Poem: No genie, no wish

September 2, 2022

No genie, no wish

I thought it was a safe dwelling,
this huge shell, bright blue,
blooming on sand.
Not petty house for me, no
scrummaging for dangerous weeks.
My belly needs support,
is un-calcified, tending to slump.
I need other species to form
places for me to hide, to live,
and from where I scavenge,
daily, for minute bites of food.
Imagine my joy, at this mansion,
the cavity through which I pushed
an eager few centimetres of crab.
And now I find myself trapped,
unable to live in this blue world.
When I die, I send out a cry,
not in words but scent,
telling other hermits that a shell
has become vacant, and so,
how many others will meet inside
this treacherous, plastic tomb?
A million such containers
cover the beaches’ sheets of sand,
a kaleidoscope of pain.
Fake promises of security,
washing up with very wave.
I am a message, trapped inside
a blue bottle of disaster,
an artificial gift of doom.

PS Cottier

Hermit crabs are dying inside plastic and glass waste washed up on Australia’s remote islands: https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2019/12/05/what-happens-when-hermit-crabs-confuse-plastic-trash-shells-an-avalanche-death/

Tuesday poem: (haiku)

July 16, 2014

sick at the beach
lungs sandblasted
holidays towelled

Continuing the slightly whingey tone that my usually vibrant and witty blog has exhibited lately, I had a week at the beach and I was too sick to swim! I am still sick and on actual medicine! I have not been able to go to the gym for ages! You can’t keep good Aussie germs down, it seems. They are positively marsupial in their popping up when least expected.

I dragged my benighted carcass into town on Sunday, and ran into photographer and person about town Geoffrey Dunn, who asked me to open an exhibition he is having at The Front Gallery here in Canberra. Intriguingly entitled ‘Two Tens and a Tomato’, it includes work by Geoffrey and visual artist and poet Marina Talevski. They have mixed poetry, photography, sculpture and installation into works exploring the written word and visualisations of poetic elements.

I am popping down to the Gallery tonight to check it out, so that I can hopefully say something coherent tomorrow at 7pm.

Hanging out in town with a sign saying ‘Will launch for drink’ has finally paid off…

Here is a photograph of me taken by Mr Dunn. Unfortunately my magic parasol did not keep the germs at bay. Must ask for a refund. From the makers of parasols, not from the photographer.


For comparatively germ free reading, click this feather:

Tuesday Poem

Australian junk

Perfect beyond compare, the composition
glimpsed behind the sand dune, visitation
of a nation, expressed in three fork prongs:
a cricket stump, a tinnie, and a single thong.
Was there an arranger, of design intelligent,
or was it just luck, dumb evolution, that bent
time and space to make this eloquent trio?
Leprechauns fix just one shoe, but there’s no
Irishman likes cricket, it’s just not their game.
Should I search for walkers gone lame,
one side leaning? Or a patriotic drunk
who made tribute, through placing this junk,
into a precise summation of our Antipodes:
weird sport, sour booze, and feet liking breeze?

P.S. Cottier

A very light poem indeed today. Ye gads, it’s not even a proper sonnet! Yesterday was the public holiday for Australia Day (which was Sunday the 26th, for all you benighted foreigners), and the flags hopped out like feral rabbits. I find the yobbo aspects of patriotism very hard to take.

But the rhyming thing above celebrates a moment when I saw a thong (a flip-flop for all you benighted foreigners), a tinnie (an aluminium drink can that once contained beer – oh, do keep up!), and a cricket stump (surely you know what that is?) discarded at the beach.

Meanwhile, of course, morons are killing sharks in Western Australia as they occasionally bite people who are in the water. Meanwhile, our navy is reportedly pushing boats of asylum seekers back to Indonesia. Meanwhile, we still don’t recognise Indigenous Australians in the Constitution.

But at least we beat the Poms in cricket. (Men’s cricket, that is.)


Now, after this dubiously un-Australian rant, with all the affection hidden in the poem, I suggest you cleanse yourself by flying to New Zealand. Click this feather, and It Shall Be:
Tuesday Poem

Bathers from Poland

They are on their way;
my new bathers, adorned
with palm trees so neon
they glowed on Bikini
when the Americans
taught sand to speak atomic.

Bathers from Poland
to Australia;
winging their way
through choked skies,
changing the air
and thickening it
with chemical spread.

One piece retro.
Black, and a blue
never seen on any beach
where water meets grin
of yellow sand.
Modesty panel!
You will shade
a shyer smile of glee.

P.S. Cottier

This is not Canberra.

This is not Canberra.

Having returned from a very sybaritic week at the beach (not the beach above, but a ‘proper Aussie beach’) I thought I would post this poem about some bathers I really did buy from Poland. Which is like selling coals to Newcastle, in reverse. I think.

Are they beachifying themselves in New Zealand, the United States, or Paris? I know not! I will press this albatross feather to find out, and I suggest you do the same:

Tuesday Poem

Tuesday poem: Sand

March 12, 2012


Because it creeps into crevices like tiny crabs,
making a clutching claw of your buttocks,
and because these small private incursions
allow souvenir confetti to sprinkle for days,
as if the tacky beach had followed you home,
an over-friendly guest at the wedding reception
hoping to come on the honeymoon, sticking, and
because, unllke house dust and garden dirt
it seems clean, despite ten million dead things
crunching under your hot splayed feet,
fragmented into this smiling pointilist
carpet, into which you sink, wallowing;
you welcome it. You are the beached seal
on the long yellow towel spread out between
restlessness and mundanity, between sea
chopping, mouthing, swallowing, spitting,
and the inland everyday, shaping you,
trowelling you, like that avid child, eagerly
out-turning a bucket of wet,

P.S. Cottier

The photo is of the place I like best in the world, on the south coast of New South Wales. I’m not going to give the exact location, as I am profoundly selfish. The tiny village there is surrounded by National Park so it can’t be extended. Locals (some of them) don’t want sewage or town water put on, to ensure no more development. You know you’re in the first world where people are campaigning against running water.

Everyone in Canberra treks to the coast whenever they can. Yesterday (Monday) was a public holiday in the ACT for Canberra Day, so nearly everyone left Canberra for the long weekend. Next year is the 100th anniversary of Canberra, so it will be interesting to see if more people stay for the festivities.

Personally, I’ll take the sand every time, and the milder weather. Everyone was still wearing just bathers and thongs, and we’re into Autumn. Kangaroos frolic in backyards. Black cockatoos swirl around, particularly before rain. So. very. nice.

This poem is from my first poetry collection, The Glass Violin.  For more poems from a variety of climates, please click on the feather, which I suspect is not that of a black cockatoo:

Tuesday Poem