The Risk

I cheat, I lie
I backtrack, deny
I obfuscate and complicate
anything to hide the truth

Misinformation 
I cowardly
spread forwardly as ordinary
as conspiracy to larceny
as policy to conspiracy
I function in complicity 
in social media anonymity
Where I apply to truth misuse

The risk to me individually
that I can see
is virtually
small enough to be risk free
to spread hurt mischievously
to revel in power disproportionately

Vengeful at my oversight
my insignificance 
my empty nights
my blighted existence, my trampled rights
my lack of insight
into doing what’s right

I have devolved 
to taking what’s mine
no responsibility, my time to shine.
Basking in screen light I refine
my hatred of others 
for having what isn’t mine

No obligation to the social contract
I make my way with abuse and hack
I twist words and views - take that back!
Take that back!
Attack, attack, attack, attack!

Deep, deep, deep down, do I know this is wrong?
This never ending destructive ultra-self-interested song
this perpetual wallow in despair 
this unrequited desire to belong 
begetting this relentless desire to bring everyone else down
to my level
My oppressed throng.

Do I dare the admission?
Will I take the risk?

Aargh!
The shame of it
The pain of it
The wrenching, gutting bane of it
The creep, the dragging chain of it
The cowering, snivelling, 
ever repeating refrain of it
I am disdain, the disdain of it.
Will I take the risk?

The d'verse prompt for this week came from Tricia, a challenge to explore risk. Join us at 
https://dversepoets.com/2021/06/08/poetics-take-a-risk/

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Sunshower

 
Today I saw the sun come out
From behind a veil of rain
But still the drops
Fell all about
As rain fell just the same

The sunlight formed
Into golden shafts
Vapour lit illumination
The earth shattered the falling drops
I watched with fascination


Strathbogie poetry
#strathbogiepoetry

Every day is an orange day

there are many shades of orange
there are many shapes of orange
there are many types of orange 
there are many flavours of orange
every day is an orange day

the routine is largely the same
my wife, who is always up before me
puts out the half blood pressure tablet
and magnesium for the terrible cramps
maybe she worries I won't remember
and she will suffer once again 
for my negligence

it is the half tablet I cling to 
that half tablet as a perverse 
talisman of health
ho ho only half I guffaw and say
plenty of life in the old dog yet
I hope but don't pray

I grind to mill groats
while the kettle goes on
for 80 degrees of green tea
to be taken from a thin light
porcelain cup
well, mug really
beautifully decorated 
delightful indigenous flora
always a pleasure to see
to raise to my lips
ah the little things .....

there is skim milk 
to get from the fridge
and sultanas come from 
the cupboard under the bench
to add to the oated groats
oats sultanas and water 
to add to the microwave
120 seconds then stir
120 seconds once again

while oats and tea rearrange 
molecular speed and structure 
on my behalf
I transfer everything else 
from kitchen to table
I set up for reading
news, photography, email, poetry
whatever takes my fancy 
on a given day

I look out the windows
across garden and creek 
across craggy old swamp gums 
and wattles
to hillside pasture
and hilltop sky
to sunshine or rain or fog or frost
occasionally to snow
and I say to myself, "Ah, there it is".

then I walk 
back to the fridge
transfer an orange 
from the bottom drawer
to face cutting board and knife

every day is an orange day
but not all orange days are the same

valencias available in the warmer months
can be quite unreliable
anything from sweet and juicy 
to horribly dry and pithy
I top and tail
slice smoothly into quarters or sixths 
depending on what I can get my mouth around
evaluating the internal quality of the fruit 
giving rise to the first 
pleasure or disappointment of the coming day

the navels of the cooler months
are more consistent
at their best oozing sticky zesty tart 
juice across the cutting board
following skilful bladed removal 
of the sometimes uncannily human like navel bulk
usually in promise of a very good breakfast finale

I look forward to my orange start to every day
Full of all the goodness 
orange juice alone will always leave behind
full of the possibility of each new day
some days have their disappointments
to be relegated to the compost bin
some days have their nuisances 
with more seeds and pith 
to deal with than is preferable
most start sweet and juicy
and stay sweet and juicy
all day long 


strathbogie poetry
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Today’s d’verse poetic prompt came from Kim. She introduced us / me to Imtiaz Dharker’s poem “How to cut a pomegranate”.I loved it! See the link below. The challenge was to think of a fruit, how it looks before and after it has been cut open, and how it tastes. Think about where and how it grows, and what it makes you think of. You may choose to write a poem in the style of Imtiaz Dharker, or you can explore the fruit in another way and in any form you wish. Whichever you choose, your poem should appeal to the senses.

https://dversepoets.com/2021/06/01/poetics-how-to-cut-a-pomegranate/

https://www.poetrybyheart.org.uk/poems/how-to-cut-a-pomegranate/

Fledglings of fear

The dawning was a slow one
we were fledglings of fear
victims of illness,
Children of Lir

Number 1 was long strong.
Her job to protect.
Strong for a long while,
until proven imperfect.

