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Children breathe the air of protest

What I mean

I don't mean when the film ends
and the lights come on, the shuffling
of feet and banging of seats.
And I don't mean what it's like
in towelling robe and slippers
dashing to collect the post
before the neighbours see.
Nor do I mean if only. What I mean is
to be lifted by the scruff of my life
to do it all again.    Another go.

____________This time, not just cope
and not as a work in progress seen only
as supporting player in other people's lives;
but the dreamy-eyed girl still in the woman
her life as a poem that makes something happen.

–Paula McKay


Peace tattoo

Children need to breathe the air of protest
walk together, arm in arm with strangers
wear badges of hope and T-shirts with lifelines

Sing words of wisdom and history
chant choric responses of camaraderie
in a mass movement of human voices.

Understand the justice of causes
and the constant need for change.
The dignity of freedom
and the strength of real choices

Find courage to lead others by honourable action
spreading metaphors of compassion
over roads of pain and tears.

Letting the certainty of liberty
beat with their hearts
as strong as empathy

And may peace be tattooed
on every breath
they ever breathe.

–M. L. Emmett


Reading poetry in my garden

Looking up from the page and there it is
the longest worm I'd ever seen, although
I've not observed that many. They often
appear in clods of earth sliced by spade
or left intact if lucky. This one's far from
home, has strayed from soil to brick path
its slow undulation a poem in the making.

As it continues in the wrong direction, its
existence threatened by harsh midday sun
I cannot bear to touch it, risk breaking the
glossy pink skin. So I gather damp leaves
for a nest of sorts, watch it take cover and
then deliver it safely back into the dark.
This bundle of nothing yet everything

–Lorraine McGuigan


An offering

I smiled at Peter Sculthorpe
in the hardware store today.
I don't think I embarrassed him:
I am in awe, I said.

He was buying batteries
for his alarm.

Because I sleep so heavily
I need the clock.
It's batteries and bulbs — he said
expensive ones.

And then he left.
The shopkeeper made sure
I got the maestro's drift:

To illuminate his passion, he disclosed.
Those symphonies of substance
that he fleshes out most nights
through into dawn.

I wish I had it all together
like that man.

Instead, in bed I toss
and loose slats croak across
the rubbery night, as residue invades
incumbent poetry concerns.

I reach for pen and paper, scribble
musings loose with promise, ponder
restless on this man who at this point
in time is probably fine-tuning
in the halo of his genius.

It's just a thought ... but since
my nights in bright Kings Cross
are always flush with light

perhaps the virtuoso might consider
moving here to share my space.
He'd save on bulbs and lend
a glorious dimension to my sound.

–Penelope Evans 

Paula McKay's collection of poems Travelling Incognito was published by Five Islands Press. Her latest collection is due out beginning of 2013.

M. L. Emmett is the former convenor of Friendly Street Poets. Her first book of poetry Snatching Time was published by Wakefield Press in 2009. She is an editor and poodle tragic. 

Lorraine McGuiganLorraine McGuigan has been published in Quadrant, Island, Southerly, Cimarron Review, North American Review, Antipodes and Psychopoetica. Since 1995 she has been managing editor of Monash University's Poetry Monash. Her first poetry collection What the Body Remembers was runner-up in the Anne Elder Award. 

Penelope Evans' first book, Cross-Hatched Poems, was published by Bemac Publications in 2004. She has had poems in numerous anthologies and a poem of hers recently featured as Australian Poetry online's Poem of the Week. 

Topic tags: new australian poems, Paula McKay, M. L. Emmett, Lorraine McGuigan, Penelope Evans



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