Plum eating

pick
I will 
go collect a bucket
of plums

see
purple plums
outside
red plums
inside

bite
taut elastic skin
snaps and recoils
under pressure of
sharp incisors
burst

taste
exploding plum
tartly sweet
firmly juicy 
with sticky feet

feel
the texture 
anticipated
chewy soft
an eating 
sensation
never 
lost

wet 
with flavour
deep and true
dribbles assured
all the way
to the 
end 
of 
it

swallow
the energy
immediate
hit

spit
pit

ah plums

Today we https://dversepoets.com poets are playing with food. Thanks Misky for a prompt that has me re-savouring my favourite fruit.

Juliet and Romeo

Juliet
is all slick and wet
her long hair in her eyes
she has been hit
by an idiot
drunk driving by 
bye bye

Romeo
roams idly by 
sees the girl on the ground
He looks at her 
quizzically 
then realises what he has found

Juliet
breathes in gasps
as blood pools under her back
She looks up sees Romeo
last look last love
as limbs go slack

Romeo’s
not much you know
but this time 
things are different
He wipes the hair from glazed eyes
and wonders where 
her life went

Juliet
rises above the scene
She watches Romeo
He cradles her head
gently in his lap
He whimpers out a moan

Romeo
struck by love’s full fist
his only love has gone
He whines he weeps
at his loss
Death into his soul creeps

Juliet 
bears final witness to 
Romeo’s last testament
“Did my heart truly love till now?”
he whispers
For the first time 
he knows what love meant
“Good night Good night”
“Thus with a kiss I too die”
He declares to her 
death pale face

Romeo 
bends his head down
tenderly brushes her cold lips 
with his own
he lets her head down 
lightly beside him
as he lies quietly beside her
takes her right hand
with his left

Romeo
from his pocket
retrieves a knife
meant for other men 
he eases the blade
between his ribs
it finds his broken heart
As blood pools under his back
his life is also gone

Juliet 
utters one last cry of grief
before she disappears
or was that one last cry of relief
in hope he reappears
for never was there a story of more woe 
than this of Juliet and her Romeo

Ingrid’s prompt for this week’s dVerse poetics was “Homage to the Bard.” I chose to write a poem approximately on the theme of Romeo and Juliet. https://dversepoets.com/2022/04/26/poetics-homage-to-the-bard/

Okra

Two women sit under a thatched roof 
supported by rafters
coarse wood brown
smiling and chatting together
Chickens scratch at the edge of their shelter
a bold shiny colourful rooster
a big shiny black hen

Their surroundings are a circular patch
dry dusty earth red
small mud brick dwellings
define a perimeter orange
The late autumn day is lit by a cold sun of
clean blue light

One woman sits above the other higher
she is perched
Her long thin legs hang over a shallow edge
a rug covered platform
She is the older in a thick faded purple
dress a pullover yellow
is topped with a scarf white around her neck
Her head is swaddled in a woollen wrap crimson
it frames a face sun
lit, weathered and aged by decades of labour

Spaces such as this
fields such as she can choose
to see at anytime
will forever be green and brown
She gazes pensively across
open communal space
She ponders her past with pleasure and regret
she speaks of things new
old, deep and trivial
Her arthritic hands clasped in a lap
of gratitude flesh
Her battered Nike sneakers peek out from
the long layers of fabric above grey and yellow
her face is calm
Her future as it will be

The younger sits cross legged
a woven mat under her strung tan
Together cultivating lines of okra
drying under sheltering eaves ragged
shadows of indigo host
hangings vertically in bright green
coloured lengths
unclasped necklaces ornaments
of metres adorn the space with a decorative
interior that creates a sense
coming festivity
The drying shed colours the day, the place
it’s people making
according to the crop
a pride of place for transient
prettiness and implications
security, work well done

Here for generations other
younger women have
sat for hours
days post harvest preparing
sustaining products of manual fieldwork
multi hued
for deep grey winter consumption
Her dress is brighter golds
magentas her hands are as yet
unaffected by the gnarly
growths destined by labour
She repeats centuries old weaving
patterns confidently efficiently unhurried
listening quietly thoughtfully respectfully

Tales of the past wash over her black and white
through her as water of life in delicate pastels
as hope as comfort
She knows here there are will be
still lessons to be gleaned
conversation the reflections of her elder
The younger a willing learner of
a quasi meditative state borne soft pink
by the methodical repetitious
nature of her work it is was as surely known
the best way for learning lessons
by the word of her people
successes and failures
myth legend
retelling that never ceases to inform
warm warn entertain and delight

There is comfort in the learning
a knowing that all the natural obstacles over
which there is little control life
will continue on on on
There is no question about how
time is to be spent
day by day this is dictated
by seasons culture necessity
green yellow brown grey

There is no concept of time ticking away
each day is known-quantity where
choice is limited but colour rich
life is sometimes unpredictable dangerous
set fluid simple
giving and taking with impunity
Time has no measure
life itself opaque

Two women commune as did
two before them
back it goes into the dark
blue of distance
where many women become every one
sitting together, stringing up green okra
another part of every year’s never ending
rainbow

The Tall Brown Woman in Green

They told me about her hair
before I met her.
It was green.
I thought it the best hair
I’d ever seen.
The fall of her locks
topped long flowing frocks
that ran neck to toe
as they swept the ground clean.

