On Being Compared to a Gnat

You have the attention span,

he said,

of a gnat.

I thought [briefly]

about that:

the skim

the look;

the review

not the book;

the single

not the CD;

a movement not

the whole symphony;

the single poem—

a story won’t do—

especially if short

think haiku.

Life’s short.

Try this, that.

Stay light,

says the gnat.

‘Quilton Loves Your Bum’

Quilton Loves My Bum

I know it’s clever advertising

but it’s kinda creepy too

the idea that some stranger called Quilton

‘loves your bum’.

Going by his presence on the supermarket shelves

he seems to love a lot of bums.

I’m sure it’s Platonic

but couldn’t they have used ‘like’?

wouldn’t that have been preferable?

It’s sort of reassuring that Quilton ‘loves’ your bun

but it’s kinda creepy too.

Transcendental Soap

I wash myself with transcendental soap,

it makes me shine, lathers my hope,

rinses away all my petty needs,

you know the ones: the urge to pee,

to have three square meals, to sleep

it lifts me high, takes me deep

whenever I feel that I’m on the ropes

I wash myself with transcendental soap

The Right Thing To Say

When I can’t figure things out

& I seem to have lost my way

you always know the right things

the right things to say

I know words don’t come easy

that meanings go astray

but still you know the right things

the right things to say

I may have the learning

the diploma and B.A

But besides you I’m inarticulate

lost for what to say

At the end of each morning

at the end of each day

you always know the right things

the right things to say

Do You Do That?


Do you find that? That you are lying on the bed, buried in a book when suddenly you come across a passage that is so striking, so delightful you must write it down? And then you dash to your laptop and keyboard your excitement so others can read when you post it to your blog? Do you do that?

Here is the passage I found quite early into my voyage of ‘The Last Voyage of Mrs. Henry Parker’: ‘on the shelf above the clothes rail were two identical life jackets lying side by side like a canoodling couple …’ Even more apt when you learn she is waiting for her beloved husband to board.

It was an extra pleasure to be able to GO INTO the library, roam around the new book shelves, and strike up conversation with the librarians whom I had not seen for over seven weeks.


Do you do that? Do you copy out passages? What’s the last book you were really excited about, particularly regarding the quality of writing?

Literature for Lockdown


Being a lazy shopper and wanting some books to read in lock-down, I wandered to a bookstore which had a sidewalk sale. I found a section of broad interests that could offer some joy to me and my partner and purchased them all.

I don’t know who Jo Wood is but it’s a catchy title —‘Hey Jo’ — and it’s a story of a ‘Rock and Roll Fairy Tale’ so it sounds promising.  Don’t know about ‘The Rum Cock Guide’ though. That sounds a little priapic. As for ‘Adelaide’, well, that’s my home town Still, there may be some hidden spots we don’t know about.

Have a glance over the titles. Which do you reckon you’d go to first? Do you think it’s a healthy selection?

Which book/s will you take with you during lock-down?


The Serenity of Sloths


I know I should be reading Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year

or Mann’s Death in Venice to prepare me for what’s ahead

but I don’t want to be infected any more than I am with the virus

of Fear and Dread. I need something light to calm my farm,

something like If I Had A Sleepy Sloth or that old perennial Possum Magic

to put a skip in my step, a lilt in my heart.

The Cubby House Remembers



[ for Cathy ]


It used to be good here .

Had plenty of company .

I doubled as a fort ,

the deck of a pirate ship ,

the keep of a medieval castle ,

always the last refuge where they

fought off the enemy .

Things got pretty noisy at times .

But when the dust settled ,

they’d settle down to a meal

of cookies and rasberry cordial .


In winter , though , things got quiet .

I’d hardly ever see them .

They were like bears hibernating

in the cave of the house .

Then spring would come

the sun bursting through the clouds

and they’d race outside

and it’d start all over again .



But then one day  —-

though it must have taken longer ,

they stopped coming at all  .

I guess they though I was too babyish

for them .

For years I sat out there all alone

with just memories for company .


But then one day a sound

that made the sun rise in my wooden heart .

A baby’s cry .

It wouldn’t be long , I thought . Less than a year .

And I was right .

I had company all over again .

It was a girl baby so the games

were a little different .

Less noisy . Less rambunctious .


But I was getting older anyway

so I didn’t mind .

Now we keep each other company .

Sometimes her friends come over .

It’s like the old days .

It’s good .



A writer disappears into his books.

It is a familiar story.

And a familiar paradox.

If a man does not disappear into his books

They will not be written.

A judicious voice says, a balance must be struck.

But we are talking Creativity.

It is in the same category as Love and War.

If a man is to write a million words

Then he must disappear into his books.

He will not always be available.

Marriages will strain, children be neglected.

A woman can disappear into her books too

But not as readily.

Maybe she is more tethered to the world.

Maybe that’s it.