Number 2 was a mess,
times hard as hard
for that little girl,
our fractured shard.

Number 3 was me.
Death to the fiddle!
Hate for love.
None in the middle.

Number 4 was Baby,
always our most precious.
Watching and suffering,
the indiscriminate malice.

Mother was mad
as mad could be.
Inside we knew,
outside, 
none could see.

House to school
school to house
all running scared
each quiet as a mouse.

Freezing bath water,
heads held down.
Gasping for breath.
No sound,
lest you drown.

Smothered in cereal, 
honey as glue,
naked on the floor
kicked black and blue.
 
We lost our only friend.
Older sister on the verge.
Took flight literally.
Our life and death dirge.

To young to know.
To young to do.
I first noticed the down
while cowering, we few.

Necks stealthily extended,
to get a better view
of punishment to come,
forewarned by cue.

Heads tucked under wings,
to avoid each other’s pain.
Our wings were getting stronger
unobserved by our bane.

Three remaining cygnets
together finding voice
seeking strength together,
a transformative choice.

Reddened eyes were normal,
the feathers came next.
Black, as our experience
lengthened our graceful necks.

Then came time to speak
with red bloodied beaks
making plaintive warning sounds
ugly ducklings began to sneak.

Eventually, we broke out of bounds,
braved an outside world,
the hurt, the rage, the hopelessness,
to unravel and unfurl

And when we told our story,
of years of abuse and neglect,
no one knew a thing
out of privacy respect.

Together we remain fragile.
Together we remain strong.
Together we mourn our sister.
Grief upon hope upon wrong upon wrong.


For Sinead O’Connor.


Strathbogie poetry #strathbogiepoetry

Mountains old

Strathbogie Ranges
 
 Mountains old
 worn down
 by time and weather 
 Peaks 
 smoothed
 Summits 
 rounded
 Rocks  
 broken to
 new
 beginnings

 Stones to gravel
 sand to granules
 dust to mud
 growth to decay
 decay to soil
 
 Inclined to 
 slippage
 Declined to
 fertility

 Treacherous
 nurturing
 home of the 
 tenacious

 Boon to the
 potency 
 of flood plains 

 Mountains old 
 are so much more alive 
 than the hard 
 sharp ridges 
 and strewn 
 craggy defiles 
 of the young

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You complete me

When I’m suffering you are comfort
When I’m gross you are delicate
When I’m angry you defuse
When I falsely accept you refuse
When I’m tired you are energy
When I’m stupid you think for me
When I’m injured you like to treat
When I’m messy you are neat
When I’m hard metal you are gossamer soft
When I’m the basement you are the loft
When I’m cold you wrap around
When I’m noisy you make no sound
When I’m down you cheer me up
When I’m timid you play rough
When my boat is sinking you bail me out
When my voice is weak I hear you shout
When I’m dull you are sharp
When I’m empty you fill my heart
When I fight you patch my wounds
When I’m near reefs you take sounds
When I’m defenceless you fortify
When I am passive you defy
When I make sense you mark my words
When I don’t you shoot barbs
When I sketch you paint our world
When I'm straight you are curled
When I’m at bottom you are the tops
When I am crime you call the cops
When I’m sweet you are sour as lemon
When I’m sour you are sweet as heaven
When there's rocks in my head you are sphagnum moss
When I am matt finish you are gloss
When I’m woodwork you are craft
When we struggle you find a raft
"You complete me"

seanmathews.blog
strathbogie poetry #strathbogiepoetry

“You complete me” from Jerry Maguire1966, is my chosen quote to write to for this week’s d’verse prompt. Mish challenged d’verse poets to select a movie quote and incorporate it into a poem. https://dversepoets.com/2021/05/25/poetics-go-ahead-make-my-day/

The shallow of looking deep

 

I’m still drowning in the water of you
My feet can’t find the bottom
I don’t know what to do
It’s like all we’ve done’s forgotten

I know it was a blind step
A leap into the dark
When straight after we met
I let you leave your mark

Now I wonder what that time was worth
Those years since spent together
Now I give a wide berth
To your dark and stormy weather

I still don’t know you, I never did
What is it that I was missing?
Disappointment of which I’m never rid
A deflating balloon, ever hissing

When I reflect on you as a person
You’re surrounded by a wall
As I watched our relationship worsen
You never heard my drowning call

Was your silence about making a choice?
Or were you incapable and you couldn’t?
Could you not hear my pleading voice?
Everything about you said you wouldn’t

Did I simply miss you’re shallow?
Because I was always looking for the deep
Is it there was nothing to really know?
The wasted years make me want to weep

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The Trees

River red gum under rainbow, north of Yarck on the Great Victorian Rail Trail.
 
