Fooled

 
I saw a creature in long shaded grass
Apparently brown and moving fast
It turned and twisted while trying to pass
Through slender grain of yellow cast

I looked some time at its bobbing head
At its swinging tail strange pointed red
The smooth curved back came round again
Fluidly rodent it looked up at me then

To my surprise it turned out to be
Not a snake or rodent looking at me
But of avian descent with full head to see
A juvenile rosella stared knowingly

Who’d have thought such bright disguise
Could cloud the vision of observer eyes
On the ground coloured plumage denied
Flashy brilliance so vivid in the sky

magpie

that magpie
has been
sitting on that bough
for half an hour
black and white
against the crying sky
it chortles and carols
from time to time
i watch and listen
biding my moment
despite the march of time
i look up and down
magpie looks left and right
we witness the crying sky
present and separate
each in place
some kind of joy
and the sky cries on

Lessons in love

 
Yearning
Devotion
Tenderness
Disturb your equilibrium
 
Ardour
Amorousness
Attachment
Just let them come
 
Endearment
Affection
Move in your direction
This movement can’t be smothered
 
Sweetheart
Dear heart
Give your far and near heart
Wherever to your beloved
 
Hold it
Extol it
Embrace, enfold it
The desire for your one and only other
 
Give it
Take it
Taste it
The passion for your lover
 
Freely love
Don’t measure love
Pleasure your love
Give no reason for redress
 
Miss your love
Kiss your love
Bliss your love
Speak your love, confess
Trust love
You can love
Appreciate love lost
The benefits you will see
 
In love
Of love
For love
Love was, is and will be

enclosed

today i am wrapped in a cloak of rain
enclosed in my own world
the smallest of human worlds
rain’s grey shawl renders me invisible
everything around me, invisible
the sky is invisible
the only thing i know to be true is that my feet are on the ground
i can almost believe
i am the only person
to ever have been here and now
then i realise i am
and it is kind of nice

I read poetry

I read poetry and that strikes me as something of a strange thing to do because I perceive the large majority of people don’t. Why would they when it is so often hard work? Finding the rhythm if there is one, gleaning the meaning, interpreting the language and often deliberately obscure references to matters of apparent yet not obvious significance. 

Poetry is where we can discover more than words alone can convey. Where more can be said than with words themselves by unconventionally contextualising their expression.

But without effort there is no reward. Oh my, I read poetry because it calls to me. Whether baldly belligerent or so subtle as to confound. I often thrill and marvel at meanings real and imagined, stimulated through another’s mind in the most pure yet ill defined form of communication I can follow. Where numerical patterns, rhyme, metre, syntax, verse and free form prose all rate as valid, where everyone who can write has an opportunity to write in their own unique way. Where understanding is so fluid you can literally read a passage as if it’s meaning is either explicit, implicit or complicit. Every which way will be different. Where poetry trumps language there will always be found adventure!

The art of deception

 
 To be deceived by art
 Is where the pleasure lies
 As Oscar Wilde said
 When the finished work dries
  
 Art unexplained
 Awaits reference in time
 For art to have context
 Someone must find
 An intrinsic meaning
 An enchantment or spell
 A hard fact or history 
 That explains it well
  
 So ethereal
 This imaginative bent
 Where art creates product
 But may not pay rent
  
 The elusive success
 Of an artist such as me
 Depends on the work
 And conveying what we see 
  
 To be reminded of something
 That may not be there
 Is the way we see art
 Reminiscent or bared
  
 The artist displays 
 What the artist portrays
 The observers creates
 What the observer says
  
 And the feeling is surreal
 This fraught disconnect
 Must artists defer 
 To the critics subject
  
 Is it in artist’s deceit
 Where the pleasure lies
 Taking the work 
 and working it wise
  
 Psychological or literal
 The interpretation applied
 Is anything worthy
 In a meaning belied
  
 With all the definition in 
 Every artists hand
 The lines of description
 Are at critics command
  
