Sample Poems

Behind the River Reeds                © Yan Sun

Across the river

behind the reeds

there lives a Water Dragon

so they say.

 

Finally I find my way there

on a hot summer’s day;

Under the big wooden wheel

water splashes happily;

Pushing through green reeds

I gasp:

It’s him –

the secretive Water Dragon!

 

No shining scales

just lots of bones

brown, muddy and v-e-r-y long;

It stretches into the rice paddy

that knows no bounds.

 

Take off my sandals

climb onto the Dragon

slowly I start to walk

and before long I run

I feel the Dragon moving;

I am flying!

higher and higher

on the Dragon’s back…

Brothers             © Christopher Ringrose

Some days we walk back from school together.

Other days, you’re with mates.

That’s OK.

 

I like that photo of us on the beach

squinting into the sun

and Mum’s camera.

 

I don’t know how you can go on eating

long after I’m full to busting

 

I wasn’t ever going to speak to you again.

Lasted an hour.

 

I was watching that jacket

get too small for you.

Some hand-me-downs are OK.

 

You’re stronger than you look.

I should know!

 

You have to be loyal

and not talk about brothers with others

unless they’re telling the good stuff.

 

I keep looking for a game

where I’m better than you.

You don’t seem to care about that.

 

It’s funny how,

in the photos in the album,

we look a little less like each other

each year.

 

You were a funny-looking bub

in those old photos.

Or, wait . . . was that me?

 

There are just a few things

I keep hidden from you:

a fossil, a diary, a feather, a fear.

 

Charlie Cat         © Kathryn Hamann

At the window my Singapura

the world’s smallest cat

sits in a concentration

of looking looking in-

to the unreflecting world

 

Is it he? (or I?) seeing

that inner cat

the mountain lion

Before my world began…            © Janette Fernando

God was there

present

planning who I would be.

 

I think of God

knitting me together

love in every stitch

designing my one-off fingerprints

unique DNA

choosing my colours –

skin, hair, eyes

laying down my potential

shape, size, weight

gently curving my bones

to fit together

 

Then

breathing life into me

making up my mind

holding me together

making me whole

 

So

here I am now

weathered by the years

worn thin in places

patched up in others

every break

every tear

mended by

God’s own hands

 

I am

Fearfully

Wonderfully

Made

 Childish Things  © Jean Sietzema-Dickson

 I’ll make a list of all the things

with which my childhood really rings:

of clocks and socks

and chicken pox,

of toys and joys

with playing blocks,

of thrills and spills

in climbing trees,

of blackberries

and wounded knees,

of rhymes and times

of reading books

and kitchen fun

of playing cooks

of cubby houses in the bush

and swinging branches with a whoosh…

 

of picnics at the creek below our house

where we played “Pooh Sticks”.  It was “grouse”.

Dropping sticks the upstream side

we ran across to watch them glide

out from beneath the bridge.  The creek

flowed slowly.  We had time to seek

for berries on the bank.

Not these days!

Our adult lives rush

past us in a haze.

Disparity            © Carolyn Vimpani

agapanthus blooms

azure skies

monochromatic match for

the prone child’s seersucker sun-suit

 

pervasive lethargy permeates

accentuated by

droning bees harvesting sweetness

distant lapping of rhythmic waves

 

Toby, sea-gull chasing satiated

salt-water saturated

joyously sprays rainbow droplets

wet nose nuzzling his child-friend

 

unable to comprehend

the splinted rigidity of

this child who has danced

her way through life…

 

now immobile

elsewhere          ©Carolyn Vimpani

for seventy years

immersed in things manly

little time to savour life’s joys

 

now

as daily life becomes

complex

confronting

he recedes into

a world of boy-hood dreams

where reality is

undemanding

safe

 

a sphere where gentle

mother-love abounds

a familiar place he once knew

where no-one else can go

Fish                      © Mary Jones

In the beginning is the idea.

You stir beneath the surface,

throwing up ripples, eddies,

troublesome bubbles

 

until your sleek head rises

through swirls of foam

to stare me in the eye

and I am hooked.

Hauled from the depths

into an alien world

you slither through primeval mud

to flounder at my feet.

 

In your first faltering breaths

you look to me for guidance.

I struggle to understand you,

make you welcome in my world.

I feed you, groom you, nurture you,

until you rocket through

my dreams and out the other side

beyond imagination.

Foreseen            © Don Helmore

Except you become as little children

you will not enter the heavens.   Matthew Ch.18:3.

 

Bend, and depth-look

into a wee babe’s eyes.

