the Blue Bucket

It’s not the blue bucket

of Hope

nor the one set aside

for my Bucket List

nor the metaphorical one

we kick when we die

but a simple supermarket bucket

I put beside my bed

each New Years’ Eve

after a big night

just in case


This is Rumpole.

Rumpole is a plaster of Paris statue of a real dog that wandered away nine years ago and never came back.

We tell tales of where he might have gone, what mischief he got up to and the puppies he might have sired.

We still think one day he will find his way back home which is why we leave the side gate open.

Meanwhile the statue is comforting. We know he’s not really there

But every Halloween he cocks his leg and pisses on the pavers to remind us he still is

No Fairy Tale Towers

There are no fairy tales in these Tower Blocks

of Melbourne

No Rapunzel leaning from a window

to let down her golden hair

for some prince to climb up,

no balcony for a Juliet to stand on

and gaze out at her Romeo romancing her

from below

no Dire Straits song to celebrate

their desire

no tower of hope and dreams

no clambering prince

only a vicious virus climbing

the tower walls

*pic courtesy of Wiki Commons

the Color of Hope


I show him my little book of poems.

Hey, it looks good, he says. Can I hold it? Can I have a look?

I can do better than that. I’ll give you a copy.


Sure, you’re a mate. Have a read. Tell me what you think.

Gee, thanks.

You don’t have to read them now.

It’s not a big book. It’s only 24 pages. Why, so short?

It’s a chap book, I tell him.

What’s that when it’s home?

A mini collection on one topic or theme, I say.

So what’s the topic?

Hope, I say. Like the title.

Why are the pages blue?

Remember the blue berets worn by the United Nations peacekeepers?


Well, blue’s the color of Hope. The poems are upbeat, funny, cool like me.

He smiles.

I’ll have a good read at home, he says, and get back to you.

Promise Me You’ll Shoot Yourself


I go to borrow a book but the librarian takes me aside.

You take care, she says. I will, I promise. So when I get home

I remove all sharp objects, have a packet of anti-depressants

at my side and put on the Monty Python song’ Always Look

on the Bright Side of Things.’ I have beside me  a poem

‘Hope is the Helium’ though modesty forbids ……. and have

the Lifeline number at the ready. I flick through the grim

chapter headings and brace myself for an ordeal.

At least there are no photographs.


  • have you read any books lately that have disturbed you?
  • is it permissible to make jokes — black humor — about subjects like the above?
  • is there even a point — aside from morbid curiosity — in even reading such books?

Hope is the Helium


I was down in the dumps when someone praised

A recent poem of mine.

I know we should be immune to Praise

And Criticism

But it’s hard not to be lifted

Like a hot air balloon

Above the petty doubts and grievances

That beset us all

And to bask in the warm sun of appreciation

Knowing that, yeh, we’re okay,

We’re going to get there

We are not alone.

Hope is the helium that keeps us aloft.


can you think of an occasion when praise made a difference in your life?

what is the helium that keeps you aloft?

The Forest


I like them too.

I thought I was a basket case

But there’s this thirteen year old

I read about

Who takes anti-depressants

Anti-psychotic drugs,

Two drugs for attention deficit disorder

& she takes what I take too.


I know growing up is tough

But I didn’t know it could be

Tough as this.

I could take other drugs,

Ones that she takes

But the doc reckons I’ve got this far

Without them

I can go the rest of the way.

I just hope that little thirteen year old kid

Makes it out of the forest okay.