 The intensity of design
 Or depicting a glance
 For artist and critic
 It’s the art of chance
  
 Is ugly ugly
 Or is it brave and true
 Is beauty beauty
 Or a sop to me and you
  
 Only the artist knows
 Where the artist goes
 But as deception grows
 Across art shows
 The artist bows
 To the stories faux
 As the critics row
 And the sponsors crow
 And the buyers coo
 Gallery owners woo
 speculators too
 Attempt to choose
 The number 1 pick
 That makes art slick
 To turn a buck
 Art by the truck
 Instead of art refined
 As in the artist‘s mind
 But only the artist knows
 Where the artist goes

Kookaburra

Portrait of a Kookaburra
Ever watch a kookaburra
Sweep in from on high
In a perfect arc
Geometry made art
Beak as an arrowhead
Body flat as an arrow
Piercing the air
Fletched tail as rudder
Precision steering
A dart to the bullseye
Wings not moving a millimetre
Purposeful focussed targeted
Missile like glide
Ever watch a kookaburra?

Thoughts on art (from the NGV & me)

NGV escalator view
The artwork that changed me
Art in the time of pandemic
Let there be love
Making in isolation
Being in the vanguard of art and commerce brings depth and meaning and joy to the human experience
Art and engagement in times of change
Returning to unfinished works
Playful sessions
Return to simplicity
Art and design that speaks
Art and design that speaks to stories, preoccupations and traditions of our past, the moments of our times, the anticipations of various futures
With an intelligent eye
A familiar panoramic landscape
Bush walks highlands
Unconscious thoughts deigned to tease
Free form associations in response to amorphous
Deceiving the eye visual forms
Linear perspective
Questions of perspective, identity collective lack of knowledge
Reinvigorating textiles
Reworked to shift the original message
Monumental canvasses of vibrant colour
Markings in the sand with a bent stick
Monochrome drawings strike a chord
Audaciously different
Leaving their travels in the sand
A fluid state of synchronicity
A black and white stencil through a coloured door
Uncertainty fragility and unrest art calm connection and inspiration
Something unexpected
Reflect and expand
Shifts and transformations
Arts education is not a luxury
Day to day scenes of everyday life of regular people
Drink it all in
Bathe in it
Melted int the scene
The agonising process of resurrecting
An avid sketcher visually documents surroundings
Inspired by vibrant street life
Gravitation fought my attention as an invisible but omnipresent power
Nothing is simple, nothing is something, nothing is nothing
Everything is influenced by gravity
A force with a strong shaping effect
Th most important step is the mixture of the materials
A gathering of dear friends
Art compels us to reflect on our own uncertainty
Find the richness there
Artworks that provide intrigue and inspiration
This reminds me of
Calming and upsetting at the same time
The sadness in your eyes
Who is watching over you
The comfort and security this can bring
In dark times, when things seem absurd and surreal, companionship can bring us solace
Capture my imagination in a thousand ways
It is not a picture of something, the image is a character.
Are you a ghost or some sort of divine being?
Off kilter, uncertain.
Floating in space.
The space it inhabits is rich.
The textures are luminous and creamy.
The character maintains a clownish buoyancy in a transitional realm.
Awkward and serene at the same time
Printed, flocked and foiled
Beauty exists in paradoxes and puzzles.
Reflect on your own uncertainly and find richness there.
The quiet observer.
Meet the challenge, decipher the layers.
How to slow down and reengage with surroundings
Unravelling significance
A direct gaze, expressive hands conveying self assurance tinged by a light sense of uneasiness or tension
Hybridisation of life
Worlds based on symbiosis rather than exploitation and domination
Each person is lost in private thought about their own personal existence.
She now lives her life at the peak intensity the rest of us pretend too.
The images are figurative, liquid non realistic and strange
This work this artist this friend this moment change everything
Texture dapples depth and luminosity

