Wednesday, September 5, 2018


Blue blue blue as bulbs blown and a size that is not sad while hanging. Silver is every bit blue and as beautiful as gold and the green of giving. Suppose there was a game, a fancier present, or a clean mixture of white and not a coal colour, never a coal colour together but a separation of the sight of blue and green and silver and gold for that reason. Sameness is a negative answer and the sight of colours in glassware in a similar arrangement is sounder. There must be astonishment and an allusion to the illustration. The shape and design is the concentration and the notion of a simpler answer is on the way forward. The sight of a blue jug with a rounder figure will show the shape nicely, the handles delicate and pleasing and not cheap, no not cheap, but there is intention there for the wishing of miniature and to spread certainly something upright on a matching border, if there is a border.

Friday, August 31, 2018

On occasion it is a splendid address. A kind of green and the spark is brighter and the patio indicates wine and winsome should the flowers flow freely over. The game for guests is food and should there be coffee a certain time selected for that is assured, suppose it is even necessary to dress formerly and suppose it was actual in August with music more melodious in spring for spring is the incident of green and everything is breaking loose a little at a time. Nothing quite like a tray that is square and quite flat and young waiters trembling with the weight of serving cuisine and plates more round nothing breaking and the losing of no little piece.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Black Pottery
Pottery is charm a shape nicely a vase, an urn, a holdall for ash and plant. Earthenware may not be strange in colour if cooked in dirt and fire, there need not be distress if the clay cools to black; black pottery not painted, not strange if change is taking place in the kiln. Colour is cunning in nature. So then, the order is round, pear-shaped or statue; life-size is something suggesting honour, a founder of factory and home. It is not disappointing to visit, it is not, it is so rudimentary to analyse and see fine art lovingly lovingly held in masterly hands, it is, it is earnest and stuttering to be art, to remain art, to remain not as loss but worthy of its cause and sign. The perfect way to preserve is to buy its shape and post the solid vase in a corner window or under an arbor of roses where a rose is a rose and black pottery is back and black is back.


A hut suggests nothing except it is old and a measure of length and height and made of stone. It appears lost and alone sitting beside a field on a gravelly road, yet the right reason is utility and certainly it is not negative which means it has a purpose. There’s a strong panting when the wheelbarrow is offloaded and a winter’s fuel is stacked delicately, delicately so as not to fall. Certainly the wood is placed upright wall to wall, never looking out. It’s not necessary for timber to have a view, timber has a purpose to return again to the wheelbarrow and be trundled out of the hut and possibly there is an aching and sweat dripping to the hearth. It’s quite fitting then to have a hut beside a road in a farmer’s field close to the woods with no window, the dry succouring a colour change within.

Monday, July 9, 2018


Flagship Fellowships are offered to writers whose work shows a striking and original voice in fiction, short stories, narrative non-fiction, environmental writing and/or poetry.

The Flagship Fellowships are:
  • Eleanor Dark Fellowship - Fiction: Established in memory of Blue Mountains writer Eleanor Dark, this writing fellowship will be awarded to a fiction application of outstanding quality.
  • Eric Dark Fellowship - Non-fiction: Established in memory of Blue Mountains writer and social activist Eric Dark, this writing fellowship will be awarded for a non-fiction application of outstanding quality in social, historical or political writing.
  • The Varuna Poetry Fellowship: This fellowship will be awarded for a poetry application of outstanding quality.
  • The Mick Dark Fellowship: Established in memory of Mick Dark, who bequeathed Varuna House to the writers of Australia, this writing fellowship will be awarded to outstanding Environmental Writing.
  • The Henry Handel Richardson Fellowship - Short Story Writing: Offered in partnership with the Henry Handel Richardson Society, this award promotes the life and legacy of Henry Handel Richardson as a significant Australian author and encourages excellence in Australian short story writing. This award is offered every second year and will be offered in the 2019 program.

Friday, July 6, 2018

OOTA's (Out of the Asylum) Spilt Ink Competition 2018 is open to all financial members of writing organisations affiliated with Writers United WA.


