Sunday, June 30, 2013


This last poem has five parts instead of being five separate poems for 26 June to 30 June.

Five views of glass from inside it.

If you are offended
by falsity, do you
retire modestly behind
a veil, or fling wide
the curtains and call it
like it is? Either way
make sure you're
triple-glazed to retain

When there is no-one mooning
out the window (a classic
feminine pose, elbow on sill,
hand draped under chin,
apparently supportive), who
will bother with chivalry
and serenade? What use
riding out to the boundaries
deterring attack on fleshly
property? Better to stay home
put feet up, watch footy
and attack whatever's
inside the castle of glass
with you.

Scuds and drones
may shatter your
home, but names
will only kill you.

It's coming closer
the thing
the alien menace
triffids and shape changers
a deadly squad
burning melts your walls
a guillotine cuts through
glass first
they cannot drown you
but beware of the suffocation
your own capitulation

It was all wrong.
Not seductive.
Not married.
No children.
Untied to the man.
How the heck
did she expect us
to understand?
There's a game
there's rules
there's fair game
there's bending
the rules and breaking
them and
good reasons.
Why the heck 
didn't she just
bloody play the game?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My poem today comes out of a conversation with my brother who is visiting from Western Australia. It began with my relating how I stood for more than five minutes in a pizza shop here, in the town where I live, and no-one offered to serve me, even though I  made eye contact and "I'm here" noises.


"They answered the phone
cooked pizzas talked to each other
no-one came to the counter they
looked away it seemed."

"That happened to me
in the bicycle shop back home
I stood a couple of metres
in front of these two and
they looked right through me."

The penny drops.
"Were they young?"
And now we know the truth.
We have become invisible.
No arguing with those

I believe now I have turned
to glass. For some people
I am a mirror. For others
I am not there, just like
the window panes they watch
the world go by through.

"You can see right through me".
I thought that a compliment.
Now I know the other
may not even have heard me.

(By a Baby Boomer.)

Monday, June 24, 2013

And now I should write of glass

For my mother

And perhaps in this season
we are meant to be raised
by constant heat, some water
from the heavens, a
sprinkling. The sun burns
through glass onto tiles 
and seduces. Our tendrils
drift, our senses alert, our 
molecules rearrange, coalesce.

To step outside our glass walls
is to court discouragement.
Hormones cringe, our fingers
curl like ice-burnt leaves
feet turn like roots to earth's
core, seeking that heat, suffering
the withdrawal of it. There is
no comfort in frost, frail chilled
air, death from exposure.

We thank the glass for its
illusion of generosity, settle in
to a winter that we will not 
allow to diminish us.
Capricorn super moon

Golden face
facing a lemon sky
the sun's descent
matched with
impeccable rising.

to capture on film
the prestigious moment
fail. And I am late home.

Nothing can eclipse
however that golden
moment in the morning
when you said
we have something 
to tell you.

The lemony sky
turns umber
and I marvel
at the alternating
currents between

An old hippie 
celebrates son's
The sun relinquishes
this latitude, the moon
looms largely
and I am reminded
of the dance

the formal steps
towards union
the matching
of rhythms
and returns.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

I realise I am an erratic blog updater. In fact I am erratic about most things currently. So, that being so, here's the next batch of Glass poems

Obsidian's sheer face
holds clouds seen from aeroplane
grey and black both shine.

This rock gleams with peace
Mexican history transformed
solidified past.

From Op Shops
a collection of thick
glass jugs occupies
half the sideboard top.

The feathers that fill them now
I picked up for free.
It became a truth - every time
I walk I discover at least one feather.

Now my walking mates
bring me gifts - tiny down
from young budgies,
handfuls of cockatoo moultings.

The long brilliant red, blue
and gold from caged macaws
remind me I never really knew
my cousin as an adult.

Our breast cancers so different
our divergence greater. And yet
feathers in jugs gift me this:
feathers brought us together

in time to celebrate ancestry
before mourning. From Op Shop
the punch bowl's cups begin
collecting new feathers I discover.

Much in the news nowadays
that glass ceiling. Beware
women who break through it:
apparently the blood you spill
from the shattering is natural
and you are not allowed to
point out that something clearly
invisible can be so dangerous.