The trees, the trees are prophesy
Their collective memory grand
equips the trees to well foresee
beyond the reign of man
 
 In forests or in parks 
 or standing on their own
 if trees of the world
 could speak as one
 I know what they’d say 
 before they are gone

 For happiness, health and wealth
 For worthwhile survival
 Save the trees to save yourself
 re-wilding equates with revival

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Les Murray, an absolutely ordinary poet.

At the restaurants and footpath cafes diners drop what they are eating, push back their chairs and stand.
Football supporters pour out of the MCG and troop up Batman’s Hill to the CBD in club colours, with streamers streaming, flags waving and an uneasy uncertainty about their walking out on the game.
Blue singlet wearing drinkers abandon their beers to the yeasty, hop scented countertops, as pubs empty, spewing pot-bellied, stick legged staggerers and nicotine stained, leather skinned, emaciated smoker drunks into the gutters, the lanes, the roads and splashing back up onto the kerbs.
Elegant wives, trophy wives and mistresses, high heeled, blow waved, coiffed, dyed and exquisitely buffed, pull down the hems of their brushed silk and linen form fitted shopping outfits as they rise from chaise lounges. 
They collect hand bags and shopping bags, then step into security guarded vestibules, before finally emerging from exclusive tailoring appointments to join a glamour procession down from the Collins St summit.

Word has got around, curiosity brings out the inquisitive, the spruikers, the scavengers and those determined to report every experience to their co-dwellers in the virtual world.
There is an irresistible pull on the minds of those interested in whatever might be happening and those interested in being able to say they were there regardless – something is going on.
Whispers, tweets, messages and emails, texts, phone calls, video calls, even word of mouth, demand the attention of everyone in town. 
An unknown known compels complicity and participation.

Worshippers abandon their God in the expectation of a religious experience, churches evacuate with pious clergy in tow fully expecting a miracle.
Tourists disembark the free City Circuit tram, desert galleries and museums in droves, call taxis and Ubers for immediate pick up, sparing no expense on transport in an unfamiliar city, as long as they can get there ASAP. 
The toy shops spill small children out of their doorways, dragging parents bemused by this sudden passion for the outdoors, as the pitter patter of little feet turns into hard rain.
Teenagers leave park benches and love bites half sucked, holding hands they cross the don’t walk on the grass lawns of springy spring greenery, hoping for a seminally significant event on which to reflect many years later in their relationship.
Office staff lean out of windows. 
Those who have no window they can open press their faces against the glass to display flat fat cheeks and puckered lips full of teeth to the upturned faces of the ever swelling mass of onlookers below. 
As spectacles teeter on the ends of noses, computers whir away unattended while algorithms and AI action every last input before going to sleep in their very own digital dreamland.
Politicians self-importantly stride down Bourke St from Parliament House looking like they know what is going on.
And journalists wave mobile phones in the air, switched to record, in the hope of catching a bite for the evening news or the immediacy of online media, over the speculative hum and bustle of the real-world real-time growing multitude.

There’s a poet reciting in Federation Square and they can’t stop him.
He looks like an ordinary poet, but he hasn’t drawn breath for three hours and the laughter in the front rows has turned to weeping.
His words and each inflection are overwhelmingly evocative, striking the perfect notes for heart felt emotion or humour, eliciting cries of fear, gasps of wonder, moans of misery or whimpering terror at any given moment. 
Listeners who can hear him are mesmerised as if by Sirens and someone calls the police for fear they might be losing their minds.

There’s a poet reciting in Fed Square and they don’t want to stop him. 
The bookies are marking up a book on him and the TAB has various odds at when he will pause or cease. 
Gambling apps are rushing to find novelty angles to bet on like when will he make his first mispronunciation?
The souvenir shops can’t understand why they aren’t doing a roaring trade in clip on koalas and water filled snow domes of the Melbourne Town Hall – where it never snows – and polyester tea towels depicting the coastal 12 Apostles that are hundreds of kilometres away. 
The police arrive in paddy wagons and on crowd control horses to find no crime has been committed. There is no disturbance. The city has simply come to a standstill. 

