And these men that made the land

That wove their dreams with dust and dirt

That needed death to know the flower

Men of the corrugated country

 

Men of bones

Propped in the rusted windy ruins

Who watched the movements of the birds

Who bartered life with sky and earth

 

Men of the drought’s bare-cupboard cradle

Biblical in plague and famine

That struck the water in the stone

And fought with flesh to swell the soil

 

Time’s weathered toys

That sought a garden in the sand

Where withered streams of the dry season

Flowed with flooding summer rains

 

Men of the spectral desert spaces

That masked the ruined darkness with their drink

That fed the shadows with strange desires

And drowned the broken plough with tears

Rinsing The Blue

 

Go now and in my forest ramble

Amongst the thorns and hazelnuts

Search the edges, scour the shadows

And tell me if you find my love.

 

An old man in a hut of bones

He wears a cap all-colours blue

And he wastes away in the wilderness

Without a damn for me or you.

 

And if you find him whisper quiet

Into his cauliflowered ear

How beautiful his grey-green eyes

How beautiful his beard

 

Then take him by the knuckled hand

Lead him out into the sun

To where the river roughs its course

Where wild flowers bloom.

 

There on a stone above the stream

Dance his heart into a dream

Dance of kings and queens of old

And lovers’ stories still to follow.

 

Dance a fire in his mind

Dance desire into his eye

Dance until the tears of youth

Are flowing once more at his foot.

 

Now you have him – Quick – Take hold

(Forget the water’s fast and cold)

Toss his cap into the wind

And bathe him in that mountain stream.

 

Dunk him three times – down he goes

From his bald patch to his toes

Scrub the stubborn from his skin

And rinse the blue he’s wallowed in.

Tagged with: poempoetryRinsing The Blue
 

 

The queen with her guards has disappeared

And rain is falling in the flower garden

The king is dead

His sons grew fat in foreign lands

While the wild trees struck

Their roots inside

The castle walls.

 

The wind is howling in the valleys of our fathers

Where they worked the land between brae and burn

The rock doves flutter in leafless trees

And ivy greens the ancient stones.

 

The body – so beautiful in motion- catches

Caught by a bullet

Falls – and is gone

Mud comes and buries the dead of both armies

Trees grow

The woods are filled with sun.

 

Lovers come seeking shelter

Above the bones their limbs entwine

While round and ruffled to hold the warmth

A single bird sings out its song.

 

The birds of the fields come and go

The seasons like passing cars move on

As the hour of living fades

The hour of living is begun.

Tagged with: poempoemspoetrythe hour of living
 

 Driving Buses

 

I drive my bus

Full of grotty kids and lunatics

On the bitumen dream

Where middle-aged mothers with boxers’ eyes

Weep from the sidewalks

Of toy-trashed suburbs.

 

Driving my bus

Through the unfolding flower of dawn

And through the tangled tears of night

Where the boisterous poor

Wilt in their gardens of excess.

 

Driving them home

Driving lover to lover

To their acrobatic fields of fire

Driving the drunkard

Raging in his seat

And the girls with rainbows in their eyes.

 

Driving

Driving

 

Into the sorrow beyond the sky

And into the hollows of the lonely hearts

Who linger, speechless, at my ear

 

As we drive

And drive

 

Where the gutter ghosts rattle their dying coughs

Into the emptiness of night

And the half-cocked girls

Smoke toughness and cool

And the burning boys

Writhe in the furnace of desire

 

Where we drive

And drive

 

The streets are crying in the pools of time

And the dogs are howling in the summers of their heat

And the ladies are waiting on the corners of our youth

With their handbag smiles

 

And the faces we

Will never see again

Go sliding by

Tagged with: busbusesdrivingdriving busespoempoetry
 

Harbourside

 

Blown from busy parks he’s come -

sheathed in crumpled rags – in skin

seasoned by the salt and sun -

Come to sit,

mincing bread in those calloused hands,

to cast the crumbs

to a congregation of silver gulls

which parasitic and competitive

move in a constant emotional state

about his feet.

All is gone,

the faces, friends,

the long years,

out on the deep, on the dark sea

they dance in the fading evening light.

As the sun turns and the stars spin

he’s come to sit

in the roaring emptiness of space

face to face

with all that was,

with what will be,

with his bottle-full of memories

to drink the darkness,

to drink it down and deep.