You may peek through

lucid pupils

into warm womb wonder.

In time, beyond

that unborn place,

the acorn mysteries

form a moving

complexity.

Wholesome seed memory

directs wise thought.

Heavens spirit.

Look within wee babes eyes,

Go soon my friends.

Inner Child         (c) Jean Sietzema-Dickson

My inner child

wants to play

all day

 

You say, There’s work for you.

I say that’s for you to do

Not me!

 Nonagenarian                 © Joan Ray

They’ve dressed her neatly

in slacks and twinset,

sprayed her hair

and powdered her nose,

even added a touch of lippie.

She sits apart, in a chair

in the Day Room,

waiting…   watching

the entrance door.

 

I approach with my dog,

meaning to greet her.

She cuts me short:

Where’s my hat?

Mum will be here,

any minute, to fetch me.

It’s home time now –

               mustn’t be late!

Perfect Partum               © Sandra Topp

 Newborn as an old man

turns pink and fresh before our eyes

tiny hand reaches out.

 

We are speechless

in awe of another miracle of birth

as we take his hand.

 

With one look he is ours

hereditary bonds tie the knot

that bind him for life.

The Salon           © Leigh Hay

 I find them together

quiet as mice

‘Ted’ sitting upright on a little wooden chair

the floor beneath a growing mound

of nylon shavings    faintly blue

the colour of him.

 

She’s wielding scissors

(her very own pair)

vigorously cutting

giving Ted a trim.

 

“It won’t grow back”    I gently tell her.

 

Then I chance a look at hand-me-down Ted ─

legs and arms of moulting fuzz

his glassy bead      an eye job in need

jacket faded       stuffing missing

and a button nose that’s seen better days…

 

…and I quietly go back to the ironing.

 Carnival            © Maree Silver

The caravan convoy arrives

transforms vacant land

in town centre

 

Tents shelter

attractions and games

Clamorous music lures

 

Aromas float and mingle

tempting taste buds

hot dogs    deep fried chips

 

Fairy floss     sticky to touch

spun-sugary sweetness

melts in mouth

tongues stained vibrant pink

 

Billy Sharman’s boxing tent

drums up business,

a magnet for local lads

to fight for prize money

 

Over eighteens

shoot knock-down ducks

Open-mouthed clowns

gape side to side

luck wins a reward

 

The merry-go-round

entices young jockeys

fantasy horses

prance up and down

 

Exotic children

join our class

Tales of travel

and excitement

fascinate town kids

 

The ensemble remains

a short time

before rumbling on to

another town

Tea Party            © Joy Chellew

Today it lives in a crystal cabinet

my bright little china teapot

shaped like an English cottage.

It’s not valuable to anyone but me.

You see, the secret of its worth

is safely deposited and stored away

in my own special memory bank.

Time was when I arranged

tea parties on lonely afternoons

lovingly shaping pretend cakes

with mud and grass and pretty petals

to share with Betsy, my china doll,

and we took tea and happily chatted.

You think that strange?

I enjoyed those quiet hours

and happy conversations.

In my imagination

our back yard became

my imitation English garden.

To this day I remember

how that little china teapot

poured away all my loneliness.

Rowboat             © Maree Silver

Pushing out from

an inlet’s reed-bed

into the amber river

we head upstream

Oars rest in rowlocks

bend stroke bend

body in harmony

at one with the boat

Sun shines through cobalt

warming soothing

young bodies

bather clad

Rays glint from wavelets

splashing gently into banks

Green parrots’ staccato screeches

warn the flock of our intrusion

Reaching Picnic Bend

we swim sunbake

play on the sandy beach

savour our al fresco lunch

Relaxed for return journey

downstream with the current

oars dip and draw around

fallen trees and branches

Arriving back at

our sheltered haven

oars are shipped

Tiny Tim made safe

Summer holidays

have just begun

Childish Things                © Jean Sietzema-Dickson

I’ll make a list of all the things

with which my childhood really rings:

of clocks and socks

and chicken pox,

of toys and joys

with playing blocks,

of thrills and spills

in climbing trees,

of blackberries

and wounded knees,

of rhymes and times

of reading books

and kitchen fun

of playing cooks

of cubby houses in the bush

and swinging branches with a whoosh…

of picnics at the creek below our house

of playing Pooh Sticks It was ‘grouse’.

Dropping sticks the upstream side

we ran across to watch them glide

out from beneath the bridge. The creek

flowed slowly. We had time to seek

for berries on the bank.

Not these days!

Our adult lives rush

past us in a haze.

