Tag Archives: Children



the koala tucked legs
of squirm disturbed sleep
and grasp clenched fist

each child I consider
shaving this chest



unfolding you








you place you on top of the aeroplane pile
big-eyes, arms-out, standing on grass
it’s for me.

I pick you up and crease you with my thumb

cross your arms
turn your eyes over
and press your head into the table

when it’s almost complete
for test-flight hand over

you dissolve into sobs.

take gulpfuls to unfold your words.

I have no idea what I’ve done.


for Nogsy

At grandpa’s (with my tubby cousin)

for chris 

Yellow-brown stain across white
ceiling; grandpa in leather chair 

would raise his 
pipe to say g’day

we run out to play cricket 
at the front. Like tradition 
he’d follow and sit, second step 

elbows as wide as knees 
tap out each change 

of bowler, pack fresh leaves and light up 
at the crack of a good shot.  

Could he see
a future test captain  
through those glasses; silent 

as the glass 
of a commentary box. 



I lean on a pandanus
they kept as a souvenir

the boys 
drive cars
in wet sand.

Before kids,

before rendered blocks
and squared lilly pillys,
the beach

and the road

700 metres
of casuarina, pandanus,
acacia and swamp weed.   

Tonka truck labyrinth
thinned crowds
to just mates

and girlfriends.  Surf
A-frames, sit
around night fires

behind the dunes
out of sight. 

an hour after patting down the earth

Trains on the floor of your room

it would have found you, brushed
itself against your leg, plopped
down in the middle of the track. 

‘Mi-Yeow alive Daddy?’

You button your lip
hold deep breaths in your belly
and stare at the memory
of a bag in the ground.

Twenty minutes
on my lap
you hold back

my explanations.  Look up
occasionally, ask my eyes for

a change in the situation.

Until Mummy walks in 
and your whirring little mind
lets your heart burst
all your sadness.


Senryu is another of the Japanese short forms of poetry.  It is structurally similar to Haiku but highlights ‘human nature’ and relationships whereas haiku is exclusively about nature.  Find out more here at Alan Pizzarelli.com.  By the way, yes I do have permission for the second senryu.  Before proceeding:  STOP – BREATH – OK? – ENJOY


racing cars

in a crumpled pile –

his pajamas


my pregnant wife

on her side

snores for two


small boy through trees

spotting a wallaby

spotting him first



self-indulgent grief

I’m never sure if I should post poems like this.  I wrote it Tuesday.  It was Isaiah’s birthday, he would have turned three.  I found myself thinking about MY loss and not really about him.  Then snapping out of it, I again realised how ridiculous the process of grief can be and where the mind wanders.  A psychologist told me that if the model of Adam and Eve in a perfect garden (all perfectly created) is our origin then we were never created for grief.  We weren’t given the proper capacity to handle loss very well.  Perhaps that is why it is so awkward and painfully emotional.  Scribbling the emotions down has certainly helped the process of grieving for me and I hope you don’t mind me sharing it.


self-indulgent grief

is a sticky film

the memory likes

to touch

feeling the tackiness

fingering the sorry feelings

wallowing in


hopeless sadness



to feel their tackiness again


like touching the sticky photo

of my brother’s engagement party

I’m standing to the side

an empty shell

still in shock

from the night before

wondering what I’m doing there

my Uncle’s voice plays in my head

“….you’re unbelievable

to be here”

but not coming

would be worse

and I play the tape again

to feel the emptiness


C.S Lewis

describes it:

a ‘bath of self-pity’

‘the loathsome sticky-sweet pleasure

of indulging it –

that disgusts me.’


and suddenly

you awaken

and notice your memory

fingering the



tearing your hand away…


“Happy Birthday Isaiah!”

“How are you little guy?

You are three today.

You would be running around

with your brothers

skinning knees

kicking footballs

riding a new tricycle

down a big grass hill


Have a great birthday

where you are,

skinning knees

kicking footballs

riding a new tricycle

down a big grass hill

we love you mate

Happy Birthday!”


Brisbane Ekka haiku/senryu

Brisbane’s Ekka is here again.  The city folk line up to taste the country.  The country folk suppress their smirks at city folk standing in wet cattle dung on the pavilion floors.  Dagwood dogs, fairy floss, show-bags, sheep shearing, live lamb births, children milking cows… ahhhhhhh.  Here are a couple of senryu from our Monday visit and also a link to great Ekka Haiku by Brisbane poet Graham Nunn here:  Ekka Daze .  Love it.


city bound train

young girl with mum and nanna-

playing I-Spy



Ekka feeding yard

the bigger ugly goat

receives none


Find a space.

To all the mums – you deserve to find a moment of peace at least once a day.  You are all amazing.  May you find a space…


Find a space.

Upon a rock.

Against a tree.

Beneath your noisy children three.


Ignore your ears.

And all the voices.

For just a moment, shut off your mind.

Pull your eyelids low, unwind.


And even if you cannot spare

Some momentary silence

Even if you are not able

With all your work and kids and the breakfast table.

Keep going with your daily chores.

And inside your precious heart…

… Just sit.

       …And listen.

                To the lover of your soul.


Copyright © Andrew Phillips 2009