The Last Butterfly

A Common Brown photographed at Jubilee Swamp
 
 When the last butterfly flutters by
 your seat on the grass
 When the sun moves overhead
 in one more timeless pass
 When the creek’s empty water
 flows by and on
 When the creatures of the bush
 all around you have gone
  
 Will you sit and reflect
 on what could have been
 When you knew it was coming
 it had been foreseen
 Will you ask why you didn’t 
 when there was time and you could
 While you sat on the grass
 thinking I must then I should 

Too long is forever

 
It has been too long without you
There has been too much time
Worlds lie between us
As I pay for my crime

My cell is my world
of four hard walls

Spartan and bare

My memory is my cell forever
I keep seeing you there

As each long
long day passes .....

My sentence every minute

Gives way to darkness
My loss lies within it

When I look through my barred window
I expect in some light
To see you running towards me
Again
my mind at flight

I pace I groan
squat in the corners

Of this tiny space

Close and open my eyes
And still see your face

I see you on the day as lovers we were wed
I see you in the night on the matrimonial bed
I see us on every outing all the things we did
I see us laughing and loving as besotted kids
I see your auburn fringe and wavy locks
I see your long legs above bobby socks
I see your bright blue eyes black long lashes
I see your olive skin the smile that flashes
I feel you in my arms in the softest embrace
I remember all your charms
I feel my disgrace

Where is your world now my love
And is he there with you
No I am not proud my love
If I could bring you back I’d kiss you

Small Flies and Other Wings

Small Flies and Other Wings by Christine Ay Tjoe (Oil on canvas) 2013
Art in the pink, the hope that it brings
Wings painted from, the smallest of things
The joy of the colour, the mess of it all
A pleasure to view, this artist's call

Not quite abstract, the painting surreal
Based in fact, then allowed to congeal
Into pastel riot, of colour and lines
Into a many makes whole, artwork refined

What underlies, there's tissue paper petals
The subject mixed up, then left to settle
What was the intent, forethought soft light
To please the eye, or just to feel right

So busy so active, yet here is still life
Outlines overshot, not cut like a knife
In the blur there is movement, on a canvas full
But the subject is lifeless, the message - killed

When you look deeper, what do you see
Something different to me, most certainly
I see part of you, I see part of me
I see a gift, a sadness, in humanity

Did this idea form, in the artist's mind
Develop and grow, the mind to bind
An irresistible force, the desire to create
A bane and pleasure, that will never wait

This poem is a response to a dVerse ~ Poets Pub challenge

Being Human

 
This being human is brutal
Where survival remains primal
Where savagery can be ruthless
Where being human is animal

This being human is joyful
Where sharing is a pleasure
Where smiles reflect happiness
Where being human rises above

This being human is indulgent
Where affluence is wasted
Where consumption is recreational
Where being human is an economic unit

This being human is religious
Where unknowns engender hope
Where faith equates with confidence
Where being human could be spiritual

This being human is political
Where a few choices matter
Where many choices don’t
Where being human is good and evil

This being human is being creative
Where knowledge grows exponentially
Where caution is thrown to the wind
Where being human is a contradiction

This being human is arrogant
Where entitlement reigns
Where extinctions surprise no one
Where being human is collective stupidity

This being human is ridiculous
Where universes are vast
Where consciousness is nebulous
Where being human is being alone

This being human is scary
Where thoughts beget actions
Where actions beget unanticipated consequences
Where being human is in itself an existential risk

To add another dimension to your experience of poetry, I recommend you also engage with the international community of fellow poets at d’verse virtual pub poetry challenges

The green cane chair

The green cane chair
 
 I sit 
 on my green cane chair
 The best chair for thinking
 It is outside 
 It has the advantage 
 of being 
 in a good place 
 A verandah from which
 there is much to see
 Even if the weather is cold
 it is in the right position 
 because the wind slides past 
 laterally
 In this chair 
 you can avoid 
 confronting winds of change
  
 You can sit here for 
 a long time 
 confident 
 you won’t have to move 
 or make way 
 for someone or something
 
 You can watch 
 all sorts of things 
 unfold from this chair
 Insects birds animals people 
 the day the night 
 the light 
 Seasons pass you by 
 I unfold from this chair
  
