Poetry Collaboration










Largely volunteer groups bring invaluable energy & insight to the communities they serve.

A huge thanks to:


Booranga Writers Centre

Binalong Arts Group

Under the Silver Tree

Riverina Writing House

Cherry Poets

U3A Wagga Writing for Pleasure

FAW Southern Highlands


This issue was produced with NO government funding.


FEATURING: Nanette Betts, Barbara Biddle, Elizabeth Blackmore, Maureen Clark, Maurice Corlett, Chris Dawe, Barbara De Franceschi, Lois Eaton, Sally Farmer, Annette Herd, Julia Kaylock, Laurelle Lewis, Harry Melkonian, Peter Olson,

Jan Pittard, Roya Pouya, Uta Purcell, Alan Reid, David Riddell,

Leticia RP, Steve Smart, Susan Starr, Robyn Sykes, CJ Talbot,

Jen Thompson, Sarah Tiffen, Tim Train, Jack Walton & Sanaa Younis



Archived in Pandora



from Meuse Press –



Nanette Betts

--Nature’s iconic secret-Derringullen-revealed—                           

Beneath a craggy deep ravine, a waterway below-

In secrecy long revered, only black man known

From dreamtime long, long ago, Derringullen Falls.

A place of belonging, a first peoples hide-away,

Secret trails in step with wildlife, his place, his water hole,

A place where Derringullen creek’s water falls, flows on

To join Yass River long before white man found his way.


Now all those who hope to protect this iconic place-

With urgency, who says it is to be left as Nature created

A sacred place where the land enfolds into a deep ravine

Nature formed in ancient time, ever-flowing water worn

Nature’s wonderland, revered by all land carers over time.

Old Derringullen’s sparkling water, drops to a deep pond

Where waters kissed by midday sun and night moon beams.


Dreamtime evolves in timeless evolution, Nature governs-

Mother Callitris pine seeds fall to propagate atop the falls

Grasses and shrubs bed down with old Eucalyptus bridgesiana

Rough barked deep rooted to rock, holding tight the soil,

Ragged branches, out-stretched droop shading creek banks,

Provide multi-hollows for possums and numerous birds

Multiple vibrant coloured parrots vie for place to nest


Elegant Heron finds camouflage nesting on the highest bow,

Wild-life belonging over time immemorial sharing homeland-

Great Wedge-tailed Eagle, king of the skies, claim the tall Eucalypt.

Little Eagle finds space and Peregrine nests safely on a cliff face.

Squabbling ducks dabbling in ponds share nest space in Eucalypts.

In pecking order in time with a frog chorus, all the while many

Lizards and snakes hidden in a world unto themselves.


Old wombat and kangaroo hold proud status as overseers on tracks,

Come and go early mornings and evenings along to water and back,

Lithe water-rats scurry about, old turtles laze around keep an eye out,

While platypus keep underwater tight secret service control-

The echidna shuffles, focused, scratching his native bush surrounds,

Cream furry chest wallaby’s ears turn ever alert, with an eye observe

Old Owls wisdom unchanged from the time of his creation.


First People’s to Modern man’s observation of Nature is a privilege,

He knows respect – for on this iconic place he has no ownership,

His role is to protect the ecological status, hold the privilege to observe,

To absorb and account for each man’s observation, and interpretation

Of nature’s Creation, be that of the, scientist, naturalist, ornithologists,

The ecologist, the photographer, writer, poet, artist or the bush walker.

Protecting nature’s making, of Derringullen, such an iconic place


Barbara Biddle

I visited Auschwitz


He said

I don't feel the horror

(over 6 million lives)

I don't feel the fear

(women and children first)

I don't feel the intensity

(herded like cattle)


We walked where their footsteps had echoed

And, in my mind continued to do so


We saw the crematorium, the gas chamber and the execution wall

Can you feel that?


This man

Who requires a movie drama to be moved

Where is his empathy?

Where is his understanding?

Where is his connection?


I don't like him less

I do understand him more


and I understand how

these things happen.


Elizabeth Blackmore

The Flood


Retreating sullenly from the flooded paddocks,

the rain is followed by an uneasy silence.

