Bearing witness to the fires Summer 2020



bearing witness

reverence is called for  . . .

a mournful dignity  on this beach today

it is far from the war zone

 but each wave carries the remains

flanked with blackened ash

it lays to rest in curves on the sand

not stark stiff birds as sometimes washed up 

blown in by severity of storms 

here is death consumed 

held up evidence 

as flotsam                                                           

and left like wreaths 

curved around a cenotaph

wave after wave 

sometimes  when washed out 

there is respite

for one does not know what to do 

but it comes back on the tide with vengence 

there is no escape  to being the witness                                

till one falls down on the sand to weep

and finds they’re not alone 

as the lament of the waves

comfort with whispered threnodies 

and hazed in smoke 

the weeping eye of the sun waits




Small pockets of new life come up to meet us everywhere.

 It does not help the many who have suffered the loss of loved ones, 

those who have lost their homes and/or businesses. 

It does not help the awful trauma that is with us 

and it doesn’t alleviate the  grief we bear as a nation 

at the loss of our precious flora and fauna. 

It is a sad, sombre and very sobering summer. 



escaping with cezanne


For me it was a time of grieving after the loss of my mother and there had been a lot of business and a lot of stress and I literally escaped from all that, to spend a few hours at the New South Wales Art Gallery and I had a second escape as the poem expresses.

escaping with cezanne

under his chestnut tree
bathers in naked strokes of light
i hear saplings crack in their play
and laughter as they lounge
in lusty rhythms of flesh
against blue
an illusion of reality

here free with the bathers
I am caught
in beauty
in their unfinished form
suspended from meaning

i am seduced
to linger
for the day
under his chestnut trees