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Winging it


Selected poems



Winging it


The birds woke us early today,

Not that we could sleep.

The news has ruffled us.


Light creeps over

the dresser, the pile of clothes,

my shameful shoes.


We didn’t make love last night.

I have given up trying

to rationalise it.


You think that what you want

is sameness,

but it is only that because

unsameness is always worse.


I envy your dog its

undiagnosed reality.


Sometimes too,

Birds just fall from the sky,




Often in mid…




Picnic At Hampstead Pond


The weeping willows bowed

To the weight of small birds

Who clicked in its branches

like typewriters on holiday.


Beneath it we picnicked

And got drunk and laughed.


You talked to me

Of older poets and what they’d said,

And I listened to your calm voice

Spread out over the brown pond,


To where a speckled duck chugged by

Drawing two silver threads of sunlight

In a vee from its stern.


Beyond, the Hampstead houses

dipped their heads in the water

and drank long and slow

as if in companionship.


At last the pond darkened

beneath evening clouds

And we rose to go,

Leaving behind the precious crumbs

The birds had waited all day for.




Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy


When you receive a permanent shock

your heart becomes gripped

as if by an octopus,

and then it forgets its function

or assumes the shape of a Japanese octopus trap.


Something like that.


I read this is a book

by a new young poet

who was trying to describe

the effect of exile

or displacement

or violence.


She was right about one thing,


All damage is capable of lodging in the heart.





Julian Wood is a poet living in Sydney. He is of mixed Irish and English descent. He has published in both the UK and Australia. Poetry can be found lurking anywhere but spotting it and bringing into the light often requires patience and a certain tenderness towards things and people.

Main image: A view of Hamstead Heath. (RichGreentea / Getty Images)

Topic tags: Julian Wood, poetry



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Existing comments

Thank you Julian. Loved these poems. An homage to life and how we experience it. Jorie

Jorie Joan Ryan | 30 March 2022  

Julian, I have just this morning returned to your small sweet suite, and marvelled once more at your deeply rhythmic, picturesque, 'abrupt' dialogue with our burning world. I adore your concision, the placement in space of your lines, the startling imagery - and your strong focus on birds, which really do make life worth living. In the face of so much strife it feels like an eternal curse has descended on our world. Long live birds! Long live your marvellous, evocative, truth-telling poetry!

I am off to see my Doctor today for the results of last week's calcium heart scans. I can feel the octopus reaching, octotangling...

Thank you for making my day so much brighter.

Allan Padgett | 04 April 2022  

Excellent stuff, Julian! Bravo! Different from, but in effect very much like the best Japanese haiku, leaving us suspended in thought, then to land gently. Keep it up.

Edward Fido | 10 April 2022  

"To where a speckled duck chugged by/Drawing two silver threads of sunlight/In a vee from its stern." Brilliantly poetic observation, Julian!

John RD | 18 April 2022  

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