Sunday, 22 May 2016

we pengamen...

Poem by Susie Clevenger
Image from Songs from the street: The underworld of Indonesian buskers - SMH April 18, 2015

we pengamen
stain the streets with
disposable music
so they say

we got to prick a conscience or two

we pengamen
get locked away
tossed into an underworld
of shame

we busker on

we got to prick a conscience or two

we pengamen
are filth
a worthless underclass
so they say

our feet beat the streets 
we busker on
and on

we got to to prick a conscience

we got to put some soul
some tender music soul

in your shoes

Linking to:
Imaginary Garden With Real Toads - Play It Again, Toads

Wednesday, 18 May 2016


he loves animals
the kookaburra personalities
the whimsical cats
the playful dogs
in fact
anything that breathes
(and is non-human)
softens the crunchy sparks
so near the surface

traffic snarls
slow traffic lights
traffic dreamers
supermarket dawdlers
bring out the bite
the vicious bite

he is obsessed with documentaries
(mainly wildlife Attenborough style)
but also ones that explore
the gruesome... 
the unsolved murders
the accidents
the up close and personal worlds of
forensic pathologists

he used to love dancing
a master of moves...
now he just thinks about it
with the odd spurt here and there
when the beat kicks him

he's weathered
but the glint of humour
never stops...
one crack leads to another

on another side

he ambles the less travelled byways
if the weather's fine
and he's in the mood

 deep down
in quiet times
he feels the winds of the universe
he hears 
the words

he could be a tree
always listening

Linking to;
dVerse - Poetics - Character Study

Sunday, 15 May 2016

a sunset sigh...

autumn moment 
of memories

autumn sunset
cool sigh
of other light

your sunset
your memory
my autumn

Linking to:
Poets United - Poetry Pantry #302

Saturday, 14 May 2016


our lyrics
our wind-song

we glide to the light
of our street lamp

never heeding
the beat of
set to clip

our words


Some words sprinkled through the poem connect with T.S.Eliot's Rhapsody on a Windy Night,
and a brief nod to Eliot's Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.

Linking to:
Imaginary Garden With Real Toads - Let's visit the family

Sunday, 8 May 2016

if I shrink you...

if I shrink you
a package of young, sweet innocence
that you may have been

will I remember you

or will
I lose sight of you ...

will I sour ...


Linking to:
Imaginary Garden With Real Toads - Sunday Mini-Challenge - Harrows and Hallows

Friday, 6 May 2016

smashed sounds...

smashed sounds deform memory... I 
remember when the House of Song welcomed new flowers, and temples would have
sacred hymns and dances, waiting for the time when jaguars should have been
given the right to succeed. Jaguars are always looking
for Quetzalcoatl, accepting his musical peace, his wisdom refined for
the chant of drum or flute.  Sadly, my
                                              song meandered into a mish-mash of literary left-overs. My own
                                              personal, interpetation of a cultural room
                                              is now reserved for
                                             claustrophobic breathing time
                                              squeezed among
smashed sounds, decomposing in my... ruins

I used a poem by Mexican poet Coral Bracho -
translated by Tom Boll and Katherine Pierpoint.
The poem is called Among These Ruins.
(The last word of each line, read vertically, represents a line from this poem = The Golden Shovel Form).
The early images I describe represent Aztec culture and their love of poetry.
I was surprised that poetry was an essentail part of the educational curriculum.

flower songs - combined the sacred with worldy themes in poetry.
jaguars - represented warriors in poetry.
Quetzalcoatl - patron deity of the cities and giver and teacher of poetry.

Linking to:
d'Verse Meeting the Bar: The Golden Shovel form

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

I am sailing...

I skippered the Monday boat rather well
tossed out some weighty baggage
and sailed the swelling demands
of lesson pressures and emails
rather well too...

That is
until THE email
popped into my inbox
THE email
that wanted to reconstruct
a future assessment task for Year 8's...

I had spent so long
shuffling the rubrics and
pinging the ultimate topic
that would send little minds into big spins

but THE email wanted to fix the rubrics
at the lowest level

NO relevance to the topic
NO imagination
NO structure
NO grammar

a whole column
of NOthingness...

what to reply
without resorting to
NO grace

Finally I mustered
some dignity...
I believe the ultimate purpose is the topic...
the lowest common denominator must be
some recognition
the writer wrote anything at all...

I skippered the Monday raft rather well
tossed out some weighty baggage
and kept sailing...

Linking to;
Imaginary Garden With Real Toads - The Tuesday Platform

This poem intended to be for the recent 'skip' prompt at d'Verse...
The poem intended to be a quadrille - 44 words...
But it morphed into more...
Rubrics - columns headed from HIGH to LOW + explanations in each

Monday, 2 May 2016

your silken light...