Poetry (max 30 lines) and Short Fiction (max 2000 words) - Separate judge for each category
Writers may submit up to three entries in each category

Entry Fees

Poetry - $10 for one poem; $15 for two or $20 for three
Short Fiction - $10 for one short fiction; $18 for two or $25 for three


First Prize - $200 plus Bookshop Voucher ($50)
Second Prize - $100              Third Prize - $50

Winners will be announced at the OOTA AGM in October and winning entries listed on the OOTA website.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

I have to add, that after watching The Project on Sunday night and Lisa Wilkinson's interview with Kate and Rozanne Lilley, I think these women are truly amazing and I admire them immensely. They simply told their story of a disfunctional upbringing by their mother, Dorothy Hewett. Kate Lilley read a poem which was very heartfelt and poignant about her underage sexual abuse. Her new book of poetry is called Tilt by Vagabond Press.

Kate Lilley read her poem Party Favour on the program. Here's a short excerpt.

I'll tell my mother and she'll say
she asked him he said I was into it
from then on I know it's pointless
she's not on my side
From Party Favour

The daughters of Dorothy Hewett, Kate and Rozanne Lilley have come out publicly and spoken about the sexual abuse they received as children. Kate Lilley was raped at the age of 15 (under the age of consent) and Rosanne was subjected to paedophile acts from the age of 11, 12 & 13, Just about every paper in the country has covered their story: The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald,  The Daily Telegraph, The Saturday Paper and The Courier Mail.

Dorothy Hewett is remembered as a leading poet, playwright and novelist. Admired for her passionate and politically charged writing, she was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her services to literature in 1986. But what will happen to her legacy in the light of revelations of the sexual abuse of her teenage daughters? Sisters Kate and Rozanna Lilley say they were sexually assaulted by the men who visited the family home in the 1970s. The abuse, they say, was encouraged by their mother.

The Dorothy Hewett Award is a $10,000 prize for an unpublished manuscript conducted by UWA Publishing.

In a recent statement by the Managing Director Terri-Ann White the award title will not be changed.
White states that she has spoken to Kate Lilley about the award and claims that - [quote} If the family were to instruct us to change our position we would do so, but this is not the intention of Dorothy’s daughters to the ongoing legacy of her writing. [end quote].
    However, this appears as "hearsay" and cannot be substantiated since it has not been published in the public domain or an exact quote documented. Neither has the Lilley sisters mentioned this in an interview on the ABC, and in fact have had this to say.
    "I think that a lot of the blowback saying that we're harming Mum's reputation is really just in disguise a critique of men from that generation, the kind of men who abused us and their supporters, who don't want their behaviour to be examined."
    Lilley says that her mother's work has always been polarising, with many finding her confronting descriptions of sex distasteful.
    I find not renaming the UWA Publishing award - distasteful, ignorant and an act of bloody-mindedness. Why have I written this blogpost? I am an unpublished novelists and in all consciousness have to take a moral stand, so my efforts to have the award name changed are close to the bone. I have entered the competition twice now, but in all honesty cannot enter this UWA award that touts the name DOROTHY HEWETT. In fact, I have binned my three books of Hewett's poetry!
This is an email I have recently written to the head of writing in WA, CEO Sharon Flindell of writingWA.

Dear Sharon (et al)
As a writer I am now concerned with the news of sexual abuse of Dorothy Hewett's daughters published in The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Daily Telegraph, The Saturday Paper, and how this taints her name and the Dorothy Hewett Award 2019. As our representative in the WA writing community pressure should be brought to bear on UWA Publishing and Managing Editor Terri-Ann White to rename the award. The latter unfortunately to date refuses to change the name. Going into the future how can any writer take pleasure in receiving an honour under the name of a dishonourable person? And since I have entered the award many times over, and may so again, I would not want to see my hard work associated with a woman who allowed vile paedophilic acts to occur. We cannot compartmentalize what Dorothy Hewett achieved as a writer with her current fall from grace and the sexual abuse of her children. This is a watershed moment in the history of West Australian literature and action needs to be swift in support of all emerging writers.
Perhaps your 2 day forum on publishing on 10-11th July would be an ideal place to raise the issue as a moral dilemma for writers.

