December 6, 2016
Young dog cups warmth
into her belly —
lots more where that came from
Old dog limps towards the fire
dreams, remembering bones.
We know of the bones to be.
This poem first appeared at the Project 365 + 1 blog for which I wrote a poem a day in June. And yes, I have an old dog and a very vigorous middle aged dog. People always whinge about how quickly their children grow up, but a fourteen year old dog is not an adolescent!
Now I’m off to attempt to write something, and to paint my nails a vivid sparkly green. Christmas demands it.
July 25, 2016
Let them run —
but run as they would
chasing the wind or their mate
not a screeching curl-tailed baton
flung round the track
in a circular curse.
And let them live —
just as long as greyhounds live
not dispatched for slowness
and spaded into the bush
in a quotidian slaughter
nose to tail, tail to nose.
So weird to find myself agreeing with a Liberal government…But the Baird Government is right in banning greyhound racing. (As is the Labor — with a sprinkling of Green — ACT government.) No decision is ever totally pure, but this ‘sport’ is undeniably cruel, and the sooner it is abolished, the better.
To all those whinging about the attack on the working man (and it is usually categorised in that gender specific way) that the ban represents; note that there is something incredibly insulting in this thinking. Working class does not mean cruel and unthinking, and unable to act ethically. Most people with pet dogs would shudder to think of them being treated in the way this industry has treated greyhounds (and other animals used as live bait) for years.
My PhD on images of animals in the works of Charles Dickens touched on the history of the RSPCA, and around the time it was created, there were people mounting exactly the same arguments against bans on cock-fighting and the like, categorising such activities as important recreations for the working man. Implying that the ‘working man’ is necessarily a brutal moron.
The NSW Labor Party, in defending the greyhound racing industry, is showing that it is pathetically out of touch with anything progressive.
The ban, which comes into effect 1 July next year, does open up thinking about how we treat other animals, and that has to be a positive development. Go, you good thing!
(I know there probably should be an apostrophe in the title, but it looked so bad I removed it. Fussy.)
UPDATE: October 2016
The Baird NSW Government has changed its mind and decided not to ban this cruel and outdated ‘sport’. Weak and very sad.
February 15, 2016
To look up from cracks
to see two joined
fifty years by love,
cemented into couple,
completed by time;
To feel sudden sun’s lick
render you gerbera,
face stroked by light petal
eight minutes old
caressed by time;
To see dog raise hairy flag
of flesh and wag
a fan in smell-poem air,
simple and clear,
careless of time;
I wrote this ages ago and can’t remember if it’s been published. Not on My List, so probably not! (My List is all the publications and awards I’ve had, and is a kind of memoir. But listier and with rather less angst.)
A simple poem with a bit of repetition for those who like that sort of thing. The dog in the photo likes the same line of poetry being thrown out again and again. We’d call it a stick.
Click this link to see which poets are posting on Tuesdays.
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.
November 30, 2015
they cut her skin
to the latest pattern
she wears it well
I’ve been thinking a lot about vanity, and about Frankenstein lately, so that wee poem was inevitable, particularly in the light of Donald Trump’s hair. If I had the money, I’d be ordering a Donald Trump piñata from Mexico or the US right now.
Speaking of the US in a much more positive way, I just received my contributor copy of A Quiet Shelter There: An Anthology to Benefit Homeless Animals. My poem ‘Remembering Laika’ is in there, and I am delighted to see a poem by fellow Australian Jenny Blackford too, amongst the stories and other poems.
The book is edited by Gerri Lean, and published by Hadley Rille Books. Truly an ideal Christmas present for animal lovers. It can be ordered here. A percentage of proceeds will go to animal shelters in Virginia and elsewhere. An excellent excuse to publish a photo of my Staffie cross (who was a rescue dog) with a copy, looking away from the cat in the window, no doubt. (It is $16 for the hard copy in US dollars; not sure how that converts. No doubt your credit card will tell you!) I haven’t read all the book yet; hoping to do so at the beach.