Against the midday dusk the kelpie is a flash of red

weaving and darting behind  the nervous ewes,

heavy with lamb, sodden and slow,

pushing them towards the safety of a sheltered rise. 

In a corner of the paddock, the horses are huddled

with eyes fear flags of white.

The electricity is drowned and the kitchen 

is bathed in the soft glow of kerosene lamps,

while around the fire, the two city dogs curl and snore.

High on the branch of a gum tree,

the day - blind eyes of the owl idly watch.


Maureen Clark


The water… at first just a rumour but could it be true?

The Darling-Baaka was dead. Well, this much we all knew when

we saw it… the fish, millions dead, packed in muddy puddles no space between, silversides

 showing their best sides

to the flashing cameras.

What a waste.

City TV screens showed the drama, in real time,

the obscenity of death,

soon forgotten in Sydney where

they have the beach, and their own crime.

But the stories were coming thick and fast

about the water,

coming at last.  All the way from Queensland

where they were cursing flooded highways. 

The water snaked its way

under cover of dark

past cotton farms

to reach Menindee.

It’s true! It’s on the news!

The radio could talk of nothing else. It was huge!

The road to Menindee, packed with cars, the river bank lined

With fishermen’s lines flashing in the sun, arcs of light

watched by curious crows whose guttural cries of doom

are ignored.

Parrots take flight and soon there will be pelicans.

Oh, the excitement!

I push through the crowd:  young and old, eager for the show.

Oldtimers compete with stories of the Dry while

young ones wonder why.

What’s all the fuss about?

A small child in pink shorts and thongs 

knowing only drought,

oblivious to the moment,

plays with a barking dog of undetermined genes.

And I reach the barrier to see the silver grey deluge burst forth, spewing, roaring thunder  through the weir gates -

open to celebration

- pouring, a torrent, no sign of stopping can it be true?  

Young and old, we hung over the edge to watch in


Even the dog stopped barking.

 The atmosphere, like in church.  Reverential.


The water flows, uninhibited. A blessing.

We lunch at Maiden’s pub - fish and chips, what else? –

Make the dusty drive back to Broken Hill still fizzing with hope.

No waterbirds here. There will always be crows.


Maurice Corlett

My Sweet Lord


Reminds me of a bar off Main Street

in Gibraltar - that last bastion of

British empire in the Med - Cyprus

gone, Malta gone, Alexandria gone -

only echoes now of all those outposts

that Dad knew when he was with

Mountbatten fighting the

Germans' need for oil.


Smith started me off. We were working

on the site down by the harbour. He told

me about Gibraltar and how he had gone

there when that cruel fascist Franco shut

the gates of La Linea to the Spanish

workers and UK casuals were filling the void.

Soon after he left for another stint in the south.

Like Rat intrigued by the travel

tales of a seafaring rodent  -

I followed him down.


Finding Smithy at one of the worker’s cottages

of Saccone and Speed - the ancient distributors

of booze around the Rock. He took me upstairs

to the glassed box office that oversaw the comings

and goings amongst the pallets of bottled beer and

kegs. Signed up for work on lorries I began

a job that lasted me until I left for the

Canaries just before Xmas.


One day walking back to work after lunch I saw Clive

coming down the road towards us. He had thrown

in his job at menswear in Brighton and flown

out to join our crew. No sooner had he arrived than

he got on the books at Saccone’s and began to deliver

Courage with us to the thirsty hotels and bars.


Chris Dawe

Drawing From Few Resources


Drawing from few resources

A decision was made

In the interests of most

Which affected a few


Those concerned were informed

Their concerns duly listed

As the decision continued

And affected a few


In due course

The former referred to the latter

And the latter did too

As the minds concerned

Did what they must do


And in time it was seen

That between me and you

A decision was made

Confounding the few


Barbara De Franceschi

Do Not Pity Me


I have never seen snow.

Never heard its muffled hymn sing to my bones.

Existence is hummed with an arid drone.


Sandy plains are my birth franchise where loose winds

puff or wheeze depending on mood.

I breathe.


Days are stewed, nights sniffle on a heated haze,

rampant claypans do not suffer the slop of slush.

A grateful psyche stirs the dust.