Yours truly
Helen Hagemann
Quote from the Sydney Morning Herald - It took years for Hewett's daughter Kate Lilley, a poet, to fully comprehend what happened when she was still legally a child - and many more to speak out about it.
The English professor says she was raped at the age of 15 by a well-known Australian poet who is still alive. She says a film producer sexually assaulted her during a drug- and alcohol-fuelled party several months earlier.
Her sister, writer and autism researcher Rozanna Lilley, also experienced sexual assault. She names the late playwright and former Labor speechwriter Bob Ellis – who died of liver cancer in 2016 – as one of the perpetrators.
Another Dorothy Hewett Article in the Saturday Paper 

I have been advised that the "RULES" for the Mary Gilmore were discussed at the ASAL's AGM in 2017. A little conference apparently between the board and the hierarchy of past judges. It appears that from now on the award is discretionary, but according to Consumer Rights and I have read some of the new 2011 laws to protect individuals, this may contravene consumer rights according to consumer protection (See rules link below). The general public now in Australia have rights and protections in place to halt this kind of surreptitious activity. Above you will notice a "Screen Shot" (taken 28/5/2018) of the current rules that clearly state 'a first book' - not second, not third, not anything else after chapbook publications. If the ASAL had changed the rules back in 2017, then it should have been clearly stated on their website, applied legally to the two poets short-listed in 2018 who have had previous chapbooks, and also made public in the media (eg the ABR/ASALwebsite and to publishers). They failed the duties of the award, failed to make the change of rules public and have failed the short-listed poets WHO DO HAVE A FIRST BOOK! Under the Australian National Law according to the ACCC, these sort of backroom dealings that have previously occurred in the general community are no longer lawful. The ACCC was formed to protect the rights of consumers and individuals. An award such as the Mary Gilmore Award does not escape this scrutiny: The guardians of this award have failed to notify the general Australian literary establishment, they are culpable for not establishing changes in 2018, appearing to neglect notifying these changes from their AGM. This cannot happen in 2018, this surreptitious collusion between the upper echelons, current judges, past judges and the Association for the Study of Australian Literature cannot happen in 2018!
Here's a link about CHANGE OF RULES.

Disclaimer: These are my personal opinions as I have been affected by the Mary Gilmore Award in 2010 and therefore wish to state that my post is "without prejudice" to any party.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Emerald: Of Forest and Stone by Paula Lang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

