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The joy of one step after the other



Selected poems



The Summit of Choice


She is sitting on the edge of a mountain in the Annapurna,

her face, away from the camera,

her gaze, focused on the Lamjung peak,

experiencing a moment of peace

like many before and many after,

the seconds could be hours could be days,

the weather could be challenging or kind,

she could be alone or surrounded by trekkers,

it has taken careful hoarding of time and money

to be sitting there framed by sky and snow

hardly a foot away from death,

thinking of nothing and everything,

feeling No God and All God,

standing up, leaping forward,

standing up, going back,

she is sitting on the edge of a mountain in the Annapurna,

she has crossed a rhododendron forest,

held tightly to the rails of a rickety bridge

overlooking the Marsyangdi River,

she has passed through mud floor, village huts,

compared her mountain boots to Sherpa’s sandals,

guilt and shame has sunk into her breast bone,

her body with its frozen toe, altitude migraine, whimpering stomach

has acclimatised to gratitude

for the nourishment of daahl,

for the breath of pure air,

for the joy of one step after the other,

back home, she was told to strive for Everest,

the one with knife like peaks, aligned with Western quest

to scale the top at cost of health and ego,

she is sitting on the edge of a mountain in the Annapurna,

her cup of contentment continues to be filled and emptied

by her Nepalese mentor

who talks the view into experience of light and dark

of how the lower range brings the cradle of shade

to nurture you as the child you must become.





We are the travelers of small steps

wearing pyjamas and slippers

to greet each room as if it were a country

encountered from a plane flight,

konichiwa to the space called Living

ola to the island called Kitchen

ni hao to the mattress of pent up dreams,

in the study there is the desk

holding geography’s memory,

salve, kalimera, take me with you.


My mother will be lighting her candles

on her bench top to create her church,

my father will shuffle with his frame

to the chair on the porch with the vista

of his twelve-year-old eyes diving

for sea sponges from an unsteady pier.


This space termed Home

is a document of journey

as we come to know the walls as trees

we long to climb,

the doors to close or open

depending on altitude and inclement,

the ceiling will seem higher than Everest,

from the carpet we see the grit

of hiking through jungle.


And there, in the lonely corner

is the blue rug to sit on and breathe in

the smell of the ocean calling its waves

to sweep our dust.



The Daily Commute


Up till 15 March 2020

This train carried a market place of colour and language,

it was the variety of skin from deep texting black

to the open call of caramel and my skin

with its comments on weather and work

was there as not-quite-white with the moles and freckles

colliding into a marriage of Mediterranean sun.

We sat uncaged could touch each other’s shoulder

smell the accent of breakfast, the craving for lunch.

Remember Anisa Zahidee not quite 30 with two degrees 

and a bag full of books, Hidayet Ceylan knew her

sat next to her, asked her out once

she politely declined, they still talked

he knew some Farsi, she knew some Turkish

created a dance of words with English falling in

at each stop to remind us we were driven

and our worth was pre-sold.


From 5 April 2020

Woman 1 is sitting front seat with her back

to Woman 2 who sits mid-carriage

away from Only Man in the corner watching.

Woman 1 is wearing surgical mask.

Only Man is wearing white cotton mask.

Woman 2 is wearing bandanna over her mouth.

The train’s engine is the monologue of screech

you can hear at a nurses’ desk when they call

the names after hours of waiting, the test

is not to sneeze or cough between stops

to hold breath as you look out the window

at lonely bike paths and roads, the test

is not to look at the face of the other

to work out the colour, the language,

to unearth the story of why, where

and for how long?



Angela CostiAngela Costi's poetry collections are: Dinted Halos (Hit&Miss Publications, 2003), Prayers for the Wicked (Floodtide Audio and Text, 2005), Honey and Salt (Five Islands Press, 2007) and Lost in Mid-Verse (Owl Publishing, 2014). An award from the National Languages Board in 1995 enabled her to study Ancient Greek drama in Greece. She received funding from the Australia Council to work in Japan on an international collaboration involving her poetry, and manages 'Angela Costi Poetics', a Facebook page dedicated to reflecting on the intersection of poetry with contemporary issues.  

Topic tags: Angela Costi, poetry



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Existing comments

Fabulous. Evocative. Thankyou. Pirrial

Pirrial Clift | 14 April 2020  

Beautifully poised work, Angela. You catch the heart of stillness, and the flow of communication which happens beneath and outside our words. I'll be coming back to these poems again and again!

Denise O'Hagan | 14 April 2020  

Every word rings true, and resonates, pure and clear as a bell, whether a temple bell in the Himalayas or other bells we associate with focusing on the afternote of stillness and reflection, being in the moment, mindfulness. Thank you Aggeliki!

Jena Woodhouse | 15 April 2020  

Angela's poetry really inspired me to get up this morning, and say hello in another language to my house and climb gratefully into another day.

Lynne Bliss | 17 April 2020  

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