In bare feet
so she walked
or sashayed
I should say
her hair bounced away
like gentle waves of the sea.

In long flowing robes
from her head to her toes
luminous bright green
and shimmering a sheen,
she moved as one
supple, undulating dream.

Her hips that were square
rolled sensually there
under rippling fabric I deemed.
Her shoulders carried smoothly.
Her pose held beautifully.
Her skin smooth as polished gold.
Her head held proud,
and defiantly bold.

Her face was of grace
framed in fine green lace
at the edges of the green hood
folded around her neck.
From the dripping sleeves of her gown,
where long hands emerged brown,
slender fingers completed the scene.

Bright brown eyes
looked curiously around,
‘til she stopped,
tall and sure
image of a noble queen.
She had turned toward me.
I, the watcher was seen,
and I found myself bound
to the tall brown woman in green.

The darkness 01

In the darkness there is fear of 
what we do not know where 
moonlit silhouettes change 
frequented pathways through
accustomed landscapes 
to unfamiliar tunnels hooded 
by shadows obscured 
by gloom alive 
with the colourless and hidden

In black night confusion 
and disorientation assert 
themselves by seeding doubt
Insubstantial surroundings draw an
inky deception across the known 
world where that latent but 
ever present dread of
losing our way will always prevail

Today, the dVerse challenge was from Linda to pick one line from a Jim Harrison poem and use it as an epigraph for a poem inspired by that line. I chose, “Yes, in the predawn black the slim slip of the waning moon.”- Remote Friends, Jim Harrison. https://dversepoets.com/2022/01/25/poetics-songs-of-unreason/

Australian Pipit

A common Australian terrestrial bird that spends most of its time on the ground for foraging and breeding. Prefers semi to open habitats. I often see them on rural tracks running the wheel ruts.

totem

I seek to find the tree
where and when I find it
I will know it for its role in my life
spirit connecting totem

white fella dreaming me
my original culture kit
equipped for consumption and strife
for directionless floating

missing address of life’s mystery
missing where I fit
cut from “other” as with a knife 
finished as animate factotum

I seek the key
in nature’s remit
to open the door of relief
to release my soul forgotten

I walk the bush incessantly
search nature’s bridge exquisite 
in enduring mortal grief 
to reveal immortal heart re-woken

where entity is true and free
where body and soul will sit
with cup and bowl I turn new leaf
full of love and hoping

Today Sanaa prompts we poets to write in the form of rimas dissolutas. In this form each stanza comprises of lines that end with a rhyme matching the corresponding line in ever other stanza. https://dversepoets.com/2022/01/04/poetics-exploring-the-realm-of-french-literature-first-stop-marseille/

Droplets

I was recently asked to deliver these photos of gorgeous droplets after a sustained misting rain – taken at our place a while back. I haven’t had much time for writing lately and thought these might be a good blog alternative to the written word until I get back to it. I hope you like them.

Gotta Get Out

Sustenance, sustenance
The needs of my family, the very future
depend on my
Hunter’s skill
Tracking is the game
ignoring the baubles for the meat
persevering when hope is lost
When perseverance is the
only hope to find

As I cross the threshold
between sunshine and artificial light
where my flaming torch
of knowledge and experience
must keep me lit
alert to fallacy and trickery
Nevertheless it dulls
against intensely bright competition
These high ceilinged vaults
as if starlit with halogen and diode
I find it hard to distinguish whether
inflamed or extinguished
my very own light flares
or fades
As does the light of knowledge
or critical elements of judgement

This is a brilliantly ominous
hole in real space
This dead centre of comsupmtion
Of glow worms on mirrored walls of
perverted fairy lights created by evil spirit
I cross a
sinister boundary
into a world of corruption
temptation
and reduction
The world is rendered thus

The cavernous halls of this space
daunt
Its glittering stalactites drip
luminously
sweet waters
impure as added sweeteners can illicit
over gem encrusted
subterranean alcoves and niches
Where false gods are worshipped
Where diamonds turn to glass
Where purchase is neither
with foot nor by hand
But by extraction and brand
Burning into pockets
through means of exchange
where the purpose of this cave
becomes revealed
Although,
still not
to the naive, the gullible and the willing

