the town of retired war criminals

As you walk along the wide slow street at dusk you see him sitting in his chair; sometimes he waves, warding off questions with one hand while calmly taking notes with the other for an alternative history of everything. If masks could make us tell the truth, then his would still be hung behind the… Continue reading the town of retired war criminals

an invented mythology

ANTARCTIC VOICES Australian Antarctic Territory Sometimes when the wind here talks it tells me things that science will never say: how long ago by different stars the gods of night and day agreed to split the year between them; that jutting rocks above the snow are the eggs of enormous stone birds and every iceberg… Continue reading an invented mythology

a primordial sequence

THE OXYGEN MAKERS Stromatolites in Shark Bay, Western Australia Midday, water’s edge Don’t take breathing for granted; it hasn’t always been so easy. The fresh twenty-one percent we live on was made by these slimy cyan domes over billions of silent years, puff by puff. Somewhere we’ve failed, made it all go wrong; but these… Continue reading a primordial sequence

a poem about not having children

WHERE THE UNBORN ARE I ride the world to the end of the line, a fragile thing under a hard metal sky, hearing the future say the gods no longer need us and heaven still costs what each can pay. It’s calling us on, but who knows where; when all the questions are answered, the… Continue reading a poem about not having children

a poem about making your own world

THE GOOD THINGS A grey and heavy Tuesday sprawls to the horizon; the window might open onto a courtyard filled with colour and life, but never does. I want to drive a nail deep into the clouds and hang a bright canvas across the sky – a crinkled hymn to day and night – but… Continue reading a poem about making your own world

a poem about depression

MELTDOWN The soft apologetic grey of evening squeezes me out from where I’ve sat so long safe from prying minds but close to the shimmering edge. A gaunt and prowling night cat, I stalk these polished streets alone, meeting the face of my fear in each gleaming surface. I cringe from the masses of promised… Continue reading a poem about depression

a primordial poem

OPENING A TERMITE MOUND Northern Australia I shove a crooked stick in the crust of the driest looking mound, stirring ancient dust that stings my eyes. No dead thing rises from this tomb: life itself comes pouring out cool and damp in tiny white packets, guarding its treasure with pincers and riddles, life that is… Continue reading a primordial poem

a poem about our planet’s future

BOARDING THE ICEBERG Australian Antarctic Territory, midsummer I follow a bunch of chattering penguins to the rending scrape of the widening gap and then jump off the continent. The iceberg wrenches free at last and the penguin crew waddle above to raise our flag of peace. We have screeching skuas as lookouts and whales and… Continue reading a poem about our planet’s future

a poem about growing old

SIXTH VIEW OF THE SOUTHERN CROSS New Zealand, 1200 AD The heavens need a heavy anchor, so hold them back, Te Punga, hold back the rushing nights. Soon the sky boat will carry me off while I cling to its trailing rope, but until then, hold it back, Te Punga. Published in Cyphers Get a… Continue reading a poem about growing old

a poem about human smallness

Iceberg Breaking Free Australian Antarctic Territory, midsummer A penguin sneezes and the world erupts. That grinding groan you hear is the sound of a continent making love, the blue mountain heaving and churning under the flat white sheet. Do you still think that if we weren’t here to listen the sound would cease to be,… Continue reading a poem about human smallness