With echoes of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Series and The Lord of the Rings, Paula Lang has published her first fantasy novel Emerald: Of Forest and Stone. While the Twilight Saga and The Lord of the Rings has made it to film and also to the top of the best seller list, it is interesting to note that it is younger readers that have made this possible. Why is this so? My theory as a reviewer of adult fiction is that the new and ever-evolving generations of kids have fresh eyes and minds on what they like; they like something new, something netherworld, and surreal stories they can get lost in. Take for example, the Harry Potter Series. Young readers absorbed J K Rowling's literature at a faster rate than has ever been seen before. They all waited patiently for each new book, they all took that quantum leap of faith for her characters, loved wizardry and magic not known to them before, and astounded parents, adults and reviewers alike.
While coming to grips with reviewing Paula Lang's new book, I decided to read some of the "adult" reviews of Meyer's Twilight Saga and surprisingly, though not really, they found them trite, bizarre and hated the 'glittery vampire thing.' However, these novels were a market for the younger reader, the Generation X, and still are a market for the Millennials and Post-Millennials.
Lang's fantasy novel, or should I say, her fan fiction is also meant for that readership. Younger minds can get their head around the myriad of characters all laid out neatly as Preface pages of the book. And on the back blurb we are told that the main protagonist is Layla. Layla has the ability to "shape-shift" and is the only female ever to receive this gift, a duty bestowed on her as part of the Connor pack to protect her people. Similarly, symbolic to Thetis - Greek goddess of the sea who was particularly known as a shape-shifter: when Peleus desired to marry her, she transformed herself into fire, water, a lion, and a serpent in order to escape him. Lang's inclusion of her character Layla who is struggling to find balance and happiness in her life is an interesting juxtaposition to Greek mythology since "Shape-Shifting" is the quest for permanence and stability in a world of seemingly ceaseless destruction and change.
As mentioned previously, this book while reviewed here on Goodreads, should be marketed to teenagers and young adult readers. Especially, those readers who have enjoyed Harry Potter, the Twilight Series and The Lord of the Rings. Readers of science-fiction and fantasy novels often enjoy these other-worlds that do not exist in realism.
I also believe that the market prefers one main protagonist and one main point of view, and I would also argue that this lightweight fiction makes lazy readers of us all. Let us not get into the position of criticising a work for its many characters, it's imagined, surreal worlds of vampires, wolves, wolf ancestor spirits, half-humans, and full humans. Brian Stoker brought us Dracula, Mary Shelley brought us Frankenstein, and Buffy and companions fought an increasing variety of demons, as well as ghosts, werewolves, zombies, and unscrupulous humans.
I admire an author who takes risks. Paula Lang has taken that risk with a work of dense proportions. Self-publishing is not an easy road to take, but often a necessary one for a beginner writer.
Here's a section of writing (among many others) that I found to be excellent!
Chapter 15 - No Balance.
Without stopping to see if her mother was home, Layla ran to the bathroom. Overwhelmed by her anxiety and confusion, she dry retched into the toilet. Everything she had learned and knew of her existence was unravelling.
What was it that made it so hard for her to accept the Ambroses and Natanual? Was it the fear of losing control?
She had been disarmed at Jack’s; she had felt Beatrice’s affection and the humility of Natanual. She wasn’t meant to feel anything from them or for them.
She cleaned herself up and headed to the beach to think.
Sitting looking out at the ocean, she let her tears freely run down her cheeks. She wiped her face dry with her sleeve and looked up at the sky, trying to blink the rest away.
Again, she caught the scent as she wiped her eyes and face. It was the scent of orange blossom; to her dismay, she liked it.
Layla reached into her jacket pocket and pulled out her necklace. Her chest burned, overwhelmed with the disdain she felt for herself and the guilt for indulging in the intoxicating scent that permeated from it.
The necklace also had the smell of citrus, but also of other blended spices, of leather, and of him.
Layla looked more closely at how it had been mended. Natanual had replaced the leather cord. She remembered the tribal necklaces he wore when he first arrived; the cord was the same.
In an action that was totally driven like a drug addict wanting and needing more, she cupped the necklace in her hands and breathed in deeply, drinking in its divine scent.
It smelled dangerous, earthy, human, and beautiful.
Catching herself and disgusted with her actions, Layla didn’t know whether she would vomit again or faint; her head swam with guilt and confusion.
Needing to get home before Shay, Layla jumped down from the log. Reaching the road, she ran herself hard without stopping, trying to burn away her emotion.

In her bedroom, she took a small wooden jewellery box out from her bedside drawer and tipped out the contents.
Still catching her breath, she put the necklace inside instead. Snapping it shut, its smooth and flush closing mechanism locked the scent in tight.
Layla then threw the box angrily away into the back of her wardrobe and out of her thoughts.

