Our first cicada this summer
sang today, several weeks
after they started singing in
earlier years, so late in summer
after many cool cloudy rainy
weeks that we are now close
to what have always been
the Autumn months.

Will the cicadas have much
less time to lay eggs ?
Or will summer stretch
across the Autumn months ?

Our first monarch butterfly
laid eggs on my swan plants
today, some weeks after they
used to start laying eggs.

Will they have enough hot
weather to lay eggs this
summer ? Or will only
a few butterflies hatch ?

I have seen no praying
mantises this summer.

Summer is so confused
this year the insects
are in crisis mode.

Previously posted March 2017.


In An Unknown Land

He wakes in a room he has
seen before, can’t think when,
in his pyjamas, in the bed.

Two women in white uniforms
come in, very cheerful, they know
him, help him to shower and dress.

He’s remembering he’s been here
some days now, the men in the
corridor greet him by name.

In a dining room with many
small tables, more white uniforms
serve the men breakfast.

After breakfast he potters around
has mid morning cups of tea but
then needs a pre lunch snifter.

Alas all alcohol is locked away
in the nurses’ office medicine
cabinet, very securely locked.

Late afternoon they dole it out
sparingly, must be careful
with old man medication.

He remembers past good times
when he drank long and hard
with equally hard drinking mates.

What would they say if they saw
him now ?  But they can’t, they
are gone, he’s outlived them all.

Previously posted March 2017

In An Unknown Land

Changing Scenes

He walked down the busy main
road, searching for someone,
not sure who, then back to the
place where he lived now.

She came in, said Mrs Brown saw
him going down the road. Why ?
She had said she wouldn’t be long.

He wanted to drive himself to the
club but she drove him there, said
he kept forgetting where he was.

He was a good driver, could drive fast,
needed a big car to go really fast
so the blokes at the club would
remember he was a real driver.

They packed everything in a ruck
which drove away. Next day they
drove all day – well she drove –

up to a little house and parked the
car. She walked him over the road
down the drive into a big hallway.

Two women met them, walked with them
along corridors and into a bedroom.
This is your room now, they told him.

He says they should drive all day
back to the place they came from.
Then everything would be alright.

Previously posted March 2017

Changing Scenes

A Hard Drinker

Firmly grasping his packs of ale
and bottle of rum the old man
leaving the liquor store glares at
the policeman checking car warrants
and registrations in the car park.

“You’re waiting to see if I fall over
drunk !” roars the old was veteran.
“Are you drunk ?” asks the policeman.
“You cops just want to stop real men
having a drink !” growls the veteran.

He had drunk hard in his days at war
on the ocean, with his mates at the pub,
and on his back verandah. At hotel
bottle stores he regularly filled up
his car boot with amber liquid supplies.

Just now he remembers courts suspend
licences of drinking drivers, no more
transport to pub or veterans club.

Warnings go on records
of obstreperous drivers.

At 88 he would not regain
his licence if he lost it.

He swallows his temper, replies
“No I’m not !” then removes
himself and his liquid supplies.

Previously posted March 2017.

A Hard Drinker

A Lost Moment

“Give us a loan of your hat !”
the WW II veteran asked his daughter
standing before him in graduate”s mortar
board and gown. The usher had drawn
her across the town hall foyer to her
parents after the graduation ceremony.

She had not expected to see her parents
here, she did not know it mattered.

Her nervous laugh in reply said nothing.
Her father mopped tears from his eyes
seeing in her only the second in hi family
to gain a degree. But her survival instincts
drove her to speak cliches then leave.

Too many stomach churning nights at the
dinner table, jealous rages poured over her
tirades against lazy students protesting
the Vietnam war – she was not one of them.

More rage and fury after she sat her
last exams, went to live with other
young folk, not staying under his roof.

After many school meetings for parents
he mother had told her a degree would
get her a good job – which it did. But
other parts of her life were lost, diminished.

A moment when peace could have
been started – not seen, just lost.

Previously posted February 2017.

