Monday, August 21, 2006

Seasoned Floor

Dogged into place while still green
rough sawn and sharp scent heavy
now greyed and smoothed with years of tread
nail heads countersunk but unputtied
proud still where the wardrobe hid them.
Our makeshift tongue-in-groove
from strips of ply inserted in saw cuts
squinting in places with
pinpoints of light from the floor below.
In the mild longitudinal wave of grain
under foot, a faint hint still
of hills and trees beyond the walls.

‘Young swamp gum dries flatter,’
said the miller, thick armed sawyer
from the road below the house
when he landed long blond boards
from the bed of his wheezing truck.
And they did shrink, surface truer,
than rippled post and beam
of Tasmanian oak support,
cell structure caving less
as they slowly hardened
beyond the driving of nails.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Approached by so many lips,
availability declared, arm akimbo,
hour by hour promiscuous,
receiving partakers indifferently.
And they at the touch, the wetness,
lick, sip, swallow their way to satisfaction.

Conveyer of collected rain, comfort soup,
abstemious green tea, seven dollar latte.
Stoneware stand-in for champagne crystal,
in serendipitous toast,
or disposable red clay empty of spicy chai
and tossed from Indian trains.

For months sequestered in dim cupboards,
pulled to light at a whim,
and joined to a tableside carousel
rhythm of lifting arms,
in syncopated motion and drained
as the conversational accompaniment subsides.

Mother’s rose bud porcelain shelved
edge to edge with designer cones
and supermarket cylinders
extruded by thousands from a China mould,
linage to mythical Xia,
shard of ancient Jericho,
Socrates drinking his verdict,
moist ring on a Pompeii counter,
‘remember me’ cup of
the freshly betrayed Christ.

© Steve Isham August 2006

Saturday, August 05, 2006


On a single line of DNA,
God tweaks a phrase,
a comma, perhaps two
in ten thousand years.

I wince when my poet friend
finds a ‘a sense of rush’ in what I write
‘not paying detailed/fastidious/focused attention’.

I resolve to revise glacially,
mindful even mountains of ice
slip quicker now,
leaving off centuries of their own revisions,
punctuating less, the valley stone.

There you have it.
My disclosure straddled
by two contrite metaphors.
I scrabble for an envelope,
to catch by 4 PM,
the last post of the day.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Signed Collection

three cursive links,
weighty vowels
pitted with old rust.

light orb,
ocean etched
in a dark script.

letter a,
jigsaw outline
in thick timber,
rough pine article.

a Braille of bumps
circles a porcelain cone,
and like an ellipsis, ending . . . .

nesting pots,
grey stoneware inscribed
with Thylacine glyphs,
conceal, three layers deep,
a cardboard copy
of the gold tiger once buried
high on a coastal cliff, clues
in pages we painted, spaded
from the earth years after
by a watchful sleuth.

© Steve Isham July 2006