Helen Hagemann (c) 2018

View all my reviews

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Australia and its Literary Environment.
It's interesting when you discover anomalies in this Australian literary establishment. I was once short-listed for the Mary Gilmore award, but because I had previous published chapbooks, the short-list  acknowledgement was removed from the public realm. I have discovered that the short-list for the 2018 Mary Gilmore Award contains two writers who have been previously published in chapbook form (40 poems or less), and yet still hold their shortlisting. I have written (anonymously) to the head honcho at the ASAL (Association for the Study of Australian Literature), pointing this out, however, he chooses to disagree with me, stating that if a chapbook was 40 poems or less it is not counted, so therefore their  current publications stand as the poet's first book! I am awaiting the outcome and I can tell you I am going to cause a stink and have my short-listing re-instated as my chapbook was 36 poems! The results of the 2018 will be known in July 2018.  Mary Gilmore's poem "War" seems very appropriate for me at this time. Let's see what happens!    ......comments welcome :) 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Great to see my publisher back on board (or is the press riding on a new wave?) and online!
Sunline Press is an independent book publisher that was established in 2000 by Roland Leach. It primarily publishes works of poetry by individual poets but has branched out with its online magazine, Cuttlefish, to include flash fiction…

Thursday, May 10, 2018

            Guitar Statue

             A dark grey, a very dark grey, quite dark it is almost black. This
             statue is a composition not for practice. Ordinarily, a guitar would
             stand in a better place, a better place where the strings are alive with
             every occasion. Solid and far from untidy, it rests on cobblestones,
             a reminder of cherished refrains, an exterior surrendering and not
             quite dreary in wind as there is so much of its shape working not to
             be ordinary, and not tardy. It’s a receptacle, a symbol, silent in its
             custom, but never silent when there’s anticipation, a lively concert
             with exceptional meaning and feeling from exuberant voices.

Monday, May 7, 2018


The reflection is opposite and this means exchange, and when a face is recognised it’s not evading artistic meaning or expression should the colour change. What is important is choice and position and what if there is shine, shine, shine! An angle of dazzle brings too much frustration. There is this exception every time there is too much light because a brightly sun is overly tiresome and how can a surface show merit and image if every time there is interruption there. The frame is important too and very, very if dimensions are three and simply not four. And a reflection will last when a surface divides; a remarkable division of beauty that is also very, very and that is a mirror.

Acknowledgement:  Jenny Zander - body artist @ Check out her work it's highly creative and inspirational!

Saturday, April 28, 2018


There is a whole collection made. Three boards and there is a filling, no delay with the right measure. There is pleasure in fired clay, artefacts of cork and country. They are little gifts of language, too, to be kept and mounted. Ladies will be sales of beautiful, beautiful! Very likely it is a passion and can speak of reckless spending, eyes on wristwatch, a parcel nicely and no ribbon. Some might be dearer but in any case there is a bargain. The best thing to do is to take it away and register its purpose with gratitude. Its place will be a revision of time.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

A Fountain

A fountain is a point of return if lost. The heart will embrace the sound of water. So pure is the flow that nearly all of it shows pearls of light. It’s remarkable when the basin is level and not an inch over, one spout covering the work of two. It’s a spring of hope if hot or cold but does not mean soap. Unprecedented change and the whole thing blackens, is broken, so the mending shows the culture is Portuguese. The blue and gold tiles can cause the whole thing to be a church.


Archways are charming places when it’s raining. Umbrellas are out and this
shows direction. Looking into its space it’s hanging, a shape heavy above
with melody. It leads to sweet singing, a stage of learning and it’s not
disappointing when a ticket is entry. Returning, there is semblance where
shadows are darker and there is no dust and no dirt within. Stones are
arranged in splendour, stone on stone and cheaper and not shown by marks
or by wetting. A statue is looking into this place and seeing a statue means relief,
it does, it certainly does not cause frustration. Through the archway there are
courtyards, a line of life and stairways to an amusing side, a little dog holding
a cup to a tuneful accordion. An archway will take you to all this and coffee,
and short orders, waiters and cooks.

It's amazing the amount of writing you get done while away from home. I have really enjoyed Portugal (although only partially seen), but as a writer-in-residence I have been able to lock myself away from life's distractions, haven't had to do housework and therefore there is this intense concentration on your work. I have finished editing my asbestos novel, have ideas for a fourth and have enjoyed writing several prose poems inspired by the environment, landscape and objects around me in Lobao da Beira, in Tondela, and in Coimbra - a Medieval town.

