Saturday, July 16, 2011


Where the land and the sea and the sky meet

from Bennett's Head

seduces me utterly.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

First the Rowers

image from Magpie Tales of: People of Chilmark, Thomas Hart Benton, 1920

First the rowers promised speed and smooth flowing

They argued about cover and secrecy

The wind was light, the sea glass, clean running

No pursuit, no threat: victory assured

Second the seagulls swing across the sky

Dropping fish pieces, seaweed and draggly feathers

The players dodge the bombardment, alarmed

Keeping watch aft, searching

Third the waves mount, frustration piling

Toss barque and fling canvas awry

The players cling to the gunwales shrieking the wind

Machine-man, thief, sinner, thought

Fourth the gods shout and mount thunder clouds

Spear lightning and shaft rain

They’ve taken the World!  Give back our Globe! 

Hurl skywards and seawards men

Fifth, Zeus spinning notion, takes scissors

Fate the wire, floundering, now panic-gripped

The edge veering, the sea-mountains

Darkness, game played and lost

thanks to Tess for the prompt.  For more Magpie Tales see here

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Life in Fridge Magnets V

This is a ghost post:  I prepared it earlier because if it all works out, I will be fast asleep on the other side of the world.  I will be limited in my internet access for the next few weeks.

Male and Female Goannas, R. Saunders

Picasso: Femme Endormie (War & Peace), 1952; Vermeer: View of Delft

Barbara Kruger: Untitled (What big muscles you have!) 1986


Perhaps, if you are very unlucky, I will bring you some of my parents' fridge magnets - not that I have run out yet ...


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Flying Home

image courtesy of

Flying Home

When you read this I’ll be gone

on wings of aluminium


rocket fuelled

across a hemisphere of night

sky flecked with stars and a swinging moon

We launch ourselves after midnight


and twinged with guilt, relief, excitement and fear:

flying always smirched with unease

these days, this planet, this disease of terror and distrust

An endless night might take us home –

to the stars or to Australis Incognita –

but known to us as home:

children, parents, shades and blood

await our safe arrival

From desiccant dust and oppressive sun,

alien life and rules –

to freezing Melbourne

swept with Antarctic wind

and awash with blessed rain

Dripping trees

a welcome bark

cold beer

hot bacon

and ... home

I hope you all have safe and happy holidays - I hope to be 'calling in' but I expect limited access to the cyber world for a short while.  All the best, Isabel xx


Friday, July 8, 2011

Holiday Reading in Kuala Kubu Baru

Holiday Reading in Kuala Kubu Baru

Up in the jungle at KKB,

away from shops and cars and phones

(no reception no internet no power  

no news at six o’clock)

only us, the chef and friends

In KKB the water roars

in bundles of rocks and roots

the hammock swings beneath a canopy of tree

and butterflies tiptoe across a vine

disturbing the raucous green

In KKB I float amongst

Romans, Barbarians, players and kings

the afternoon lies endless

the heat stupendous

a missing girl, a body, a crime

In KKB the  silence drowns

beneath the march of sandal on stone

the honest detective leads me on

down roads and foreign posts of Empire

I sigh: I begin the journey of a thousand chapters

bliss to read this new friend


for poets united
more holiday reading poems  here


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Valkyries of the IV Room

image courtesy of wikipedia

Valkyries of the IV Room

I could forgive
a lesser man than I 
falling in love with Magda:
columnar and battle-ready
her headdress mounted with fierce trophies
spits her words helas! Inshallah!

and quiet Sanaa
who holds the shield

a lesser man might succumb

there is Beena who sings
and bobs her head
sinks maiden-like to any softness

and Fatima-dragon’s-breast
who glitters with armour

I would not meet her in tournament or fray
a handy fighting mate perhaps

while gentle Waki pities and smiles:
her darts are aimed at the vitals

But Magda is a warrior princess
her strong hands
weaker only than her glance:
doctors quake and acquiesce
yes sister they whisper
and withdraw

a brave man might fall in love


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bertrand Renard - a fairy tale

Bertrand Renard

Bertrand sat down on the right hand place.  He looked around.  Empty lawn, leafy tree, sky:  it all looked fine.  He lifted his chin and sniffed.

‘Excuse me, is this place taken?’  The young fellow gestured next to Bertrand.

‘Hurrumph, no.  Not at all, you can see it is free.’

‘Basil.  The name’s Basil.  Pleased to meet you.’

‘Bertrand.  The same.’  He hurrumphed again.  ‘What brings you here then, my boy?’

‘The view.  It’s peaceful, isn’t it?’  He sighed.  ‘No barking dogs.  Not many people.’

‘Yes, I know what you mean.  Don’t care for dogs myself.’  He pointed to his leg.  ‘See that scar?  That was a dog.  Beagle.  I thought I was a goner.  A lucky escape.’

‘Nasty sir.  You were lucky.’  The younger fellow sighed again.  ‘You must have had some adventures though, with the pack?’

‘Don’t mention the hunt, boy.  It’s not considered polite in these parts.’  Bertrand twisted a whisker.

‘But sir, Bertrand, they’ve stopped all that now, haven’t they?  I’d heard it was banned.’  His brown eyes grew moist and the tip of his nose quivered.

‘That’s what they want us to think.  They put it about.’  He tapped the side of his head.  ‘They’re waiting ‘til we drop our guards, son, and then, it will be all horses and red coats and huntin’ horns and beastly beastly beagles.  Mark my words.’  He stood up.  ‘I’ll be off now.  Nice to meet you.  Give my regards to Mrs Vixen.’  And he trotted off, his golden brush swaying in the afternoon sun.


Monday, July 4, 2011

I Dreamt of Freedom

Wheat Field with Rising Sun, Vincent van Gogh, 1889

I dreamt of freedom

I dreamt of freedom and you gave me flowers:

all the world’s roses you laid at my feet;

I dreamt of freedom and you gave me jewels:

rubies and sapphires and ropes of pearls;

I dreamt of freedom and you gave me palaces:

marble fountains, courtyards and walls;

I dreamt of freedom and you gave me words:

praises and songs and promises;

I dreamt of freedom and searched myself: 

long vistas, the rising sun, the burden of death

and life.

Thanks to Tess for the prompt.  For more magpie tales:


Sunday, July 3, 2011

My Life in Fridge Magnets IV

Roman helmet from Vindolanda

under construction 1888

Les Pigeons, 1957 Picasso

Love Conquers All  Vergil


Saturday, July 2, 2011

416 I hate you, Maximus (Poems of Exile)


Seneca wrote a number of poems in verse combat against Maximus.  This one is a companion piece to 412   The Poet Protests, posted here.    Please keep in mind that these are not intended as literal translations, more spiritual ones.

Well, Maximus, I hate you, your jealousy: all.

I’d die rather than admit surprise.  Shall I tell you why?

Your liverish jokes – full of gall – with evil intent

You aimed at me, my life, my reputation.

Jealousy rules you.  You sought to harm me –

it was a trifle – yet your target was a fatal wound.

Your words, the truth you played with, these are the source

of my enmity.  My life is on it.

I hate you Maximus, that gives me great joy:

Your jealousy sings of my success!


Friday, July 1, 2011

Freedom in Chains

Freedom in Chains

The free man knows where the keys to all the padlocks are:

He chooses which to open with care;

The free man keeps his eyes on his thoughts knowing where freedom lies;

The free man knows enough is wealth;

The free man accepts the yoke knowing the master is the slave:

It is not walls and bars that make prisoners.

Canada Day

Happy Canada Day