Archive for December, 2016

Saturday, 31 December 2016

On New Year’s Eve by Evie Shockley

we make midnight a maquette of the year:
frostlight glinting off snow to solemnize
the vows we offer to ourselves in near
silence: the competition shimmerwise

of champagne and chandeliers to attract
laughter and cheers: the glow from the fireplace
reflecting the burning intra-red pact
between beloveds: we cosset the space

of a fey hour, anxious gods molding our
hoped-for adams with this temporal clay:
each of us edacious for shining or
rash enough to think sacrifice will stay

this fugacious time: while stillness suspends
vitality in balance, as passions
struggle with passions for sway, the mind wends
towards what’s to come: a callithump of fashions,

ersatz smiles, crowded days: a bloodless cut
that severs soul from bone: a long aching
quiet in which we will hear nothing but
the clean crack of our promises breaking.


Date: 2011

By: Evie Shockley (1965- )

Friday, 30 December 2016

The Cicada Summer by Dorothy Featherstone Porter

Cath would never forget
that hot terrible Sydney summer
of bushfires
and cicadas,
cicadas so loud
she thought they’d trill
in her deafened ears

the summer
she and Bill never talked about
the summer
she found a lucky cicada
clinging to the bark
of a rusty old gum
perfect in every detail
until it disintegrated
to nasty grit
in her pocket

the summer
Bill’s mum got sick
and the summer
a weird kid
(what was his name?)
fell out of her treehouse
and nearly died.

Bill’s mum
didn’t fall out of a tree cubby
but a year later
she did die.

His father remarried –
a real tart,
who wore a gold lame bikini
that showed everything,
and had enamelled blonde hair
that looked like
it had been cemented
to her head
a complete bitch
who hated kids
even her own sorry

That summer of cicadas.
That hot loud
terrible time.

No wonder
Bill came to Melbourne.


Date: 2007

By: Dorothy Featherstone Porter (1954-2008)

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Some Politicians by Judith Catherine Green Rodrigues

To have preached even for a moment
that money matters
more than the good it buys;
to have proclaimed the end of caring;
to have unmothered the State
and left orphans to the wind;

to have waged phony battle
on the homeless and fugitive,
the needy come to our door;
to have danced on a tally of the drowned
to have pursued the desperate
for electoral triumph;

these are your names
on the sea-bed at our shore-gate
behind razor wire
among the fatherless
the trapped and the destitute
and among the separated families.


Date: 2002

By: Judith Catherine Green Rodriguez (1936- )

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Summer by Luke Davies

The sky broods like the whole of Sydney’s
done something wrong and it can’t quite put its finger
on it. Christmas stretches into New Year and
Sydneysiders wear the vacant stare of the slightly
troubled. This is nothing, you think. Humidity
of gathering crowds. Everyone heads to the beach
and the beach too is not quite right, the way
the water stalks foreigners, the way the seaweed

crunches underfoot, the way the wind whips sand
into your fillings. This is nothing, you think.
Diving onto the sandbar, the boy breaks his neck
and the helicopter takes him away. Too much sun,
everywhere. All a helicopter ever meant
is Apocalypse Now, the way its blades shimmer
in the salt haze. The gulls go more insane than ever,
if that’s possible, and later you learn the neck boy dies.


Date: 1999

By: Luke Davies (1962- )

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

The Boys of Barr na Sráide by Edward Bernard “Sigerson” Clifford

O the town it climbs the mountain and looks upon the sea
And sleeping time or waking time ’tis there I long to be
To walk again that kindly street, the place I grew a man
With the boys of Barr na Sráide who hunted for the wran.

With cudgels stout we roamed about to hunt for the dreoilín.
We searched for birds in every furze from Letter to Dooneen.
We sang for joy beneath the sky; life held no print or plan
And we boys in Barr na Sráide went hunting for the wran.

And when the hills were bleeding and the rifles were aflame
To the rebel homes of Kerry those Saxon strangers came
But the men who dared the Auxies and who fought the Black and Tans
Were the boys in Barr na Sráide who hunted for the wran.

So here’s a toast to them tonight, those lads who laughed with me
By the groves of Carhan River or the slopes of Beenatee
John Dawley and Batt Andy and the Sheehans Con and Dan
And the boys of Barr na Sráide who hunted for the wran.

But now they toil on foreign soil where they have gone their way
Deep in the heart of London town or over in Broadway
And I am left to sing their deeds and to praise them while I can
Those boys of Barr na Sráide who hunted for the wran

And when the wheel of life runs down and when peace comes over me
O lay me down in that old town between the hills and sea
I’ll take my sleep in those green fields the place my life began
Where the boys of Barr na Sráide went hunting for the wran.


