Archive for July, 2009

Charles CorrectionShaggy Doo Beats is the alter ego of Adelaide performance poet Charles Crompton. He is the beat meister. He plays with words. He creates moods with the sounds of words and performs his poems with jazz musicians. Poempig feels this poem captures exquisitely the prickly restlessness and random thoughts of insomnia. 

Shaggy Doo Correction

This poem can be found in Charles Crompton book Shaggy Doo Beats (Readings from the little Yellow Book.) Books can be purchased through the Shaggy Doo Beats website: #mce_temp_url#

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Melinda Smith’s poems cut to the bone. In this poem, Given, few words span a great black canyon in the soul. Yet this poem shimmers with hope and also sighs a promise.


Christmas is in the air.
You are given into my hands
out of the quietest, loneliest lands.
My trembling is all my prayer.

“Five Days Old” – Francis Webb


Poolside baby showers
herald the summer pregnancies.
Sweat caresses swollen knees;
mothers tally labour hours;
giftwrap is everywhere.swing
Christmas is in the air.

But by the time you come
first frost has been and gone.
A long walk brings you on.
I howl ten hours, a dumb
animal shocked at pain’s demands.
You are given into my hands:

all downy with the smell
of love, my warm wise frog.
Then: eight months of the black dog.
I crawl back from cold hell
that no one understands
out of the quietest, loneliest lands.

Now you seem newly-made
or is it me, new-born?
Chill fog melts in the dawn
and now I am afraid
of how much I can care.
My trembling is all my prayer.

by Melinda Smith


Photo of Melinda SmithMelinda Smith is a widely published ACT poet. Her poems have appeared in Quadrant and The Canberra Times. ‘Given’ won the 2006 David Campbell Prize for best unpublished poem by an ACT poet. It was also shortlisted for the Rosemary Dobson Prize for best unpublished poem by an Australian poet. It was later published in Swings and Roundabouts (anthology by Random House NZ, May 2008). Lines from ‘Five Days Old’ quoted by permission from HarperCollins. You can read more of Melinda’s poems on her  mull and fiddle blog#mce_temp_url#


The pic comes from Shuttermeister photo stream #mce_temp_url#. This eerily empty photo reflects the early mood of the poem.

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200px-LangstonHughe_25This poem is extraordinary because it connects us across cultures, across eras and across oceans to the poet. The poet is Langston Hughes (1902 – 67). He has Native American, Black American, Scottish and Jewish ancestry. So  he had plenty to write about. IThis poem , however, connects us all to our shared humanity.

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up

Like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore

And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar overstorm

Like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Langston Hughes

Man-Gone-Down-       This poem can be found in Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas. #mce_temp_url#  The protagonist in the book has one black and one white parent and has two poets influencing    his narration of his life: T. S. Eliot and Langston Hughes.

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  This is Jude Aquilina. 

 What can poempig say about this poem of Jude’s?

 Just read it.

 penis poem 2 Correction                                                                                   

womanspeak140px  Jude Aquilina’s poetry has been published in newspapers, anthologies and literary journals across Australia and overseas. Jude has been a regular voice at Friendly Street for the last decade and has been guest speaker at writer’s festivals and community events. Jude has published three collections of poetry: Woman SpeakKnifing the Ice and On a Moon Spiced Night. She also co-edited Friendly Street #24. Many of her poems have won awards.

 Woman Speak can be purchased from publishers Wakefeild Press: #mce_temp_url#

  On a Moon Spiced Night by Jude Aquilina can also be purchased from Wakefeild Press. Information about this book can be found @ #mce_temp_url#

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This poem stands up and shouts ‘poetry counts’. Poetry can achieve meaning in places where prose gets carried away with its own verbosity. Perhaps, I’m doing that now. Poetry captures the essence of things. This poem distills an entire life  into 6 lines. 

She sat in the back row of life
Her face obscured in photographs
Refusing offers to shine.school pic

Finally, she was the star
The day they came to bury her–
But no body was there.

Joyce Freedman

Joyce Freedman 1

   Joyce Freedman is an Aussie poet whose poems have been published in Quadrant magazine among others.

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This poem captures the troubled reality for many couples trying to conceive today. The power of this poem hinges on what is not said. The poem simply embraces the getting on with reproduction business. But the final line speaks a truth all intending parents need to read.