Under a magnifying glass
even I agree my lifestyle is
unsustainable. You say,
slow down, relax, chill out.
I argue there must be a way.
Maybe I need to move along
move around, move up or out.
Reviewing and re-writing I
sleep badly; doing work
incompletely, I fall out
of rhythm, lose the rhyme
and reason, forget the words
to songs, and self-doubt wins out.

Until I slow down, relax, and 
look: what's so is mine and so -
I chuck the magnifying glass out.

Frosted garden, thick ice
on the bowls of water. 
Winter sun's long shadows
make shade we'd love in summer.

On the street, sun's glare
brings dark glasses out from
hiding; in shops, heat's fanfare
removes hats, coats, scarves.

A season for rejoicing!
Over all, the gums and wattles
flowering, blessing the sun
for continuing to shine.

While cloud and frost and fog
bring moisture we'd love in summer,
rising in the morning brings
the chance to worship at sun's shrine.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Wow! 5 days, 5 poems to catch up!

Mum's Glass Case

Some items you can see
right through, their reason
for being there not
so transparent - the family
of tiny turtles, a group of
splay-legged elephants
with trunks like curved
toothpicks, one elegant
miniature swan. Why
this collection of 
fragile creatures?

There is the tiniest glass
bottle in the world, in this
world of glass and china.
The china has a haughty air
cups bonded with saucers,
strange creatures with less
self-doubt.It is the glass
that lights up the interior
of this glass-fronted, frozen
country, this paradox of
memory and meaninglessness.

Stained Glass

We stood around, he and I, and
our son, with his woman, in their
house. So much light! we exclaimed. 
The architraves are gorgeous! 
What an improvement to the laundry!

One thing remained the same:
the stained glass window in what
was once a cold kitchen,  now
golden with joy, able to let light in.

After thirty uncomfortable years 
growing old separately, this meeting 
a breakthrough: the past transformed 
in our son's renovated home.


Whatever happened to those
windshields that shattered 
hit by a pebble thrown up
by passing car's tyre?

Now, immured behind
superbly protective glass,
I drive among the herds
of small tanks and long
vehicles, in danger only
of being blinded by the water
their tyres fling backwards.


One brand of lens cleaner towelettes
has been replaced by another
much more oily.

I may as well employ an overworked
tea-towel, or even a dust-collecting

Through a glass darkly

Out there the cold
waits to eat you
piece by piece down
to the bone.
The stars are cavorting
with the moon, so they
ignore you. 
Whatever you know
to be true is given a 
second chance.
You can see it out there
distorting the existence
of "up" and "down".
You notice windows
are rarely designed to be
cleaned both sides.
You prefer to turn out
the light, turn your back,
close your eyes.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Because of Glass

Standing under shelter
waiting for a tram
I see office blocks and
apartment towers
blowing white light
from millions of windows
at ill-at-ease cloud. 
All that electric energy
dissipating, not something
of which to be proud.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Today's Glass

How merry the honeyeaters
cavorting in the shallow glass
fruit dish rain has filled
among the leucodendrons!

The word spreads and soon
there are almost a dozen
admiring the splashing styles
of bathers, congratulating,

then leaping in, one or two
at a time, showing off.
I dare not open the back door
take photos through windows.

Monday, June 10, 2013

More historical events ...!

Glass on a Brick Floor

Over forty and game
for anything, single
parent needing money, 
I hired myself
to parties

belly dancing

(oh, don't worry, I'd
had lessons and made
my debut in pink
chiffon in front of
eighty people for a
couple celebrating
twenty-five years

The gent was turning
fifty and must have
been short-sighted
clutching my arm
deftly sitting me
on his strong thighs.

I pursued the music
laughing the obvious
off lightly, dancing
so fast there was no
chance for a repeat
performance by him.

Without respite I
completed my act
and fled. Carrying
my slipper-shoes.
Dripping blood from
cut feet on grass.

(well, I hadn't been
taught the hazards
of barefoot dancing
on brick floors in
ethnic clubs out
Springvale way -
should have added
the cost of bandaids
to the bill)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The two next poems about glass ...