Rusty colours zing at full swing to a far horizon

shaped like a fingernail buffed round and smooth.

I spin tranquillity on the earth’s curved loom.


Rain is a miserable stooge. Drought tolerance is preached

by crows from an altar of bare-boned trees.

How sweet the dream to sleep in Eden’s shade.


Love and infidelities mingle with grubs and ant hills,

flies swarm in a slow buzz to sting with lazy opinions.

So are the habits of heart and local things.


Sunsets are crimson hounds that hunt at dusk

for clouds untouched by hoary frost.

Rapture is woven from glowing embers.


This desert has no jealousies.

It does not need the favour a white Christmas brings.

Knees bend to revere a tinselled wasteland galaxy.


Should snow decide to make a shock visit, I will have to oil

this land’s creaky gate – and let the bleach in.

Rose coloured glasses will tint my tears.


Lois Eaton


But I Didn’t!


My earliest memory is being in a humidy crib designed for toddlers. I was 2 years old.

They put me in a coffin-shaped wooden box and expected me to get better.


A little brown box full of steam was my world

    ‘Set me free – set me free.’

Long weeks I lie there, afraid, alone

While I struggle to breathe; I cry, I groan

    Nobody sets me free.


They put me in a wooden box and expected me to get better.


Two small glass panels run down the sides

    ‘Let me see – let me see’

But the steam blurs the scene – it’s just shadows for me

I struggle to breath and I long just to see

    I’m in the box. My eyes are not free.


They put me in a box and expected me to get better.


Away from my family the box was my world

    Take me home I plead - take me home.

Long weeks I lie there, afraid, alone

While I struggle to breathe; I cry, I groan

    At last, they took me home


They sent me home to die.



Sally Farmer

Land of Unexpected Enchantment


The driver parked the 4WD beside a tiny village cafe.

seven pilgrims alighted, a comfort stop and refreshments a priority.

Connected souls were peaceful;

combined hearts mindful;

thoughts of Stupas, Monks and spiritual blessings;

sacred songs, remembered

 “Om mane padme hum”.

Snow-capped Himalayas, a stunning backdrop.

In the distance, Mt Everest, the necklace of Nepal.


A mug of hot ginger honey lemon tea in hand,

I wandered outside to smell the mountain air;

to immerse myself in this spiritual, ancient land.

Prayer flags fluttered in the breeze.

Shanties adorned with vibrant red flowers.

Washing strung between poles;

Colourful freshly laundered clothes;

trousers, jackets, aprons and blankets.

Near the fluttering laundry,

a man and woman each at small desks -

old treadle “Singer” sewing machines upon them:

right there, in the open, beside the road!


She, sensing me watching her, 

and looked up from her sewing, 

her young face serene, bright ribbons in shiny black hair.

She smiled, flashing perfect white teeth.

The man, beside her, concentrating on fabric and machine.


Simultaneously the seamstress and I were drawn to gaze

at a slender old woman

carefully walking across the open ground.

A conical cane basket covered her back,

attached by fabric around her forehead.

Buckets of water in each hand, assisted her balance.

Suddenly, her thongs failed to negotiate the rocky path.

She slipped - Splosh!

One bucket fell to the ground;

clucking chickens scattered.

The water bearer regained her composure,

picked up the empty vessel then continued her journey.

One less bucket of water for the family.


The seamstress and I, voyeurs.

In that moment, feelings of shared compassion.

We smiled as our eyes met.

I bowed, hands in prayer.

Namaste seamstress;

Namaste water carrier;

Namaste Nepal, land of unexpected enchantment.


Annette Herd

An Eyelash


After you had gone

I found an eyelash of yours.

Long and curved.

Dark against the white of the basin.

You stood here

Combing your hair

Washing your face

Looking at yourself in the mirror.


I sat on the edge of the seat

And gave way to mourning.