Date: ?1976

By: Edward Bernard “Sigerson” Clifford (1913-1985)

Monday, 26 December 2016

Saint Stephen’s Day with the Griffins by Henri Cole

for Janet and Christopher

Half-eagle, half-lion, the fabulous
animal struts, saber-clawed but saintly,
a candlewicked ornament dangling
from our rickety sugar pine. Butternut

pudding in our bellies. His reindeer
and sleigh hurried here and gone—thank God
for us childless folks. Almost:   the lovelocked
Griffins on the sofa, sockfooted, hearing

gas and a kiddy heart in her tummy—
a life more imaginary than real,
though one is dazzled by gold that fills
the egg unbroken. We feed her crumpets

and listen again: The lamb’s a hungry
bugger, even snug from earth’s
imponderable fury. Tomorrow, in a spurt
by jet I’m home. Clumsy as a puppy

I’ll scale the flightstairs into the nosecone,
luggage banging at my sides, enter the egg-
shaped cabin and await the infrared
climb toward space. Tell me one

thing true? If I could count the way
things slip from us: Mother’s fur gloves,
Sunday’s benediction, the dead gone before us,
love’s rambler on the prairie—all displaced

as we buckle in our shuttle,
jetbound on a screaming runway,
gravity pulling at us castaways,
more mammal than bird, subtle

leg-weary griffins made manifest,
arrowing towards home. How do we
ignore it: the attenuated being
of our age, the bittersweet collapse

of dominoes mooned around our pine?
Withered with hatred from his quarter,
Saint Stephen even at death rolled mercifully over
in high holiness. Sonless, wifeless, nine

thousand feet from land, I roll the lozenge
on my tongue, youthful habit for ache
of any kind, parting a survivor (Wait!),
love rescuing me from the fringe.


Date: 1989

By: Henri Cole (1956- )

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Liquidity by Joan Austral Fraser (Amy Witting)

In a flurry of daylight, watercold, windy and sunny,
the tall liquidamber is dancing a daydream of money,
silver coins flashing among its rich copper and gold.
Ashputtel, put out your apron for riches untold,
for bicycles, skiboots and ponies, for ease and for glee,
a ruby ring shaped like a heart and a house by the sea,
deep drifts of carpet caressing, consoling the feet,
money in pocketfuls, handfuls to toss in the street,
to startle, to melt the set faces, to cure disbelief,
a bucketful set in the doorway to smile at the thief,
for mink coats and Volvos, for Christmas trees twenty feet tall
and loaded with presents, new shoes and warm blankets for all.
O plenty, o cartloads, o boatloads … The wind starts to die,
the little hands flutter a slow, ironic goodbye.


Date: 1991

By: Joan Austral Fraser (Amy Witting) (1918-2001)

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Chanukah Lights Tonight by Steven P. Schneider

Our annual prairie Chanukah party—
latkes, kugel, cherry blintzes.
Friends arrive from nearby towns
and dance the twist to “Chanukah Lights Tonight,”
spin like a dreidel to a klezmer hit.

The candles flicker in the window.
Outside, ponderosa pines are tied in red bows.
If you squint,
the neighbors’ Christmas lights
look like the Omaha skyline.

The smell of oil is in the air.
We drift off to childhood
where we spent our gelt
on baseball cards and matinees,
cream sodas and potato knishes.

No delis in our neighborhood,
only the wind howling over the crushed corn stalks.
Inside, we try to sweep the darkness out,
waiting for the Messiah to knock,
wanting to know if he can join the party.


Date: 2000

By: Steven P. Schneider (19??- )

Friday, 23 December 2016

The Second Advent by Thomas Hill

Not in a humble manger now,
Not of a lowly virgin born,
Announced to simple shepherd swains,
That watch their flocks in the early morn;

Not in the pomp of glory, come,
While throngs of angels hover round,
Arrayed in glittering robes of light,
And moving to the trumpet’s sound;

But in the heart of every man,
O, Jesus, come, and reign therein,
And banish from the human breast
The darkening clouds of guilt and sin.

Come, spread thy glory over earth,
Fill every heart with truth and love,
Till thy whole kingdom here below
Be filled with peace like that above.

For such a glory, when on earth,
Thou prayedst to thy Father, God;
He heareth thee, and soon will spread
Thy glory and thy truth abroad.

Then shall no more by brothers’ hands
The blood of brother men be spilled,
Nor earth’s fair scenes with captives’ tears
And groans of dying slaves be filled.

But every where shall songs of joy
And hymns of praise to God arise:
The true millennial glory then
Shall bless thy waiting followers’ eyes.

From: Hill, Thomas, Christmas, and Poems on Slavery, 1843, 1843, Metcalf, Keith and Nichols: Cambridge, Massachusetts, pp. 14-16.

Date: 1843

By: Thomas Hill (1818-1891)

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Short and Sweet by Unknown

Wise men suffer, good men grieve,
Knaves devise, and Fools believe,
Help, O Lord, send ayd unto us,
Else Knaves and Fools will quite undoe us.

From: Brome, Alexander, Rump: or An Exact collection of the choycest poems and songs relating to the late times, 1662, Henry Brome and Henry Marsh: London, p. 30.

Date: c1640

By: Unknown