times in in Canberra (including an extra short story at the launch of A Quiet Day), and once in Cooma, and a poem by me was read in Wangaratta at the jazz festival as part of the launch of the latest extempore journal;

My electronic pixies have whizzed around the world like Ariel, taking my words to places I have never been and may well never go.

I hope this year sees me spinning rhymes and prose like Rumpelstiltskin on amphetamines, without any impatient Princes of reason knocking at the door.