Phoebe                                © Cecily Falkingham

here she comes, our little princess

she dances lightly in her new pink shoes

multi-coloured ribbons shine

on her bouncing curls

eyes shining, she spins and weaves

her happiness sweeps us up and carries

us to a new realm, where each

minute is precious, each second enough

we could learn a lot from this child

she already knows some of

life’s big secrets

embrace the now, dance, laugh, sing, love,

explore and share these gifts

put on the music grandma, let’s dance

Newborn            Janette Fernando

Two become one

and you are conceived,

the moment of birth draws near.

No longer confined,

you are exposed.

We see who you are

and we name you.

You look so perfect –

ten fingers, ten toes, such tiny nails,

a wise but innocent face.

Fragile, yet strong,

helpless, but free;

your life a paradox.

The cord is cut

and one becomes two.

The letting go begins.

Waterfight         © Peter White

the water flies

loaded arcs of riotous laughter

cascades of ever building crescendos

down hair, faces, tummies, leg

pools on the grass

slowly turning to mud

delighted yelps of oh no!

help! ring out

like rays of sunshine

bathing the park in summer

wet bodies ducking, weaving

behind slides, trees, somewhere to hide

drenched but elated

tired and wrung out

water buckets packed and stowed

hair shaken out

drying bodies pick up towels

car keys, drive themselves home

Behind the River Reeds    © Yan Sun

Across the river

behind the reeds

there lives a Water Dragon

so they say.

Finally I find my way there

on a hot summer’s day;

under the big wooden wheel

water splashes happily.

Pushing through green reeds

I gasp:

It’s him –

the secretive Water Dragon!

No shining scales

just lots of bones

brown, muddy and v-e-r-y long;

it stretches into the rice paddy

that knows no bounds.

Take off my sandals

climb onto the Dragon

slowly I start to walk

and before long I run.

I feel the Dragon moving;

I am flying!

Higher and higher

on the Dragon’s back…

 

Foreseen            © Don Helmore

‘Except you become as little children

you will not enter the heavens.’ Matt 18:3

Bend, and depth-look

into a wee babe’s eyes.

You may peek through

lucid pupils

into warm womb wonder.

In time, beyond

that unborn place,

the acorn mysteries

form a moving

complexity.

Wholesome seed memory

directs wise thought.

Heaven’s spirit.

Look within wee babe’s eyes,

go soon my friends.

The Salon           © Leigh Hay

I find them together

quiet as mice

‘Ted’ sitting upright on a little wooden chair

the floor beneath a growing mound

of nylon shavings faintly blue

the colour of him.

She’s wielding scissors

(her very own pair)

vigorously cutting

giving Ted a trim.

“It won’t grow back” I gently tell her.

Then I chance a look at hand-me-down Ted –

legs and arms of moulting fuzz

his glassy bead an eye job in need

jacket faded stuffing missing

and a button nose that’s seen better days…

…and I quietly go back to the ironing.

Child at the March          © Catherine m Barnard

Thousands in the city street:

I meet a big dog with massive feet.

His master says he walks today

for many creatures who have no say

as to how they like their habitat.

So many people: I have my dad.

Someone parades as a polar bear;

their ice is melting, so I hear.

Parents with little kids hanging on;

we join the chant – it’s like a song.

All sorts of people with placards;

mine’s a huge green cardboard heart:

Save our beautiful earth!

The rambler     (c) Joan Ray

Today I’m first to walk the park
no foot-mark on the dew-white grass
but mine interwoven there
festoons of paw prints where
my dogs have coursed        on
and around my track          loping
in sweeping loops and curves
the prints a growing rambler rose
my steady path the trunk    theirs
the interlacing boughs
where they pause to sniff
green patches sprout like leaves

 joy blossoms
scents the sparkling air.

Sideways (c) Greg Burns

Eyes stare through the gap.

Eyes where I had expected

no eyes to be.

Sideways,

one atop the other,

low in the doorway

they gaze.

Brilliant white they

peer from darkest face

within a darkened room.

Eyes gaze at me.

Those eyes had seen

the loss of one parent

and the grief of another.

Seen brothers and sisters

become fatherless

in a homeland

filled with conflict.

Eyes that fled the place with

its violence,

that saw the

struggle to survive

amidst the

flood of human grief,

eyes that wept tears, which

ran dry.

Eyes that now brim

With curiosity:

They splash their

humour across the doorway,

look from a place of darkness

upon a place of

sunshine

and hope.