The prose poetry (I feel) is taking a new course. In the past I have written about my life, etc. and I felt it was time to move on to something more challenging -  prose poetry that doesn't get bogged down with figurative language ie. metaphor and simile, but works to subvert the image. I'm inspired by Gertrude Stein whose poem Tender Buttons describes things and objects in an artistic way, a little sklent, often leaning to the obscure, yet her intention was to challenge the reader to make meaning for themselves. I like this idea, and I am currently working on a collection titled "Random" - using objects and things sometimes overlooked, sometimes not interesting enough to be worthy, yet these inanimate objects can create "art" and imbibe different ways of using language. 

The images I'm currently using from Portugal have been a different and interesting landscape from my own country, Australia. I guess mainly it's because one is out in the world and this brings new experiences and challenges. I am really enjoying creating this new form.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Sisters' SongThe Sisters' Song by Louise Allan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Book on a Grand Scale
Every now and again a book comes along that is exceptional, a story that allows you to sink beyond the page into the lives of the characters, their heartaches, failures, warmth and sincerity. Such is The Sisters' Song a debut novel by Louise Allan.

    It's a family saga, set in Tasmania in the 1930s-90s and looks at the lives of two women, sisters Ida and Nora. These two women's lives are created as binary opposites. Ida is the traditional woman married to Len and wants children, while Nora longs for fulfillment in a singing career. However, their ambitions are thwarted by circumstance and both sisters' dreams and aspirations remain unfulfilled throughout the novel. Ida has three miscarriages never bearing a child full-term, while Nora's talent (in its infancy) is waylaid by falling pregnant to a dashing Italian "Lothario" named Marco. Being subjected to the wiles of the Italian who is married, it is career over for Nora! She returns to Tinsdale, to marry Alf (pre-stepfatherhood to Marco's son Ted), and to a lonely farm life in isolated Tasmania. With all her hopes and dreams dashed Nora remains embittered throughout most of her life. We can put this down to the temporal climate of the mid-twentieth century when a woman was objectified - her only role and status - of being there for pleasure, marriage and or pro-creation.

    To my mind, The Sisters' Song is an important feminist text for the 21st Century, a template for the GenYs and GenZs to imbibe an era when women were mainly stereotyped in roles of housewife and mothers (although there were exceptions to the rule). Granted, this novel does not set out to make a cultural statement, yet at the same time the song rings loud and clear. As contemporary readers we are taken back to a time of pre-women's liberation, to Nora, a woman who wasn't fully encouraged, who wasn't given hope or familial support to be different, to be independent or career minded. And we are taken back to the familiar tune of the many, like Nora's family, who failed her talent. I shudder to think of where we would be today if we didn't have the current advantages of career, equal workplace and educational opportunities.
      As a reviewer, I don't need to tell you the whole story that is for you to read. I also prefer not to repeat the accolades of another four to five prominent reviewers, including Nicole Melanson (NSW) and Monique Mulligan (WA) as I see this exceptional novel as a gift to women. It is a reminder of the woman's struggle, the dark ages of electric shock therapy, of mental illness, of unrecognized depression, and of an unflinching bond between sisters, created by Ida.
    There are many other layers in this novel: themes of love, courage and forgiveness, evocative figurative language, well-drawn protagonists and minor characters, a strong emotional engagement for the reader, and last but not least, a music and singing motif that is so heartfelt you can almost hear it.

    Louise Allan grew up in Tasmania, a relatively underpopulated, rugged and cold island off the south-east coast of mainland Australia. She studied Medicine at the University of Tasmania and went on to become a GP, before moving across the country to Perth. She worked in the field of breast cancer until she ceased practising medicine in 2010 and took up writing. Allan’s novel came from a short story she wrote in 2010, which she knew had a much longer story attached. In 2012, she picked it up again, and it took six years and countless drafts until in 2014, her novel was awarded a Varuna Residential Fellowship. In the same year, the manuscript was shortlisted for the City of Fremantle—TAG Hungerford Award.

