From Far and Wide

From Far and Wide poem

Published in Orbit, May 2015, Issue No.4, by The School Magazine

Brother Wool

She pushes the needle
winds the wool
at home, while her thoughts
are elsewhere
she doesn’t know where.
Round and round the needles go,
four of them to knit a sock
dark wool, practical
brother wool.

One row plain
row purl
back and forth like
unanswered questions.
Turning the heel now, the toe,
the calf all done.

Now for its mate
the second of the pair.
Round and round the needles go
the click-click of love
to the brother
in France.
They say there’s mud over there
as well as fighting.
Still she knits.

But when she heard

the needles stopped.
Never picked up again.
The sock
halfway finished.

Like his life

Highly Commended in 2014 Ipswich International Poetry Feast. (Open Age –Other Poetry section)

Chill-out wind

The chill-out-wind
gnaws bones
through flesh,
ices kneecaps
and trainwhistles
through eardrums!


Published by The School Magazine, Countdown edition, August 2014 

Ride to the Rhythm


Published by The School Magazine, Blastoff edition, July 2014

Huff-notes ©

need a window clear,
a deep, warm huff
that fogs, and fingers
to clear the mist with shapes and words.

Be quick!
See-through, drizzly
don’t last.

Published in Countdown, August/no.7 Issue of The School Magazine.
(illustrated by Kerry Millard)
Published in The School Magazine, Countdown, August 2013.

What did you learn at school today? ©

Today I learned
that Troy would rather be a vampire than a zombie
that Jeremy told Ella he was invisible
that Noah is having a sleepover and I’m invited
that Shane wants to go back in time
that Adrian reckons he has his own force filed
that Sasha thinks heaven is yellow
that Seb’s grandfather has seven toes on one foot
that Jacob smells worse after lunch
that Tim grabbed Tahlia on the monkey bars and now he’s her boyfriend
that Joey isn’t good at telling jokes
and that Liam reckons he can make his own shadow.

And I learned I like everything about school except . . .

school work!

Illustrated by Douglas Holgate
Published by School Magazine, Blast Off. March 2013
Published in The School Magazine, Blast Off, March 2013

Round ’em up! Round ’em up! ©

Round ’em up! Round ’em up!
Skateboard racers
in wind-hissing rush
whistle up stray pedestrians who
bleat and sidestep, scatter and dodge.
Racers edge them in
leaping kerbs, rumbling benches, zooming ramps
until their work is done.
Mob together. Mob together.
With a yelp,
racers then head on, keen-eyed
for another city paddock.

Published in School Magazine, Orbit. June 2012

Comma Dog ©

There’s a comma
of a dog
lying on the mat.
Dozing belly and
curl of tail
ears no longer
playtime exclamation marks
eyes closed as hyphens
and soft brackets of sighs
snuffling from
that comma of a dog
in a circle
of sun.

Published in School Magazine, Orbit. May 2012

Spider light ©

you hang upside down in dim corner
like a fancy chandelier.

Are you waiting, spider,
for someone to switch on
the light?

Published in School Magazine, Countdown. May 2012

A dancing cat ©

A dancing cat
in the breeze and
soft shimmy-sways with
velvety ease.
Then leaves the earth
with push-off of paws
and for a while
it skywards soars.
And all around
is fur and whirl till
back it lands
with tail in curl.

Then vanishes – gone!
like a spark or shiver
and all that’s left
is the shadowy quiver
of a dancing,
dancing cat.

Published in The School Magazine, September 2011

Colours remembered ©

With a flick
a flip
a twist
a flutter
autumn leaves pattern
sky and gutter
with colours remembered and
colours combined
from sunsets
of long ago

Published in The School Magazine, May 2013

Whiskery mist ©

Island boat moored in bay
breathing in-and-out grey morning tide
oily water licks its sides
while whiskery mist slips and slopes
down gangplank.

Island boat putters
sputters, nosing through
the dim shroud
of sea-meets-sky
a great soft cat with hushed paws
blurring, furring
furring, blurring till

a shriek rips the mist
fog horn

Island boat heaves about, crouches,
moors again
breathing in-and-out grey morning tide until
the great soft cat stretches and
slinks away.

Published in The School Magazine, Touchdown, October 2012

Nameless ©

Up here, there is a mountain.
Our eyes have seen it
for a long, long time.
We know its story
know it like our brother.

Way back,
when no fence or road
crossed our Dreaming,
we walked the land
guided by places
like our mountain.
We knew its story –
knew it like our brother.

When others came,
in jackets and boots,
to measure and write
and hand out names,
they called it
Mount Nameless.

But our mountain
had a name.
Had it from way back.
If they had asked us
we would have told them.

footnote: Mt Nameless is in the north of Western Australia. Its Aboriginal name is Jarndrunmunhna.

Published in The School Magazine, Touchdown, February 2012

Mooch-and-Moo ©

there’s nothing much else
for a cow to do.

I’m hopeless at diving
or playing kazoo.
I can’t ride a bike
or fly to Peru.

I can’t cook a pie
or a green-grass stew,
or leap place-to-place
like a big kangaroo.

So there’s nothing much else
for a cow to do,
but to wander about
going mooch-and-moo.

And yet, I make milk
from the grass that I chew!
Now that it something
I know I can do!

So moo-chew-moo,
Making milk is something
I know I can do!

Reprint Countdown, The School Magazine, April 2010 No. 3
Reprinted in The School Magazine, Countdown, April 2010
Illustrated by Kerry Millard

Only then ©

it was as if he’d been there forever
in the yellow chill of that dawn
in that park
and in those clothes
outsized and pinned with medals

only the first sound of the bugle
as it fled towards the fading moon
caused him to stir
ease his back to straightening till
chest was proud
eyes fixed ahead
gnarled fingers
fist-curled by his side as he
remembered them.

Winner of Tom Black Memorial Poetry Section, Eyre Writers’ Awards, 2008

Flood ©

If a flood can ignore important signs like
no standing and one hour parking
and enter a person’s home without knocking
and, without a broom, sweep out life’s photographs
so that images are changed forever,
then it can easily ignore
the cry of a child,
whose hand
loses grip
with another.

Highly Commended, Ipswich Poetry Competition, 2009

The really, big sneeze! ©

A sneeze is simply
a remarkable snizzle
that starts with a fizz
and becomes soon a frizzle.
It tetches the toes
with a tingling shiver
then lightningly, tighteningly
springs to a quiver
that itches and snitches
the skin round your nose
and your eyes are all spilling
like some leaky hose
and your face has gone suckery
pulled-in and puckery
for the snizzle
is now spinning stars in your head
and they’re flashing and splashing
a dizzy, bright red
and you draw back your lips
like you’ve sucked sour plums
and out in the air
an explosion just comes
that shatters and splatters
the air like a rocket – and where is that hanky
that’s deep in your pocket!
And you squint and you blink
and you sink to your knees
and exhausted, you mutter,
‘Now, that was a sneeze!’

Runner-up, Belmont Poetry Competition, UK. Judged by children.