Hills hoist  (c) Sue Donnelly

lanky legs

hang upside down

right side up

girlish giggles

somersault slide

on wooden pegs

wind-lashed smiles

dusted with dirt

dance with the sun

mischievous clouds

spin dreams

on the wind

as lanky legs

dream

of flying free

Double helix   (c) Peter White

the sunlight

splays

like a double helix

on the trunk

over the water

up and down

down and up

whilst in the shadows

an endless array

of nature’s neon lights

Suds   (c) Don Helmore

Often I remember him, with clarity

when I hear that song

not only sung gustily but he swam the

Yellow Submarine,

over and over, somehow under water

“ello suds-arine”.

The chubby two year old body sudsy bubbled

rainbowed his bathing,

his serious countenance steering plastic duck

under thighs, awkward

but quite expressively. “ello suds-arine,

ello suds-arine”.

Beyond his taut toes the fallen black beetle

thrashed wings, t’wards drowning,

struggling amongst circles of iridescence.

“Gramps, I get out now”.

Lifting my slippery grandchild to the warmed towel

my shirt dripped cuddles.

“ello suds-arine, the ello suds-arine”.

I scooped out the bug.

Wind song  (c) Cath m Barnard

wind chimes

swinging

five notes singing

each note sounds

to make a new song

your note and yours,

yours, yours and mine

melodies lifting

to carry the chime

each breath of wind

begins a new rhythm

rising and moving

lifted away

silent now

waiting

breath of the spirit

to bring a new song –

sing a new day

             

Exultation   (c) Sandra Topp

Stained glass filtered light

exquisitely, ethereal in the cathedral

shrouds the silent organ.

Heavenly notes now rise

exalting voices of cherubic boys

praising their Lord.

Stained glass filtered light

shimmers with incandescent delight

heralding awakening spirit.

Winter daffodil  (c) Xiaoli Yang

This morning

against the dew-weeping sky blind

for the first time

some drops of daring yellow

 are painted in my garden canvas

After a long winter

buried in the dark

they decide to poke their heads out

 waving in the cold wind

Beaming in the midst of grey

they bless me in whispers

 and dance over me in the breeze

just as they are

splashes of life

even though you are no longer here

 to sing with me

The fountain  (c) Jean Sietzema-Dickson

The sound

more than the sight

is soothing

though sight can mesmerise…

   patterns crossing

   and re-crossing

     falling

          ever

             falling.

            .

  But sound,

 a murmur of summer bees

               of doves

           of traffic, muted by distance

 water, gurgling and splashing!!!

Restores me

 momentarily

  to the care-freedom of childhood.

Summer garden remembered  (c) Rebecca Maxwell

East Ringwood

sunlight’s red kisses flush

globes of warm tomatoes

nestled in pungent leaves.

bordering the tomato bed,

wide-eyed marigolds radiate

countless solar reflections,

illuminating their surroundings.

then higher up, nearer the house,

gleam bright orange Meyer lemons

festooning the sombre foliage

like frangrant micro suns

shining into the kitchen window.

and a row of tall tansy figures

wearing sunhat florets

of strident yellow pompoms

dance in gentle swaying wind rhythm

with a graceful parallel row

of sturdy pink-hatted yarrow.

straight stately corncobs

guard their buttery yellow kernels

in demure swaddling,

and form the firm boundary

between growing plants

and solid path.

Murray River Reflections  (c) Maree Silver

River overflows

     in age-old

           cycle

         Parched country,

 ancient red gums

               drink deeply

         Hushed stillness,

                 motionless air,

   reflections float and flicker ̶

 land and water merge,

      image and reality create

             a masterpiece

      Mallee mystery

engulfs

Exposure    (c) Leigh Hay

where a copse of trees

blocks the sun –

there lies the frost

where walls and angles

shade the path –

there lies the frost

where fences squat –

a dusting of ice

where puddles freeze slivered needles

where ditches lie open

to Winter’s wee hours

and grass between cobblestones

curls stiff and rigid –

there my gloved fingers rest

my breath is seen

 my boots crunch

and Winter knows well

there’s Spring in my step

Lullaby  (c) Janette Fernando

 Bush camp on the Tanami Track, NT.

I hold my face to the wind

the night

God

whistling in my ears

brushing my hair

with the breeze

lighting my face

with stars

stroking my cheeks

with moonlit fingers

sighing me to sleep

A benediction  (c)  Cameron Semmens

God,

We have dreams –

fill them with your angels.

We have hopes –

may they fly free

on the winds of your spirit.

We have desires –

give us strength to channel them

towards lifeand others

and you.

Amen.