Day 25 — make love not war (3 for the price of 1 today)

For once, I don’t feel conflicted about writing an Anzac Day Poem. And as happened 2 days ago with Bill Shakey Day, (& last year for both days) having a superimposed theme (“love” this year, “climate change” last) made me look at the day in a whole new way — which in turn has generated not 1, not 2, but 3 poems of which I am exceedingly pleased. 

Looking at love in war time is a wonderful way to get around the whole uncertainty I have about A25. 

It’s also a lovely way (pun intended) to honour, commemorate, call what you will my grandparents in poetical form.


Anzac Triptych
1. Atherton Tablelands 
2. Goodbye Will Moon
3. TIL


Atherton Tablelands

In April 1943 following three weeks leave after seeing action at Tobruk, Mersa Matruh and El Alamein Gunner RL JONES of the 2/7th Field Regiment arrived at Kairi in the Atherton Tablelands.

It was love at first sight.

Even though he was from 
a notoriously lush part
of the Adelaide hills the green 
in Far North Queensland 
is several degrees greater 
than most mortal eyes 
are used to — or able to endure.

Gunner RL Jones remained 
on the Tablelands with his unit
for almost two years — training
and playing upon the rich red 
loam born in ancient volcanoes.
Before being sent to Tarrakan 
that began the Allies’ Borneo 
Campaign. He survived those jungles 
by thinking often of the equally 
lush Atherton tablelands — 
until the Americans blew up 
the world and the war ended.

Gunner RL Jones eventually 
made his way home & made
Florence his fiancé.

Rueben told Florence. 
Of the green.
Of the red soil. 
Of his desire to move there.

Florence said no. 

He never saw the Tablelands again 


Goodbye Will Moon

In late 1944 Corporal BI Burgan of RAAF 1 Squadron was likewise on leave when he visited his parents in Port Wakefield.

Quiet Sunday evening.
Parents off praying.
It’s been a long journey 
and I’ve only a few precious
day’s leave. But I know
dad will be disappointed
if I don’t attend. So 
although I don’t feel like it
reluctantly walk across town.

Only one seat remains 
in the very back pew.
Slide into that space next 
to a beautiful young woman
who smiles as I sit down.
Can’t concentrate. On 
what the pastor is saying.
Nor the service itself.
Nothing but —
that sublime smile.

Afterwards, I offer to walk 
her home and am bemused 
and delighted to discover 
she’s boarding with our next 
door neighbour.

We stand talking for ages
til I brazenly lean in
and kiss her over the garden gate.
I’d best go in now, she says.

The best night of my life.

During my leave we spend 
as much time as possible
together but it ends
all too quickly. Before I 
deploy to New Guinea 
I must tell her. I confess
undying love. The hammer 
blow. She’s engaged to another!
I didn’t know I say 
and chivalrously
offer to step aside. 

Leave it with me.
She says.
I’ll deal with it.

And. She. Did.




today i learnt 
that unlike my
gran and grandad
nana and papa 
weren’t engaged
or even dating 
while he was away 
during the war
they only started 
seeing each other
after he got home 

her first  love 
     died     flying   bombers
over    germany 
   she       was                s h a t t e r e d
when   Will    was  

suddenly saw my frail
ninety nine year old nana
       with  newer 
    sadder  eyes

Day 01 – the oldest topic for poetry

April again = Na/GloPoWriMo. Normally each year I debate about if I should put myself through the somewhat excruciating agony of participating, but not this year. I knew I would months ago. Because something has recently happened to me which has meant I’ve been churning out new poems (some of them even quite good) at a furious rate since December. Why you might well ask. Good question.

And so to themes. 

In 2020, every poem explored corona, plague, pandemics & virus.  
In 2021 it was heat, denial, climate change & extreme weather. 
This year 2022 the theme is even bigger. And also infinitely more intimate.

