Day 25 — big dates raise big issues

25 Rosemary.jpg

As always, Anzac Day is highly conflicted for me. I had two grandfathers who served in WW2 in North Africa, the Middle East & Papua New Guinea & who thankfully both came home. I had a great grandfather & a great great uncle who fought in the trenches of France & one came home & one did not. I had another great grandfather who served with the Light Horse in Egypt & Palestine. He also came home. So the Anzac mythos is strong on both sides of my family. It is personal. However, at the same time, I find much of Anzac Day tokenistic* & backward-looking.  See below for my reasoning.

*Though there is something very communal & positive about the #AnzacAtHome & #DrivewayAtDawn movement as a result of COVID-19 which I like immensely. Perhaps this could be one of the ways forward, followed by street parties all over the country.

*****

the Anzac spirit

beware: today’s the day you’re most
likely to catch Anzacspiritus flu
an insidious disease that claims men
fighting on Gallipoli beaches
& trenches of the Western front
somehow forged our young nation’s
nature with five distinctive qualities:
mateship, humour, courage,
ingenuity, & endurance.

my perennial question —
how 256,000 men who rarely
spoke of their experiences
influenced the entirity of Australian
society’s then five millions
                          remains unanswered.

that said, i don’t begrudge a nation
built on these tenets
they’re a reasonable list — though
you wonder if they’re not in fact
lacking somewhat. maybe: compassion,
cooperation, freedom, security & equity
                                    could be added.

but instead of simply praising them
this one day of the year
let’s actually live by them.

there wasn’t much mateship going round
when toilet paper was being hoarded
& supermarket shelves stripped;
nor courage when it came to attacking
fellow citizens simply because they look
like where our current virus is from.
thankfully though our GSOH
has been highly evident through countless
memes, TP workout routines, etc.

my request is — if any politician
from the Prime Minister down
to your local council member
wants to cash in on the gungho glory
of Anzac then they need to spread
those five+ tenets to every decision
they make throughout the year.

let’s start using our brave, heroic,
foolish, flawed Diggers never ending
sacrifices to heal, to look forward,
                            instead of always behind …

Day 24 — doing one’s bit in trying times #notallheroes

winner TRIM.jpg

A smaller more personal poem today, after the excesses of yesterday.

*****

peak pandemic

how perfectly pleasant
to sit inside  rug on lap
book in hand  tea by side
warm as butter  slowly
melting into  hot crumpets
dog  snoring nearby

while outside  trees writhe
in the window-rattling
thunder-spreading wind
the sky grey  in all ways
& the rain hits the roof
like  a million microscopic
viruses trying to breach
my home’s   defences 

all while knowing 

i’m
helping
save
the
world

life has reached peak

.

.

Note: I’m borderline embarrassed to admit (but not quite really) that I almost spent more time looking at images of cups of tea next to books by rainy windows than I did writing the poem. OMG I’ve discovered a new way (as if one was needed) to waste valuable interwebs time.

Day 27 – intertextuality (& instagram)

27 Sienna On Mushrooms III by atreyu64.jpg

Yet another poem about the joys of reading — which took on a life of its own. And even though the last line might be a wee bit much, I still love it.

*****

intertextuality

a startling line of text hooks me sideways
from ancient sword & sorcery Cimmeria
arcing me skywards, belly to the sun;
into other stories, real world experiences
& perfumes, already lodged in synapses flash
light silver-gilt sparkles quivering
from networked neural nest to another;
whirlpooled into the closeted green
dirty underwater of the Black Forest
where we each tread our paths on the way
to Red’s Grandma’s little log cabin.
breathing heavily behind a tree, see her skip
basket-swinging foolish innocence knock
of knuckle on the old crone’s red door

— but miss what happens next when a tap
on my shoulder reveals one angry looking
wolfskin-wearing weapon-wielding woodsman
…………
…………


…………
…………
BONUS POEM: April 27, 2018

Self explanatory.
NOTE: 2019 edit. Various minor tweakings & enjambments to improve the pome.

*****

#nofilter

despite gut-dropping
disappointment upon discovering
every shot of the castle
I’d ever seen had been
carefully crafted to crop
………………………………………… out
all neighbouring car parks,
camper vans, hotels, the town,
tour buses, & souvenir shops
I’m relieved to realise I need
not set an Instagram filter
on the sublime Andrews-esque
middle-earth mountains
……………………………………………beyond

27b neuschwangstein.jpg

Day 23 – swans (& folios)

23 the_swan_by_transcendelia_d4rrjqs

Again, working on a longer poem today. Knew an hour ago I wouldn’t finish in time, so started a new one. Coming to understand, NaPoWriMo is less about the poems you finish this month — and more about the poems you’ve long wanted to start and will finish next month.

