Tuesday poem: Sandpit

May 4, 2023

So I wanted toy cars and trains, but was never given them. No matter, the boy over the road had plenty, and we’d construct paradises of zoom in his sandpit, trucks and cars jostling, even train carriages illicitly removed from inside model tracks. I remember once, sick with German measles, spotty as a Dalmatian, that a book about trains was lent to me, and I read the pictures, fever-driven, transplanted them to the sandpit by pure will, where my friend continued to build roads and water-marked tracks, temporary maps to a place where time stood still, and red vehicles bloomed.

PS Cottier

perched on a log
damp bark transfers water —
my pink frog bum

P.S. Cottier

I do not understand this image...

I do not fully understand this image…

Now that damp croak of a poem was written at a great event which was held in O’Connor, just up the road from where your poetic blogger lives. (That’s me, if you were wondering.) A group of people met, heard about the wetlands and haiku, and wrote a brimming bucket of the tadpole poems.

The event was organised by Sarah St Vincent Welch (writer) and Edwina Robinson (Urban Waterways Coordinator). There are lovely photos and more poems at the following link, including some more serious ones. But I am particularly chuffed by the photo that follows on from the poem, in which I am indeed perched on a log.


Canberra is a very lucky city, with features such as the urban waterways in the inner city. (If you are imagining a city such as Paris, or Sydney, please don’t. Canberra is not that type of place at all.) The waterways return some of the creek that flowed through this area to a more natural state after it was concreted at some stage. Philosophically, it is an interesting question whether these recreated ponds are ‘natural’, but I am pleased that they exist.

Similarly, is haiku in English actually haiku? Is a haiku that contains a rhyme a proper haiku? Should we worry about such notions of form and purity?

Or should we just play?

Press this feather, fly to New Zealand, and read even more poetry:

Tuesday Poem<

Bat and ball and pen

May 31, 2011

There’s currently a great poetry competition on called the Cricket Poetry Award . For members of full member registered ICC countries only, of course, and if you don’t know what that means, you’re probably not going to be that interested in cricket.  There’s a list of the countries on the site.  For my American friends, cricket is a kind of baseball with rules.  Lots of them.

I was short-listed for the prize a couple of years back with my poem ‘DIY’, about the way we act as famous sports-people when we play cricket, (or basket-ball, or football; Lionel Messi is a fallen angel, isn’t he?  One who looks like an accountant after the Christmas party).  The entry fee is $20, which may be a little steep for some cricket fanatics in developing countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka.  But the first (and only monetary) prize is $2000.  That’s Australian dollars, which are currently worth more than the greenback.  And short-listed poems are usually published in some form, although this is not in the rules (that word again).

The poetry can be about social cricket, and there is some information at the site about types of poetry.  I enjoyed the opportunity to write about a sport that dominates Australia’s summers, particularly when we are playing England (who seem to have a team made up mostly of South Africans).

Here’s my poem from 2009.


In the backyard I was always David Gower.

I opted for an easy nonchalance,

the sweep you could weep for, the air cut

with a wooden knife of sudden elegance,

(when it could be bothered to dance the dance).

Truth is, I couldn’t bat at all, but that

is merely a fact. In the suburb of dreams,

I was graceful and quick and David Gower.

Why would anyone opt to be Dennis Lillee?

Grunt-powered, facial hair fallen to chest

where it grew into rain-forest, sweat-sprinkled.

There was nothing of the lily about him;

nothing quiet or lovely or sweet-scented

(although he always bowled as if he meant it).

Yet everyone else chose this dubious flower,

right-handed terror to my imaginary Gower.

P.S. Cottier