morning lament

The following poem morning lament was written after one morning waking up to more depressing news on the radio news. This is the first poem in the Social Justice section called Between the Wings of the Crow of my poetry book A Call to Listen. There are seven poems for you to enjoy in this section.

It is like the leaders keep us overwhelmed by bad news so we become apathetic and complacent. It is when this happens that power is wielded . Like the saying when good people remain silent bad things happen. Many readers will relate to this morning lament.


morning lament

the morning begins with the crow
its articulated screech
takes me back to my fourth grade teacher
and world of long division

the digital radio lights up
the dark of night is past
secret fears
scuttling crabs of the heart
dart into hiding

morning news like canned laughter
mocks me
as leaders in a world of illusion
seize loop holes
to button me down with their spin

between the wings of the crow
is stored anguish
and the mourning women’s lament
under dark skies lit by destructive fire

dawn becomes glare
stares me down

and the crow mocks
as it flies away
beyond consciousness

war on terror

war on terror

its coming
through a hole in the air

we breathe its fiery breath
hear its dark-beating heart
coming at you and you
stalks every hourly news

terror is real
ask one blinded
by the black spot of fear
a culture of fear

but it’s not there

you can’t bomb the intangible
drones can’t destroy terror
yet can a war on terror be an act of terror

all we have is a voice
to say resist
violence does not work

if the shadow we chase
is caught
it will be our own

guantanamo bay




guantanamo bay

This is a new section of the poetry book A Call to Listen. The section is called The Shadows We Chase. It consists of three poems which are a little dated now, as the few years have passed but still very real. I am proud I wrote them at the time and those that read them in the writers groups and in the journals where they were published at the time reflected on the shadow we all carried close with us.


guantanamo bay
this is a poem not to be read aloud
for it speaks of solitary confinement
torture and words like water boarding
it speaks of men
now aliens of this planet
with no where to call home
and no legal system
to try them

these men
have shackles
wear orange overalls
live in barbed wire cages

off shore

this is all we know
we don’t hear their cries
we don’t even know names

moments in our garden

The following reflections are short six line poems all under the one heading moments in our garden. I am still learning to grasp the Japanese form of poetry called Tanka. These are not tanka but in future i will work at using that form to give short reflections extra power.

winter walk

moments in our garden


* * * *


* * * *

with bright red flowers
like pinned on brooches
decorating a drag-queen’s gown
the camellia
brightens the low winter sky


* * * *



* * * *

magnolia branches
stark in a moody sky
their bristly twigs
dressed barely
in tight furry buds
waiting to capitulate


* * * *

star magnolia


* * * *

one capricious bud
from its furry coat
too curious to await
the season
for its unfolding


* * * *

the blue gum


* * * *

the sagacious eucalypt
sheds sienna-singed
smile-shaped leaves
yet still shares
its dappled shade


* * * *

a return


* * * *

ah what joy
chortle of the magpies
and their foray into the garden
means they have returned to nest
and I am still here
to welcome their offspring

the smell of parsley

When Emily, transported to heaven in Thornton Wilder’s play Our Town is asked what she misses most on earth she says, “The smell of parsley” And in Under Milkwood Dylan Thomas has one of his dead ship-wrecked sailors call out from the underworld
“What is the smell of parsley/”

Parsley apparently was growing wildly in the Mediterren Basin before man. It is a herb so common, like other ordinary things such as youth, such as spring,
we miss them only when they’re gone.

The message for me is enjoy life for it is short. Take time to smell the roses, to smell the parsley , remember to be as much as you can in the present moment so when your time is up you have no regrets. You have the beauty and love with you always.


the smell of parsley

tend the garden
after the rains
knee deep
in wet grass
up to your elbows in soil
and worms
and snails
and ruff of compost

marvel at the ramble
of a pumpkin vine
a stray seed gone free

linger in the fragrance
of chives and basil
coriander rocket and mint

and the smell of parsley

what is the smell of parsley?

savour their bouquet
be jubilant
with the flirt of white moths
and the canticle on the branch above
dwell on your knees
as if in prayer
tending the garden

A Solitary Tomato Plant

“There was a pact between us . . .
not just to survive
we will thrive”

At the time of writing this poem I was struggling with a few life issues and being out in the sun , in the garden with the herbs and the birds I realised how wonderful it was to be alive and to be strong and I had a new feeling to live life to the fullest.

tomato-plant-17042009aa (1)

a solitary tomato plant

feast your eyes on the green   a healing colour
said hildegard of bingen

let its thousand shades and dappled ways
imbue your eyes
give resilience

i carry her words into my garden
plant out chilli chives and coriander
zucchini lettuce of different kin and basil

and a solitary weedy tomato plant from the throw-out table
there’s a pact between us
not just to survive
we will thrive

i prepare the soil with extra blood-and-bone
gently plant it out settle it in
with stakes for it to climb
circle with sawdust to ward off those
that love to munch

under the sprinkler
its limp leaves uncurl
sit up so vibrantly
i hear it grow

in the garden I come alive
the soil
and its rich textured compost
feel good

I marvel
my scraps now this wonder
the worms
have worked their magic

a kookaburra sits above
a magpie stalks
turned soil their turn on

smell of sun-warmed grass
lightly so lightly wafts
i stand stretch watch a white butterfly hover

in shorts and sleeveless top
i enjoy the sun
resilient in my gardening boots and gloves
i manoeuvre the wheel-barrow
and we patiently wait to bloom

saving the jacaranda

It was on an autumn walk I learnt the old Jacaranda tree that I loved was under threat. It was in the way of new pipes. The pipes about 2 metres in diameter were being dug in and the gorgeous old Jacaranda was in the pathway. The next day there was an arborist directing the men down amongst the roots gently digging out the soil. The pipe was placed in underneath the roots. Then in November, 6 months on there it was, in full glory . . thanks to those who had worked to save it.


saving the jacaranda

the line for the new concrete
drainage pipe
runs under the massive old jacaranda

meticulous to protect its roots
day after day the council men
ratty and mole in fluorescent yellow
dig a man-made warren
wide and deep

exposed roots
stretch and coil like dark bearded monsters
from a tenebrous underworld
smelling earthy airless damp

then overseen by an arborist
a crane lowers the pipe into place
and this private world is reclaimed

a year on
standing before its gnarled trunk
on a lilac path
i am corralled in its aura
of blossom-laden branches
and i rejoice with the breeze
in whispered mantras