A Lost Moment

Under Father’s Roof

Under her father’s roof the woman
grew up early in the century, going
only to church, to school, to his
mother’s house, then stayed home with
her own mother for fourteen years until
his final illness forced her out to work.

The man too grew up early in the
century with his mother staying
home. His sisters went to church,
to school, later to work, only leaving
their father’s roof after marriage.

The couple bore children after
worldwide conflagration destroyed
the social order of their youth which
the parents constantly angrily mourned.

Outside their home at school, university
and employment the children found
a new world, no more tirades of fear,
moved away from the razor wire
confines of their father’s roof.

In stunned disbelief the parents
saw their grown children leave
as soon as they earned a living.

Why would they do that ?

Previously posted February 2017.

Under Father’s Roof

Catch 22

A degree would earn her
a good income they told the
young woman. A government
bursary for books and fees,
savings from summer holiday jobs
to pay for living costs if she lived
in her parents’ house paying board.
All balanced neatly on the accounts.

Yet term time day by day was
harder than she could ever have
imagined as she sat in the study
cubicle silently reading, taking notes,
drafting essays, writing final copies,
while the promise shown in her
school days faded slowly away.

Study room silence allowed the
doors of the cupboard of her mind
stuffed full of memories past and
present to gape open. Memories
pouring out, disturbing, displacing
logical reasoned expositions of facts
and ideas, proposals, solutions to
thoughtful complex questions.

A degree could help her leave her
home, an obstacle to that degree.

Previously posted February 2017.

Catch 22

Farewell Spit

Farewell Spit
a lengthy sandbank curved
across broad Golden Bay
staunch against the surging
ocean behind damming sand
inside its sheltering bulk.

Conservation staff and volunteers
revive and refloat occasional pods
of stranded whales on its waterline.

Disaster came recently as over four
hundred whales stranded overnight,
three hundred dead by morning.

A nationwide call. Conservation
staff,  local residents, passing
tourists, slept in car by night

sat with whales by day in shallow
water, holding them upright, pouring
buckets of water on their backs,
talking and singing to whales who
clicked, squeaked, whistled to
humans and each other.

At three high tides they steered
whales out to sea, stood with linked
arms across the bay in shoulder high
water to prevent the whales’ return.

At last for twenty whales, distressed,
exhausted, euthanasia brought relief.

Far out to sea other whales had heard
their calls, crossed the ocean, the beach,
to their aid. Again the rescuers worked
to reverse another stranding.

After three long days the last of the whales
returned to sea, the rescuers were
done with their long drawn out task.

Previously posted February 2017.

Farewell Spit

Many Shades Of Green

Delicate greens blend with brown,
yellow, white in fine brush strokes
composing a landscape in many
greens – light, dark, in between.

Trees broad and burly, elegant and
slim, short and stocky, gather in copses,
windbreaks, over paddocks stretching
across tussocked terraces and hills
edged by sturdy wire and post fences.

Light shimmers on the leaves
rippling in the wind like wavelets
in the breeze on a fast flowing stream.

What pleasure to have such a
scene painted for me by a
friend for my milestone birthday.

Previously posed February 2017.

Many Shades Of Green

The Rabbit Next Door

Next door lives a handsome
white rabbit with ginger patches
in a spacious stylish hutch with
a moveable enclosure on a luscious
lawn by the north facing fence under
branches from their neighbour’s trees.

He belongs to their daughter but they
all like to ring him tender weeds,
juicy vegetable chunks. When at
home they pick him up, take him
inside, which he clearly expects.
He was taken to the front garden to
smell the lavender, but road noises
upset him, he was taken inside.

Hopping around the house he is happy
but has been seen on the back door

step gazing thoughtfully at the back
lawn as his nose whiffles fast, this way
and that. Many large cats live nearby,
he needs to be fenced in or escorted
outside but sometimes appears by the
garden shed far from his hutch. The
grass is greener down there but he
interrupts brother’s golfing practice.

No burrowing shows, his paws are
clean. He jiggled his door till the
latch fell down, opening his door
and set himself free.

His family rescued him
from becoming cat dinner.

Previously posted February 2017

The Rabbit Next Door