If only the couple

desperate for a child,

their bedside a litter

of centimetre squares,

a silver-veined stamen

schlucked under her tonguesad couple

before the cock

can crow each day,

slow seep of albumen

from the cracked purse

of her eggs


the sloughing off

of jeans and knickers

and sudden drop

to coitus don’t interruptus



and immediate hoick

of hips overhead

(isn’t it lucky

it’s not salmon

she’s nurturing?)


could take their eyes

off the prize

and laugh. 

Louise Nicholas

Louise Nicholas is an Adelaide poet. She has been widely published and she is active in many poetry groups including Friendly Street Poets.  


Louise recently co-authored a poetry book with Jude Aquilina titled:

Woman Speak published by Wakefield Press. Copies can be purchased through the publisher’s website:  #mce_temp_url#.

B&w pic : webpub on flickr

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Poetry, according to poempig, should be on every page of a newspaper. This poem demonstrates the possibilities for poetry. This is a poem on one level about sport and a boys love of sport. But there is also a deeper ache to this poem. It is about loss and a father’s love and a boy moving into the bigger world. 

    for Rohan

sporting events

you call them

summoning the family

to a medley of gamesessendonfc

humouring your sister

encouraging your mother

fair in your challenge

forever teaching

me to be a surer kick

a better dad

tall as my father

you never knew

you’re still growing

ready to move

to a bigger league

no transfer fee charged 

your seat always kept free

for home games

  Rodney Williams

Rodney Williams_photo_resized-3

           First published in page seventeen, Issue 5, 2007 #mce_temp_url#

            Editor: Tiggy Johnson

            Rodney Williams recently ran a Haiku and Tanka writing workshop at a writer’s festival in Warragul, Vic. Here is a link to an interview he gave on ABC Radio on Firday 17th July, 2009.     #mce_temp_url#

 Some of his writing is included on this ABC website.

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This poem by Suzanne Edgar speaks with brutal honesty about the dust-bowl dimensions of the inner lives of many from previous generations in Australia. Life was tough. They survived. But often at a great cost. This poem stands in stark contrast to the overt sexuality of the painted lady whose seductive picture appears on the cover of Suzanne’s book of the same name. 

I want no more

children, Walter,

my grandmother said

after her third was born.

And he never

touched me again

my dear,

from that day to this.

Thirty years without touching.

Not even looking.

Featherbed and flannelette,

living by the rules

of the Rotary wheel.farm wife roots66ny

Mysterious times of silence

in the small, dank bathroom

behind a locked door.

His daughters were seen

but not heard by Walter McVey    

who dried on the vine

like the muscatel grapes

he grew but never ate.

And Grandma laughed,

My dear, she said,

I never gave it a thought.

Suzanne Edgar





Suzanne Edgar’s most recent book is The Painted Lady available now in:SE book
 the bookshop of the National Library of Aust
the bookshop of the National Gallery of Aust
Paperchain Bookstore 34 Franklin St Manuka ACT,#mce_temp_url#, 02 62956723; 
from the publisher, Ginninderra Press 79B Lipson St Pt Adelaide SA 5015


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Poempig has been reading 10 poems to change your life by Roger Housden (Hodder Mobius 2003). The first poem is The Journey by Mary Oliver. #mce_temp_url#  This poem is the most magical poem to read if you are going through a transition in life. It is as Roger Housden says ‘a mirror in which you can see a reflection of your own story’. Just to show poetry can be found embbeded intext, here is an extract of Roger Housden’s commentary on ‘The Journey’.

It (is) that moment when you dare

to take your heart in your own hands10 poems Correction

and walk through an invisible wall

into a new life.

Roger Housden.

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Poempig first became fascinated with Sufi poet, Rumi, 2 years ago when this poem was read over the radio. I do not know who translated this version. It is not in my copy of The Rumi Collection edited by Kabir Helminski. The power of this poem is that it speaks to all of us. Life is troubled. You do not decide which emotions will arrive at your doorstep each day. Yet each arrival can educate you about yourself.

This being human is a guesthouse

every morning a new arrival

a joy, a depression, a meannessRumi cover Correction

some momentary awareness

comes as an unexpected visitor.


Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture.

Still treat each guest honorably

he may be cleaning you out

for some new delight!


The dark thought, the shame, the malice

Meet them at the door laughing

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

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