If you go looking for me sometime after dark
I’m out with my flashlight, hunting for a snark,
a perfect metaphor for an imperfect poem
so I can bag it briskly and bring it home,
a perfect metaphor, so rare and so apt
that captures the mood, the Magnificat
of the vision splendid I hope to impart,
the perfect, perfect metaphor somewhere in the dark.
When I was a kid I used to wander down the park and watch dragonflies flitter over the pond like tiny, restless angels.
Later I wanted to write poems about them the way Monet would go down to his garden at Giverny to paint water lilies.
The only difference is that water lilies stay still. They don’t dash and dart about the pond at 100 ks an hour. Even when they have sex they’re on the go, coupling like planes fuelling mid- flight.
I almost got one once when a dragonfly dawdled on the front doorknob one drowsy afternoon, after summer rains, then saw me and took off, its gossamer wings flashing rainbows.
Perhaps I should turn like Monet to waterlilies. He got 250 paintings out of them. I haven’t got one poem though I reckon I’ve made 250 trips. [ pic by loriedarlin on pinterest ]
I almost tread on this fuzzy little chap on the sidewalk, out for a stroll, soaking up the mid-winter sun.
How’s it hanging? he asks.
Oh , you know; not bad.
He looks up. You out of lockdown yet?
Almost, I say, one day to go but we’re allowed to walk. How about you?
I’m about to enter the biggest lockdown of all, he says in a tone half way between excitement and trepidation.
Wow! I say. Really?
Yes, he says, metamorphosis. You heard of it?
Why, yes. It sounds magical.
Up to 14 days, he says. No food. No visitations. Reckon you could handle it?
If I could turn into something light, winged and beautiful, like a butterfly, I’d give it a go.
You humans can’t have everything, you know.
I nod my head sagely.
True, I say, true. Well, anyway, have a good …. metamorphosis, and off he trundles on his way, giving me the thumbs up, a tricky thing for a caterpillar. Such a clever chap.
Now it is spent and lying limp
and placid at my feet —
a contentment of inky blue
but the other day if you
could have seen it bucking
with energy , flailing its
wild hair and arching its back
[ sea mountains surfers abseiled
down ] you would not have been
surprised to see it thrust
its loins again and again against
the soft white dunes nor after
to see the body of the foreshore
bruised and torn nor its rump
so foam wracked .
pic by Lachlan-Ross on Pexels
It wasn’t the person from Porlock; it was my aunt
Who got on the bus, brought my poem to an end.
My notebook slumped on my lap as she told me
The long sad story of a friend.
When she got off I had my chance but this young bloke
Sat next to me, iPod blaring, hair swooped back.
It was the White Stripes live from Splendour.
How could I not listen ? It was Meg and Jack.
But then a cross-eyed biker got on, hair in a rat’s tail,
Skin graffitied with tatts. How could I not look?
His arms a graphic novel. Then a woman got on
Shouting into her mobile, angry as ‘The Angry Book’.
The sad sack on the other end was out for the count.
Luckily Coleridge didn’t board this bus
while he was dreaming ‘Kubla Khan’. He wouldn’t
have written a word. The poem would be dust.
- picture courtesy of Pinterest by TheTatt
On a road trip the other day
we got talking about birth defects you don’t see
like hunchbacks, birth marks, cleft palates
whose father was Lord Mayor of Mars had one
and spoke with a lisp.
Then at this café in the mountains
we were served
by a barista
with a raspberry stain on his left cheek
the shape of Africa.
Is that a birth mark, I asked him. We were just talking about them.
Yes, it is, he smiled.
It was just another feature on his face, like his nose.
or a mole
It was nothing special.
Yet it had a strange sort of beauty.
He poured me the greatest cup of coffee.
I was glad that I had asked him, that I didn’t wuss out.
It’s okay to be curious.
Whenever I come across you, you light me up.
Helen of Troy,
that host of golden daffodils Wordsworth came across in the field,
I drop everything,
reach for my ruler, my pen and underline you
firmly and lovingly with indelible pink:
you are the amazing phrase,
the freshest of images,
the startling sentence,
the delightful ambush hidden in my reading.
pic courtesy of Unsplash by Alexander Krivitskly
Five skips in a row
is a thing
referring to skimming a flat rock
across the smooth
surface of a lake;
is that bamboo toothbrush
I used this morning
light as those balsa wood gliders
I flew as a kid
over the paddocks
behind the school;
and those opening chords of ‘Sugar, Sugar’
like being tasered
+pic courtesy of Wikipedia