 This is a sitting for thinking chair 
 It gives access 
 to great scope for thought
 A matching cane table 
 stands 
 by this chair
 It is for
 all the paraphernalia 
 I choose to utilise
 for observation and thinking
 for research recording and writing
 Endless cups of tea 
 Vegemite and salad rolls 
 Fruit  nuts
 stacks of books
 Pens paper 
 Camera iPad and phone 
  
 Background noises 
 surrounding this chair 
 are soothing
 Creek water 
 tumbling over rocks
 An irregular breeze
 wafting at leaves
 Morning song birdsong evensong

 Another nice sound
 I often hear from this chair 
 is children playing 
 Always happy to be outside
 In cooler months
 running along the bush track   
 In summer  
 swimming in the waterhole by the bridge
 or excitedly calling to each other
 as they splash 
 about amongst the cascades
  
 You need to wear 
 a brimmed hat 
 sitting in this chair 
 regardless of the season
 This is to shade your eyes 
 from the northerly and westering sun 
 To balance the glare 
 against the shadows 
 on the surface 
 you are working on
  
 This chair has soft cushions 
 for the seat and for the back
 They rest against its structure of
 bent cane
 It is a very good fit 
 You can sit for a long time 
 before needing to move 
 
 However, the arms of this chair are narrow 
 They may confine you 
 to a limited range of positions
 This has the advantage
 of forcing movement
 This state of affairs 
 is  conducive 
 to constructive
 thinking by prompting
 physical activity
 around the house 
 along the verandah 
 in the garden 
 along the creek
 
 Such activity can be necessary 
 to continue to be 
 effective
 A mental activity reset
 New approaches 
 come with a reset
 Quite often they are so
 new
 you get a pleasant surprise 
 This is because 
 you didn’t  know 
 they were there 
 within you
 beforehand
  
 Another way to reset is
 change the scene
 move this chair
 to the edge of the verandah 
 or reorientate
 A different outlook
 New space
 New thinking
  
 You have to remember 
 to take the cushions 
 in 
 every evening 
 to stop them
 getting damp
 They get tired and worn
 They are due for 
 a new skin
 Just like me
  
 This chair is exposed to the elements 
 One day it won’t be there
 I wonder will another chair
 be so generous?
   

On poetry

the romantic
 
Breathe with the moment
Focus the eye
Tune the ear
when poems are nigh
Be transported
To experience afar
Adventure and romance
Illumination of stars

Poems are companions
For very good reason
For poets are adventurers
Beyond bounds of the seasons
Beyond bounds of the earth
No measure of their worth
Can keep words from welling
Can restrain the work of telling

They convey feelings through
the art of painting with words
Not read before not seen or heard
Beautiful weavings that awaken our hearts
To the emotions of others who cannot impart

Anonymous poems from times immemorial
Modern poems with layers to peel
Poetry is the magic carpet
Flying to places unknown
Ride on the carpet and know you have grown

Of Australia

ICU
 

My thoughts are of Australia
Land most covid-19 free
My heart yearns for Australia
The place I’d rather be
For to the north we languish
Now that winter has come
Amidst a pandemic of anguish
Where our suffering is done
As each dawn’s fresh horizon
Offers more sadness, fear and dread
I long for home Australia
Where a rising sun means health instead
And with each passing morning
As the hospitals here do fill
The sights and sounds of mourning
The streets and air do fill
I see mankind retreating
From a cocky arrogant stance
From destruction of ecosystems
To victim of nature’s dance
Where bushmeat's viral load
Transfers itself to humans
Just what have we to show?
For the things we are consuming?
The winter birds and bare trees
Remain testament to the natural world
A world humankind now sees
Corrupted by exploiters and churls
Our world so terra formed
To overwhelming degradation
And Australia heading so
Observe and save our nation

Trumpian Buffoons

 
These characters are buffoons.
Full of laughter they rail at you.
Carping and harping blaming all.
Innocent of everything when the law calls
Dangerous in their own special way.
Ready to trick and seize the day.
Yet by their pompous humorous demeanour.
You’d think all would have seen it sooner.
The vile attempts at undermining.
The rotten values they’ve been hiding.
Self confident enough to infect the masses.
Rich enough to corrupt all classes.
Replete in vanity self-declared divine.
So full of shit they make shit shine.
Larger than life with seismic crows.
Ready (not) to be the one big (side)show.