Wordle #249 overlaying the closing colours of today in the Dromana Hills...

your evening silken light
serenaded my boundless yearning
for the grace
of your moment

I tried to keep you close
to join you
seeking the cell of your fire

wrenched from me
wrenched from me

so heartlesslessly
the eggs of our time
into myriad

I imagined
offering my hand
to you
waiting for any warm touch of your skin

so loved
by a lonely child 
that was

and in some ways

is still

your evening silken light
my dream

for another year

Today would have been my father's birthday...
I lost him when I was just 12...

Linking to:
The Sunday Whirl - Wordle #249

Sunday, 1 May 2016

when the colours fell...

waves of autumn winds
tidal rains scourge
a sea of leaves

Today was a wild day of strong winds and rain...
And autumn colours fell in torrents...
The photo shows a patch of strewn colour just near my front step...
I thought, after the April stampede, I was all puffed out of poetry,
but this wild day needed a poetic note...

Linking to:
Poets United - Poetry Pantry

Saturday, 30 April 2016

other maypoles...

shedding maypoles
lambent colours
autumn winds
will trigger
the dance

Poetry form: free verse

The photo is a view of autumn vines between trees at Red Hill...
Many trees split their bark or shed layers of it.

And so closes another year of National Poetry Writing Month...
I achieved my goal of 30 poems in 30 days...
* for Imaginary Garden With Real Toads prompts - 29 poems
* for Poets United - 1 poem
Thank you ever so much to the hosts for providing inspiration for us!

Linking to:
Imaginary Garden With Real Toads - Poetising the Maypole

Friday, 29 April 2016

window ledge...

window frame
of morning
buzzing with
a micro landscape of

a ledge
divides and

ruffle of a smile
a little figure
sheathed in 
elfin threads
elfin glad rags

she could be happy

but her eyes 
the secret of
her frozen moment

all I see
in my moment
a young girl

in but not of

my scraps of autumn
oddments of the colours in my life

our ledge
divides and

Poetry form: free verse - 79 words

This is one of several little whimsical figurines on my bedroom window ledge.
Outside, autumn days, autumn lights are closing in.

Linking to:
Imaginary Garden With Real Toads - Instapoetry - no more than 100 words

Thursday, 28 April 2016

peel me away...

extrovert teacher
insignificant socialite

eclectic painter...
the invisible 
deep in the tapestry of
 poetry in motion

(coffee connoisseur

camera lens
feeling the screams and nuances of the world

weeping willow on some days
an oak on others

vintage car
struggling to shine
for new times to come


Poetry form: free verse - 50 words

Linking to:
Imaginary Garden With Real Toads - Words Count

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

in a confined sweet space...

a small path around trees 
and stones

meander to

small room

a bucolic silence
easing the raging colours of the mind

and welcome

the slow 
mandala harmonies of

a humble heart

willing to share
a bowl of tea with

a stranger

Poetry form: free verse

I found two interesting websites on the life of Sen no Rikyu and the tea ceremony  HERE and HERE
One particular comment - Rikyu contributed the idea that there should be a doorway to the tea room that requires guests to bend to enter the room - a sign of humility.
From Imaginary Toads I selected:
'When you serve tea to your guests, you should simply serve tea from your heart, and think about nothing more.' 

Linking to:
Imaginary Garden With Real Toads - The Way of Tea

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

fragments of a prince...

thieves in the temple
struck down by
his diamond cane

cinnamon girl and
purple rain
touched a tragic prince

he sought his old soul
seeking gold
like a poor man lost

Poetry form: lune

 I have always been fascinated how Prince kept his faith intact
and managed to sing from a wild, even raunchy spirit.
Only in Purple Rain and Cinnamon Girl could I find a fusion of the two.
And then, there is the secret line in Thieves in the Temple where Prince mentions seeking the soul...

Linking to:
Imaginary Garden With Real Toads - The Tuesday Platform

Monday, 25 April 2016

I was... I have become...