Finding Middle Earth

	1. My father read Tolkien to me as a kid. It was the 1960s. 
2. Tolkien is still popular now. Sadly this fact more arises from movie reviews than book reads. Movies can be great, but also they lose so much. I wonder why people do not experience FOMO when they have only viewed the movie and there is a whole book waiting to be read?
3. A single book can change the world. Tolkien’s four books of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings created new worlds of imagination, changed the world of literature and the world of art would never be the same again.
4. My father’s copies had stiff cardboard covers encased in a red fabric fading to pinkish. The fabric was worn to threadbare in places such as the corners and finger grip sites. The spines were ragged and peeling.
5. The physical books themselves looked and felt to me as timeless as the story.
6. My father was in his late 20s or early 30s. He was full of energy. He loved to read.
7. I don’t know where those books went. I have owned other editions in paperback, but despite three rereads, they never read quite the same way.
8. Possibly one of my sisters still has those first Lord of the Rings books I inhabited.
9. In my teens, I met many people who read and reread Tolkien. Quite appropriately at the time, another thing we had in common was being permanently stoned.
10. Tolkien was interesting all over again in my teens while we smoked and toked like chimneys.
11. It didn’t matter who you mixed with when you were permanently stoned. Almost everyone was interesting in a pumped up, flattened out sort of way. So you could readily share Tolkien imagery in one way or another.
12. I met many people who thought they were connected to other worlds in that time. Middle Earth was often their gateway.
13. Middle Earth was my gateway to the other amazing worlds of sci fi and fantasy. They remain as close as I ever got to the more esoteric experiences though. Not for lack of trying.
14. Some people said they had mastered astral travelling. I liked the idea of watching my detached body from the ceiling while it lay on a bed or the floor or a couch below as I prepared to launch myself into otherworldly places.
15. I never mastered astral travelling. Although I did master tripping on several occasions.
16. As weird and wonderful as tripping could be, Tolkien’s Middle Earth was more real, coherent and creative. Eventually I decided I preferred the Middle Earths of this world.
17. Middle Earth has deep cultural experiences in which to partake. It is full of creativity, new beings, new languages, rituals, text based and oral histories, poetry and songs.
18. Every time a poem or song came along my father went into character such that he gave life to these many cultures so I could understand them better and live them through him.
19. As an adult I will never return to Middle Earth in quite the same way, so I am so grateful I went there first as a child.
20. I hope I have given some of the same experiences to my children as a father and I look forward to trying again as a grandfather.
21. To CRT Mathews and JRR Tolkien - I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the world of Middle Earth.

Brittle

Brittle branch breaks under weight of bird landing
Falls to ground
Alarmed bird flutters to new bough
Insects break down branch
All is right with the world

Butterfly lands on native flower head
Tongue extends for life giving nectar
Butterfly moves on
Flower is pollenated
All may be right with the world

Mountain Water flows over rock
Down toward the sea
Sediment forms floodplain soil
Landscapes bloom with new life
All was right with the world

Forests, grasslands, wetlands and ocean life
Breathe for and cleanse earth and sky
Working together
part of a whole
All is not right with the world

Broken branch is tidied up by gardener
Native flower is replaced by agricultural product
Mountain water is harvested for commercial gain
Land and ocean are raided
Diversity is diminished

Brittle the world breaks

The Gambler

 
Precedence
is chance
The roll is a fast
chaotic dance

The die is cast
numbers spin
Will luck outlast
the spin I’m in?

The dotted faces
turn and prop
bounce and hop
My future turns
on fortune’s stop

Excitement
Anticipation
Fulfilment
or suffocation

Desperation
Indecision
High risk taking
recidivism

Bound for glory
is my folly
Wracked and ruined
that’s my story

Highs feed lows
on pure vainglory

Today’s dVerse prompt from Ingrid was for a subject of each poet’s choosing. This one came from a draft I had on gambling, a subject I have been trying to get my head around.

