Monday, December 7, 2009

Backyard Cricket

A glorious hook shot
Over his left shoulder,
A nod to his batting partner
They take off like sprinters from starting blocks
Runs on the scoreboard
Knowing nobody is fielding
On Risnich's front lawn.

I stand at the crease
Watching the shiny new cricket ball
Leave my hand
Bounce once
And the hit.
The arc of the ball's flight
As it takes to the air
Over the letter box, front garden, lawn.
I could see before it happened
The disaster
Of broken glass. 

Thursday, November 5, 2009


there’s a girl in the moon
she lives there, she likes it
it’s quiet and she can see
for miles and miles
all the way to the stars and back

and the Earth looks like a ball
that she’d like to play with
if only she could reach
but she can’t so she contents herself
with wielding power over tides
and menstrual cycles

the girl in the moon
isn’t lonely or sad
and she likes her own company
and she wants you to leave her be
she likes it if you gaze
at her pretty complexion
but she doesn’t care if you don’t

and the Earth looks like
it could just fall out of space
and she’d not be bothered
by telescopes or lunar modules
by pimple-faced boys staring up
up, up, up at her in a cloak of black

she isn’t embarrassed
when they tell her their secrets
or whisper an Earth girl’s name
with such longing that would
break any promise

there’s a girl in the moon
she lives there, she likes it

Monday, November 2, 2009

In the hospital

In the hospital you said,
“We used to have fun,
you and I,
when you were little.”
you held my hand tightly
and I couldn’t feel
my fingers

You said,
“You were a terror
knocking down
the houses
I’d built of cards.”

I leant forward
in the uncomfortable chair
left for uncomfortable visitors
and laughed too loudly

I talked about the kite
we made
that wouldn’t fly properly
until it’s frame broke
in a spectacular crash landing
you did a hasty repair
and finally
it flew

You held my hand and said,
“Anyway, ninety-one’s pretty good,”
and I laughed as if you were joking
kissed your cheek
and left
as if nothing was wrong

Somewhere a house
of cards
fell down

Recently my Pa wasn't very well and the conversation we had before his operation to remove a bowel obstruction frightened me so I needed to write about it. The ending is about my fear, not Pa's demise & in fact, he's doing very well.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Act 3, Scene I

At high tide the curtain falls
rocks disappear
the coast is smoothed out, ready
Beneath the water, behind the scenes
a second sky
the sea lettuce
sways and fish dart in preparation
anemones are all tentacles
reaching, groping
keeping time to the
beat beat backbeat beat backbeat
of the waves – a rehearsal of repetition

Rock pools reappear
as the tide rolls back
a blue theatrical curtain
reveals the next act
the sea lettuce lays limp
flaccid on the rocks, slick underfoot
– victim of a tragedy at the end
of the previous scene
jelly domes stand in
understudy of anemones
children squeal
amongst the weed-slippery pools
– an animated audience –
to find the coral red seastar
sucker-foot walking
amid the shells,
centre stage is now hers.

Friday, September 4, 2009


Hi Everyone,

Here is a poem I'm thinking of submitting to a new Literary Journal called Esprit de Corps.


ocean calling backward and forward
indecision; the curse of not knowing
sand sticks to wet feet
splashed in shallows and shells

indecision, accursed not-knowing
dash of vodka and tonic
splashing shallows and shells
seastars cling under cocktail umbrellas

splash of vodka and tonic
slice of lemon for garnish
seastars take cover under cocktail umbrellas
neck to knee in hysterical giggles

slice of lemon for garnish
- a fishy nightmare soon forgotten
neck to knee splashing in giggles
wash of the tide drags you away

murky nightmare soon forgotten
of ocean calling backward and forward
as the wash of the tide drifts me away
and sand clings to wet feet

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Verandah launch

I am now the proud owner of my very own copy of Verandah 24 containing my story, "morning stranger", which won the editors' choice award! Reading part of my story to the assembled crowd at the launch was quite nerve-racking but gee, it was wonderful when it was over. I'd had all day at various other Melbourne Writers' Festival events in which to work up some fabulous nervousness! The launch of Verandah was a MWF free event. Thank you to everyone who came to lend their support - I sure needed it! :)

Here is a picture of me being terrified:

If you'd like a copy of Verandah 24, you can order them through the website at


Monday, July 20, 2009

Short Story accepted by Verandah


I received an exciting email last week telling me that Verandah 24 has accepted a short story of mine for publication! I'm very thrilled and promise to report back about the launch. I can't wait :)

Here is another poem for you.
Deb :)

Thirty-something limbo

When I’m old
I’ll go walking
like I did
as a child,
if I can still get up
if my knees don’t creak
if my back doesn’t ache.

When I’m old
I’ll have the time
to read the books
I should have read
in my youth
and I’ll regret
the lost opportunity
at wisdom.