Closed Chapter

You cannot preach to glass
and all that drumming and
high harmony would surely
shatter such thin panes, even
on God's own home (built 
with human imperfection
of course, he'd understand.)

The balmy breezes lifted 
my fine hair, my secular
spirit, soothed the heat of
hundreds of passionate bodies
calling to God to take them
home, (and they didn't mean
back to the village and toil.)

Twenty-five years later I enter
the cathedral I remember as airy, 
joyous with shaker and drum, 
salvation, and voices uplifted 
as one. Memory's glassless spaces
have become solid brick walls. 
Hushed sanctum, but is it home?

National Gallery WaterWall

As a teenager I would stand close,
to cool heated limbs, reckless heart.

Inside, expressions of life to be
studied, understood, not to be
something I was perplexed by.

As a mother I restrained their small
hands from reaching into the water.

By then I knew about recycling
and imperfection, implications.
I knew about drowning & drought.

Now, older and wiser, I read the
blurb, ponder, re-read and wonder.

Where are the boundaries of art?
Why must one stare at moving water?

Inside, I rejoice in the opportunity
to discover what I cannot grasp,
and what there is to be perplexed by.

These are drafts from the book I take to meetings. 

Two Writing Exercises:

1. A Photo at Harvest Writers Session

They're a miracle, trees.
See that one at the front
creased as an elephant's hide
a memory for what's beneath
this fertile ground. Cities
of busy denizens among
the roots and tendrils, storing,
feeding, building, raising
the new generations.

Minerals rise inspired through
cellulite and lignin; the trunk
swells, branches sway as 
dancers do, tips seeking
sustenance in the mist, the cloud
wrapping this entire forest
in humid generosity. Above
and beyond, the calls 
of carrion-seeking birds.

2. A Postcard, Bookmark and Drawing:
The Empty Bird Cage. At Harvest
Writers Meeting, June

All my feelings have flown away.
The door blew open with the force
of the gusts they created.
I'm an empty shell.
A lone canary  sings within me of
emptiness and the joy of resting
wings that have worked so hard.

All my friends have flown away
some say to a better place.
I read the lists, the obits, and worry.
Are they really safe now, released
as smoke, or captive, deep in earth?

All my thoughts flutter and cry
round and round in the cage
ignorant of the fact the space between
bars is meant to enable thin thoughts
to escape. They are blinded by fear.

All my words have left. Even those
too overworked or dirty and once
collapsed on the floor finally
dragging themselves over the edge
whistling, carried away by fresh breezes.

Two Train Travel incidents:

1. Waiting on Bacchus Marsh Station, Two Days Before
Corellas Are Declared a Public Nuisance by the
Shire Council and One Councillor Requests No 
Shooting Or Poison

Those corellas are an hysteria.
Back! squawks one on a roof.
Back! Back! Back! Looking
straight down at me.
The shrieking and acrobatics
on the looping electrical wires
annoy some. Me, I laugh
and talk back. I want
to understand why they choose 
wire, treetop, industrial roof
or the small platform atop
halogen lights to congregate
here as dusk flaps in and commuters
fly and tumble out of the trains.
And why they peer at us,
screaming. What do they see?
Above, now, two push and shove
each other on a light to claim
space. Like schoolboys or peak-hour
travellers, they get so personal
they repeatedly tangle claws.
I would screech Back! Back!
but my train drowns me out
with its own shrieking brakes.

2. Catching the Train To A Regional Arts 
Victoria Funding Meeting In Melbourne

Fog in Ballan, he says
- cheerful about it - matching
my steps - I hear there's fog
in Melbourne too - that's me
joining in - polite about it -

A Very Nice Day he says 
I keep a record of them, these
VNDs. We only get about
a dozen every year - still
cheerful - pink cheeks - white
hair - and now I get a life story
- Retired now he says, the Missus
and I fight like cat and dog, I get out,
she's happy having coffee
in Main Street, better than
hanging around in Ballan - it's
colder there, more fog ...

And now I can't understand
the rush of words, I'm trying
to find my way into his world
but the words run together
and I nod and smile hoping
to get away
with not getting what he
so urgently needs me to know.

