Poems of the Month: December 2017

Here are the Poems of the Month for November 2017, as selected by Anthology Editors, Ros Schulz and Karl Cameron-Jackson. Congratulations to Keith MacNider and Maria Vouis.


THE RISE by Keith MacNider

Where do I meet you now that you have gone away?
Is it that you have eloped with the breeze, the first
canter across the plains of your beginning, or the debris
of twisted desires, the suffering in silence when the hands
of abusers made your body theirs and hope lay in words
you wouldn’t have chosen yet which found you, reshaping
calling to you the beauty that always seemed in your eyes
the way morning mists hinted at surprise? You’ve gone
down a path I can’t follow though sometimes I think I see
your footsteps in the sand on the beach, or that smile
in the passing clouds we looked for omens in. Perhaps
today it is the birch tree that is the choir and the seagulls
messengers of relief. I know I’ll sit by the fire and rest
my head against you, the cottage door open just in case
you returned, you a nomad who always found a way.


THE PUPPIES OF CHRISTMAS by Maria Vouis

All the puppies of Christmas
are dragging their new owners
along the Esplanade,
in their Rodolph red collars,
tongues flapping like
crimson sails
to the wind
and white foam
lacing their lips.

All the puppies of Christmas
arrived in pretty packages,
plucked from their mothers’ dugs,
travelled the abyss
from one pair of hands
to the next,
be-ribboned
and limpid-eyed,
gifted and prized,
for the space
of a squeal and a smile,
for the small heartbeat while
or the lifetime
of a Christmas lunch.

All the puppies of Christmas
pace their pretty paws
click-clack their little claws,
trotting the Esplanade,
their slick, black jelly-jube noses
bob next to the new Nikes
of their gym Princes and Princesses
who hold the whole bikini clad beach,
in a miniature metallic vignette
mirrored on their Bolle aviator glasses.

Day by day
by holiday day,
dog bowl by dog bowl,
the puppies of Christmas
forget the hot squirt
of mother’s milk,
the jigsaw puzzle funk
of their litter’s ilk,
and silently slip
into the Lego love
of a pouting child,
lock their wolf genes
into itinerant lives
of job junkies,
domestic Goddess wives,
and grannies heading for
God’s waiting rooms.

In the shelters at Easter,
all the puppies of Christmas
shiver and sleep in cardboard boxes,
yap and howl
black jelly-jube noses
sniffing at the bars
of their cages,
scratch their skinny flea bitten rumps,
pass or fail the ‘behaviour’ test,
and dream the green dream,
their gift wrapping,
flapping in the recycle bins
in the vast
weed ridden
wind blown
Lonsdale wasteland
next to the rubbish dump.