Julia Kaylock



As you laid your pain before me,

I felt it, wriggling its way into my being

touching places I had not known existed


I lack a lived experience

of torture, anguish, of the fear of tyranny;

and felt ashamed, then,

of my need, at seventeen

(the year I knew everything, and nothing about life)

to escape my papered, painted prison,

it suddenly seemed so trivial


my stomach did not scream it's emptiness

I did not share a tent

with twelve strangers

wondering if the rest of my family

had made it to a safe haven


I did not ride frothing seas

in a sinking boat

bailing water and what was left of my pride

only to find myself

in an alien country

that had no desire of me,

to a system that devalued my humanity,

with no plan to see me free


I put my white-washed pain aside

where it could simmer in its pot

while you gently took me on a journey

that I did not take, at seventeen,

when I knew everything, and nothing.


Laurelle Lewis

Open Palm


Hold me in the palm of your hand,

like a butterfly,

let me flutter gently,

but do not crush me,

let me linger, upon your soft skin,

that tastes sweet to my lips.


As the breeze caresses me,

as the gusts push me,

I may fly further than you’d like.

I may be carried away,

upon Summer currents

and lost in rainy hazes.


But my love,

as your palm lays open,

waiting for me,

a space for me to return,

do not close your grip,

but leave it open in anticipation,

that I will always return to the one,

that holds me lightly,

but with steadfast love and strength.


Harry Melkonian

Could I?


It’s tragic that I’m not sad

not lonely, and rarely depressed

I’m a little down right now because
just not forlorn or anxious


Great poets seem to be tormented

challenged by depression, loneliness, and abuse

Hating themselves and everyone else

I just don’t fit in


I don’t think I was ever abused

Hope I never abused anyone

While having known some setbacks

Nothing to lose sleep over


As I sat with poets and artists

one became exasperated

She cried out that I never even contemplated suicide

I was an outcast in that group


When I go to a poets’ workshop

as they explore their personal hauntings

I am quietly, quickly isolated

My only angst is washing the car or painting the garage


Once I knew a poet who would hold his face in his hands

As he mournfully sat on the curb

And decried over and over – just the single word – Art

Everyone agreed, he was a genius


My existence is so without real hurt or pain

That I was almost grateful for climate change

At last, a reason for anxiety and despair

Now I too can be a poet and sit on the curb.


Peter Olson



There is no colour, it is very dark,

Deep and Shiny, soulless and stark.

It is just like charcoal, colour it lacks,

But no not plain, magnificent black!


Just yards away and visiting often,

The harsh “GER, GER” sound suddenly softens.

To observe some loving togetherness,

A well-constructed, high-up “Crows-Nest”!


Australian Ravens they actually are,

A mated pair, who “KAR, KAR, KAR”.

They have set up home in our backyard,

And now a decision becomes hard.


Do we let Mother Nature take its course?

And rob the Wattlebird of his re-course.

Or intervene from it all going wrong,

As Magpies out front begin their song!


It’s safety of chooks, budgies and cavalier,

But really believe we should play it by ear.

It will surely be an entertaining Spring,

We look forward for the Bird Show to begin.


Jan Pittard

Trauma Cycle


Chaos erupts – unheralded


sepsis in a wound

family dog’s sudden attack

train hurtles from the track


a barrage assails us

seeping into all our senses


shock jocks’ brazen porn

politician’s weasel words

commentators’ feigned indignation


threats, known or imagined,

prime us  for action

fright, fight or flight…


adrenaline and fatigue

undo us

we cannot hold the line.


Roya Pouya


This poem is based a historical myth called hermaphrodite. Hermaphrodite as a metaphor is an objectified figure of a perspective pointing out transcending the androgenic as a solution for resolving the imposed patriarchy. Hermaphrodite in this poem is like a witness to the conversation between two opposite-gender. This ideal has presented an androgynous superhuman aiming to reflect femininity and masculinity simultaneously. In other words, it can be considered as a warning to discover both anima and animus in humans. I strongly believe this outlook can have a latent impact on reducing the violence against women.


The Conversation Table


The chips I have shaved off my body,

have been half of the first tree of the peak.

The poisonous tick-tock in your mouth,

has poisoned the nectar.

Our conversation table always lacks a seat for Hermaphrodite,

who coughs before even taking a sip.



The table seems bare,

from the sun shone on Olympus,

and from birds sitting down on woods, moving up-and-down, up-and-down!



Hermaphrodite’s voice is echoed through the absence,

and the tick-tocks in your mouth,

pound on the edge of the table.