We reach the front carriage.
Goodbye, I say, and hope
I sound cheerful, Have a Very
Nice Day. He continues to 
the very front door, no doubt
intending to be the first
to pronounce Fog in Melbourne
to another fellow-traveller.
Meanwhile, the fog 
where I am

Friday, June 7, 2013

Glassy-eyed, I drive home
mostly on full beam
twists and turns snake-like, a poem ...

Thursday, June 6, 2013

This will be a long post. Every day I'm musing on the theme of "glass".

1 June 13

On the Meaning of the Word

I prefer mugs
even for water.
There's something
solid about water
in china, porcelain,
ceramic or even
handmade pottery.
Imagine the clay
seizing and settling
fluid molecules.

A glass can be fashioned
out of plastic, of course.
Ours are illustrated
with Cadbury Milk
and Freddo logos. 
The frog rides a go kart,
performs a fabulous ollie
on a blue skateboard
surfs a wave, and dances
like Mickey Mouse.
This demonstrates the power
of chocolate when shaped
as frogs and dressed in
yellow t-shirts. The Dairy Milk
image appears to repel
the idea of water.

On the other hand
glass can sing
its crystal lips
loving the stroke
of a wet finger.

2 June 13

When you think about
those trillions of coloured bottles
holding elixirs of desire
the promise of oblivion
the temptation to become
irresponsible and hit someone
you are glad glassblowers
have been superseded
in a world of mass production
and can breathe life into art.

But how does a bottle of red
get endowed with that elegant
presence, even when lying down
on the wine rack in the dark?

3 June 13

Wherever glittering chips have fallen
there has been a happy football fan
or two or ten, or a party of teens
not yet clear this earth belongs
to them, its brittle booby traps
their future, even as the brief tinkle
challenges the eternal stolidity of stars.

4 June 13

A photo behind glass 
gains a gleaming
affirmation of beauty.

5 June 13

Moments in the Big Smoke

While her carafe and glass of water
present a bright beech-coloured face
to the ceiling and entertain grey
planes of other less organic matter,
her computer refuses to recognise
the room's inbuilt projector.

We must move to a room whose
fourth wall is all glass, and without
the play of light on restless water.

Three orange-jacketed
leap onto the tram
I'm running to catch
not wanting to wait
in the cold
around me
something is disturbed
not quite right
on a pavement
so close to the State
Library of Victoria
its pillared presence
all dignity, duty
diligence of care
these unsettling screams
and reckless jerky moves
a gang bowling like water 
into a plughole - circling
fighting - a downward
and on the paralysed tram
the men in orange ask,
"Which windows?"
examine the language
of scratches and gashes
as if for insight
yet speak without
"It could've been worse.
Sometimes they spray paint
the floor, or write with black
texta so you can't sit
on the seats."

And I look at bright
newly-upholstered seats
thinking about
how it takes a village
to raise a child but
how big must a city be
to teach that child
the language of adulthood?

6 June 13

Journey Into Illusion

I'm never alone on a train.
Even if I sit across two seats
read a book and eat chips
that crunch and crackle loudly
in the almost-empty carriage.

I'm never alone because
there's my counterpart
clear as a coloured photocopy
in the dark window.

I study my hat
my posture
adjust the way 
I sit
from watching her.

Fellow-travellers are also etched
against tonight's sky's black canvas.
Or pewter.
But - HEY! We disappear
illuminated by a station's
attempt at reassuring daylight.

I await my encore,
the dark landscape
a backdrop to my
resurrection: and
there I am!

The reflection is like a sidecar
or replica attached to the body
of our caterpillar/Bombardier.

Beyond our two vehicles
a mat of light on horizon &
occasional orange streaks
marking closer streets.

Cars' blue and white eyes
float bodiless between 
level ranks of highway
lights, avenues of honour.

All light suspended by 
invisible thread or ink
and no wonder they say
reflection is illusion.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Just A Thought

Imagine there are no bars
Imagine the door is open
Imagine your wings
have not been clipped.

The voice in the clouds -
The song of the earth -
What do you hear?
Where do you go?

Imagine you know nothing
Imagine your past is past
Imagine the future matches
none of your predictions -

Look down now
Look up! Realise
there is nothing to
hold you here: now!

Your wings reach to cover
the entire realm of creation
Your door admits everything
You ask: What are  "bars"?