Tag Archives: relationships

Another summer of dragonflies?

Today in Melbourne we awake to opulent sunshine and the promise of warmth. Hard not to be optimistic….

Dragonfly summer

After the rains came the summer of dragonflies
parched earth and desiccated minds
luxuriated in fresh growth
the stultifying dry, inexorable loss, a memory
a fading nightmare

A plethora of dragonflies
gossamer wings iridescent in summer’s light
movements of languid chaos
flight paths seemingly random
as they wooed, contorted, copulated

I met you that summer
dehydrated hearts, numbed minds
we took our lead from the dragonflies
danced languorously
in dizzying courtship spirals

Soon the weather turned cold
although the rain did not stop
another joined our waltz
our leisurely dance now frenetic
watched by the last of the dragonflies

In winter the dragonfly nymphs hid
sequestered, awaiting warming sun
exhausted by your feverish whirls
I followed their wisdom
found refuge, laid low

In spring the dragonflies
emerge to revel in golden light
stretch their gauzy wings
flit upon the silken air
Shall we dance?

The beginnings of a short story?

The last Express Yourself writing workshop was held yesterday. I wrote a poem about the memories of my five year old son. It may contain the kernel of an idea – or it may be a sow’s ear Why do we malign the sow? I must investigate the origins of that expression. In any case the poem as it currently stands is not fit to share. Our second exercise was to describe a journey, which I uncharacteristically undertook in prose. Arnold Zable felt that it might be the beginning of a short story and suggested that I use the ‘daring’ approach of moving to the second person when discussing my ex-partner’s role.  Weave the story of my escape from the mountain with that of the relationship – and, indeed, a second escape. Here is what I wrote yesterday – clearly it’s a draft. What do you think?

Leaving the mountain
The air escaping the back of the car is even hotter than that around us. And that air is the hottest I have ever felt. Sweat evaporates before it has even thought to exit the glands on my skin. I cannot smell the smoke but above me the sky is tangerine or perhaps blood orange. Why do we so often seek edible metaphors? For, unlike the fruit, this sky contains no moisture – only refracted light and ominous promise.

We load the car with tubs of photos, dutifully packed before the first day of tremendous heat and sinister wind. I cannot lift them. I am spent from a morning preparing for such an eventuality. The pump stands primed, ready. Hoses are uncoiled. Buckets, mops, torches, radios and countless bottles of water are positioned around the house. Clothes are ready. The plan is on the fridge. Preparations made, we calmly pack the car.

I am breathless. Belly swollen, the baby due in a mere three months. He is quiet now. My son is at my feet. He has finally stopped screaming, his face slick with shiny red goo. The remains of the placatory red icy pole offered him. He has been woken from his nap. He is tired and frightened. I have no time to comfort him.

Now I plead with you to leave.

I have never been happy that you wish to remain. Your misguided masculinity. Your sense of self bound up with the notion of being a hero. And yet, you are so unprepared, your psyche unlikely to withstand the coming inferno.

So I must leave you. Photos, laptop, a few toys and clothes jumbled in the rear of the car. I throw the woolen blanket out of the boot. A stupid, careless gesture since its purpose is to protect us from radiant heat if trapped by fire. When the blanket is found five days later, ember burns pocking its blue check, we realise it has saved your life.  There are times that I will wish I had taken it with me.

The car noses its way out of the driveway. It could drive this road itself.  I say no goodbye, do not look back and head into the uncertain.

Mathematical relationship

Often I feel inadequate when poets make references to classics and mythology in their work since I have little knowledge of these. As I wrote my thesis the other night I realised that I do know something about maths. And so this poem was born. It may not be terribly original. It may be corny. But it was fun to write….

we worked on our simultaneous equation
only to find there was no solution
or rather, they were different

product of innumerable couplings
which, if graphed, would demonstrate
a reducing x against the y of time

until you kissed another
creating a new trigonometry
angles to be calculated

and counting
each free integer a celebration
inviting love’s calculus


Once upon a time…

A time there once was
The moon hung low
Each blade of grass
Intimate silver
We joined in the night air


A time there once was
Hands clasped
Our invincible selves
Paraded avenues of
Unfettered promise


A time there once was
We danced, whirled and sang
Encased in a homely cocoon
Fire glowing warmly
Reflecting sunny faces


A time there once was
We buried our noses
In soft warm fuzz
Inhaling the scent of
New life


A time there once was
The tart taste of bitterness
Crept into each day
Resentment the vernacular
Poison to contentment


A time there once was
A line of flames
Crackling and consuming
Scorched the earth
Between us


A time there once was
We spat venomous barbs
Disrespect coloured all
Anger became fury and
Uncertain fear


Once upon a time…


There was us
Now there is



Separate entities
A promise of moons hung low


In a shabby laboratory
A dog sits
At the sound of a bell
Awaiting its reward

But I am no dog
And yet, Pavlov’s bell rings for me

Poor old dog
Sitting in its laboratory
At the sound of a bell
But now the rewards are intermittent

But I am no dog
And yet, Pavlov’s bell rings for me

Those rewards so fleeting and erratic
So seemingly arbitrary
Conspire to produce

But I am no dog
Rather an autonomous rational human
And yet, Pavlov’s bell rings for me

What is the reward of which I speak?
Not drugs, alcohol or a thrilling win

A smile, a kind word
A few moments of time

I am no dog
But I am still waiting for my reward

I haven’t met you yet

I haven’t met you yet
But when I do
You’ll smile a wry smile and
Tell a witty joke


I haven’t met you yet
But when I do
You’ll listen to my opinion and
Offer one of your own


I haven’t met you yet
But when I do
You’ll ask me how I feel and
Want to hear the answer


I haven’t met you yet
But when I do
You’ll encircle me in your arms and
Hold me when I cry


I haven’t met you yet
But when I do
You’ll cherish me for who I am and
Not for who you want me to be


I haven’t met you yet
But when I do
You won’t be threatened by me and
Your own intelligence will shine


I haven’t met you yet
But when I do
You’ll enjoy playing word games but
Not games with my heart


I haven’t met you yet
But when I do
You’ll stroke my hair and
Kiss my forehead


I haven’t met you yet
But when I do
You’ll take me to bed and
Love me with passionate honesty


I haven’t met you yet
But when I do
You’ll wake beside me and
Whisper you love me


I haven’t met you yet
But when I do
I hope I can
Recognise you

Your anger

A roiling mass
Black, orange and red
It seethes
Love withers
And dies