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Poetic Journal: 20 December 2017: ‘Ha’penny Bridge.’

24 Dec

Day 4 of the journal – I observe the Christmas lights from one of the famous bridges across the Liffy.

 

 

The Liffy reflects back the Christmas lights
on Ha’penny Bridge forming an imperfect

oval. The river is as still as a mirror
yet the image is distorted slightly

on the southern side – a grimace
more than a smile. So perhaps

the opposite of a Dublin frown
is not complete happiness.

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Poetic Journal: 19 December 2017: ‘‘Easter 1916 – Dublin GPO’’

21 Dec

Day three of my December/January poetic journal.  On our first full day in Dublin we visited the Dublin GPO.

 

19 December 2017 ‘Easter 1916 – Dublin GPO’

Along with the saints
my grandfather taught me
the name of the martyrs:

……….Patrick Pearse,
……….Thomas MacDonagh,
……….Thomas Clarke,
……….Joseph Plunkett,
……….William Pearse,
……….Edward Daly,
……….Michael O’Hanrahan,
……….John MacBride,
……….Éamonn Ceannt,
……….Michael Mallin,
……….Seán Heuston,
……….Con Colbert,
……….James Connolly
……….Sean MacDiarmada.

He was just about to turn sixteen
when the uprising took place
on the other side of the world
fifty years later he still held that anger.
He told me that they had to rope Connolly
to a chair in front of the firing squad
because his ankle had been shattered
by a bullet in the GPO.

My grandfather never saw Ireland
but today I silently tell him
there is no union jack
flying on Dublin GPO.

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Over the coming few weeks I will be doing a bit of travelling on the other side of the world. I have decided to try and keep a small poetic journal to capture some of my observations and thoughts during this period. The poems aren’t complete or polished, please treat them more as observations or first drafts.

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Poetic Journal: 18 December 2017 ‘Yellow Sea Chest’

20 Dec

Day two of my December/January poetic journal. I still have the sea chest that my great grandmother brought with her to Australia from Ireland in the mid 19th century. As we tried to meet the baggage restrictions for the flight to Dublin I reflected on the luggage restrictions she faced.

 

Yellow Sea Chest 18/12/17

A per airline instructions
we have packed  two bags each
to travel 30 hours to Ireland.
We have left behind
my great grandmother’s
sea chest which contained
all her possessions when she travelled
from Cork to Sydney 150 years ago.
She had luggage restrictions as well
one sea chest for everything she wanted to keep
for her new life away from hunger and the British
(I have often wondered about the British
in the colonies but my grandfather said
it was a different oppression).

The sea chest has secret compartments
and pictures from the 1860s vanished onto boards
the leather straps have rotted away
and my grandfather painted it yellow
during the depression
“a bright colour to cheer things up”.
I have recently found that the curve top
meant that it had to be stacked on top
of the pile of cases in the hold
and indicated that my great grandmother
had a little more money than most.

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Over the coming few weeks I will be doing a bit of travelling on the other side of the world. I have decided to try and keep a small poetic journal to capture some of my observations and thoughts during this period. The poems aren’t complete or polished, please treat them more as observations or first drafts.

 

 

Poetic Journal: 17 December 2017 ‘hidden’

19 Dec

Over the coming few weeks I will be doing a bit of travelling on the other side of the world. I have decided to try and keep a small poetic journal to capture some of my observations and thoughts during this period. The poems aren’t complete or polished, please treat them more as observations or first drafts. The first post is dated 17 December and covers the flight from Australia to Ireland.

 

hidden

leaving melbourne
flying northwest
across night desert
below
…………darkness scattered lights
above
…………a richness of stars
stories are hidden here
even in daylight
but at night they call to us
singing across country
and reaching into the sky

…………in this plane
we eat
watch a movie
and try to sleep

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Poetic Journal: 18 December 2017 ‘Yellow Sea Chest’

 

The Disappearing Reappears with my Newcastle poems

1 Nov

red-roomI went through a literary hibernation for a number of years from the mid 1990s. There was an element of burn out involved, together with the pressures and joy of being involved in bringing up young children. The result being that for many years any writing I did was private and not intended for publication. A few years ago, however, I started thinking of re-engaging with the wider writing community. Around this time I saw a call for submissions from the Red Room Company for the first version of the The Disappearing project and decided to dive back in.

