imbolc (well capricious)

season given to dangerous

fluctuations;  spasms

of the heart – violets get bold

emerging from hibernation


throwing snowballs

jasmine runs barefoot

daring erect buds, lifting

her skirts, whispering tales


of thawings and giggling

with magnolia and wattle flirting with the sun

by now everyone has heard

the rumors of winter’s demise


and has begun planting impossible

gardens;  from their tangled

bower pan and bridhe toast

the holy victory and begin to dance


tomboy cucumbers

(for dad)


i was 9 and quite contrary

(like mary who grew cockle shells)

when you offered me

a piece of my own eorthe

to grow what pleased me

you dug canticles to the goddess

forbidden – a preacher’s

heiros gamos of dirt

i chose cucumbers

complete unto themselves

like tomboys and virgins

like tomboys and virgins

 in that patch we were heretics

  ignoring the flaming swords

guarding the tree

trespassing upon immortality


following the (gumleaf) star

following the (gumleaf) star


may as well – stars can’t compete

with neon/l.e.d.-glow anyway

none  pulse “follow me”

not this age

so follow the ironbark joyfully decorating

 brand new indigo and magenta leaf- tremble

birth your own star from  galactic-stellar

nursery within – incubating from the sheer need

of it,  embarrassed by its own starving –

an oracle - a sort of leaf-christ



i can live without a magnolia;

i have been twice to buy one

the first nursery was sold out

the second one had heaps - huge purpled flowers with names like vulcan and star wars

how could the word “war” be on that  label ?

or indeed beings (on startrek) who try to live beyond emotion?


i bought a blood-red marguerite daisy

 i  seized a veronica

i  have sought ever since i heard it had something

to do with the passion - a legend that she (saint v) wiped

his face when he (jc)  was carrying

the cross and the language of flowers

attributes it with  fidelity

the blue of a veronica is as deep

as grief and this all the permission i need of flowers


the daughters garden

the daughters garden of the you beaut country


we multitudes were a john olsen exhibit

under a sydney king sun mania

of garden selves oh the pied beauty

of the stipple and folly of the poet’s

garden at the entrance to the seaport of desire

where the bee sucks so sucked we


the yard of our you beaut country dappled with

fences our shovels splitting elastic loam like ripe

watermelons in the siren city where we race

that green fuse bursting our flowering

we two the saliva’s throat

we both pollinators siphoning all this juice

john olsen.jpg

qld night garden (the dream of dragonfruit)



the night clatters and heaves

breathing mist brushed hasty

in rings around starlight pulsing shy-blue

undressing the dream of dragonfruit

wanton perfume-ladders to temptation

dams gleaming lake-grace of lotus

denying the mud asking stars for a mirror


spaces between stars stretch forward

their neck to glide the dark emu’s stride

the moist clamor of tree frogs cramming

rhapsody around clammy-cloaked shoulders

citradorea let-down euphoria slipping behind  

rosy-lemon curtains drawn discreetly around

lunar burying her face in lapels of clouds

to a violet broccoli

what arcadian ecologues do you recite

blushing mythic buds of sicilian

violesence?  what cloven romp do you

pipe across these rows

circling fauns and naiads under a

pre-cognitive moon?

pan devoured you at

banquets of tangled

appetites in woodbyne thicket

edging cultivation

aphrodite plucked this

mortality plying consorts

with violaceae thrusts onto

ripened tongues such

purpled taboo sheathed in

green-leaf scabbards

making the gods beg





spring's passive aggresive


pollen floats hedonism up from over-sexed petals

dislodged dust from the winds orgy

ambushing  with invisible arsenal


narcissism fallout  of perfection

kicking a conga-line of  wallflowers

last resort, barging through your loungeroom


pretty brought a knife to the masque

pocketed in pollinated passive - retribution

for overlooking the anger in beauty’s heart


we are all addicted

something to cushion the shock of  existence

to ease the swellings we sustain

mine was roses though it has been other less desirable things;

a naricissist  once stumbled into my lost years masquerading

as a mentor but his name was bluebeard (there were women’s

bones in his basement)  flooding my void with his,

oxytocin lode in my veins – how i could not

turn away, but his was vaster and subsumed mine 

overturning my cart neatly stacked with apples

 this treachery i had invited

roses a far less precarious thing to disappear into

and you would think, not as perilous

i kept planting them where they would not flourish

because i would not see for my need

of them planting under trees which robbed

them and they pined away for,  neither living nor dead

refusing thier blooming, the canker  slowly stealing

browned deadness down thorn by thorn

yet i kept visiting rose sellers  swooning

at festoons of roses, swooning and  desirous 

this was my tenure on the land which cannot be owned; 

and the roses served thier imposed indenture

until their release at the sold garden

and now i inhale  all  the world’s gardens



pear shaped

the daughter’s jungle is a boomerang

she said it all went pear shaped

too many guys running amok all hours, raiding her vegan lasagne

and smoking with the windows shut 

and they don’t apologise she said

intolerable I said

then flared;   why do pears get the blame for their shape?

