Sample Poetry

Escape of the writer

Socrates thought he had a daemon who spoke wisdom to him from afar. - Elizabeth Gilbert.

For years I’ve kept this daemon down, subdued,
banished it to corners of my mind
where it has lurked, a naughty child,
in mute rebellion. At times
it has escaped, and run triumphant
from the room, to wreak swift havoc
in my busy life.
But always in the past, recapturable,
able to be tamed, and sent once more
to stand, with face to wall, so that
I did not even see the few salt tears
that stung their way down the resentful cheeks. 

Yet quietly it gathered strength, and waited,
oh, so patiently. Silently it grew,
flexing muscles that I had not noticed,
pondering, and taking to itself
the interim years, the wealth of living,
that it had been the sacrificial offering to obtain.
Slowly it gathered calculated strength,
’til now it’s found its moment,
and it’s sprung.

No longer in the corner, mute, rebellious,
for now it’s turned on me, and with an odd maturity,
it tells me that its time has come.
The door has opened: now this imp from hell – or heaven –
runs my life.


The writer’s jungle

For writers are the scavengers of life.
We prowl the wasteland of our past experience.
Sniffing carrion on the air, we raise our heads, alert,
circling, narrowing down the hunt,
until we find the moment that we’re scenting,
quietly decaying, then we pounce. 

I’m minded of the Garner story, and the notes she took
standing at the graveside of a friend.
So many others shocked …I nod my head
in decorous agreement, but all the time I’m thinking
‘I could do that too.’ 

Once there, we do not treat the flesh
with proper privacy. No, instead we burrow in.
Compelled by need – or greed – we ravage corpses,
then pick the bones with a disgusted gusto
’til soon another poem is completed,
and we sink back replete. 



Fog descends.
She feels its tendrils,
subtle and insidious,
drift into her mind.
Its soft thick blanket
soon obscures her memories.
She tries to grope
for people, places of her past
but sighs frustrated,
her desperation growing.
This too will be forgotten.


At Finn McCool’s

  (for Chris)

Against the clatter of the pub, the clink of glasses,
the snatches of loud talk and burst of laughter,
float sounds of a lone harp.
Her blonde hair swings across her face; deftly
she fingers, concentrating, strings that release
such melody. The others sit,
guitar stilled, flute and whistle laid aside,
abstracted, focused on the music.
Notes drift aloft, above pub laughter,
but in stray pauses conversation is arrested.
All are caught in magic of the moment.
The possibilities beyond the here and now,
the humdrum of the everyday, that she’s revealing …


Driving home through the hills

There are days when every liquid amber hurts –
Their blazing colours can assault the eye –
Because they mean that autumn’s drawing to a close
And soon it will be winter’s chill, for all things die.

There are days when every tinkling tune can hurt –
The words are trite, predictable, but how they score
With every note a wound, because they wind their way
To final bars that signify the music’s o’er.

There are days when sunsets glowing in the west –
So chocolate-box, painful extravagance of hue –
Can make me falter and draw anguished breath
Because I know they soon will fade from view.

I enter Heysen Tunnels with eyes blurred –
These too like all else have a predetermined end.
But as I round their final curves I see
With doubting joy the light beyond the bend.