Falling Short

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I thought of the times I had fallen short.

Let the side down.

Not been up to scratch

Been urged to pull my socks up,

My finger out

To take a good hard look at myself.

But I was always a few kangaroos short

Of a top paddock

So it didn’t get to me like it could have.

And anyway you can lead a horse to water

But you can’t make it drink.

 

The Cat and the Canary

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The cat had just killed a canary.

Bad, bad cat, said the bird lover who was staying at my place for the weekend.

Easy, I said, Remember what happened at the restaurant last night when you ordered barramundi for the first time and complained it was too fishy?

Yes. So?

Well, I said, you may as well berate a barramundi for being a fish as to castigate a cat for killing a canary.

All My Poems Are Getting Married

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For too long they have lead a solitary existence,

Moping in corners of the internet, blushing wallflowers

Stuttering if someone even comes to speak to them.

 

Now all this is changing.

 

I am introducing my poems to each other,

a matchmaker, if you like, partnering one poem

with another of similar makeup, all in

A single manuscript, a mass marriage of poems,

With the publisher’s blessing.

 

Together they will lie next to each other

for the ages. All will be invited. Now all

I have to do is pair up like poems,

Nervous Nellies unused to company

 

* apologies & thanks to Skyhooks

 

Unstable Cliffs

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Unstable Cliffs, the sign read. Extreme Danger. Stay Clear.

And I thought of the unstable Cliffs I had known:

The deputy that barked at me when I called in sick,

My cousin’s boyfriend who punched holes in the wall

Whenever he was denied,

And the glue-sniffing Cliff I taught in Year 11 who fell asleep

On the tracks and was run over by a train.

They should have come with warnings too.

Mystery on a Bridge

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There was someone on the bridge

Curving high over the dark water

About half way along

Then there wasn’t.

Someone with a mop of ginger hair

an orange top and grey track pants

Standing against the railing

Looking wistfully out.

I looked away when a siren sounded

On the headland then looked back.

No splash.

No disturbance of any kind.

No bright lithe form spearing

Through the water.

No one emerging from either end.

Nothing.

Just someone standing on a bridge

in a forest

Then there wasn’t.

 

The Last Word

rose

You always want the last word.

Do you ever look at yourself in the mirror, question yourself?

You like things open and shut. In neat little packages.

Even when we can’t see you, we hear you.

I’ll give you this. You go about your work quietly, not like your loud, foot stamping cousins

But there’s so many of you. You could loosen up, give others a go.

I know in some countries you go by a different name

But a rose by any other name is still a rose

And a full stop by any other term is still a full stop.

Runt

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“Bugger”, says Scruff. “Bugger”.

He’s back to his old intemperate self.

“What’s got your goat now?” I say.

“How am I supposed to get to the top branch now?? You know how I love the top branch. Someone took the tall ladder away and replaced it with THAT RUNT!!”

His wing is pointing at the little ladder against the weeping myrtle.

“Excuse me,” I say, “but you can’t expect the gardener to consult with magpies every time he shifts a ladder.”

Scruffy has that evil look in his eye.

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“Besides”, I add, “has anyone ever pointed out those two appendages, one on each side of your body? They can get you places.”

“Sarcastic snob!” he snaps. “I use them all the time like you your legs. Aches and pains. I prefer to hop up rungs.”

“Have it your own way,” I say, but my heart goes out to him all the same. “I know what you mean,” I add. “I’ll speak to the gardener.”

I notice a little spring in his hop.

Waterlogged

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The rain has begun.

I park the car close as possible, then dodging the drops, duck into the library.

“Ahh,” says the librarian, “we’ve been wading through your requests and look what’s washed up.”

It is like Santa handing over a present.

“Ahh, ‘Waterlog’”, I say.”The perfect book to read in the bath,”

“Just don’t drop it,” he says.

I should have seen that coming but Steve is quick, very quick.

“Thanks,” I say and we have a brief chat on the merits of reading in strange places, like baths.

“Have to go”, I say. “The rain’s getting heavier.”

By the time I get to the car, the book and I are waterlogged.

Steve would have appreciated that pun.

Now I don’t have to worry about dropping it in the bath.

 

Jump

 

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It’s Milly’s birthday today.

It is?

Yes. But what do you buy a cat who has everything?

A parachute.

A parachute?

Yes. The next time she gets on the roof and can’t get down all she has to do is jump.