The Reed Warbler

Reed Warbler at Polly McQuinns
 
That clamorous reed warbler
With the protracted breeding song
Passages of enamouring power
Designed to bring along
A partner for the season
With whom to court and spark
To share nesting in long reeds
At the edges of the lake
 
I do not know the words
Of this loud and spirited song
Launched from this small bird’s throat
Into the gathered avian throng
In the early morning,
at the end of each long day
Persistent and single minded
Seeking a mate to hold in sway
But the message is clear and proud
I am the one for you
Come to me my darling
Let’s see what two can do

The day the fire actually came

 
 I ponder on the wise of it
 As trees around me bow
 Before the gusting hot north wind
 Before which they bend so cowed
  
 I give the thought deep consideration
 As the darkening sky forebodes
 I check, the heat is forty four
 As wind and weather goads
  
 There’s much to lose either way
 Deciding to stay or go
 Give up the home to fiery tempest
 Risk the life you know
  
 There’s a plan to pack the things I need
 Water blanket items precious
 There’s alternative routes to avoid the flames
 Where the flames may be ferocious
  
 But then there’s plans to stay and fight
 Buckets mop hose and mask 
 Hit each ember where it lands
 But am I really up to the task?
  
 This day’s been declared catastrophic red
 I waited to see how it would turn
 Now I’m stuck as the catastrophe looms
 All around wilts then starts to burn
  
 The air is burning in my throat
 Radiant heat scorches all around me
 The sky rains burning leaves and hot grey ash
 The smoke so thick I can’t breathe or see
  
 I dare not move can’t find the house
 I touch hot metal seek shelter in the car 
 Pull the woollen blanket over my head 
 And lie below the glass to cower
  
 Explosions start as eucalyptus oil 
 In nearby trees ignites
 The car is rocked by more of them 
 as fuel detonates in light so bright

 The fear is terrible 
 I’m paralysed hope my only gift
 I so wish I’d gone before the fire
 packed my stuff and left

The water

 When Sissy 
went into the water
I followed.
Naturally.
Because I,
a younger brother,
had an older sister
I adored.
Well, what else is a sibling
water daughter for?
 I saw her wavering figure 
deep down ahead,
cutting through
crystalline
mountain water
like an arrow.
Streaming effervescence.
I saw her
touch the bottom
of washed sand,
of rounded stones
smoothed by years
of grinding,
with a pat of her hand.
Box ticked.
Camp task
number one
accomplished.
River mastered.
 She rose then.
A lithe silver nymph
spearing her way to the surface.
And I knew I was in trouble,
as I
continued down.
Caught by the current
like one of those
smooth stones,
tumbled and bumped,
grated and ground.
 I had no hardened surface 
to resist the battering,
no thick skin
to soften defeat,
no awareness
of up or down,
no ability
to swim or float,
not even the desire to flap about.
 I just froze,
one with the chilled water.
Not desperate,
not fearful.
That would come later.
I was
simply,
absolutely,
completely,
unable to comprehend
how I could find
myself here.
What did it mean
exactly?
 Incapacitated  
by lack of learning.
Paralysed
by ignorance.
Alone,
for the very first time
in my very short life,
the refracted sky
above was still blue,
the fluffy clouds
were still white,
the trees on the bank
were still green.
I,
however,
remained unseen.
 The water became 
my atmosphere,
thick,
tangible.
The known world
began to disappear.
The water
filled my ears.
Sound disappeared.
The water
filled my nose
and my mouth.
I couldn’t call out.
The weight
on my chest grew heavier.
I couldn’t breathe,
anything,
but water.

Seasonal visits

Come and see me with autumn’s fall

We’ll share the light and colour

I‘ll always answer your call

Come and see me in winter time

When the wind blows cold

Makes our warmth sublime

Come and see me in joyful spring

When the world renews

Our time for loving

Come and see me in summer heat

When we can seek cool places

Where and whenever we meet

Or come and see me forever one day

And we’ll stay together

Forever always

Walking

As I head

toward the door

Questions

head my way

Where are you going?

Walking.

Where to?

It doesn’t matter, I say

Walking

a destination in its own right

Walking

the easiest way

we can fully engage

With the natural world

In walking

we place ourselves

at a new destination every minute

we escape ourselves

And we expose ourselves

to genuine experiences

of our surroundings

and the elements

on the human scale

What will you look for?