*****

Will never end

Will you forever be
the quintessential
enigma-wrapped-
conundrum-encased-
paradox-generator?
or will your secrets
one day unfurl?
a swan ascending
from the mute stream.
so many want so much
from your cursed bones;
but so little remains
& it’s oh so easy
to fabricate tales
to suit our own
desperate desires

.


 

BONUS POEM: April 23, 2018

Unresolved & unfinished I think, but the others I wrote today don’t fit …

*****

First Folio

all this fuss
over a book
plenty of books
have existed
& been lost
& the world
continues on

at once
a little richer
& a little poorer
for having existed
yet been lost
which is which
you must determine

23b old books.jpg

Day 23 – swans (& folios)

23 the_swan_by_transcendelia_d4rrjqs.jpg

Again, working on a longer poem today. Knew an hour ago I wouldn’t finish in time, so started a new one. Coming to understand, NaPoWriMo is less about the poems you finish this month — and more about the poems you’ve long wanted to start and will finish next month.

*****

Will never end

Will you forever be
the quintessential
enigma-wrapped-
conundrum-encased-
paradox-generator?
or will your secrets
one day unfurl?
a swan ascending
from the mute stream.
so many want so much
from your cursed bones;
but so little remains
& it’s oh so easy
to fabricate tales
to suit our own
desperate desires


 

BONUS POEM: April 23, 2018

Unresolved & unfinished I think, but the others I wrote today don’t fit …

*****

First Folio

all this fuss
over a book
plenty of books
have existed
& been lost
& the world
continues on

at once
a little richer
& a little poorer
for having existed
yet been lost
which is which
you must determine

23b old books.jpg

Day 11 – intertextuality (& introspection)

11 elephantwater

Book Club selection this week was Water for Elephants.

*****

big top potpourri 

granted Water for Elephants
has been read before
but the deja vu familiarity blends
into The Night Circus, Cirque du Freak
numerous history of circus books
from when I was researching
my play The Menagerie of Broken Flowers
(later renamed Ugliophobia)
countless kids books by Enid,
others starring Paddington, Olivia, etc;

dozens of celluloid iterations
The Greatest Show on Earth,
Marx Brothers, Freaks, Elvis
probably worked at one in
the mid-60’s, a misunderstood
troublemaker; U2’s dreamlike video
to All I Want Is You; even Dumbo ;
& of course the exquisitely surreal
dustbowl drama Carnivale.
Plus: managing a kids circus;
working for Cirque du Soleil;
meeting many of Australia’s
talented carnies & contemporary
circus artists

means the words & situations
all blur together to fabricate
a simulacrum of  surely  every
eternal     childhood     dream

 


 

BONUS POEM: April 11, 2018

Final David-inspired pome (for now?). 

*****

marble thoughts

schoolgirl groups
giggle, turn away
countless digital zooms
capture closeups
of my junk

others slide out
the extensions
on their ubiquitous
selfie sticks
pretend to balance
me on their palms
or once again
point how small
my tinkle is
(won’t even deign
to mention how cold
his studio was in winter)

some do little more
than click & walk on
one more cultural
checkpoint ticked off
the list

a few of these awful
smartPhone snaps
are even well framed

miss the days
people
actually looked

11b thoughts.JPG

Day 03 – valleys (& hobbitholes)

03 misthouse

Reading a Carl Sagan book earlier, where he describes a perfect day from his childhood at a World Fair & got to wondering, what might a perfect day from my childhood be?

*****

a long ago perfect day

a sunday, naturally
  they’re always sundays

autumn morning
cool but not too cold
  not unlike today

overprotective mist
hugging the edges
of our tiny valley

book snug under covers
  wasn’t a doona then
  but in this memory
  i’m stitching it so

hurried lunch
sardines on toast
  tomato sauce
can’t be away too long
from the otherworld

back into bed
till tea

tinned tomato soup
heated in aluminium
saucepan on the stove
  thinned with milk

fire in the potbelly
  wood i probably chopped

not much mattered
beyond the old stone walls
  indeed other than grandparents’ homes
  i barely knew anything
  greater than a dozen miles distant

except the stars of course
always the stars

 


 

BONUS POEM: April 3, 2018

Visited a place I’ve wanted to experience, since reading about it nearly a decade ago. It was as wonderful as anticipated, even if I was disappointed to discover they now have their own iPhone app. The world changes even when we wish it wouldn’t…

