Archive for May, 2022

Tuesday, 31 May 2022

Reflections by Paul Hetherington

I stand by the river and look at the deepening sky
like thousands of people every day.
The water reflects me too but doesn’t show
who I am. I glimpse a hundred images.

The sky leans. All sense of what I am
dissolves. Crawling from the water
are worm-like words, frogs bleeding from the eyes.
I sink into the past as into mud—

children laughing, adults yelling voices
admonishing, neglecting me. I grab at the words
but they’re only bubbles of air. They placed me here

but have no substance. I am a tortuous lie,
a concoction of fantastic oddments.
Frogs sit on my hair, fish nose at my shoulders.

From: Hetherington, Paul, “Reflections” in Westerly, No. 1, March, 1990, p. 22.

Date: 1990

By: Paul Hetherington (1958- )

Monday, 30 May 2022

Rows and Rows of Rain Clouds (Yirra, Kuji, Yirra, Karti Ngayirrmani) by Yintilypirna Kaalyamarra

Cloudbank, rain, cloudbank,
row upon row of them.
The big upper-layer clouds are rising.
As a result of the host of little clouds
multiplying the country is heating up.

In the constant thunder it talks,
telling us it’s coming.
The downpour is drenching the countryside.
In the open country the raindrops are causing a soft
roaring sound,
as the swathe of the downpour passes.

Lightning is striking at the front,
the storm is causing the dust to swirl around.
Sudden silence! Splashing of falling raindrops.
Karnkulypangu* was the cause of this!

Yirra, Kuji, Yirra, Karti Ngayirrmani

Yirra, kuji, yirra, karti ngayirrmani.
Purntura ngarra maninyu.
Kapalya kurru marnanyurulu
ngurra parlangkarna-parlangkarna kamarnu.

Ngurntika wangka yulayinyu.
Ngurra kunti marnu ngurlungkangulu.
Parlkarranguraya kuji muurrkarra, jinyjirrarangka.

Ngari para pungarnu,
kurlurlu karti ngampurrjarli marnu ngurntijartulu.
Jamukarra! Warlpa warninyu.

*Rain was Karnukulypangu’s kalyartu (totem); he was therefore in charge of its increase, and so is considered to be the one responsible for this downpour. This song was composed in Ngarla, an Indigenous Aboriginal language spoken in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

From: Kinsella, John and Ryan, Tracy (eds.), The Fremantle Press Anthology of Western Australian Poetry, 2017, Fremantle Press: Fremantle, WA, pp. [unnumbered].

Date: 2003 (published)

By: Yintilypirna Kaalyamarra (????-c1940)

Translation by: Brian Geytenbeek (1933- )

Sunday, 29 May 2022

After the Funeral by Peter Paul Everwine

We opened closets and bureau drawers
and packed away, in boxes, dresses and shoes,
the silk underthings still wrapped in tissue.
We sorted through cedar chests. We gathered
and set aside the keepsakes and the good silver
and brought up from the coal cellar
jars of tomato sauce, peppers, jellied fruit.
We dismantled, we took down from the walls,
we bundled and carted off and swept clean.
Goodbye, goodbye, we said, closing
the door behind us, going our separate ways
from the house we had emptied,
and which, in the coming days, we would fill
again and empty and try to fill again.

From: Everwine, Peter, Listening Long and Late, 2013, University of Pittsburgh Press: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, p. [unnumbered].

Date: 2013

By: Peter Paul Everwine (1930-2018)

Friday, 27 May 2022

This Glittering Grief by Robert Liddell Lowe

This glittering grief is all I have
Of you who went before a wave
Would go. A frightened fox in flight
Were not so swift. This sorrow, bright
And shining, is my legacy.
You are a muted memory,
A testament inscribed in sand,
A syllable the lightning’s hand
Wrote transiently across the sky.
You are no more than these—and I
Must mimic now the minor note
Of grieving water’s silver throat.
O little grief, be great. O small
Diminished sorrow, tower tall—
Lest I forget this vanished one,
Too lovely for oblivion.

From: Lowe, Robert Liddell, “This Glittering Grief” in Poetry, Volume XXXIX, Number 1, October 1931, p. 14.

