“All pools are definably small, next to an Ocean”


 “I’m sorry. Because it is only possible to think in clichés when…”

Philip Hodgins, Australian poet (1959-1995)



 1)         I am not sorry

         that I no longer think

         in someone else’s clichés

         or purport to walk a mile

     and smile in their old shoes.


 2) Before I meet you face-to-face

 we both floated in a communal pool

 of pinching, small-comfort lies.


 Or was it a tepid pool of crass verbiage?


 Sweet small talk in a small pool?


 3) Please respect that there are spirits in this place.

 They invade one’s fancy.

 They dance in the night while we and the cities sleep.


 What then of the jaded opinions

 I bring from the city?


 What of our chatter-duel of clever phrases

 that do not cease before night-fall?


 4) Perhaps we need to memorise our scripts

 before plunging into the pool of commonality,

 floating with the clipped phrases that don’t survive remembering.


 5) Dissolving deceit, distortion and discontent

 requires an ocean, not a momentary pool.


 6) For now, let us be content to hold each other,

 to hold each other’s head above water.



 Is it no surprise that I did not win a prize

 when the size of the sky was still larger than the pie on offer.


 Meanwhile the poet's loud dog howled in the yard 

 louder than Ginsberg on his 6th gin,

 hurried, harried, and late for another appearance.


 Blessed are those who sat once-upon-a-time

 at the feet of a prophet on fire 

 and heard one great man orate on an orange crate

 to the applause of noble and keen hearers. 




“‘I-Thou’ stilled in a flash”

                       ‘all dialogues are now fully grounded’


You were searching, searching

for even a single bone of truth

but settled instead for mere hints of explanation

and cold few promises.


No meat now, you stumbled

and still stumble

with stubborn reluctance

and gnawed bones of imagination.


But you knew in morning’s heart

with “flowers gnawed by frost”

that even your gnawed bones of love

may still be ground

into fertiliser and the rich imaginings

of new love.


Even the unborn

and still-born

are still part of our reckoning.


Where once there was ample breath

and breathless imaginings

you are left instead with feint fancies,

fretful pallid inspirations -

of lives that could have been.


What then grinds the hard bones of your heart

into white powder,

still short of new imaginings?


Now you fear that even’ prayers

will see nay the light of day.


Born in Yonkers, New York in 1940, former semiotics lecturer and has lived in Tempe, Sydney for over four decades.