Monday, December 22, 2008

Love your Neighbour as you Love your Elves

Chocolate boys pick Ivory Coast

plantations clean of red ripe pod those

skinny Christmas elves reach over reach

each a talent scout pick that Mr Miacca delivers

buggers and shuns, fresh recruits

taken for finger and thumb

far from their home sweet Santa circle.

Roused numb from his fever dream

mercy sleep where he hugs his mama’s

porridge bowl spoon that scrapes over scrapes

empty and in the sweaty equatorial waking

would fill his belly with those bitter beans.

Beans for the chocolatier

who presses sweet molded Christmas elves

neatly foiled in red net Santa stockings

each handed free at the local hardware

with every customer’s purchase.

Run run run as fast as you can

You can’t blame me

I’m the chocolatier, man!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Saturday House

Huldah Isham, wife of Joshua, Bolton Connecticut, 1803
Late in the May of eighteen three
by furrowed field and budding tree
the family rafters fill with flame...
while Huldah heedless under the hill
rinses the clothes at the spring until
back toward home with load on hip
which out of her hand abruptly slips...
when a smouldering slump is all she sees
aa pile of ash in a field of trees…

But neighbours turn out in a neighbourly way
and rebuild her house ... by Saturday.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Four Saints called Ives meet the New Immigrant


Ia of Cornwall (c. 500AD)

St Ives holding dry her skirts
floats on a leaf light boat
across the Irish Sea
to tell Cornwall of her dear Christ
and cruelly martyred be.

As I was going to St Ives
I met a man with seven wives.
Seven wives with seven sacks.
Fourteen hooded eyes look back.


Ivo of Huntingdonshire (pre 1000AD)

St Ives by the Silk Road comes
travel stained from far Persia.
Leaves the lux of court and king
and under monk stone chants and sings.

As I was going to St Ives
I met a man with seven wives.
Each wife had seven cats.
Each cat had seven kits
All pedigreed, fair price to fetch.


Ivo of Chartres (c. 1040-1115)

King Philip locks his wife away
“Too fat.” sighs he.
Now he can bed the fair Bertrade.
St Ives rebukes the lawless king
so to the dungeon now they bring
poor Ives but there he stoutly rants
against the other lord’s penchants
for simony and further
favors in finance.

As I was going to St Ives
I met a man with seven wives
and seven scimitars besides
each for a general who rides
to take this edict everyplace:
prostrate, the sacred city face.


Ivo of Kermartin (1253-1303)

St Ives has hand upon a book
to show he’s patron of the men
who advocate the law.
But see his purse in other hand
extended to the street strewn boys
and girls who’ve lost their
mums and dads.

As I was going to St Ives
I met a man with seven wives.
The seventh wife was rather small
and in her hand she holds a doll.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Small black birds
by some faint sign flit from high wires
quick sweep the sun and oh
for less than the flick of an eye
feather-filter light on rampant wings.

Four and twenty black birds
by lines of light suspended:
long photon chorus lines dancing
back and back to first unfiltered moments
luminous with expectation.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I’ve not experienced pain.
Not Victor Frankl’s Auschwitz.
Not teeth chiselled to the gum
like candidate John McCain.
Not repetitious electrode interrogation.
Not even, like my Marion with our first born
laboured into sight one thundery Thursday.

Gall stones grabbed my attention once
but they were soon handed to me
in a zip-lock bag.
Some people qualify to speak pain,
to understand why Lance Armstrong
wouldn’t have wanted to miss his cancer.

Does pain innocence make free
from yin-yang vortex destiny?
Can I savour the sweet verb of existence
without the counterpoint? Could I
like dancing Christ choose pain by love
to outpace the dark relentless trudge?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Always Sometimes Once Never

Always is read
in the eyes
in plate and mug
of the heart.

Sometimes waits
coin on the counter
says he paid already
prayed already
sometimes shifts in his seat
red in the eye.

Once takes breath
holds breath hopeful
once rolls a large stone.

Never twists knobs, watches
toys with himself
plays with the moment
never looks away.

Friday, May 16, 2008


He slows;
she passes.
He grins;
she blushes.

Monday, May 05, 2008


Vestal virgin I the door
stand among others
in the home improvement store.
I'm to have an angel’s role
with spread of wing to block intrusive wind
the uninvited eyes of men.

I witness careless words, conspiracies, the petty peeves
relieved at length by wink, by laughter, palms of peace.