   Alongside her characters, this major effort by Allan has been justified; a woman finding her vocation as a writer, securing an agent and publisher Allen & Unwin (2018).

Disclaimer: My thanks to Allen & Unwin for giving me the opportunity to read a great book and likewise to review.

Helen Hagemann (c) 2018

View all my reviews

Thursday, March 1, 2018

SALE @ 50% OFF

Of Arc & Shadow $5 + $1 postage = $6.00
Evangelyne & Other Poems $2.50 + 0.70 cents postage = $3.20
Contact Helen @  

All Prices include above postage. Within Australia only
Books Shipped in 2 Business Days.
REGULAR PRICES: Below if you use your Paypal account Email Within 24 Hours.

Poem from of Arc & Shadow 

Admirabilis - (collation of home)
                          The purpose of the poem, fills the room
                                                    Wallace Stevens  

We enter small rooms, cherished from the past,
each one telling a tale of my parents’ life.
Now they are gone, we need to unravel
what is left  ─people in a marriage ─
the things they kept. We threw Dad in the lake because
he loved to fish. Mother's in a narrow corridor
of sorts, & cannot escape ─
the world going on without her.
We still see the light in her eyes
after the stroke.
Houses are history with clutter & song,
the old place creaking as we walk. You can almost
hear the tank overflowing, gutters pinging,
high-heels on concrete, neighbours sneaking round
the corner in a flap from the rain. Betty who loved Jesus.
Rene, an adorable hypochondriac, who got sicker
when the new doctor came.

It’s delicate to pack fifty years of chattels: flowerpots,
fernery orchids, a shed full of tackle & tools.
If you touch something, you’re spirited back
to bikes on the lawn, cartwheels, winging the clothes line,
the family snake killer whacking the long grass
for the dog’s last chewed ball.
You’re a teenager, slipping into your mother’s room,
the dressing table's batwings coupling tiny bottles of scent,
glass top in a dust of fingerprints, old powder cracked
in her cut-glass like dried veins in a river bed.
Her silver brush & comb, an ensemble
she kept for forty years, clips & pins in a silver dish,
three drawers as wayward as your first perm.

The kitchen, still in weathered wood, throws out
more wonder. The retro cup & saucers in ear-shaped
handles. There’s a Willow set, tea-pots in orange, yellow, green,
matching bowls & jugs. Gifts on their wedding anniversary,
trophies from a pennant’s match, the sideboard hiding more
than its sixties storage. Ramekins, a cutlery set, tea-towels never used,
tablecloths & boxed cotton sheets. Your mother could combust
the golf club with the winning ticket in her hand.
You walk the halls, the verandah, open each wardrobe.
Coats still hang behind the door. You press your nose into your mother’s
cream cashmere, scent of rose. This is a longing for touch,
to hold the smell of your father’s pressed shirts, singlets,
ties, mother’s scarves & gloves, those young lives you never knew.
If you could tell them now about this poem, read their song,
they still wouldn’t understand. They’d avert their eyes
from your arrangement of words, give a little wave
as if you were touched by the sun.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

I wrote this poem when I was in love! As Emmy-lou Harris sings "Love is a miracle." I found it once and only once in my life, so I feel blessed for having known him, for having twelve marvelous, funny, exciting, surprising, intellectually satisfying, and happy years together!

Follow by Email


Published by Australian Poetry Centre, Melbourne

of Arc & Shadow

of Arc & Shadow
Published by Sunline Press, WA

The Joyous Lake

Par écrit

Blog Archive

Powered by Blogger.

Search This Blog

Flickr Images

My Profile

My Photo

Helen Hagemann, MBA(Wrtg) ECowan. Her first literary collection, Evangelyne & other poems, was published by the Australian Poetry Centre in their New Poets Series 2009. 'of Arc & Shadow' is her second full collection published by Sunline Press. She has two e-books, The Joyous Lake & Par écrit: poetry of the feminine @​​docs/joyous_lake/

Popular Posts