Taking photos never worked for Pat so she’s always made notes. In 2011 in retirement, she started turning the scribbles into poems. She joined Friendly Street Poets in November 2012. First published in the 2013 Friendly Street Poetry Reader 37, her poems have appeared in other Friendly Street Readers, the InDaily, Studio Magazine, The Mozzie, The Write Angle and Valley Micropress N.Z. With Parkinson’s Disease she received an Arts SA Richard Llewelyn Arts & Disability emerging artist mentorship grant in 2014. Pat feels that in today’s consumer-driven, fast-paced world, many in society don’t connect with or even notice, the natural world around them anymore. She’d like her poetry to encourage otherwise.
Norinna Herd at Harrogate
I miss the breath of velvet-nostrilled afternoons
standing on the hill, warm within the grazing herd,
their mantras soothing in the air around.
Those Sunday afternoons,
chances to look beyond
impending days of drudge
locked in another week’s relentless pace.
To see on clear days the far-off Goolwa lakes,
and ease into that calming distance,
where hours dissolve in shades of blue
and whisper in the wind,
There is no time, future or past,
from star dust, to star dust,
ends are beginnings.
as evening mist curls close of day
along the valley floor
a new born calf stands for the first time.
What time is it?
It’s now, it’s always now.
At the Sink
I’m standing by the kitchen sink
trying very hard to think
what I’m looking for and why;
or should I give up
not even try?
Don’t waste your time.
I hear a voice say
You don’t know where tomorrow is.
You’re still looking for today.
Mum and Dad planted one in our front garden,
I was four, my brother just born.
Soon it grew taller than the house.
Under its ballerina branches,
I’d trace the sky through fern-edged leaves
stroke their grey felt backs, and wonder why
their tops were polished like my father’s shoes.
In spring, golden-orange flowers
transformed the paths and porch with pollen.
We didn’t have a ‘phone, a car or a TV.
We had the best tree in the street, a Silky Oak.
Dad was ill when Grandpa died.
We sold our home. We left our tree.
We moved closer to Nanna.
Dad came home for Easter,
went back to hospital and died.
I was in my teens.
Late in spring, four decades on,
when travelling from Walbundrie to Culcairn,
I saw silky oaks, standing tall among the gums,
their branches pulsing with that colour
golden-orange imbued with sun,
and felt again that part of me
which seemed to die
when I was told our tree,
had been felled before its time.
The Anvil Cloud
City to Bay Run, Adelaide to Glenelg
From the foreshore,
gazing west beyond the waves
for a moment,
curved within the orb of sea,
balanced on horizon’s edge,
an anvil cloud.
Not with the towering majesty
of an impending storm,
but pastel calm, almost translucent,
stretched long against the morning sky,
and for that moment, lingered
to watch white sails
breeze across the early day.
In the minute you arrived
within the second of a sigh,
or the time it takes to smile,
it slipped from the horizon,
leaving behind an empty sky.
I could not share what I had seen
gazing west beyond the waves
for there was only blue;
and I wondered in that moment,
if the thousand others waiting,
chanced to see it too.