I smile

knowing whatever I look for

I will also find many things different

I don’t need to look

for anything in particular

because I will find

small parts of everything

Walking always takes me there

If it wasn’t

If it wasn’t for your touching me

I wouldn’t know what touch could be

If it wasn’t for your sweet embrace

I would never have looked into your face

If it wasn’t for your sparkling eyes

I wouldn’t have seen just where love lies

If it wasn’t for your soft  whispering

I wouldn’t know my heart could sing

If it wasn’t for your soft warm kiss

I would never have known what I missed

If it wasn’t for you warmth at night

I wouldn’t know what two just might

If it wasn’t for your body bare

I wouldn’t have loved you everywhere

If it wasn’t for your faith in me

I wouldn’t know how far to see

If it wasn’t for you my own true love

I wouldn’t know to rise above

I hold this all so close to me

I use it all to keep me free

So I’m the one I want to be

The one who loves. You eternally.

Birdlife

20200811_pho_Miepoll 04

Birds sit in the top of the trees

Planning attacks on insects and bees

They sit on their branches

Scanning insect sky dances

With shelter from leaves as their eaves

 

Birds on the end of a bough

Twitter loudly just to show how

They can talk to each other

Every sister and brother

In a way that says Hey, we know how!

 

Birds that forage on the ground

A set who are basically unsound

They defy law and order

Like lambs to the slaughter

Because predators are always around

 

Birds that drink from a dish

Do so in order to wish

For more handouts of bread

To keep them well fed

As their tails twitch and go swish

 

Birds that peck at a window

Are very much likely to forgo

Food on their plate

Appetite they may sate

Fighting themselves as a foe

 

Birds that fly in the sky

Look down and say my oh my

All the people down there

At whom we can stare

Choose to be grounded why oh why

 

Birds that float on the water

Think it’s the place where they oughta

Because the land is not safe

From trouble and strife

The water is a more secure quarter

 

Birds who love to eat worms

Queue to take it in turns

At freshly tossed compost

Of breaking down humus

Knowing a worm never learns

Two meals a day

Time for dinner

Well, we all knew what that meant

Time for the end of the day

Time to send friends on their way

Time to come in from outside

Time to come out from your room

Time to stop homework

Time to put down that book

Time to race to the bathroom

Time to tuck in that shirt

And brush your hair

Time to scrub those hands

Polish that face

Ready for inspection

 

Time to transform from

Rough and ready rascal

To be seen and not heard

 

Time to never be late

Time to take your designated

Place at the table quietly

With bowed head

Time to await your plate

Time to scan the newspaper

Standing tall in thick fingered hairy hands

At the other end of the table

Only the front and back pages ever viewed

While mum dutifully served

And offspring mutely ate

An unchallenged meal

Of meat and three veg

Tinned fruit

and milk for the weeds

 

She spoken to but never heard

They spoke at and ever erred

Sitting in silence always unnerved

 

Once fed desperate for dismissal

Before something went wrong

Before the security of bed

Where the anticipation of morning

And a new day unhindered

Would see a smiling chatty woman serve

And happily scold misdemeanours

In a bustling kitchen full of life

Breaking our bread

While the breadwinner toiled away

At that unhappy and mysterious place called work

Captivating and unexpected

Heading in opposite directions,

I saw her across the intersection.

The lights changed,

we both stepped into the street.

My eyes instantly locked onto her attractive pale oval face.

As she came closer our eyes met fleetingly.

She was captivating and unexpected.

After that first time I saw her

she became a recurring

dream.

 

And yet, we had not exchanged a word.

It was the light in her eyes that concentrated my attention.

They sparkled with mischief, fun, delight and  joy of life.

They were irresistible.

I intuitively knew they were telling it true.

Despite never knowing it before,

I knew Immediately I had been looking for those eyes forever,

looking for the person behind them all my life.

And there they were,

passing me on the road,

disappearing as fast as they appeared,

part of a human wave heading home from work,

also irresistible.

 

I have heard people say the first thing they fell in love with

were their partner’s eyes.

Well, these were those eyes.

They spoke to me directly, urgently.

of being together,

telling me there was more I must learn here,

all the things I needed to know for the right future

were behind those rich brown eyes

with the big dark pupils of evening.

Just those two deep pools of enticement alone were enough.

They called on me to throw caution to the wind,

to surrender myself to the yearning,

to give up everything for her

 

And I would have right there and then too

had not we been separated

at the very same instant we didn’t meet.