Yet I stand strong
Resolute by my informed knowing
I conquer foreboding
fear held at bay
by the most fragile resilience
and I buy in

I buy big I buy small
I buy all the things I want at the Mall
Until I can but no longer
As these halls previously mapped
have seen the bounds of my credit card zapped
Gotta get out
before ruin befalls
My Christmas spree buying
One day for it all

Today’s prompt comes from Dora. In the context of the Crazy Christmas season she suggests, ….. “imagine a moment of pausing, a still point of epiphany.” dVerse

Good Things Only #15

River Red Gum Forest at Shire Dam Swamp

Shinrin-yoku or forest bathing. When I first read about forest bathing the cynic in me scoffed, “Jeezus, how many gimmicky ideas can humanity come up with?” As curious as it may appear, I have reevaluated the matter. Why? Well, it was an accident really.

In reading the aforementioned book by Bill Bailey I learnt more. It was the Japanese Government that validated shinrin-yoku in the 1980s. After research confirmed the hypothesis that forest walkers experienced significantly less stress and anxiety than urban walkers, the idea became a public health policy. Hence the very real, legitimate and officially mandated practice of shinrin-yoku, forest bathing or put more simply absorbing the atmosphere of the forest.

I learnt this with a little embarrassment because I have clearly been a shinrin-yoku practitioner for years. Walking and cycling in the bush have long been favourite pastimes, as soothing to the mind and cleansing of the soul as anything I can imagine. I realise now I have practiced forest bathing and even refined the practice. My own specialised sub discipline will now be called forest basking. This is where I find myself paused, stationary, sometimes mid step, sometimes sitting, sometimes lying down looking either up, across or down, grinning, goggling or gasping or all three at once, in awe at nature’s beauty and evolutionary accomplishments.

I am no shirin-yoku guru or forest bathing shaman, but I am an advocate by default because I do my best to promote these wonderful activities publicly and widely. Why? Because if they are good for individual lifestyle and well-being they are good for societal wellbeing. If shinrin-yoku encourages people into positive low impact forest experiences those people become advocates for the forest and habitat gets improved as well. And who doesn’t want such a desirable set of outcomes from the simple act of taking some time out in the forest?

The beginning of a life together

We first lived together below Tawonga Gap beneath mountains capped with snow
In a Happy Valley cottage by a valley threading creek, the Happy Valley flow
Where trout could be watched hunting or basking below the surface
And rocks were smoothed and sandy beds were lit by sunny luminance
It met the Ovens River at the bottom of our hills
Joining other tributary waters of mountain rivers, creeks and rills
Where the crystal waters ran clean, clear and bright 
Where the snow melt chilled the river deep to summer’s great delight

We shared an abandoned cottage dusted off for our loving residence 
After approaching the farmer about its rental and to make his acquaintance
That small cottage at the bottom of a gully became our first home
With surrounding hills and mountains our romantic place to roam
Where the land about us and its occupants were both so ancient and so old
And the farmer who was born there had so many stories to be told

The days were long our backs were strong as we stepped outside the door
And the fruits of our labour on the block fed us more and more
We took the offered chook manure from the empty runs out back
Enriched the soil, dug the beds, sowed farmer’s seeds, we did not lack
The planted seedlings turned to vegetables as if by magic overnight
Their abundance when we harvested fed us and friends heartily every night

The dairy herd had long since gone and beef were the local stock
But one house cow remained for butter and milk beside the dairy block
Daily hand squeezed from her teats was milk so creamy and rich
It was hard to drink, and harder to say we thought we couldn’t stomach it 
We had to tell the farmer not to deliver each and every morn
But he was good he understood stopped delivering without scorn

At days end an historic long tin bath bathed us once water was heated hot
Soothing us and cleaning us of grime and sweat gathered on the plot
The back step was the place to sit for weaving, sewing and repair
The hammock was the place to hang and relax either alone or as a pair
To hear the wind, to feel the still, to think and to contemplate
To reflect on the newness of life together, the pleasures to appreciate

And now forty years on I still think back gratefully to that time
With certainty of knowing here were the foundations of a life together
This life of yours and mine

Today’s d’verse prompt came from Laura, to write a pome recalling some specific thing or things from the past. https://dversepoets.com/2021/11/09/poetics-in-the-light-of-other-days/

Yakking

Yakking yakking
on the phone they’re lacking
basic social grace
they are in your face
if wanted or not
their conversation is everywhere
like a worm that twists deep inside your ear

Yakking yakking
shared across public space
on public transport
in public parkland
throughout Halloween
with not a thought to public courtesy
private calls aired I do not care to share

Today’s dVerse prompt is from Lisa. She asks us to present a Quatorzain poem (a 14 line poem not necessarily a sonnet) in Duodora form as follows: 2 septets for which Line 1 repeats. Syllable counts per line are 4, 6, 5, 5, 5, 10, 10. Quite tricky! The subject is to speak to a human attribute that is particularly irritating to you with a Halloween or Samhain theme.