I try to hang a worn-out shirt with my masculine hands,

which never been likened to a soldier.

You were a seventeen-years-old girl who is isolated in the Mountain,

I mean Olympus,

which never lies between you and me,

unless we add an extra seat to this conversation.



When the moon is full,

you will shine brighter,

and the rotation of your shadows,

will awake the planets in the laundry room.




the new arrival,

puts collars around birds’ neck.

I turn the woods into a man,

and will be halved behind the conversation table.



My other half,

is a woman who has dropped an anchor from the Moon,

and explores behind the dried clouds.



The chips you have shaved off the body,

have turned the woods into the legs of the table,

and this tree had always been frozen before the advent of Olympus.


Bring me a dress, I beg you.


Uta Purcell 

Of Clay and Mud


Hard baked by sun and lack of rain

Thirsty cracks opening, looking for relief

Plants searching with parched roots

Their lives cut short



It attaches to shoes with every step

It invades floors and carpets with abstract smears

It captures unsuspecting cars parked on grassy verges

It is the colour of 80% cocoa chocolate



Extremes are more common now

Drought, floods, fire, storms

Inconvenient but also manageable

Man is clever but also foolish

Nature always wins!


Alan Reid



The kangaroo is labelled macropod

But in reality it’s a tripod

Because when looking around it never fails

The ‘roo leans back and stands on his tail.

So whether he fights or begs

He invariably relies on three legs.


The kangaroo is a real bounder

Who’s seldom known to flounder

And when he fights

There’s no sign of flight

He never ever cowers

But with both legs disembowels.


The poor old ‘roo can’t turn his head

Because no sooner than he bred

He was left without a neck,

So he said, what the heck.

If I can’t twist from the top

I’ll just learn to hop

And now a ‘roo can jump

High as a camel’s hump.

So when your temper it do goad

By stopping in the road

Just recall from your hospital bed

The poor old ‘roo can’t turn his head


David Riddell

only time


in the beginning..........
all danced the beguine

mannequins in
robotic stance



passing chance
future change

present sceptic
fallacy acceptable

let the revisionist return.

blue on blue
tangerine trees
the lion and the lamb

virgin earth
lusts for
the seeds of life

only time

the lost stumble.

breath of breath
gift of life
ends in the last exhale

the god of science
discovers nothing
but the finite

only time

hidden memories
blasphemy within
blasphemy without

suppressed demons
never forgive
never heal

"visions of Johanna
they make it all seem so cruel"

only time
reveals us naked

secrets taken to the grave

then the


Leticia RP

Unit 3, 1 bedroom, built with wardrobes, electric stove and 

carport parking


His room is a pool of silence

where the past has left a tiny hole on the roof

when it rains 

a leak starts crying yellow liquid


nobody cares 


that the carpet is wet

that dishes are in the sink and

spider webs along the edge of the window


green and brown tones are a vortex painting 

on the white bowl of the toilet 

spreading sewerage odour


nobody cares


a new day will come 

with different people and stories


maybe more gentle and quieter

maybe he will laugh more often 

and be happier




nobody cares…


Steve Smart

Finding a title for a poem I might never write


This poem was almost called

The year 2022 of Our Lord can fuck its own parched blowhole


honest in the moment, still

more aggressive than I can allow myself

the way the world is right now (foul)


so I changed it to



wanting something more personal, somehow heartfelt

I attempted to make it a sort of lullaby called

One pandemic - two years - four seasons of ‘Virgin River’


if you don’t get the reference, you might not bother with the poem

and you probably think Virgin River is too much like American cheese

which you’ve repeated many times “isn’t even real cheese”


when it was called

Panic ATtack at the PancaKe Sssshack

it had some vigour, I like a twisty rhyme —

too cutesy — but give me any excuse to use an ‘em dash’ or two


I thought about making it more of a concrete poem and calling it


before realising I don’t really understand crypto or coding

it would have been all title, no poem


for a moment I considered

Brief asides from a sliding mind

that exposed more than I was inclined to, emotionally


I took a picture of one of our cats with my phone and looked for a while

seeking inspiration, invention, intervention or…       distraction


which offered little practical solution to the problem and why the hell don’t I just 

look at the cat sitting right in front of me demanding attention 

as I stare at her digital representation?


so in the end I just called it


Finding a title for a poem I might never write


Susan Starr

My lover’s eyes

My lover’s eyes are nothing like the sun.

