Refinery Shadow

Family reunion brings us here,where gum trees open onto two eternal flamessmoking up suburban Sunday sky.Our park – the edge of our travel limits, sitsbeside quiet street and underthe refinery’s steady shadow.Two swings, two slides, ancient eucalypts,and where houses fence the park’s perimeter, a hidden gateopens while we picnic and outpops a man’s head, thenContinue reading “Refinery Shadow”

Ordinary Wednesday: Spring Hesitation

Poets have never fully trusted spring. e.e. cummings likened it to a “perhaps hand”, hesitant and uncertain. T.S. Eliot called April “the cruellest month” (a class I taught once decided it was because he had bad hayfever). John Mark McMillan recently sang that “Spring without permission rages on again”. And Christina Rossetti had this toContinue reading “Ordinary Wednesday: Spring Hesitation”

Keeping It Reel: Thoughts on authenticity and social media

I was filming my sons engaging in a science experiment they had learnt about on Play School – mixing bicarb soda and hair conditioner to make snow – when I realised very quickly that this was not something I would be sharing on social media. The twins shovelling handfuls of bicarb-conditioner-mess into their mouths whileContinue reading “Keeping It Reel: Thoughts on authenticity and social media”

Ordinary Wednesday: Do you see what I see?

My home city of Melbourne is now in the unenviable position of experiencing its fifth lockdown, and many of us are finding ourselves making comparisons with “previous lockdowns” we have known. This particular lockdown has the misfortune of falling at the same time as the beginning of our long, long winter lockdown last year. AndContinue reading “Ordinary Wednesday: Do you see what I see?”

Ordinary Wednesday: Windows

“Which window will it be today?” Many parents of small children will quickly recognise those words which precede the moment in Play School when we “look through the window” to discover something new and exciting. I have spent much of today sitting by a windowsill with very limited ability to see. Our outside office sitsContinue reading “Ordinary Wednesday: Windows”

Excerpt from “Plague Year”

But we venture on. Newness at least is inthe air, on Capitol Hill, in the fruit jumping out of trees. We cannot slow thisif we wanted to. Shopping aisles charge ontowards Christmas, while my heart craves Advent.I could use the dark, the waiting, to bendsoul’s joints back into shape, could use the longsilence to learn againContinue reading “Excerpt from “Plague Year””

Day Zero

On this dayI still wrestled my childreninto their clothes,still raced out the door too late for comfort,still pricked my finger with a rose thorn,still feared that all my labour’s in vain,and found the evening slumpa little close to despairyeteverything changed, while nothing changedand mustard seeds of life were at workwhether we noticedor not.


The scent was masked as we walked, thoughhints of pollen pushed their way through cloth to me,and on returnas I parked the pram and setexcited new walkers free to roam, I soakedmy senses in the radianceof fruit trees delightingin new white-pink growth, and the hopethat if not now, soon at least,signs are sure, sure toContinue reading “Turning”

Extraordinary Time

Deprived of the ordinary markings of days -drives to work, birthdays, people to celebrate -we clingmore fervently to organic signs,the constant shifts in the garden,which trees have blossomed,which ones have leaves,how tall the pea plant has grown,how white its petals.These and the aphids signal time:those and the snails migrating,the worms beneath the compost,the dead birdContinue reading “Extraordinary Time”

Improvisation: Rain

In these days of lockdown (my city, Melbourne, is experiencing the toughest restrictions of anywhere in Australia so far), I have been finding myself drawing increasing inspiration from the small things that I notice in my local environment, looking ever closer and closer to the consolations of the everyday. This video poem came from aContinue reading “Improvisation: Rain”