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Selected poems





tamers of winds and seasons

sun rain and darkness

tamers of dogs and horses

tamers of words and numbers

tamers of tamers tamers

of fallen angels lords

of punishments and promises

lies and blandishments

ghosts from the spirit world

with answers to questions

that never needed asking


topple them roll them

into the depths of the sea

to join their coffin ships

make space in the air

fit to breathe

we are come home to roost

we are home already

never left

just slipped your mind

we are men and women

nothing less and you are

nothing more





News of my great-great-grandfather at last. Eureka!

(one of the few disasters, it seems, that he wasn’t

present at). He was a man of bumbling origins

who aspired to mediocrity, achieved it early,

clung to it and hung on grimly to the last. 

He was survived by a brood of sullen heirs

who didn’t fall far from the tree and some of them

were lucky not to swing from one. I might have better

luck with my great-great-grandmother. The women

in my family were always smarter than the dimwits 

who deserted them, a trend that might have started 

back in the mists of time measured by Grandfather 

Clock and bundy.’ A wardrobe-mistress of Lola

Montez’ and there’s more…! An ancestor-person 

an old luvvie like me can be proud of! Unwittingly, 

she made me the man I am today! I might try a click

on a dodgy website called ‘Medium’.



Journal of the Plague Year


The world has slowed down to my pace,

very considerate of everybody. My token

exercise programme is now mandated for all.

My finicky approach to social engagement

(I was never much of a joiner) is the new norm

for everyone except the selfless workers in

health and education, no longer seen as merely

serfs to be exploited until they wear out.

Farmers re-emerge as the important people

they always were. When the last re-run fades

from our screens and the internet traffic stalls

at every intersection, the witty scribbler, the

fumbling uncle who does magic tricks, the

chess-player and the cellist will see their stocks

rising on the market. Time for re-branding, a sign

in the manner of Lucy in the Peanuts comic-strip:


(or a bottle of red and a roll of toilet paper).




John CareyJohn Carey is a Sydney poet, ex-teacher of French and Latin and a former part-time actor. The latest of his five poetry collections is Duck Soup & Swansongs. (Ginninderra Press 2018)

Topic tags: John Carey, poetry



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Existing comments

I was taken to that other space and time of antecedents who gripped the rails of coffin ships to later grace the rails of sanctuaries, convents, monasteries and some in other felon cells and fields of war won life and the freedoms of home for those that followed and I am one of those...thank you, John, for fine and meaningful poetry.

Charles | 07 July 2020  

I enjoyed these poems. Thanks John.

Barry Breen | 07 July 2020  


john frawley | 08 July 2020  

Wonderful John, insightful and welcoming with a touch of humour and melancholy.

Jeff | 08 July 2020  

Poems like these are "tamers" of ideology, John. Thank you.

John RD | 13 July 2020  

To be fair, John RD, I'm not sure that any poetry, especially John Carey's resplendent outpourings here, is crafted to tame ideology or its mirror opposite, anti-ideology. That is surely the preserve of others, like you and me, who are more prosaic.

Michael FURTADO | 12 September 2020  

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