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Poetry in motion

(on the bus in Canberra Australia)

 

Grey green rain

Winter grass

surviving

Fog shrouding

Black Mountain

Softening the

harshness of

Telstra tower

Bare tree limbs

reach up

Edging the lake

Ride ending

Get off

Go on

 

Reading Gary Snyder

Grey shale roof

Mountain over village

A few lines

Others go nowhere

Awareness sharpened

By thought and travel

Can we all be poets

If we keep moving?

 

 

 

Pain of cars upon cars

taking up tree space

Metallic invaders

destroying people and plants

Square standing building

Windows in shadow

Books upon books inside

protected forever

Will someone read them?

Why write if not read?

Why paint if not seen?

Why breathe if not loved?

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      Lonna, Bette, and Pamela

Reverse

Rewind

Recall

Remember

 

Today is

my sister’s birthday

She would have been

Seventy-one

 

Somewhere

somehow

along the way

we lost touch

with each other

 

We grew up together

then grew apart

Now

she’s gone

 

But I will

remember

her birthday

Facing life changes

a close friend

mentioned face lift

Shocked response

Why do that?

How would you

know yourself?

But age means

not always

recognizing

the wrinkled

sagging

double-chinned

face

looking back at you

An alternative?

Avoid mirrors

 

Path in Canberra Hills                                                                                                       This photo has nothing to do with the poem. Just a photo I like.

 

 

A certain numbness

trying to recreate

a family

both living and dead

Thinking of

my brother Lon

my only brother

Four years ago today

Riding his bike

in Mazatlan, Mexico

Waiting on a street corner

for the light to change

A bus clipped him

Down and dead

within minutes

Charming, intelligent

talented, difficult

My brother Lon

 

Lon with wife Olivia, stepdaughter Josefina, 2000

To be outside

one’s self

Listening

running water

screeching birds

machete chop

Smelling

tall grasses

wild jasmine

Watching

white and yellow butterflies

fluorescent blue-green birds

Trying to remember

what you thought

you’d never forget

A stream in Nanyuki, Kenya

If I could

 

If I could

rearrange his life

like I do his shoes

Move them over here

by the front door

accessible

The ones he needs

to go out

 

17 April 2018

Last night at Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, Australia, a night of poetry reading, speaking out for refugees and human rights.  That Poetry Thing: Not Very Quiet Journal Presents: Women’s Voices for Refugees – Poetry Fund Raiser for Canberra Refugee Support.

I was the last person to read after a series of poems by refugees and powerful spoken word presentations of the agony of asylum seekers imprisoned on Nauru and Manus by the Australian government.

As I listened to the poetry readings,  I had been thinking how could I possibly follow these powerful presentations?  Do I have anything to say? When called upon to read, I got up from the rear of the rather crowded venue, climbed over several people, stepped on a few toes and climbed up on the stage.

I read two poems, one an excerpt from Frontline by Tony Birch, the other poem Identity by me.  I focused on the expropriation of Australia by European settlers.  Why was I allowed to come to Australia but asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru were imprisoned?  Who determined who had a “right” to be here? All of us, except the Aboriginal peoples, were interlopers, invaders and migrants.

Here are the poems:

Broken Teeth: poetry collection

By Tony Birch

Excerpt from Poem:

Frontline Australia

 

we call on all white men

of military experience and

willing to defend

 

at whatever cost and vigilance

our coastlines, our cities

our clubs, wallets & women

 

against the vast mass

of humanity not of us

as we know us to be

———————–

24 Jan 2017 (date of writing)

Identity

By Pamela Collett

 

Mine was never based on

birthplace

religion

family

 

Mine was based on

Getting best grades

Going to university

a pragmatic

empirical

daily

identity

 

No roots

Just a bundle of

values

that could travel anywhere

A floater

living in my head

 

Confused by questions

of identity

in Australia

European people

living in a place based on

denial of place

of country

of those

who have been here

for 65,000 years

Upstarts

destroying records

bones

artifacts

to assert their right

to control identity

 

I write the poetry
of every day life
of chance encounters
with people
with plants
with birds
Magpie wandering
through our house
Wind
Waves
Clouds
Reach out
and touch
Write out
and share

 

                                                          Gum tree

22 September 2017

Poetry on the Move, the festival of poetry sponsored by the University of Canberra ended yesterday.  A week of poetry and poems and poets… Delicious.

In between poetry readings, I wrote two very short poems. The first one was just after I left an evening session and was walking through the campus back to my car.  The second was right after a poetry reading.

•  •   •  •   •   •   •   •

talking to myself

walking to myself

thinking to myself

looking to myself

watching to myself

singing to myself

jumping to myself

leaping to myself

speaking to myself

asking to myself

learning to myself

telling to myself

forgiving to myself

•     •     •    •    •   •   •

Pamela at Boodoree National Park, ACT, Australia

•   •   •   •   •   •   •

time jumping

space splitting

heart thumping

mind shifting

head shaking

breath escaping

word singing

poetry emerging

 

 

Nature Reserve

 

The gate signing

what can and

cannot be done

Walking on

path rutted

shaped by many feet

Scraggly natives

Yellow strawflowers

Grey green shoulder

broken by embedded stone

Piercing red rosehips

Screaming noisy miner

birds signal invasion

Swinging head

back and forth

Kangaroos watching

waiting, then

fleeing from unknown

Arriving at summit

Grey clouds open

slivers of gold

above blue ridges

defining the end

     Sunset      Red Hill Nature Reserve                     Canberra Australia

 

Thinking of my brother Lon Hutchison.  His birthday is 22 June.  He would have been 62 years old.  He was hit by a bus and killed in Mazatlan Mexico 5 May 2014. 

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