I wrote this one before reading how four miners have died in Queensland this year. Appalling to think that people are dying like that; something is obviously very wrong.

Makes my last line seem a little optimistic, and the illustration of nineteenth century safety lamps seem appropriate.

The canary, the pony, and the man

It sounds like a joke’s first line,
a trio who walked into a bar.
But no, these are the three who
went below, swung down from the light.

One was there to pull loads
through dark roads carved
far from the sun, far from meadow,
half horse and half mole.

The bright bird, born for the sky,
would die first if the air was turning.
Now he is mere metaphor, cliché;
canary in the coal-mine has had his day.

Only the man still mines.
Each day he dives down to work,
amongst rich minerals and dust —
every day rising like Lazarus.

PS Cottier


Tuesday poem: Unholy sonnet

September 10, 2013

Yes, I’m afraid it’s another link! My poem about mining in Australia was just posted at Eureka Street, along with some excellent poems about asylum seekers. I rewrite a John Donne sonnet as an address to Gina Rinehart. Fun fun fun! Press this link to go there:


prospecting for pentameter

prospecting for pentameter

Then if you like, fly freely to New Zealand by pressing this feather:

Tuesday Poem

This rock poems!

February 15, 2012

For all those occasionally frustrated by the financial aspects of poetry (that is, working your guts out for love alone, just hoping that your poem may reach another person, somewhere) please check out the poetic contribution from mining magnate Gina Rinehart, ‘Australia’s richest woman’, and be consoled that money and art do not walk hand in hand. She donated the rock that the poem is attached to. The rock is a little less shiny than the poem. And a little less clunky. This link is to an often wonderful (and sometimes scurrilous) site called The Worst of Perth, where you can read the poem ‘Our Future’ in all its iron awe, as it appears in situ. Go ahead and enjoy!

But it rhymes, so it must be real poetry…The fact that this was put up in a public place confirms to me that Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory are Very Different Places. But as Ms Rinehart points out in her poem:

‘Our nation needs special economic zones and wiser government before it is too late.’

Stirring stuff.

prospecting for pentameter