All My Christmases

Today on my front doorstep a bundle,

tied in coloured string, wrapped in cellophane,

5 New Yorkers, a Paris Review and

two School Magazines with my poems in,

the Covid backlog I thought would never come.

It felt like all my Xmases had come at once,

enough binge reading to last me till the Big Day.

Cows in a Paddock

Someone once told me you can tell what the weather

Will be like by studying cows in a paddock.

If they’re standing, she said, there’d be

a good chance of rain, whereas if they were lying down,

you could count on fine weather. Or it might have been

The other way around. What a load of bull, I thought.





What if half were standing and half were lying down?

Would that mean a 50% chance of fine weather, or to put it another way,

A 50% chance of rain, depending on whether you were

A glass half- full or a glass half -empty sort of person? It seemed a little dodgy.

What if, for instance, in one paddock all the cows were lying down

while in another, they were practising synchronised standing?

Wouldn’t one cancel out the other?





And why cows?

What about prognosticating pigs, soothsaying sows, auguring alpacas?

The list goes on. I decided to go back to the Bureau forecasts.

At least they get it right half the time.

Tricky

Not ‘selfish’, she says. more ‘difficult to get on with’.

Ahhh, I say, that’s code for ‘tricky’.

I know I am. My best mate is too.

Human beans are ‘tricky’ all around.

They don’t grow straight. They grow with all sorts

of genetic quirks; there’s always something askew,

that rubs people up the wrong way, that chafes.

How people live together, I don’t know.

Sometimes I have trouble just living with me.

I’m not a one trick pony, but I am tricky.

pic courtesy of Pinterest

Enlightenment

I was sitting at Maccas

chomping

on a cheeseburger

reading

what the Buddha had to say

on Generosity:

how it benefits both the giver and receiver

when this aboriginal woman

came up to me and said,

have you got two dollars. For chips?

Sure, I said,

digging deep,

pulling out a coin I plonked

in her hand.

Gee thanks, she said,

It’s my birthday today. I’m 29.

Lucky you. I said. Have a good one

and go easy on those chips.

She beamed me a smile

big as Uluru

& I knew what the Buddha meant.

Ambush

Whenever I come across you, you light me up.

You are

Helen of Troy,

Layla,

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

Bee Music

I am sitting down reading to the drone of bees.

A copy of the TLS lies open on my knees.

We must get a frizzle on, my partner exclaims

Apropos of nothing then goes off again

To attend the roast, while I attend to the Times.

There’s a lost poem by Hardy which clumsily rhymes.

A frizzle or two? Whatever can she mean?

I scratch my head then read once again.

I take another sip of my beloved cab sav

While she takes a pee in the outdoor lav.

The Way

I did not know the way to the waterfall

I was beaten,

hollowed out,

lonely as the last leaf on a tree

tramping, tramping

when suddenly my phone leapt

in my top pocket;

it was my grand-daughters,

their voices

tripping over each other with excitement,

telling me

they were coming to Adelaide,

that I would see them soon,

and suddenly

I was there, refreshed in the waterfall

of their voices,

like a baptism





*pic by Pinterest

A Cozy Crucifixion

Harvesting the cane would do it, so would elite tennis,

pounding the pool for Australia,

all fodder for the physio:

you lie prostrate on the plinth,

narrow as an ironing board

head down in the gap,

arms at yr sides, feet fastened at the base —

a cozy crucifixion,

planking for Jesus,

while muscles are massaged, kneaded.

coaxed into submission,

the little pummeling fists of current bringing you

to the shores of bliss

Arthur

You’re in for a treat, I say.

We’re off to see Arthur.

My toes do a little tap dance on the floorboards.

Come on, you two. Mustn’t be late.

We hop in the car and we’re off.

Thirty minutes in the Waiting Room

then the call.

The doorman lets us in.

Arthur bounces up to us.

Cheerful. Chubby. Cherubic.

Have a seat, he says to my toes

resting my feet on a pouf.

30 seconds one foot.

3o seconds the other.

Done and dusted.

All over red rover.

It’s a tough job,

but someone has to do it.

he says, chirpy as a cherry.

See you in six months.

My toes do a little dance

on the way out.

Blue Pastures of the Sky

I worry about you like you worried about Chloe

the day I never brought her home from the vet;

Would she be happy in Heaven?

Would someone throw the ball for her?

Take her for long walks across the blue pastures

Of the sky?

But I can’t rescue you from adulthood.

All I can do is cheer you from the sidelines

like I used to do in Nationals

Wish you fangs and claws to fight off the trolls,

The sting of the scorpion

A heart as fierce as Balerion, the dragon

From Game of Thrones,

But peaceful and playful as Puff, that magic dragon

From Honalee.





  • pic by ilse orsel from Unsplash.com