The first sunset

When you go out of your way to pay a special visit to a reputedly special place to await and watch what is reputedly the best sunset atop the best vantage point in the country
What do you expect to see?
The first true signs of the end of days the man with the straggly long hair and dropping moustache stated categorically
Glory in all its vividly obscene dissipating layers said one
A solid shaft of pure golden light representing the pathway to heaven said another
The small group sitting in the rock beside me said it was the last sunset they always came to see, but they hadn’t seen it yet
A couple on the other side of the hill crest said they came for the purity of love they experienced every evening together under the setting sun
A man and his dog told me they found in the descent of lonely Sol a parallel with their own existence dying each day and reborn alone each morning no matter how splendid each evening looked to others
There was a small girl in rags come up from the squalid town below. She saw hope in the sunset of an escape into a world of bright light and enchantment away from her stolid grey existence
There was an off duty policeman present. He came to wish all the bad things he saw done every day depart below the horizon before he could sleep at night
A woman all dressed in white told me her life was colourless and joyless except for this moment every day where she could finally grasp the meaning of true beauty before she forgot what it was in the black of night 
A priest in his hot black tunic and white collar was saying a prayer as I passed. Bless this world with the light of another day
An aged pensioner said he came to pay his respects to the newly dead as they left this life for the darkness and left him one day more alone
A trail runner had run all the way to the top because it was there, but he had to get back before nightfall lest he stumble or lose his way
A group of drug affected alts were there to optimise the effect of their high in natural harmony with the earth the sun the solar system and the universe as their synthesised meds could make them
An artist was there to capture the waning beauty of Ra’s life giving fireball on a canvas 2m square
An astronomer and a night watchman came together not for the sunset, but for the starlight to follow. Their interest was in the understanding and security of the afterglow. 
A marketing businessman came to follow the money wherever money might be found, he was always up for a look at a business opportunity wondering how he could leverage the sunset to his financial advantage. 
I found a quiet spot of my own right atop the stony summit and looked with the other people sitting there across the broad brown plain below, the towns with their lights blinking on one by one, the smoke rising from eternal hearth fires, stubble fires, waste fires, methane  columns and coal pits 
I saw the permanent haze along the curvature of the earth, the grey brown band of smog climbing into the atmosphere the sooty stain on the sun and I realised there was no magnificent sunset here every evening It was a man made illusion comprised of the load of filth pumped incessantly into the air
I knew then I had come to view not the sunset but witness the tangible manifestation of decline
So I left that summit to discover if there remained views from cleaner clearer summits 
My journey took me around the world I saw the sun set on other plains hills mountains lakes oceans and ice caps
I met talked and planned with others who along with me wanted to rediscover the first pristine sunset and see it resurrected 
At the last summit I attended I met just one man and one woman who had been at that place sitting walking watching talking and awaiting just one pure sunset together forever
I asked them what they had learned?
They said that it will come

Stops

The lock stops access
The clock stops time
The drug stops abscess
The organ stops rhyme
The boot stops turning
The period stops lines
The water stops burning
The cleaner stops grime
The valve stops pressure
The jar stops brine
The ruler stops measure
The law stops crime
The plug stops water
The wave stops sine
The truth stops laughter
The pump stops prime
The grass stops growing
The bottle stops wine
The gardner stops mowing 
The devil stops divine
The food stops hunger 
The hunger that is mine
This stop goes no longer
Than this very last line

Their hands

 
Their hands when they touch
Flow from rolling of wrists
Each touch is a signal
Each touch is a kiss

Their fingers are folding
On whispers and secrets
Cupped hands are holding
All ahead that will be

Their fingers trace circles
On their palms telling futures
Tender are the touches
Of their hands as their tutors

Their hands rest together
One on top of the other
Their hands mark their measure
Their harmonious hands

Their hands spread out
Open and true
Telling each story
Each soul on view

Hands hold each heart
Supporting each core
Their hands do the learning
Of what more to adore

The extension of hands
The parallel lines
Pads of sensitive fingers
Their dreaming defines

There are fists and shaking
The are dips and rise
There are quivering fingers
Before flickering eyes

When hands arc with arms
To gracious embrace
The lovers say nothing
As hands touch each face

