Scene in winter

Icing sits on the cake of an old tyre
by the side of the frozen road.
Birds drift like shoals of fish
over green reefs of mountain ash
turning as one in the light disappearing,
turning again, swirling
in the disturbed current of the air.
Before long the moon will loose
its knucklebone into the sky.

The distant trees hold rhinestones
of cockatoos, each a flake
of desiccated coconut croaking
‘Cold, cold,’ with the sound of nails
being drawn from dried timber.
In the first valley night
has already stumbled to its knees.
On the far side light in a single
window, a single quill of smoke.


The lark's wing encircled with golden blue
rejoins the heart of the poppy sleeping on a
diamond-studded meadow

[after the painting of the same name by Joan Miro, 1967]

You have to wonder what sort of opiates
they were on, the titles certain abstract
surrealists dreamed up. Perhaps none.
The heart of the poppy we can clearly see
floating in the green, evening sky,
but the lark’s wing – that’s stretching it a bit.
So too the yellow simplicity of the earth
glowing under the margin of the night’s quiet
encroachment, where all the shrinking cities
have yielded to this single act
of optimism. Don’t be fooled by the title,
what matters is the crimson scab
of the poppy about to be extinguished
like the coagulating sun in a sea of oil.

poet's biography —>