You soon work out what it is when you start reading.

an old romantic on a new seesaw 

i don’t begrudge

your silences
your lake swims
your long walks

your reading of books
or baking of cakes
just to cook something
not work related 

whatever needs to be done
to stay sane, find calm
detox, disengage, downtime
needs to be done

i can cope with

running soft & hot
sweet & giggly
mere moments 
after ice & distance
business & banter

the seesawing
between soul mates
sizzling with sparkles
& endless iterations
on the various types
of falling rain

all the talk about romance
& romantic gestures
& the most romantic things done
have been leading to one place

this place:

where all 
i need is 
a message
every sporadic 
(say every 30 
minutes or so)

a simple bit of ascii 
binary code
with a “missing 
you” here &
a kiss emoji 
or a purple
love heart

one of these 
will keep me 
off the saw
for half a dozen
hours at least

i promise

Bonus poem to wish you all a Happy 2022

girl of stars

after talking the new 
year in  in two time zones 
you belatedly go to your bed 
while i drive to the lookout
cool breezed after the hateful 
heat of the old year’s anger
lie on the oversized table
hewn from local eucalypt 
& stare  up   up    ever up

so many stars in the blistering 
sky   they cram the eye
allow myself  to float away
delighting in a dozen minor
shooting streaks  & two tears 
of light so bright they leave  scars
the tingling thrill they fibrillate 
almost equal to the glowsong
my soul sings every time i hear 
your voice  that raucous chuckle 
that wicked sassy firecracker wit
that tender  admission   of love

Day 14 — love in a time of corona

14 EKG-Heart

Reading An Anthology of Imagist Poetry today & Richard Adlington has several poems which are entitled “Images” … & are little snippets of love poems. So, trying to flip the idea of a love poem on its head I’ve written one to Coronavirus using Adlington’s layout & structure.


a series of small love songs to Coronavirus


you repeatedly overheat
me — a wheat bag
left too long in an oven


so nervous near you
can only cough words
— instead of speak bona fides


my throat throbs
— gulps wonder as i
gaze on your venom


utter exhaustion
— fatigue that turns itself
on & off in every cell


my chest tightens
doing the simplest tasks
— smiling, whispering your name 


every thought of you
makes my head ache
— conduit of weird electronic surges


now all smell & taste
are gone — i gobble raw
ginger like candy

Day 08 – poem about gifts


Arrrggghhh! Can’t seem to shake this subject. Despite several poems worked on today, the two I was considering for today’s post somehow didn’t seem to stack up, so had to go for this fallback. New subject matter tomorrow, I promise (I hope).

the gifts of the luni

every night the moon leaves me gifts
like a cat depositing nightkill on my mat

this week on the wall by the back door
a rectangular jewel box, waiting to be buried

above the kitchen blind, a sliver of laser light
as i stumble out for an insomniacal glass

repainting the window in my bedroom
into a mirror which reflects undreamt dreams

on the drive home it rezones the countryside
into a dimension far beyond the fourth

even its gilding of the boxangular city
until it is almost beautiful enough

to star in its own fairy tale

Day 12 – The Art of the Tale

I have been reading a few  fairy tales most recently Scandinavian ones from East of the Sun and West of the Moon: Old Tales from the North (1914). This edition is gloriously illustrated by Kay Nielsen.

Today’s poem is breaking more than one of my self-imposed ‘rules’ – 1) it is not a cover image & 2) more than one illustration has inspired it. But given the rules are mine, I figure I can change em as I see fit.

fairy tale

she is the girl who understands
what the birds say when they sing
& if she has bad dreams, pretty birds
snatch them from her & fly away

she is the girl who can move
the moon with her eyes alone
& if her soul feels empty
stars come in close to comfort

she is the girl who dances with fairies
under leaves of endless autumn
& if her true love ever breaks her heart
they will torment him till his grave

she is the girl i loved & lost
once upon a time, long long ago


NOTE: image is a detail of she could not help setting the door a little ajar, just to peep in, when — Pop! out flew the Moon (pg 67) from East of the Sun and West of the Moon illustrated by Kay Nielsen (1914)