There is a poet reciting in Fed Square and they want to help him. 
They remove helmets, bullet proof vests and utility belts, down truncheons, scratch armpits, backsides and chins, gather in small groups, heads bowed toward each other and murmur speculatively about what to do.
A police cordon forms organically around the poet so he can continue his recital without being crushed or disturbed by the ever increasing throng. They sit cross legged on the pavers in quiet communion with the people.
The Commissioner offers his megaphone so everyone present can hear the phrasing waft through the air above their heads and feel it penetrate their very souls. 
Each stanza drops like a stone, soars like an eagle or infuses each being present with loving, soothing peace. 
Police disperse through the crowd to make sure everyone can hear. 
Hushing those too noisy, asking the more excited to please calm down. 
People up the back, hanging from light poles or too short to see are assisted by police to positions of access and comfort, reorganising the crowd into a tiered human amphitheatre of enthralled faces, ranked human shoulders  and chests so full of heart each one feels it could burst.

There is a poet reciting in Fed Square and he is finished. 
The poet bows his head once to the stilled crowd, gives them a smile of thanks, takes the one step necessary down from his reciting stool, picks it up and folds it flat against his knee. 
With stool gripped in his right hand he raises his left toward the east and the crowd parts before him as he walks, untouched, through silent lines that close behind him. 
A police officer raises an eyebrow in his direction, but he shakes his head. 
He is an ordinary poet who needs no escort to safely leave the place of his work and his work is done.
The absolutely ordinary poet blends into the crowd, many see him fade, they try to follow, but he completely disappears.

strathbogie poetry

Laura’s d’verse challenge was to select a favourite poet and write a poem either about them (indirect voice) or addressing them (direct voice). Here is the link if you want to give it a try: https://dversepoets.com/2021/05/18/poetics-poems-to-a-poet/

I chose to write a poem about the remarkable Australian poet Les Murray. I hope I honour him by adopting something of his style. Sadly, Les died last year.

The blue sadness of enduring grief

I was asked to read the letters
With my father and my sisters
Written by my long dead mother
Lost words faint as whispers

He will struggle to see and read
So sharing seems a good idea
I will struggle to read and see
There's hurt combined with fear

Her pony tail her loving arms
My sisters in her face - and me
What will I learn of her aspirations
All the things she wanted to be

Sad blue of the paper blue of the pen
Blue in each letter written back then
There's blue in thinking about her again
When will I recover I don't know when

51 years later grief can rise be real
Camouflaged it waits in ambush
The loss the pain once more I feel
I have no trust in life

Maybe one day I'll let this blue sadness go
Release it to an infinitely clear blue sky
I'll stand tall throw back my arms and head
And no longer suffer what if or why

A response to a d’verse challenge from Sarah that coincides with an often unexpected recurring sadness / blueness https://dversepoets.com/2021/05/11/blue-tuesday/

The victim

 
I knew fear
When the bully turned his attention to me
When his sneer settled into a satisfied smirk
Accompanied by a condescending glare
Comprised of evil glints behind the blackest of eyes
and a palpably hot internal furnace of anger

He knowingly appraised me
He looked into my very soul
He asked himself the unspoken questions
only I should have known the answers to,
but he determined in a instant
What vulnerability lies here?
What weakness can I exploit
to the point of causing immediate pain
and then
terrible ongoing hurt?

Thus
I became a victim
I let him use my own low self esteem
as the leverage necessary to do me harm
To render me powerless to resist
To enable me to damage myself even further
To punish myself for allowing
the damage to be done

I became complicit
in my own degradation and misery

With no one to blame but myself

Lover’s touch

The curve and swing of shapely hip 
Inclines my eye to stray aslip
Invites a touch a lover’s grip
That pulls you in for ear lobe nip

My hand upon your rising chest
Tells me how deep you are at rest
The rate and depth of rise and fall
Is enough to tell a lover all

The fingertips that stroke my back
Are fingertips with lover’s knack
For tantalising or powerful pressure
To change a mood for love or leisure

My lips upon your upraised mouth
As tongues flicker lightly about
Full and soft moist and wet
I cannot forgo I’ll ne’er forget

The foot that strokes my leg in bed
Before we sleep each night has said
With this caress I love you each night
A touch confirming love’s delight

The cheek that absorbs teardrops weight
Is the cheek I brush for comfort’s sake
At the pleasure of our love’s great joy
At grief’s sadness when loss employs

The Bridge

My response to Lillian’s d’verse challenge to write a poem in a modern form called the Puente. The first and third stanza must have an equal number of lines and be connected by a second stanza bridging line demarked by the tilde. https://dversepoets.com

We dreamed of a bridge to adulthood
When we bought a house looking good
We’d settle as a family
My wild days behind me
Having scrimped and saved all we could

~the bridging finance broke us~

The deposit we mustered and paid
The lender suspiciously delayed
We were soon out of pocket
Bridging costs on the docket
Lost the house and felt quite betrayed

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