who decreed that life should go in straight lines?  and that

anything that deviates from that is undesirable?   smacks

of curve-hating, life-fearers to me

we load up dirt unloaded into the custom made veggie bed

made, only  months ago (not built to ramble)

and the worms  - ( ah the worms! ) have ventured forth from their  

tower so all the lessons about flourishing  are moved back in

in my charge until the next garden is rented;

herbs will wait in pots, for this roaming to cease

the flowers, sulking at all this turbulence

withhold their blooms til they are treated with

respect due

my own terror of pears  left to trace  its swollen contours  

winding the bends in the path curving back

( beautiful forbearance) she moves her jungle


uprooted -  a book about a woman’s search for the green

man seeking roots

of the worship of greening  

rocking my notion of the earths fecundity  

was feminine; way more gaps in this story  

I am in the midst of uprooting a garden

 rains granted ease to dig and wrench

what I cannot leave

I have always done it and those i ask to help have a right to protest. 

 “for God’s sake, havn’’t i moved this pot before?

some plants have followed me from my first garden - wild

roses my babies slept under while I did the desperate gardening of a new mother

Violets  nicked from the college  garden near the library.

My mother and her mother and her mother’s mother, loved them

their reputation for being shy was purpled reassurance - it was ok to be terrified

roses that were the prize of long quests cuttings from people becoming more precious to me

through all the uprootings life pulls

I have just ordered my next read-   “If women rose rooted…”

all this uprooting and rooting-  it’s going to get dirt-y

green man.jpg


there is a crack- a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in (Leonard Cohen)

to mosaic is a radical act

daring wholeness from the brokenness

found anywhere- expecting it

smashing things an act of defiance

shaking your fist in the face of that which would break you

collecting those pieces noticing each shape, colour, depth

claiming the power to glue things together

making whole

beauty from brokenness.

mosacists are  gods - Daedalus would be proud

visions of sugarplums

Her  first sugarplums are ripening.  Just after she has moved out. Planted for privacy outside her bedroom window, 5 years ago, when I could never have known this moment.  And in honour of her love of the Nutcracker. As a 3 year old she was mesmerised by the 1993 DVD of the New York City ballet’s production. She carried us off in the magic and fantasy of it - the sugar plum fairy was her favourite- she would dress up and dance and dance… bringing delight and wonder back to Christmas, forever encased in family memories.

The sugar plum has another association with Christmas- a well loved poem " The Night before Christmas" by Clement Moore…(1823)

”the children were nestled all snug in their beds,

                  while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads”

Their  powdered blueberry skin is tinged with amber lime green, all frosty -theyare an Italian plum, (prunica domestica)  self pollinating and easy to grow- thriving in hot summers without heavy needs for water.   Ideal for drying, because of their high sugar content.  Then we know them as prunes.

I envisaged them surrounding her window – a mothers garden dreams for a daughter  tangling her up in the garden… as if they could keep her safe-as if they could keep her here…



that unsettled harbinger of the tipping point soaking

steady in cooling reprieve for the

ravaged green curling up its toes

from  summer’s ravaging embrace

rendering the hellebores horizontal,  hydrangeas

have taken to their swooning couches…garden and

gardener gasping- parched and panting…

cold feet finding warm dog sleeping to burrow

beneath while water of life dripping from down pipes

gushing  over gutters overflowing tanks fat with

treasure hoarded

damp earth is ploughed;  the ancient seed of darkness

received in her womb waxing stronger toward winter’s

victory- earth an obedient servant to an ancient trajectory

plotted by the mysterious farmer mandating change…

hot roses


hot  sydney hot   planet warming hot   the ego of the rose fed to the furnace

an agreement in Paris is freshly inked  this our christmas miracle

angopheras shed 

panting salmon underbellies they scatter bark onto   

crisp grass the  wind making burnt offerings of the roses that peeked to early   

 I mulch  deep bowing to worms I  marinate

fruit mince in turkish delight liqueur

dreaming of  fresh roses hidden in  a white christmas I have never had

pining for what is not  trapped in this oven