When I’m old
I’ll get rid of knickknacks
and surround myself
with photographs.
I’ll never watch television,
I’ll see arthouse films.
I’ll remember to breathe
and appreciate
and laugh.
I’ll have long philosophical discussions
with dear old friends,
over tea on the porch.
I’ll wake up early
just to hear birds sing.

And I’ll lament my missing youth
and wish
I was too busy again
for walks and books,
talks and friends.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Hi everyone,

Hope you're all well. Here's a poem I've been working on for a while. I keep putting it away, bringing it back out, changing things & putting it away again. One day it might be 'finished' whatever that means...



Who is she
depressing and ordinary?
She’s not me,
I’m unique and contrary
I never say die.
Not like her,
defeat in her eyes.
Not me,
I’m still fighting
raging at injustice.
teeth bared,
a snarl, not demure smiles.
No batting eyelids,
no sideways glance,
coy looks, romance,
heart aflutter.
Leave me
to my guttural cries.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A Poetic Achievement

I recently entered a poem that has featured here in a competition run by DeScribe a Deakin University Writers' Group. The competition was organised in conjunction with Verandah, Deakin's literary journal, and was judged by the Verandah editors and "Little Pig" came in Runner Up.

I have never won anything with my poetry before so this is a very exciting moment for me!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Dark places and shadows

Here's a poem from a while ago. It's one of those ones that when I read it now it makes me think, "Gee, who wrote that? Couldn't be me, makes my skin crawl a bit." I'm not really sure where it came from, one of those dark places we all have I suppose...

On a pleasant note, I have my first 'follower'! (Sounds rather cult-ish doesn't it?) How exciting. Hello, Mara, thanks for joining.   :)

corner shadows

cowering in the corner
of our winter’s discontent
lime legs spider-crawl
creating elongated silhouettes
flies stick in honey and eyes
open hunger creeping in the shadows
elusive sleep shivers
a death rattle, maybe
later buried in a pine box
scratching at the corners
tips numb, rubbed raw in a frenzied effort
a dash for freedom
dashed hopes and resignation
in the corner

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Nikaura Nakamal & Kava

The low thunk – thunk – thunk is reassuring. It means the kava I have been invited to share at the nakamal tonight is being pounded rather than prepared in the more stomach-churning traditional method.
The nakamal in the village of Nikaura, Epi Island, Vanuatu, is a nakamal in the original sense. Unlike the “nakamals” in Port Vila, the country’s capital, which are no more than kava bars, Nikaura’s acts as a public hall, an overflow church, the village court and an education centre. It is also somewhere for the men to meet, when the sun dips behind the volcanic hills that flank the village, and drink kava.
The men sit around the wide opening to the building, or in the open window frames either side of the central doorway. The walls are constructed of rough, upright tree
 fern logs built around a frame that will stand the test of time, space, any dimension you want to throw at it. And I wonder where the crane came from to lift the roof beams into place.
“No, mifala liftem evriwan*,” replies my guide, Joshua, “We sing them, we sing the wood to make it light.” [* No, we lifted all of it.]
The women weave the thatch for the expansive roof but otherwise are not involved in nakamal-building. There are some clear distinctions between men’s and women’s business in Vanuatu, the strictness of which depends on where you are. In Nikaura, women do not generally drink kava. Being a white woman I am not only exempt; I am also a special guest and therefore expected to participate when invited.
The thunk – thunk – thunk continues in the dusk, as the mosquitoes begin biting and the changing tide turns up the volume of the waves. The squeals of children playing in the shallows and running barefoot on the coral beach carries up into the cooler darkness of the nakamal. The men talk quietly; in Bislama to me, in local language to each other. They have spread out a pandanus mat for me to sit on and I have respectfully chosen to wear a garishly coloured island dress.

I am thankful for the sound of pounding kava because the traditional method is to have young boys chew and spit out the root of the plant used to make the narcotic drink before it is soaked in water and strained through a cloth. It is the muddy-looking solution that is drunk as kava. It tastes similar to how it looks, although the visual image cannot prepare you for the bitterness, or how it might catch in the back of your throat, or how your gag reflex may respond to such a foreign encounter. All of these reactions are heightened if you know it has been in someone else’s mouth already.
Of course, you take the good with the bad. Kava is a relaxant and you may find it gives you the opportunity to recline on a pandanus mat, contemplate some amazingly large nakamal roof beams and wonder,
“Just where did they get the crane?”

Friday, March 20, 2009

Little pig, little pig...

Here's another of the poems I was working on earlier on the year. I presented it at the reading I was part of and I've since sent it off to a journal... I'm still waiting to hear. I thought I would share it here in the meantime.


Little Pig, Little Pig...

There was a fourth little pig
a ‘black sheep’ the others don’t like to talk about
didn’t buy a bundle of twigs
or even straw
certainly wasn’t into conventional bricks and mortar.