The Disappearing  was/is an intriguing project. Designed to be linked to place by mobile device or website, the project highlights what is being lost by means through poetry. I had a poem selected for that first Disappearing release. ‘Flood Watch’, which was about a relationship that had long disappeared, as recalled a Newtown that was also fast disappearing. The poem can be found here  http://disappearing.com.au/poem/flood-watch/.

The Disappearing has now been relaunched with a new website and more poets and poems. Among the bunch of new poems are two of my Newcastle poems which first appeared in the anthology A Slow Combusting Hymn: Poetry From and About the Hunter Region (edited by Jean Kent and Kit Kelen). These poems, which are based on my memory of two photographs taken by my grandfather in the 1950s, can be found at: http://disappearing.com.au/poem/photographs/

While you are at The Disappearing make sure you have a look around, there are some great poems about place and memory there and they are still looking for contributions.

 

‘Forgetting is So Long’ – Love Poetry by Australian Men

14 Oct

Forgetting is so Long: An Anthology of Australian Love Poetry edited by Robbie Coburn & Valli Poole. Blank Rune Press 2016

 

Love is so short, forgetting is so long.
………………………… – Pablo Neruda

forgetting-is-so-long-2

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When we think of anthologies were generally think of larger books with lots of pages so it was exciting to be asked to contribute to a chapbook anthology of Australian love poems. Some years ago I had some poems in the Inkerman & Blunt Australian Love Poetry anthology. That was a huge, diverse and ultimately uneven anthology (as anthologies of that size tend to be). Forgetting is so Long is the opposite – it is a small, beautifully constructed chapbook and it features love poems by men. When I was submitted my poems to Robbie Coburn I was unaware that the anthology would be purely love poems by men but I have been pleasantly surprised by the result and the company in which my two poems have landed. There is a hint here of a different masculinity, something that deserves to be explored in greater depth.

Along with my work Forgetting is so Long contains poetry by Ashley Capes, Robbie Coburn, Glenn Cooper, Phillip Hall, Ramon Loyola, Pete Spence, David Ellison, Andy Jackson, Ariel Riveros Pavez, Kenneth Smeaton and Les Wicks. It is available from Collected Works Bookshop in Melbourne or you can contact the publisher for details on how to acquire a copy blankrunepress@gmail.com

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‘perfume’ wins 2016 Dangerously Poetic Byron Writers Festival Poetry Prize

14 Aug
With Anthony Lawrence (left) at the Dangerously Poetic Byron Writers Festival Poetry Prize presentation. Photograph Linda Adair

With Anthony Lawrence (left) at the Dangerously Poetic Byron Writers Festival Poetry Prize presentation. Photograph Linda Adair

Last weekend I had the wonderful experience of attending the three day Byron Bay Writers Festival and, on Saturday night, being awarded the 2016 Dangerously Poetic Byron Writers Festival Poetry Prize for my poem ‘perfume’. In his judge’s report for the prize Anthony Lawrence described ‘perfume’ as:

‘perfume’ moves like frames in a sepia-tone, grainy film. Its story suggests intrigue, death, rural myth or local history, in a time of war.

First and third person points of view combine in clipped, lyrical stanzas to create a miniature novel in which mystery and allusiveness are palpable.

 

Details of the award, together with the winning poems can be found here http://dangerouslypoetic.com/2016/08/and-the-winners-are-2/ or you can find ‘perfume’ below.

 

perfume
………………………………………………….she heard him
………………………………………………….an instant before
………………………………………………….the scarf pulled tight
………………………………………………….against her throat
the train to lithgow
settles into a metal song
reassurance of steel on steel
………………………………………………….her arm swung around smashing
………………………………………………….the perfume bottle to the floor
last night I smelt a ghost
sweet & alluring
flowers, orange
a suggestion of earthiness
………………………………………………….wartime
………………………………………………….he will be shipped out
………………………………………………….before
………………………………………………….they find the body
a ripple of iciness
flowing up the bed
my eyes closed
but awake
colder now
than a bathurst winter
………………………………………………….left behind in the pub
………………………………………………….next to the station
………………………………………………….waiting

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