I come from a Sydney time when
a clothes line strung between posts
became a rotary line
when a cane wash basket
became a plastic one

I come from the necessity of a small chicken run and a veggie patch
fruit trees and
shrubs for shade

I come from the value of a big back yard
a grass one
room for playing

I come from the joy of spending time with my quiet father at weekends
just walking
in bushland
and sharing
wild wonders

I come from the pain of losing my father when I was only 12

I come from heady study days balancing uni and work
with no parental safety net
(my mother lived for my brother, her garden and her dogs)

I come from the struggle of turning shyness into social awareness
I come from confusion and loneliness


I am from new beginnings

I am from heartbreak and 
desperate Tai Chi in Tasmania and 
a sudden scrappy life in Melbourne

I am now from peninsula worlds
where mountain and sea are my friends

I am from
my camera
seeking the beauty in small things

I am from
a dream
to teach
and live that dream

I am from
the voice
the soul

my poetry

Linking to:
Imaginary Garden With Real Toads - Where Do I Come From

Sunday, 24 April 2016

in the days of weeping colours...

in the days of weeping colours
when sugar-froths pepper the blue
I remember the honey-dance times
when we were two

when we were two cappucinos
mind-tasting a one-stream street
I remember the jasmine secret
when we were sweet

once we were sweet guitar strings
harmonising fruit pie and cream
I remember the last dessert
when we un-teamed

when we un-teamed our colours
and spiked our sugars with salt
I remember the boom-crash-opera
our tectonic fault

so now
silhouette-shame of mine
cowering in a wrathful shrine
bury your pungent rust
in the looming arctic-dust

The autumn photo above is fresh from the camera.
A walk in autumn worlds this afternoon at Red Hill was a wonder of leaf colour.

Linking to:
Imaginary Garden With Real Toads - Kenning

Saturday, 23 April 2016

to the Bard...

If poets be the soul of life, write on.
Give me a feast of words that fill the mind,
Where meaning trumps the sturdy lexicon
And warms the coldest heart of our mankind.
If poets be the touch of dusks and dawns,
The tune of leaves bereft of mother tree,
The dance of lively youth like playful fawns,
Please let their landscapes linger close to me.
If poets be the eyes of dreams, dream well.
Give me a vision laced with rhythmic sounds
Where music rings the senses like a bell
And porters shine in priceless golden crowns.
A bard once felt the pulse of inner lives.
He breathes within our darkest, deep archives.

There are a couple of connections with Shakespeare drizzled through the sonnet.
- the first line and the reference to a bell and porter.
Orsino, in Twelfth Night says - If music be the food of love play on... - upper class romance and style
The bell is often a warning of a significant turn in Shakespeare's plays - often associated with death
The porter has a significant cameo scene in Macbeth - for serious humour and a representation of the lower class
Also, Shakespeare's plays include many references to nature - often symbolic references

Linking to:
Imaginary Garden With Real Toads - Let's Tip our Hats to the Bard

Friday, 22 April 2016

an earth lament...

Earth Day 2016 - Google

my seas 
gave you horizons
but you gave me tears

I am the swan

my mountains 
gave you stars
but you gave me sneers

I am the swan on ice

my trees 
gave you shade
but you  gave me fears

I am the dying swan 

a sea of tears
sneering peaks and
broken trees

legacy of
nurturing years

I am the dying swan on thin ice

Poetry form: free verse

In line with the concept of dance embedded in this prompt,
my thoughts turned to Anna Pavlova and The Dying Swan dance created for her to perform in 1905.
There have been numerous adaptations of this dance including Swan Lake
and skate choreography...
With spotlights giving the ice the effect of water at night, Miss Henie, outlined in a blue light, performed the dance made immortal by Pavlova.
- The New York Times - 1936 on Sonja Henie's performance on ice.

Linking to:
Imaginary Garden With Real Toads - a dance rhythm for Earth Day

Thursday, 21 April 2016

it's not my job...

The poachers had been in the park before, in 2010, 
when they killed about a dozen elephants
and two park guards.
This time, they were shooting elephants in far greater numbers,
and in some cases
sawing off the tusks while the animals were still alive.

Elephants are under siege throughout Africa
Demand for ivory is increasing in Asia

ivory cigarette holders, chopsticks,
and even carved miniature elephants.

In Hong Kong,
a pair of carved tusks can be worth two hundred thousand dollars.

Their ivory,
sometimes called hot ivory or pink ivory,
is especially coveted on the illegal market.

Turkalo told me,
“It’s not my job to create security.
My job is to come here every day and observe elephants.”
Standing on the viewing platform,
as the mist lifted after a rain,
she looked out at the elephants
milling around the clearing.

“I’m pretty realistic about what these animals are up against,
their world has become extremely imperilled.
We’re losing the war
to save it."

Poetry form: erasure poetry

This poem is based on an article in The New Yorker - May 11. 2015
It's entitled Elephant Watch.