He silent stays with brooding unsure lips.

If snow is white, his hair is as the raven,

Untidy, like his scarred and scolded soul.


But come some darkling, angry storm

Which falls like shards upon my sorrowed head.

He folds me in his true and deep embrace

And listens as my tortured angst outpours.

And if he walks in human form by day

His very essence is from angels born.


Robyn Sykes

Pumpkin patch


Coal rises, ripped and stolen, from earth’s womb,

oceans sweat as gasses grip the heat,

pygmy possums starve but microbes bloom

and politicians practise their deceit.

While islanders exchange their homes for boats,

corals oust their algae, bleach to white.

Bell frogs choke and flee their withered moats

as smoke and ash and flames attack the light.

Can climate action turn the soil of hope?

Will green laws boost like compost, prove their worth?

Could oxygen lead carbon to elope

and honeymoon where worms enrich the earth?

Solutions sprout like pumpkins on the vine.

The hands on which the harvest hangs are mine.


CJ Talbot



Horse-tail clouds flicking newish housing hope

in attache-town, shiny grey metallic sheened rooftops like

a bale of turtles perched on lowland hill; a semi-city guy in a magenta shirt

loans us a jack, and we get out faster than the

turtles, first holiday after lockdown; unrecommended, dishevelled

in spring village fever breakout, to re-examine

layers of sandstone limestone bluestone at Evan’s Leap, the face of cliff

across gullies – rock parchment - why is the toddler not

scared of the drop? - semi-divine parchment, rock and bones;

untouched by backyard sprawl, summer flames, tourist hordes tracking

to rhododendron fans; people from all polities and degrees,

companioned firm, here in corona-year, to saunter,

partake, breathe and puff eucalypted air, blue gum, blue-bounding,

mountain lands where lookouts are cloud-bathed, omniferous,

and steep legs are burnt; it’s like Covid and bushfires were never here,

the lockdown rimmed by craggy ocean-cut steely drops

for locals to blink in their yearly fill of soaring views, what’s it like,

living on a precipice? And semi-social distant trekkers on this

ancient ash and gum eco valley-drops distant to eye;

on the way she holds the sun in her hand and looks down to me,

light immersion blinding, and is there meant to be a realisation,

I think I missed it or is that the lookout realisation,

or it’s another lamentation, year of swish, in the face.


Jen Thompson

The Scrap of Ninety Two


Times were tough on the Barrier Range in the big strike of ’92,

we were boilin’ the tongues of our miner’s boots to thicken the bunny stew,

when this toff called Lord Darcy blows into town,

on his wagon is painted: ‘World Wrestling Crown’

and a gaggle of gawkers gather around,

because light entertainments are few.


Lord Darcy sees Larry, a gammy-legged lout,

calls him into the circle, then says ‘Get me out!’

Larry’s all gangly and wild but green:

Darcy’s all flabby and pasty, but mean.

Lord Darcy bends Larry like softenin’ a shoe,

ties Larry in knots only rubber can do.


The Ladies cry “Mercy!” and there’s a to-do,

so Larry breaks free and decides to shoot through.

Well, we are disgusted, we all turn to go,

but he follows us down to the pub for our dough.

He skites about beating the Broken Hill lout.

He drinks all our beer but wont buy a shout.


Now Larry’s mate Boney still sits at the trough.

He hates mining managers, swindlers and toffs.

He’s weedy and poisoned and hardly worth tuppence,

but he dreams up a scheme for Darcy’s come-uppance.

He sidles along to where Darcy scoffs,

and grabs him with hands like fluttering moths.


“Your lordship, I’m done for, me last days are few,

if I only had strength and courage like you,

I’d wrestle and capture Old King Kangaroo.

He would make a man’s fortune in a show like you do.”

Boney takes us out back with his kangaroo dogs –

leads Darcy from peaks to unsanitary bogs.


They bail up their quarry beside Stephens Creek,

but the old ‘roo is cunning and brazen, not meek.