Moved by the pressed bodies of a dense compacted throng

going one way and the other,

as we passed I turned trying find her,

earnestly scanning the back of

as many sombre grey hats, coats and heads as I could,

engaged in a process of rapid fire elimination

until I caught my foot on the curb and stumbled.

I looked again.

She was gone.

 

Every following evening I waited at that corner.

Enveloped in my own dark winter proof cladding.

Examining the crowds.

Scrutinising every office worker heading home to dinner.

Muffled and reserved.

I sought that same light, that one bright spark, that point of difference

in the fast fading dusk of shortening days.

My own hope fading

as each short day felt longer and lonelier.

 

It was on the same day of the next week

she reappeared.

A Thursday.

How could no one else be alert to her quiet warm aura,

gently glowing against a background of gloomy evensong,

the trudging of homeward bound feet.

I fell for her.

I mean literally.

I was so preoccupied with not losing sight of her

I darted across traffic and was bowled over at her feet.

She almost fell over me.

She quickly sidestepped,

bent over,

put out her hand

and pulled me up.

All in one graceful movement.

She saved me from a trampling

and alternate futures

I didn’t want to contemplate

 

We stepped out of the human tide

into a shopfront vestibule.

She asked if I was alright?

I wasn’t. I was so embarrassed

I couldn’t speak but,

she just smiled

she straightened my coat, looked

me up and down,

said “That’s better” and asked would I like a cup of tea?

Three hours later we were still at that little table for two in the Block Arcade café.

 

Those eyes told no lies.

 

After I climbed the mountain

When I climbed the mountain

to stand at its summit

and declare

my love to the world

 

I had no idea

you were preparing

to leave

down there on the flat.

To turn away from my

rugged individualism

my heroics

my boyish raffishness

 

I had no

idea it was coming,

your going.

No insight you might even

have entertained

the idea or could be

thinking that way.

I didn’t know I was that way,

in your way

 

You never told me

what it was that got

your goat.

How was I to know I had to

change to keep you

or is that?

how was I to know I could

never keep you,

no matter how

much I tried or thought

I needed too

 

When I came home

from my victory

and declaration to

the world below. I was

still walking on air.

On the cloud of

the conquering and

the anticipation of you

 

You said there was

no evidence that

was the way

I felt

and there was never

likely to be.

That I was the only

one who knew

what was going on

in my head.

You said I was

my own best company,

that I should go

back to the mountain.

Where I belonged

The Way

The way a beloved dog rests a lazy head upon your knee

The way a wooing look invites you toward mutual intimacy

The way a cup of tea slows time and calms an over active mind

The way a good book immerses you in new realities that bind

The way a word becomes a story, a poem comes of rhyme

The way a voice becomes emotion, movement becomes a mime

The way a favourite song transports you back to that special place

The way a touch can speak of love as it brushes across your face

The way a first wildflower discovered announces coming spring

The way a view from a mountain can make your heart leap and sing

The way a beautiful landscape incites gratefulness, awe and joy

The way a true love will not  waste time with you by being coy

The way a walk in the forest restores hope, balance and well being

The way a look deep into the stars can change your way of seeing

The way a composted garden grows better in space and over time

The way a perception can be a knowing, a knowing can be a sign

The way a naked body is a beautiful body as long as there is beauty inside

The way a grievous loss becomes warm memory after someone special has died

The way a child’s innocence equates with unqualified trust

The way our lives play out

Live best you can

After it’s just

Dust

Recognise me? Recognise me!

Am I really

the one you see?

Or do you superimpose

someone else

over me?

 

Someone

I will never agree

to be

 

In your expectation

I will

dutifully

bend to your will

as a vassal

bends the knee

 

That’s not really me,

part of your hegemony.

 

Just now I need you

you see.

But, my duty to you

is not my duty to me.

As I strive for self determination

and security.

The Right Lateral

My left wrist between your breasts

My left hand upon your chest

My left forearm lies across your left ribs

My left elbow beside your abdomen

My left bicep hugs your flank

My left temple on your left shoulder blade

My chest against you back

Your buttocks cushion my groin

My quads align with the back of your thighs

The front of my knees inside the back of your knees

My tibia parallel your calves

Your soles rest softly on the dorsal aspects of my feet

Your soul binds my heart