Delicate lines are drawn
Across soft skinned cheeks
Then with touches to lips
Mouths start to seek

Two seeing hands
guide the blind
Sensuous and caressing they massage
to unwind

Four hands synchronise
to breathe in kind
in waves of love
entwined

Peer lust Peer sorrow Regrets I carry into Every Tomorrow

Rum tum tum Rum tum tum
I succumbed
Rum tum tum
When the words were flung

Saw the bait Saw the bait
Thrown to peers alust with hate
Saw the bait 
Do its work to humiliate

Watched his face Watched his face
Cloud to the many shades of disgrace
Watched his face 
Laid waste by such bitter taste

Witnessed the scorn Witnessed the scorn
For one different and elsewhere born
Witnessed the scorn 
As with thorny crown he was adorned

Turned my head Turned my head
When more weaponised words were said
Turned my head 
Away from watching as his heart bled

Felt my shame Felt my shame
As passive part of this vicious game
Felt my shame 
My brutal silence my silence to blame

I still regret I still regret 
No one’s eyes to have met
I still regret 
Complicit inaction I can’t forget

Where is he now? Where is he now?
Is he high or is he low?
Where is he now?
Does anger in him burn aglow?

Sanaa asked we poets to explore the issue of peer pressure for this week’s dVerse prompt. I expect there are few people anywhere who can claim complete innocence. Have you got anything to say for yourself?

life is to death as tears are to rain

Bright is the light that shines on me 
as I dwell finally
in deathbed reverie
the doctor he talks
and talks and he talks

my wife she weeps
and weeps and she weeps
and time it creeps
and creeps and it creeps

what is this light that shines above
lights pallid face of death
to my love
the darkness it resists
and resists and it resists

in brilliance it glows
and glows and it glows
in radius it grows
and grows and it grows

this light that calls me as my light fades
this light that draws me
to the night of shades
with death it walks
and walks and it walks

my feeble hand I raise and wave
I waver and it waves
faces watch uncertain so grave
grave and so grave

I see my hand stir dust in the air
second last thing I will see anywhere
the dust it wafts
and wafts and it wafts

my brow is mopped
and mopped and is mopped
my hand drops
I drop and it drops

as dust I settle back onto deaths bed
into the pillow sinks my head
life’s weight I shed
I shed and I shed

looking down into the room
I am surprised it is lit
by only gloom
the husk has collapsed
collapsed collapsed

hollowed of life
of life and of life
beside my wife
my wife my beloved wife

the dust dispersed draws my spirit in
and back to dust
I go again
the gift I leave is small but complete
I was loved and I loved
I am replete

Today’s dverse prompt is from Laura, to write words of departure based on your choice from a set of quotes. I chose the quote from a favourite and most remarkable movie – “All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.” Roy Batty, Blade Runner.

Dreamland

 
Ah, my chimeric and fanciful place
A world to inhabit when I displace
Where food is abundant and water is clear
Where choices are free I’ll ne’er shed a tear
Where sharing is normal no money spent
Home is a shelter without mortgage or rent
Ideas are born to be actioned for pleasure
Actions occur for outcomes or leisure
Thinking is respected intellectual pursuit
Everyone loves and all follow suit
Where judging is absent because no one judges
Where grudges are absent because no one grudges
Where religion only follows the Gaia led path
To planetary health such joy makes me laugh
My friends are my friends conflict unknown
We simply marvel at how friendship keeps growing

Said Prospero, “Every third thought shall be of my grave.”

 
What Prospero said should not be decried
Give death a rightful standing in our lives
As a lens through which to view the good for which we strive
To ponder temporal versus eternal that is always nigh
To elevate appreciation and despondency defy
 
And so, when vibrant youth immortality implies
When healthy vigour makes the future glisten in our eyes
When happiness is at its peak with all that it supplies
When prosperity creates opportunity many are denied
When security is such that all our fears it belies
Take a moment to remember it is only life that dies
 
Value life through death as on times fleeting wings it flies
The mind that honours death values life on high

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