Poetry: That Swan Dress (Pantoum)

As jaws dropped, she laid an egg.
A feathery dress, a sleeping swan.
The body resting on her leg.
The red carpet her divan.

A feathery dress, a sleeping swan
Its head is nestled on her breast.
The red carpet, her divan
On Oscar night, her sparkly nest.

The head is nestled on her breast.
The body resting on her leg.
On Oscar night her sparkly nest.
As jaws dropped she laid an egg.


This poem is a Pantoum.


Poem: Four Cinquains

First Base
The ball
Thrown by small hands.
The bat swung wildly with
Hope. A hit! The ball scuttles as
He runs.

Seconds World
Marked and
Marked down. Shop soiled
Untidy, ugly white
Elephants. Our standards are way
Too high.

Climate Change
All you want, you
Cannot deny this rule
You repair a house when it breaks

Shopping Centres
At first I loved
Your sprawling malls. Over time,
I changed, while your centres
Remained the same. Variety
Is gone.

Poem: The Active Bystander

1. If you witness violence

A bruise. It sits below her eye.
Nestles under her sleeve.
I see her gaze seek the ground
Always down, the head hanging.
There are no smiles
Or too many.

Her voice is quiet.
Turns silent on certain subjects
When I’m in the room
Or my key in the door.
The phone rings
And she startles.

She does not preen or strut,
But if she does, it’s not because she can,
It’s because she must.
For when she goes outside.

Inside, she beats herself,
Replays the lessons I’m teaching her,
Without me she’s nothing.
Her place is in the kitchen
in the silence
in the violence of false-hope
The self-doubt, the self-flagellating
The self-boxed in an imaginary comfort zone.

Those acts of violence –
How can you separate them
From the normal violence of living?

2. If you’re aware of violence

My father’s anger runs within me
It is a burning red river of rage
That bulges my muscles
And makes me lash out.

I have broken glass
Thrown punches
Yelled, my voice as raw
As the emotion inside me.
But women, these women,
They invite me, they excite
Me, they incite me.
They must be contained
They must be taught
Because everything must be just
Everything must
Be right

My world crumbles
And I am lost in violence
I lose myself in its twisted maze
I dream I fight myself, I fight her
I fight to the finish

When I come out
She’s covered in bruises,
She’s silent with me
She’s frightened of me.
But she’s not alone

I’m back now.
And there’s no reason to be scared.
Cover yourself with makeup.
Smile, please.
I’m not that monster.
Not now.

3. Standing up to violence

A mate told me. He said he saw the signs
The way she walked, the way she didn’t talk.
And the bruises. And the tears.
And he made me think about the past.

What I witnessed and believed to be true.
Can I blame my father?
Can I?

I am humiliated
I want to hit her
for giving me away.

But she did nothing
And I did everything

I made her scared
I made her sore.
And I made her lose
What she was before…

Before the punishment
Before the nights of feeling small
And right.

No more. I said to myself.
I swear that I will stand up,
I will stand up to myself
And prevent myself from being violent
To my woman, to any woman,
To myself.

Discussion: White Ribbon Day Poem

Hello everyone,

Tomorrow morning (AEST) I will be reading a poem that I wrote especially for White Ribbon Day.  The poem will be read at the Mayor’s breakfast at the Cultural Centre in Katoomba which starts at 7:30am.  The poem I’ve written is based on the structure of a web page on the White Ribbon Australia site. If you click on the link “Act Now” you will be taken to a page titled “Be an active by-stander”.  Hence the structure and title of the poem “The Active By-Stander”.  The poem is written from a particular point of view.  It took me to a very dark place, so dark that my friend asked me to preface the poem by saying it is not auto-biographical.

I will be posting it tomorrow morning.

Themeless Thursday: School Holidays and Draft Revision

Here in Sydney, the school system is in break mode before the final term of the year.  My family stayed in Sydney with my mother while I traveled to and fro for work.  Last Saturday night was a highlight – Goon Show with our largest audience yet and the most fun we had performing too.  I polished off a fairly unpolished German accent but still got lovely laughs.  Most exhausted.  My wife and editor read the first draft of Mother Goose and tells me I need more jokes to please the adults.  I did my first pass at the second draft, added a joke about Gordon Ramsay and another nursery rhyme.  The first reading is going to happen at the end of this month.  Gives me time to give the script a bit of spit and polish.

I also discussed the possibility of writing classes hosted by my local neighbourhood centre.  I’m waiting for approval before I say anything more about it.  Finally this Friday night I am reading at a poetry book launch. Some intriguing poems.

Have a good day everyone.

Discussion : Porsche and Gretel

I am writing a verse play for children based on Hansel and Gretel.  A bit ambitious, but the flow went that way.  I was especially proud of the two monologues I had written so far.  One for Gretel about how she misses her natural mother and hates her step-mother.  The other for the step-mother, who I’ve called Porsche, about how she hates children. Both monologues are “sister poems” in that elements of one are reflected in the other.  Both are similar in that the last line of each stanza rhyme (within the poem), and some images and phrases are repeated.  Whilst they are both age specific, Gretel is supposed to sound like a preteen so her imagery is not very sophisticated, whilst Porsche’s language is more mature. Porsche’s monologue break’s the fourth wall and she talks directly to the audience, whilst Gretel addresses her dialogue to her mother.

Both monologues are a bit dark and I wonder if they are too dark for a primary school audience (ages 5 – 10).  Also is it reasonable to expect a young audience to be engrossed by monologues?  Especially when TV shows go for short scenes and cut-away jokes.

Unfortunately I missed the deadline for the first draft, but that’s ok, the Mother Goose play is going ahead, and that will break the ground at the venue (so to speak) so that the next time we can put on a second show in tandem with Mother Goose.  I am not in love with Gretel’s monologue anymore, I thought it was great, but now that I read it, it’s not as “poetic” as the Porsche’s rant.

Here are the links to the individual poems

Porsche’s Rant

Gretel’s Lament

Poem: Gretel’s Lament

Mothers. Some are great, some are bad
Some make you happy, some make sad
And often, it is just the one.
A tear for a laugh, a cry for some fun.
My mother, I miss you, I cry a lot.
But my father’s wife – I don’t care one jot.
Oh mother, are you listening up there?
Why did you leave us, it’s not fair
I wanted you for all my life,
My brother too, my father’s wife
You two were meant to be
Together for eternity
I miss your cuddles, your strength, your heart
It’s unbearable that we’re apart
And Oh! I long to hold you so.

My arms ache from all these chores
That Porsche has us do, while she snores
And lazes on the couch, we sweep and sweat
And do her work, and don’t forget
To Daddy she’s an angel from above
But to us, she’s a devil. Beelzebub
Is much less evil. Porsche is an awful witch;
Mother, she beats us with a switch.
You never hurt us, you only yelled,
Then we’d apologise and all would be well.
Being a child to Porsche rattles me
It isn’t as easy as it’s meant to be.
But do you know what makes me scream?
I don’t see you in my dreams
And Oh! How I wish you did not go!

About this poem