Date: 1931

By: Robert Liddell Lowe (1908-1988)

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Dog Thoughts by John Hazard

What if my speckled dog
who loped six years in the meadow
now sat in a rocker, staring
at books, for hours, or TV’s
news, practiced all the bright morning,
or cook shows, cop shows, show shows,
and even sports?
What if my speckled dog
gazed out the grey window
and twice a day
woofed his deep thoughts
to the empty street?
Or whined longingly
to the yellow Lab trotting by
on the far side of the glass?
What if I had a dog?


Date: 2020

By: John Hazard (19??- )

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Hawk is Talking by Allan Peterson

Whether the passing hawk is talking
about the unquenchability of need,
or complaining its short wings unbecoming,
or announcing how this time the mouse
will stay put to hope it so, it must anticipate
early, almost before it launches, or the trees
will flash by before it arrives and its perfect
gold feet will clutch on nothing.


Date: 2006

By: Allan Peterson (19??- )

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Scrutiny and resistentialism# at a supermarket in the west hills of Portland by Talal Gedeon

Under scalpel white light
every skin transluces
like esca-lit# anglerfish skin
in the stygian# sea and
it’s anybody’s surgery#
at the Market of Choice.

No luscious forefathers#
in this land of bacon thick and thin
and shining cereal dispensers
and packaged everything.

In this land of the beef-witted,
of hawks and zafties#
and California widows,#
the juiciest bits# are
wrapped in cellophane.

And tonight,
while rope-bound asparaguses gleam,
a lone old lady
extends a veiny little hand,
cops a stern feel
of organic avocadoes,
and whispers her valuations.

#Resistentialism: the seemingly spiteful countenance of inanimate objects.

#Esca: the fleshy appendage that protrudes from the forehead of anglerfish. The esca acts as a lure, and in the case of anglerfish from the bathypelagic zone, often emits light.

#Stygian: dark and/or relating to the river Styx.

#Surgery: a time for seeing inside of things, evaluating, and deciding what is needed and what is not.

#Luscious forefathers: such as Walt Whitman, Garcia Lorca, Allen Ginsberg, & Co. (cf. A Supermarket in California, by Allen Ginsberg).

#Zafty: a person very easily imposed upon.

#California-widow: a woman whose husband is away from her for some time.

#Juicy bits: such as—Luke’s Honeyed Ham With Water Added, Red’s Prime Roast Beef, Oregon Jack’s Bleu D’Auvergne, Hardy Harry’s Medium Raclette, Francine’s Natural Chicken & Turkey Breasts, et cetera, et cetera!


Date: 2014

By: Talal Gedeon (19??- )

Monday, 23 May 2022

Train & Pool by Brian Johnson

The train standing in the rain: sad, but I know something worse.
The pool of rain-darkened leaves. It is real sadness—

I mean the empirical scenery of it, the ripening
In a season of mist. With the generalissimo. With the silent-film actress.

Their faces are so strangely impassive, remote, blazed-out
Over the pool and its crepuscular leaf-mass.

Meanwhile the pool house, with its French doors open, standing in the rain—
Its fan whirring—the robes still on the white-strapped chairs—

Sequestered no more than an hour ago, perhaps two—
The pool house we frequented, in our savage youth.


Date: 2020

By: Brian Johnson (19??- )

Sunday, 22 May 2022

Romantic Evening for One by James Gaynor

Twilight birds turn into frogs
or they in their voices do
singing secrets known only to owls —
as dead-eyed in the darkening
a snaking silver fish with teeth
listens to its next meal

While on another shore
In a different forest
it’s hard to tell
under the feathers and tulle
who’s a swan and who’s a princess
because here in some confusion
so often they are both

There’s a wizard there’s a queen —
always a wizard always a queen — and
her pale flock dances in military formation
while one of its number molts into
her human other then into yet another other
perplexing a prince unaware
he’s half of an interspecies couple

At this lake nothing ends well
but time after time I hope —
just this once —
love might triumph
because well you never know
at least until now
stranger things have happened

but then
there are evenings
of uninterrupted music
when the indifferent unseen
fills with fractured light and

the end of everything isn’t


Date: 2021

By: James Gaynor (1948- )