*****

Civitie de Bagnoregio 

to live upon
a mountain top
                         alone
like many monk
incarnations before

a town of hobbit
holes on a hill
instead of in
if all mine i’d fill
every home
with books

if only

i were unaware
of the signs
of
      land
       slipping
        away

 

03b Bagnoregio

Day 29 – poem about mines

cornish_mining_heritage___st_agnes CROP

Good one gareth, mining the same old topics. Sheesh! Maybe next year’s NaPoWriMo you could try something different …

emotion mining

sometimes the people who enter our lives are of our own choosing
while others are introduced by loved ones who should know better

i.
i’ve spent the past 2 months with several
of my mother’s dearest most beloved friends
who have suckered me into their whirlwind
unconventional romance, their aching love,
heartbreak, their failed business ventures,
smuggling, revolution, trials, jealously, the death
of their firstborn & the wild beauty of life
on an old coast, & a few days ago, Francis
drowning alone in a dark place

ii.
only moments have passed since Ross began
the affair he’s been threatening for years. now
it’s been so brutally consummated i cannot
contain my shock & as a consequence Demelza
has determined to go unattended to a ball
where who knows what calamity will befall.
i’m too afraid to turn, begin the next chapter
of course i will, after zapping this cold coffee

iii.
but the greatest betrayal of all is my mother’s
for she knew these calamities occur, yet still
blithely offered me the first in the series leaving
me to experience the emotional rollercoaster
…………………………………………………………………….alone

 

 

Day 06 – poem about THE wonder of the world

text close up

Life can be such a poo the way it gets in the way. The first draft of this pome was finished well before 11am with intentions to tweak later in the day; but work, 2 & 1/2 hours of driving, that pesky niece again (thankfully the essay is due tomorrow, well today now) meant it’s had no chance for revision & is being uploaded a few minutes after my midnight. Ahh well, it’s a solid start that can be worked on later.

cheap paperback wonderland

though the pages are yellow, foxed
though the spine brittle
though the glue cracks
as each page tumbles over
transforming bound book
into loose leaves no matter
how reverentially i turn

despite the damage i inflict
upon this precious relic
long savoured by my mother
as one of her favourite fictions
i am once more lost   this time
in revolutionary cornwall
as the industrial age fires up
weeping at love gone awry
wailing harder when reconciled

every so often wandering astray
at the way words  no matter
the medium  these upright lines
curious curves  intermittent
dots & convoluted squiggles
repeatedly rearrange themselves
into emotional outpourings
that make them the greatest
of all wonders

Day 15 – BONUS POEM … BOOK READERS BE ALARMED, VERY ALARMED

So as a kind of NaPoWriMo2015 midway point bonus poem, here is a Semi-Sort-of-Narrative Poem about one of my favourite passions, pleasures, pastimes, pursuits & predilections. (Today’s actual poem, still to follow.)

If you love reading, be warned, the following 244 words could terrify you.

*****

big angst over a relatively small number

in the 365 days of last year
i physically completed reading
56 new books ; give or take ;
another 8-10 audiobooks ;
for a lower than expected
1-&-a-quarter-a-week average ;
not included are books begun
but abandoned ; nor a half-dozen
reread books , first timers only
— but none of these
are the small number in question

i’m 44 & semi-fit-ish ,
if you look at me while
squinting into the sun ;
blood pressure 120 over 80
at the last doctor’s visit ;
my grandparental average age
is 90.9 , & still rising
— but none of these
are the small number in question either

assuming i can maintain
this minimal completion rate
until my , now meticulously
mapped-out , demise ;
& assuming i survive
to at least 80 ; 10 years shy
of my long-living familial median ,
the second assumption
far less likely than the first ;
then i only have 2,376
books left to read in my life!
— welcome to the small number
& the big angst

less than 2 & half thousand!
10,000 new books are published
in english … E.V.E.R.Y. year ;
360,000 during my imagined
remaindered lifetime ;
& i’ll be able to read a measly ;
0.69% of them ; if i’m lucky ;
not counting all the classics
never read but always intending to ;
the books already bought
but not yet dipped into ;
& of course the faves i’d like
to revisit at least once more
before the big shuffle off

hence my goal this year ;
& the next 15 at least ;
to religiously devour
2 a week ; that’s 1664
before i’m 60 ; leaving a lazy
712 to knock off between
then … & 2050
— should be a doddle

*****

cave_of_the_forgotten_books_by_racoonart-d7t7qwg