Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ode to Architecture

Based on My Country

I love a saw-toothed roofline,
A house with sweeping drives,
Of poly-chromed chim-in-nees,
Lead windows divided in fives.

I love the odd slate rooftop,
The wrought iron filligrees, too,
The slab hut outline in paddocks,
With a brick pile and a flue.

I love the sandstone mansions,
With gothic windows bare,
Return verandahs and flagstones,
Gardens tended with loving care.

Bendigo miners huts are endangered,
With developers running amok,
They're numbered in their hundreds
While poor taste makes a buck.

Last night I dreamed of Manderlay,
Of Como, Ripponlea and Fortuna,
Their dazzling days are long gone,
Futures hanging on a mezzaluna.

I love the history in architecture,
The lessons writ in mortar,
But sometimes planning ministers and heritage consults...
I wish to draw and quarter!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


The sterile scene raked her eyes and soul alike; the stark emptiness felt as though it was reaching out to snatch her into it's gaping maw to feed some primitive hunger that could never be sated.
The trees in the quarry were stunted and weedy, seeming to be of a fragile state that was only just clinging on to the soil and life while exuding a similar hunger towards the living.
No grass or wildflowers sprouted amongst the stones, no weeds or animal tracks marked the area.
The road was barely wide enough for a single car yet the woman was surprised to see another vehicle coming down the winding mountain track towards her, travelling back to the way she had come, back to sanity perhaps.
As it crept closer the occupants of the other car became visible, two young men with shocked looks on their faces at seeing her there.
Or rather shocked at seeing her standing outside of her car.
The car grumbled to a halt beside her as the driver leant out the open window,
"Are you ok? Have you broken down? Here, we'll give you a hand."
At this the youth made to turn off the engine to help her but she stayed him with a movement, asking,
"No, really, thank you, I'm ok. A little travel sickness. What is this place?"
The other, the passenger, spoke,
"This is a bad place, you're better to put distance between you and here, and never look back."
"What happened here?"
The two exchanged warning glances.
"Men died here, the whole area is poisoned with bitterness. Look, see the trees? They're withered from the hatred still here."
"It's not very big...." she began but was abruptly cut off by the driver.
"It doesn't take much to spoil something. Sure, it's a little quarry but the men who ran it were twisted with bitter loathing and crushed their workers' spirits before the stone crushed their bodies. It was enough to stain it. Now, please, get back in your car and leave while there's still light,"
There was the barest sense of pleading in the last sentence which convinced her to get back in her car and keep on her way.
Nodding to the two young men, who waited until she'd started her engine and executed a dreadful 7 point turn on the narrow road, which brought a flush to her wan cheeks, she left the sullen landscape and was immediately plunged into bright sunshine, causing her to brake lightly and shield her eyes before driving on.
Coming up onto the main road a few minutes later she found the headache gone, her ears were no longer ringing and her breathing was easier.
The other car passed her with a brief toot of the horn and then her escort was gone, she was alone again with the niggling sensation there was something more unfinished at that harrowing quarry.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Rounding the curve in the dusty, deserted road the abandoned quarry lunged out at her from the hillside, forcing her to brake sharply.
A harsh scar on the landscape it was filled with jagged, tumbled slabs of black slate and appeared to almost leap onto the road, a sudden blight on the surrounding gentle green hills.
The warm Spring day turned overcast and chill, shivering the niggling headache that she'd been able to ignore for the last 70 kms came rushing back with a vengence as she stared in horror at this gouged rock in front of her.
Feeling ill, she scrambled from the car and made it to the ditch in the long grass on the other side of the track. Pausing to get her breath back she noticed the stillness of the scene; no wind, no breeze, no far-off traffic noise, not even birdsong.
It was akin to a vacuum, the deafening silence growing on her ears with each heartbeat as they strained for a sound, any sound, to break the building pressure.
Straightening slowly, she brushed off the dry grass from her hands which had been resting on the cool earth.
Looking closer the woman noticed that the soil was more sand than earth, no nutrients left to bind the basic ingredients together, little more than powdered stone from the quarry was all that was left.
She turned reluctantly to face the quarry.
Why the hesitation she could not say except that it instantly brought to mind the horrific casualties of war; the beaten, bloodied bodies of the fallen strewn across the battlefield only to be preserved in the unknown photographers art for future generations to gawp at in morbid fascination.
This quarry was almost a century old but the screams were still echoing down the years with the cold, silent stones standing guard on a memory that still had the power to shock and frighten.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Gild it, silver it,
Cover it o'er with tin foil.

Parade it, sell it,
For more than a barrel of crude oil.

Pickle it, preserve it,
It's more precious than bog soil.

Tie it, handcuff it,
It's beginning to really spoil.

Forget it, lose it,
As you shuffle off this mortal coil.


Henry, in a tent, was born
So many years ago,
Henry, before old age, was worn
Yet his magic was wont to flow.
Henry was a soul reborn
Old but with eyes afresh,
Henry did cast his scorn
Upon the city-pressed stinking flesh.
Henry painted visions splendid
To all who could read or care
Henry's life so rudely ended
While he still had words to spare.
Henry props up the bar
In every city and town,
Henry is known from afar
As couplets, with spirits, are downed.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ode to a Clack Pot

The crank was gorn and worked out
While the cracks plastered over his face hid the
He skipped above the tarmac
To keep the clack pot safe to harm
For it carried Life within
But not for All.
He tapped on the floor for entrance at houses
And was often denied.
His clack pot, thrown above the Waves
Wafted down gently
Upon the tram to Brunswick.

Friday, October 22, 2010


The seconds steal
Your life
By tiny increments
That you never notice
Your last

Saturday, September 4, 2010


The gum boughs creak and complain as the wind shoves them rudely
While the grey mass drags itself across the midnight sky,
Scouring away the stars and hemming in all dreams before it.

The sliver of silver peeping in and out of the grey waves of the sky
Imitates a lighthouse beacon,
But has no ships of the sky to warn so leaves to sulk.

The gum stretches its roots into the soil,
Feeling the endless days ahead will outshine the endless days behind
For has it not witnessed History when hatchlings learnt to fly.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Lovers K-Not

The carved lovers knot
Slipped from the wood
Onto the mattress
Enveloping the two souls
They writhed and yearned
Back onto the wooden headboard
were seen

Monday, July 5, 2010


Creak, creak, creak,
The voice scratches at my nerve endings,
Creak, creak, creak,
The grey cells are nothing but lendings.
Creak, creak, creak,
My mind is surely bending,
Creak, creak, creak,
From the demands it is always defending.
Creak, creak, creak,
Others' words in haste I am mending,
Creak, creak, creak,
Others' path upon which I am wending,
Creak, creak, creak,
The end is undoubtly impending,
Creak, creak, creak,
But; yours or my funeral shall we be attending?