Good Things Only #14

Wildflowers. Spring is a nice time of year for many reasons. A plain, field, forest or reserve full of Australian native species is hard to beat. Today I visited the smallish metro Bungalook Conservation Reserve looking for wildflowers. There was plenty happening. I will let the pictures speak for themselves. I hope you enjoy this natural world gallery of many good things only.

Good Things Only #13

Drying baby’s clothes and a Minna Leunig print hanging out together with potted plants

Oh happy day, coming out of lockdown to gather for the first time with three generations of our newly extended immediate family. Seeing the fatigued but over the moon parents adoring and learning every minute something new about their days old daughter. Witnessing the unbridled happiness of the new Grandma and Aunties as they emotionally engage with our immaculate new cherub.

We all hold her and smile at her and laugh at how fresh and sometimes awkward and beautiful we are with this tiny new presence amongst us as we make funny faces and soft cooing and baby talk noises and hold her out and hold her in looking her up looking her down oohing and aahing with blissful amazement.

And she takes it all on her own terms dozing, occasionally peering into our faces (we like to think), practicing various facial expressions for future reference, gracing us with something we like to call a smile, mouthing for the breast when she is ready and crying if delivery isn’t fast enough.

Seeing our children with a grandchild, their mother and their partners happily together after what feels like an age apart, talking, smiling, laughing, just loving each other all over again. I smile on the outside, smile on the inside, my very pores turn into micro smiles.

Good Things Only #12

Bearded Iris in our garden

Bearded Iris blooms. Even year I look forward to perusing the Iris flowers as they bloom across our various rhizome clumps. My Grandfather had a whole backyard full of them. He cross bred, cut and spliced in a decades long attempt to breed an original. Although he never succeeded he took great pride in the quest.

As his small grandson, I would be subject to instruction on the various attributes of his favourites. I can still remember the ones with peach and apricot hues that I thought were pretty and special. I still have the set of small scalpels, spatulas and tweezers he used for dissecting and cross pollinating.

In the off season, I would get to enjoy the fallow patches being rested for next season’s plantings. The sandy grey soil was ideally mouldable for designing and constructing large townships through which I drove toy cars and above which I flew toy planes, before ravaging them with troops of merciless toy soldiers and destructive machines of war.

In so doing, it was not uncommon for me to dig up ancient lead MIAs and other paraphealia from a previous age – when my father and uncles played the same games before me.

My wife and I moved into the house after my grandfather died. Our son and daughter followed to play in sandpits in the same backyard, but with less ruthlessness.

We dug up the hundreds of, possibly thousands, of Iris rhizomes as we returned the backyard to a more diverse and recreational space. In turn these were bagged and distributed to friends, family and workplaces across the city. I like to think of them as a pleasurable legacy, still growing in unanticipated locations. Maybe even being passed on again to new generations as they continue to multiply and flourish.

These are the toughest of plants. When at their best they are also the most easily damaged. They do well in poor soil and conditions, survive frosts, can largely be left to fend for themselves. Then every Spring for a few brief weeks they flower in splendour. Such beautiful blooms on close inspection they stimulate wonder. Such tall flower spikes topped with such colourful blooms they should not be ignored. And yet, they are often ignored. They remain such a fragile thing. If you don’t appreciate them immediately at full bloom they are like to be gone the next time you look, weatherbeaten by either wind or rain. Turned into a torn, ragged mess with little shape or form.

Great beauty is such a transient condition in living things. So often taken for granted before appreciated – and then gone. Irises remind me to take the time to appreciate.

Two Creeks, Ringwood Station Walk

Dandenong Creek

This is the fourth in a series of metro public transport based walks I am mapping for Victoria Walks walkingmaps. The idea is that people who either do not have cars or don’t want to use cars to get to walking locations can catch a bus or train there and back instead.

Two Creeks, Ringwood Station Walk

Good Things Only #11

Sunrise

Peer Gynt Suite: Prelude to Act IV (Morning mood), Edvard Grieg (1843 -1907). This mesmerising classical music masterpiece captures the romantic aesthetic of a sunrise so completely it interrupts whatever I am doing when I hear it. Immediately the flute begins I experience the beginning of an aural dawning as if present. This calming, tranquil expression of the golden period in a new day is profound.