through the strict upright trunks

of the forest

a wallaby snug in its fur

wrapped in its fear

waits rotates its ears

longs to reach down

for the morning wet grass


I watch from my bed

the turning of a page

alerts it to my presence

alarms it sufficiently it flees

silent slow motion bounds


the view returns

a sentinel forest

the page I’d just read


and the rigmarole

of its morning     tai chi

each part      accessible

or not     cleaned

self-contained and ship-shape

what does it say of you



it laps

its way to the edge

of the table     clutches

claws and falls

only     to land     embarrassed


on four stunned paws


because I see this view

I catalogue it as mine


because I am alone

no-one else can see


the sky at dusk

dusted pink

the soft vermillion

of the faded corrugated iron roof

below the blank peach

of the terraced walls

slabs of muted colour

the great chunks of paint

punctuated by the window

otherwise ignored


the flat canvas

smeared with paint

what the view became

or always was


I watch the window


as dust settles

on the surface of the glass

of water set on the table

near the window

why the taut surface

trembles with fear

from the hand which set it there


the unfolding lips of the pool

dampness glistening on the lush

flanks liquid oozing from the pulse

of frogspawn shuddering

the season gathers these urges

funnels the stream to a gush

dropping a sheet of water

over the edge like glass


then you surface in a mirror held

struggle against the water

changing it as it changes you

and for a moment bliss

lights your perfect face lost

I’ll never capture that in this


salmon flop onto the pool’s slick rim

urged through the air this alien medium

echoes with a flaccid disappointed slap

as another adds more polish to the rock

you’ve seen them launch themselves

at the white jet from the pool above

dancing up the water as it tumbles down

as easy for them as walking is for us


two pools separated by the dry

the first time this stream has stopped

opaque like treacle just like that

we swim with the stranded salmon your father

and his twin heads bobbing in the black water

your very own two headed loch monster


(an ode)

True to form I wait

on the outside     in sight

of the clock tower     on time

fixing to see you first

and measure my approach


Our daughter is with me

waiting packed expectant

at her interstate return

itching to see you and tell

but not letting me know

I’m onto the fidgety shuffle

of both her feet


I’m sure you said 5.30

and your teenage daughter agrees

But it’s 5.37 dad she     says

precise in all things


Yes     I know     the train’s not

in yet we’ve got till six

What if I miss the train

Extended holidays     the best

I can explain


(This cannot be     how could

you deliberately miss the train)

5.50 dad     can’t we check

the platform     Better not

Oh come on


We move off searching

She sees you straight away

and darts to your arms

burying herself there

I notice for the first time

she’s taller than her mum

And then our greeting

mutually tense     You grab

your child     her bags and dart

for the urgent train

— You’re always late

(I wonder when I’ll see her again)

Then you point upwards and I see

the giant face of the suspended clock

pointing impatiently towards six

But     I thought     I thought you meant

forget it     just hurry


And I turn slowly to join

a queue formed for no reason

I keep walking     pause outside

under my other clock

thrust     on top the tower

erect at six o’clock