 

 

Tagged with: harboursidepoempoetry
 

The Cancer Cure

 

All that beauty in the beast

The chunk and chisel

And all that plate

Brought down in the plains

Laid low in the dust,

You may as well have murdered

A man for a button

Raped a woman for a kiss

As to kill the brute

Which eats the grass

For that dumb monkey magic.

Tagged with: cancercurepoemsrhinoceros
 

 

flying red bird

Two steps to crazy

let the walls come down

and bury me in ruined kisses

 

the straight flying bird is dead

and the bruised heart weeps

in quiet gardens.

 

 

Tagged with: poemstwo steps to crazy
 

This Crooked Bed


untitled mf husain

Untitled artwork by MF Husain

Caught – Crucified

Your hands trembling

Extended

You clasp for these walls.

You have lost faith

In the night

In the tight embrace of love

Your back is broken.

Prepared – for this crooked bed.

Prepared – for the hounding face of time.

Tagged with: poemsthis crooked bed
 

Thylacine

The very last, the endling

Thylacine

Native Tiger of Tasmania Shot by Weaver 1864

Caged in the sunlight at Beaumaris Zoo

Tired of the poking and the prodding

Paced out of existence into history

Into emblem and icon, legend and label

On to things protected by copyright

Footage and fable

The internet’s electric jungle

And into that great white emptiness

Of extinction

That giant ship which men are building

Stacking and storing

Fitting and filling

Recording into the grand voyage

Of  oblivion

Tagged with: AustraliapoemsThylacine
 

Hunting Buses


At night the boys go hunting buses,

tight-lipped eyes

loaded with anger

gun-barrel arms

tattooed at the shoulder

and quarry-stone cocked

in their hands.

 

Finger-high boys

of corner-store cool

snarling boys

drinking the dark and unloved spaces

the public places

where they have sucked

both grog and girl.

 

They’ve flogged the stolen cars for fun

in third gear

up Spit Hill

and disappeared

in the Wallaby Grass

as the sirens wail

and the cars burn.

 

Footpath foul

round cul-de-sacs

these branded boys

have made their names

on toilet walls

and window panes

have felt their bitter forceful curse.

 

And tonight the boys

are hunting buses

in tobacco black

suburban hollows

they’re taking aim and will sleep

smiling

once the kill is made.

Tagged with: Australiahunting busespoems
 

Evening

the sun is setting – the pink sky

and the black earth

collide – bats crawl through

in lines

Tagged with: Australiaeveningpoems
 

Autumn Leaves

Leaves of Autumn

gather at the door,

old friends are calling

down the avenue of years,

I can hear them calling

in the warm glow these turning trees

lend to a slow suburban scene,

in that river’s flowing,

in this wind which blows

down city streets. Old friends

gone with the ocean’s silent going,

gone beyond reach

of clear and vivid memory,

gone into the spirit world

of water, wind, and Autumn leaf.


Tagged with: Autumn Leavespoems
 

The Timber Getters

 

at the deep pool

where no light is reflected

where small birds come

clinging to the vine

amongst fallen logs and silences

the crush of leaves

and the rot of years

 

at the dark edge

where now unassailable trees tower

in a brief clearing

at the still centre where the wreckage lies

of river’s breach and storm’s rage

 

here at the heart

 

where once the workings of  long-ago men

the wild, roaring, toothless ones

desperate and dislocated

their fierce eyes blazing through dark

and bodies by day

burning through timber

cut sunlight in shadow

and nation in nature

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: Australiapoemstimber getterstrees
 

Where I Need To Go

 

though the out be dark

the inner light is on

i walk

though all the way am blind

when the wind blows i bend my back

and i get to going

when the going’s fine

though the heart is deep

the shallow sea of hate

seems sometimes

all this world will know

to forget that there is loving still

is not to get

to where i need to go

though the word seeks truth

silence knows to find

an answer

is to find a lie

let others think they’ve found the road

the path is hidden

where i need to go

Tagged with: poemswhere i need to go
 

Fromelles

and that one man

blinded

distraught

stuck there in the middle

of that no man’s land

that abattoir

that circus

walking round in a ring

and falling down

stumbling round in a ring

and falling down

until somebody finally

put a bullet through his head

Tagged with: AustraliaFromellespoemswar