Instead he wove around himself
walls of words
in the fashion of a wordy igloo.
Transparent passages formed windows,
dark thoughts became heavy drapes to cover them
and keep out peering Curiosity.

And far from being blown away by the ravenous Wolf
the little pig lived safely cocooned
in stories,
keeping the world at bay.
All potential intruders began reading
and before they knew it they were searching
to find out how it ends.

Looping calligraphy papered the walls
of his imagination-warm living room
and the fourth little pig reclined
behind bewitching literature,
writing poems in the air
to keep the Wolf out.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Fires - Saturday 7th Feb, 09

I don't want to write very much about the fires, there are already so many stories out there much more important than mine. My role was a very small one; as a member of the Mt Camel Brigade of the CFA, I joined a stike team to patrol the town of Wandong on Sunday night. It was already dark when we arrived and it was difficult to understand how much damage had been done. I wrote the following poem as we left the town via the Hume Hwy just before dawn.

Wandong early Monday 9/2/09

The predawn light
makes the white gum trunks
stand starkly from the dark
silhouette of leaves
and ground

Amongst them there are
with only a slight
shift in their shape
no lights in the windows

The predawn tells
a kinder story than
the one we are going
to hear
because when dawn
the blackness remains
and the shapes don't
shift back

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Not the usual NYE

My New Year’s Resolution: There are peaceful, harmonious people in the world and I am going to try to be one of them.
This New Year’s Eve found me with a group that expanded and contracted like a breath. We were camped on the banks of the Yarra River at Longridge – at its smallest, the group was eleven, at its largest, twenty-five. People came and went in dusty bare feet, spending the time that they could, sometimes going to work from the camp and returning in the evening. And there was an endless trickle of new arrivals embraced and held while the children ran off together despite age differences. For the most part, these people were new to me. Two of them were old friends, they had introduced me, invited me here to join the group, they said I would fit in, that I would love it; but there had been subtle warnings about the ‘alternative’ nature of some of the people I was likely to encounter.
I have trouble with the term ‘alternative’. When applied to music in a music store rack, it suggests a level of uncertainty about where the particular artist should go, or else it seems to be a bit of a cop out. Either way I don’t like the implied lack of effort – music shouldn’t be so passionlessly pigeonholed. When applied to people or communities, it’s a bit strident, as if the need to label the community ‘alternative’ takes something away from the community in question.
“What will they expect of me?” The question harassed me as I packed my new nylon tent and wondered if perhaps it wasn’t suitable, maybe they’d all be in biodegradable tipis, or building bark humpies, or in simple swags. The eskies brimming with crushed ice and the perishable food went into the boot next. Would the others have eskies? Maybe they’d make Coolgardie safes or nestle the vegies into a cool spot in the river. Even the car boot that I was packing came into question – rather conventional, wasn’t it, a sedan? They probably all drove comby vans or mini mokes with the tops down no matter what the weather was like.
When I nestled my car between a comby van and another sedately white sedan in the carpark of the Longridge Campground, and looked out into the camp to see a mixture of swags, old canvas continental tents, tarpaulins strung between trees and new nylon domes the nervousness that I had wound like a tight coil in my neck without even knowing it released like a spring.
I was introduced and welcomed as if I had always been there.
This New Year’s Eve, instead of drinking too much chardonnay, I wowed the gathered crowd with my limited skills in fire twirling because I thought they would appreciate them, despite the stumbles and faults. This New Year’s Eve, instead of everyone ‘bringing their own’, they all brought something, put it together and cooked and ate communally; modifying old favourite recipes to cope with the dietary requirements and tastes of the group without a murmur. This New Year’s Eve, instead of music at an obnoxious volume and illegal fire-crackers, there was spontaneous singing, chants and humming and sparklers for the young and young at heart.
This New Year’s Eve, instead of making rash resolutions whilst under the influence of the afore-mentioned chardonnay, or regretful lamentations the next morning about “never drinking again”; this year it was a process. While sitting around the campfire, drinks in hand, somebody suggested the group might like to do something about making New Year’s resolutions; did everybody want to talk about the idea? An older woman with short red hair that stood out at irregular angles said she had been at a workshop before where they imbued their drinks with a thought or a resolution they wanted to make and drank it down so it became a part of them. The group generally liked this idea but some didn’t want to speak their idea or resolution aloud, so instead just focused on it and channelled the idea into their drink. Waiting, slightly open-mouthed for the opportunity and the courage, I held my thought in my mind for a couple of sips as I toasted the wishes and dreams of others around the fire. Then I breathed, “I want to take every opportunity to find joy and laughter in 2009.” Everyone raised their glasses and drank. “Cheers! I’ll drink to that!” And a peaceful smile has been playing at my lips ever since.