Darcy eyes off the ‘roo as he splashes around,

but it never occurs to him he could get drowned.

As sure and as sharp as the crack of a whip,

Lord Darcy darts in shouting, “King! Take thy grip!”


The kangaroo’s forearms are skillful and fine,

they wrap round Lord Darcy like lengths of steel twine.

The kangaroo washes the Lord like a cloth,

til he’s faded and frayed and his limbs have gone soft.

We knew he’d remember the gammy-legged kid –

the value of mercy – the cost of a quid.


‘Though times were tough, and our lessons grim in those days of ’92,

when we grappled with politicians in the arms of a ding-dong blue,

and wrestled with bosses, who’d strangle a mate,

til they shipped in their scabs from the city like freight,

there’s one thing we recall when we congregate,

that’s  how Darcy wrestled the ‘roo.


Sarah Tiffen

Dark Side of the Moon


I found myself on the dark side of the moon.

I didn’t see it coming.

I was blindsided as the world fell away.

I was in a daze

I could move neither forward nor backward

I was paralysed by grief

I found myself on my knees

I had the axeman standing over me.

My neck on the block.

My skin was like it had abraded.

Everything was painful. I was in shock. I was lost.

I was on the dark side of the moon.

Every night, I sat by the fire and watched the stars.

They moved across the sky each night a little farther out

As days turned into weeks.

Each night I watched the moon and kept the fire burning.

I tried to move.

I was paralysed by fear.

Grief was a yawning chasm.

I looked down into it as from an Eyrie,

The captive woman in the Red Keep, keening for touch.

Undo the trapdoor of my mind,

And I could easily fall through to my death whilst looking down for signs.

Like Alice, tempted by the darkest Looking Glass.

I had no hooks to hang myself on, to tether me,

To catch me up.

A marionette, dangling

And the absence of any master puppeteer.

I felt unworthy

I disgorged my insides, my heart

A bloody pulsing muscle on the platter of unspeakably silent days.

I was nothing.

I became nothing.

I knew it was untenable.

I tried to think my way beyond the eclipse.

My mind stalled, remained eclipsed.

I tried to take counsel from new angles.

I died and rose.

I cried and cried and cried.

I hoped for things that could never be.

I lost my faith.

The world was a wilderness

I was only as good as my next steps.

I took them falteringly, from the bed to the door,

From the door to the street,

From the street, past the showground and round to the church

Like a furtive, desperate pilgrim, I sat and prayed.

I agonized

I cried.

I felt the wrench of pain.

I accepted my Fate.


I knew – that no one is required to love me.

I learned humility.

I emerged broken.

I remain broken.

But I found the new moon like

A sickle in the sky

And sought new solace.


Tim Train

Coffee and Ice Cream


I went and bought a coffee

Bought a cough cough coffee

Bought a cough cough coffee

From the coughy coffee man.

Got a coffee, man, cough

Cough cough cough coffee

Coughy man coffee man

Coffee coffee cough.

So I stand here with the coffee

With the cough cough coffee

And it's not that I am coughy

From the coffee man. It's snot.

Snot snot coughy coughy

Coughy coughy cough cough

No it's not that I am snotty -

Excuse me while ice cream.


Jack Walton




Alone, tall and firm, whether I sit or stand,

A friendly face and a steady hand.

It’s easy for me to get up in arms,

But what can I say, it’s part of my charm.


I constantly strike, though I deal no pain,

Barring that of a seldom migraine.

I’m usually silent, only sounding by the hour,

When my voice comes, forthwith, and beckons my power.


Perking up to my call, my presence now clear,

Your mind made aware that I’m always near.

It seems to me that whenever I chime,

You always seem to think of the time.


When I try to speak, you can’t seem to stay,

Oh, I do hope you’d fight off these urges someday.

That’s all there is to it, my tale goes no further,

Just make sure you remember, your dear grandfather.


Sanaa Younis

I am


My time has come. I sit

Inside my skin, content.

I am the cat on the window sill

On a Sunday afternoon;

I am Vivaldi’s Spring

On a Venetian night;

I am a cedar in the snow;

I am a lemon myrtle

After the rain.






MEUSE PRESS publishes this collection.

All work © the authors.



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