Linking to:
Imaginary Garden With Real Toads - An Elephantine Challenge

Wednesday, 20 April 2016


I wanted all the money in the world           
                                                       but I could not spend it or even give it away

Remember the monkey's paw

I wished to go back to the days when being a homemaker were valued
                         but I became a handmaid

He wanted to be the greatest musician who ever lived
          and so he died

She wanted to be forever young

Remember Dorian Gray

Poetry form: free verse

I decided to link the concept of this prompt with literature.
The following are the narratives considered.
All the Money in the World - Bill Brittain
The Monkey's Paw - W.W.Jacobs
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
Soul Music - Terry Pratchett
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

Linking to:
Imaginary Garden With Real Toads - When Good Wishes Go Bad...

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

a man and a woman...

a tradie was once feeling knackered
stuffed from a round of hard yakka
so late in the arvo
he dropped in the bottle-o
and was pissed to the gills - what a slacker

a woman was once feeling aggro
she'd fought the local garbo
so she chucked a sickie
donned some lippie
and flirted at the local servo

Poetry form: limerick

on Australian vernacular
tradie - tradesman
knackered - tired; exhausted
stuffed - exhausted
hard yakka - hard work
arvo - afternoon
bottle-o - liquor store; bottle shop
pissed to the gills - very drunk
slacker - may be intelligent but may not be performing intelligently
aggro - angry
garbo - garbage man
chucked a sickie - took sick leave from work - without actually being sick
lippie - lipstick
servo - service station where petrol is available

Linking to:
Imaginary Garden With Real Toads - The Tuesday Platform - local vernacular

Monday, 18 April 2016

numbers don't lie...

minus reason
added myth to legend
divided by old circumstance

multiplied shame
political castles
exponents of dark indices
dust mites

Poetry form: cinquain

The image is of the winning sculpture in the 2014 Montalto Sculpture Competition at Red Hill.
It is entitled Fall From Grace by Adam Stone.
The two cinquains intend to surprise by warping many illusions together
creating a surprise network in a numbers game.

Linking to:
Imaginary Garden With Real Toads - Turns of the Tale:  Poetic Surpise

Sunday, 17 April 2016

more than wooden...

believe that we are more than wooden lives
carved from some ancient neolithic trees
locked in a wilderness outside your world

believe that we can fuel and light your world
bring wisdom, insight to your troubled lives
and show you ways to cherish Nature's trees

believe that we can teach you ways of trees
and lead you in a self-sufficient world
such knowledge is one key to peaceful lives

respect your trees, respect your lives, our world

The images are of sculptures scattered round the Enchanted Adventure Garden at Arthurs Seat.
Still, today, our indigenous peoples are struggling to find dignity and respect.
A link to 20 trail-blazing indigenous women who have changed Australia is

Poetry form: tritina

Linking to:
Imaginary Garden With Real Toads - Poetry To The Third Power

Saturday, 16 April 2016


Photo by Outlawyer HERE

you seem
frozen in
rigid emotion

shadow sylphs
drift round you
like shafts of
shaping your feelings
by default

but you know
those shadows
are like decoys
they begin at a source
but end
somewhere else

to me
your youth was dismembered

your face
your ruptured face
so like
a vicious bite
in a delicious apple

and your upper lip

a knife
enjoying the sensual flow

but stopped

a little trademark
a calling card

you seem 

no eyes
to see my nightmare
no ears
to hear my blubbering remorse

no mouth of yours
can voice

my evil

Poetry form: ekphrasis - free verse

Linking to:
Imaginary Garden With Real Toads - In The remains of This Month (April)

Friday, 15 April 2016


blind eyes
the window
the expected guest
a welcome of indifference
the young man, a small house-agent's clerk with one bold stare
and I, Tiresias, who have walked the lowest of the dead, finding the stairs unlit

Poetry form: Fibonacci - found/erasure poem based on an extract from T.S.Eliot's The Waste Land

Linking to:
Imaginary Garden With Real Toads - Tax Day and T.S. Eliot's poem The Waste Land
(There is a small connection with death in the final line, but the fib is not about death)

Thursday, 14 April 2016

no one leaves home...


no one leaves home
home is just
a few insecure walls
sardonically supporting
a roof
pocked with gunfire
a token door
and a window
framed in betrayal

no one seeks the unknown

foreign worlds

there is nowhere else to go

Poetry form: free verse

Linking to:
Poets United Midweek Motif - Home

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

if these walls could talk...

if these seedy walls 
could talk
the talk
(as criminal lawyers)
may be jailed

a stone curtain may be rolled back

to walk the walk

to live again

Poetry form: free verse

Linking to:
Imaginary Garden With Real Toads - If These walls Could Talk
Picture selected from the post - Inside of a confession booth

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