I blush to see the wild and wet of passion’s tangled limbs
approach of little feet, the passion dimmed.

My dismay at brooding hunch
the huddled hands that pen a parting note.

At times I’ve only stillness days on end
when floating motes assemble on my edge.

I’ve seen a mum give voice to her exhausted joy
there glowing moist a little girl ... and boy.

Yet I’m no midwife, chamber maid or priest.
Unhinge me now and trestle spread a feast.

Friday, April 04, 2008

riddle poem 1

As ideas flow
the shorter I grow:
What I put
is what you know.

One day, I fear
I’ll disappear
a tiny stump
a carbon lump.

I’m rescued when I finally see
these words you write are always me
transformed into another shape
I am the lines your mind can make.

answer: a pencil

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter Morning Alignment

Low ahead a beacon round
moon above the road
and dangled counterpoint behind
a bright planet keystones a pale arch,
trundles arriving light.
Centre piece above, the fading star-point
Southern Cross flanks two pointers
which bright-note the risen Christ.

I step back toward house and steaming mug
and my heart already plots
unworthy schemes of self interest.
So rich a fool.
A kookaburra scatters
sudden laughter from a near limb.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Terminal Pharmacy

‘The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.’ Revelation 22:2

When we lived at the end of the bus line,
the ‘Terminal Pharmacy’ sign
was visible just over the road
among other shabby little shops,
where one window I recall
had forlorn piles of stiff black shoes.
Foot wear for undertakers.

On a departing bus
I opened the book that begins
“In the beginning...”
and then, week by week, to the
“Surely I am coming soon.” last page,
the story’s terminus
where a bright pharmacy
shines welcome day and night
and my hand closes on a little chit
written in physician’s script
for glad embrace
when the bus pulls in at last.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Autumn Appetite

So many blackberries
so few breakfasts
so soon the cold.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Samson's Riddle

The English lion’s tawny sandstone carcass
has high vaulted ribs to arch a large space:
Tonight I’ll enter the cathedral
and ensconce I suppose on a long oak pew.

I’ll sample a few pearls of the honey
I’ve heard drip from a new comb.
‘Out of the eater something to eat.’
From the cavern, something sweet?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Ron Walks My a.m. Circuit

Ron is in Michigan mending
they've taken out all the tubes
so this morning I carried him out the gate
and on to the gravel past the paddock
with the eohippus-small ponies
grazing and steep dog leg bend at the dead trees.

Today I smile to discover a short cut
on the too trodden path
down to the dry creek where dark pools stop
between the wide grey stone ribs,
cut another corner among the blackberry straggle
and stop to pee just out of sight of the road
the creek lovelier here beneath the cool dark trees.

We climb the steepest stretch
bitumin smooth between well tended acres
where two bluey dogs grey in the muzzle
bark dutifully at the fence, my breath heaviest
when the road at last levels a little
at the cul-de-sac and still further we scramble
up the public right-of-way zigzag bush track cross-stitched
by tree roots and knobs of dolerite
one hundred metres steep to the wide meadow
expansive kite-site sunny breast of earth.

We're halflings here in a broad space
descending gently to a tall stand of old growth eucalyptus
the path winding through like an old tale
to where path and road re-meet, the Volk's stone house
still unfinished, and decades in the making.

On the verge a wallaby newly dead on Thursday
is now reduced to vertebrae, empty fur coat and a grimace
stretched back from small teeth skewed and ivory clean.

Look Ron, how bright the distant bay
above this high road as we turn for home.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year

The last day’s swelter of an exhausted year
is party-draped with dead animal odour in the still air
where the green copper cock marks reproach by faintest drift
calls west by northwest and I perplexed scrabble for the source…
perhaps it arrived with the wheels in the drive
across the calendar and coincides with December’s
competitive Strait sailing and up the tangle tree gravel drive
where oak, gleefully collected as acorn
by pairs of quick small hands
is now chewed to a struggle of stubble
limbs tortured to painful skew breaks
by demon possums in the night.
Two brothers make guarded rapprochement
at November’s wedding, the young wives
as yet not met after the hurt
returning at year’s end in uncrossing turns
to the clay and timber of births and beginnings
where I awake in this new year’s birth bed
sense these yet unsullied days, the Christmas book
under my hand where the heart angles for prospects
and there faint in the early light I sniff
the scent of its binding, pages blank and new.