Frog in ornamental pond, Fitzroy Gardens, East Melbourne
I leap and swallow,
to the cooling depths.
The afternoon suggests digestion.
a child's shadow throws bread scraps
until called away by a disallowing voice.
The hulls of ducks bunch
then become orderly fleets.
There's always a straggler.
Disturbed days too.
Surface hiss of cigarette butt,
splash and roll of beer can,
trespass of a Labrador —
green reeds bent or broken,
Night is best.
joins the slippery choir
of fellow frogs,
We pause to look up at
our silver patrons, the stars,
sad that their applause
wont reach us
for light years.
This is where I belong —
learning the water, alert
to all manner of winged food,
when hailstones or a boy's sharp stick
stab through the green skin of lily pads.
To be a frog
or not to be a frog?
Now, that's an interesting question.
I'll give you my answer
the next time someone
who hasn't got cooking pot eyes
bends down to kiss me.
The scalpel is and isn't a wand
Here are the patients, their
Orifices and organs
Secreting, bleeding, failing, slowly, quickly,
Probed, slit, suctioned, stitched, sent to
Intensive care, in faith, in hope, perhaps beyond medicine's ambitious reach.
The waiting for X-rays, the doctor's verdict as you rub at a spot on your trousers.
All the flowers, get well cards, visitors whose smiles and jokes sometimes falter.
Leaving is best. You feel the sun warm the body that is yours again for a while.
City workers during morning rush hour, Collins Street, Melbourne, 2012
Perhaps not fully awake you exit Parliament Station, alight from trams.
Expected you are — to join the ballet of the brisk.
Rebel by sitting on a park bench. Such a luxury may incite a
Scowl on a passing face. Reading the
Obituaries in The Age may distract, you'll learn how many times a certain
Nuclear scientist was married. This knowledge of a more troubled life may
Allow you to take a break from painting the town grey.
Look up at the bird-borrowed sky. It's not raining rats and tarantulas.
What a gift is hunger. Because of it your ancestors left their caves,
Explored plains, valleys, rivers, seas. Their
Adventures became stories, paintings, songs.
There's the story of each person, on the trains, trams, street corners.
How vulnerable you are, how strong you are. I want to reveal your
Essence via the camera of this poem, as you swarm and
Rush in the business district, glance again at wristwatches.
Peter Bakowski's poems have appeared in literary magazines worldwide and have been translated into Arabic, Bahasa-Indonesion, Bengali, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Polish. He has published five collections, most recently Beneath Our Armour, a collection of portrait poems of real and imagined people.