Jump to safety

In our next-to-last dog years *
when ten thousand people
per day are turning sixty
in the hottest year on record,
can we settle the history
of our family stories
make some word parachutes
so we can jump together to safety?

* We can measure the time we have left in the number of dogs we may be able to have – one dog equals about 14 years.

Pattern (song lyrics)

For ten thousand years
since our evolution began
we created genetic blue prints
that are more or less the same.

Our genomes and our chromosomes
do their best to hold the pattern
though every century or so
a feral or a wild one
creates an individual
who defies the given plan.

And when we look for the marker
in our DNA gene tracker
that may allow for global peace making
it’s overwhelmed by war.

So let’s isolate the chromosome
that shows backbone and resilience
that feral wild and principled
but so sadly undervalued
(in fact it’s been quite ridiculed)
can stand up and say No to war.


I want to wear jewels
and armour glittering
reel in the threads
of a life story
examine them for truth
and lies deliberately told

candles burn, time comes and goes
strings of story
beaded with ballad
abandoned notes
sing in the night wind
truth and lies deliberately told

search the sky for the fingernail moon
ghostly stand-in for the real thing
since you returned – again
you fade, floating, frail

people who don’t know you see only
a fox moonlighting on the lawn
sitting still in caravan shadow
as if she is not there

loose ends flutter, knots loosen
the moon-path is broken
but, leading away from land,
still lights the winter sea
as if you are not there
truth and lies deliberately told

not a comfortable forest dweller
stumbling in the undergrowth
I look up along the valley
to starlight on the bare mountain
as if you are not there
truth and lies deliberately told
I want to go there
I want to go there

Taking space in the air

Your words burn,
and you reach for space in the air.
You speak for truth and knowing,
or a version of truth,
and a version of knowing,
striking a chord at Poets Corner,
reading to two old guys in ambiguous raincoats,
or reading to the front row of an empty theatre
prefacing a minor political play.
Still your words burn,
and, at Poet’s Corner, they jump back at you,
bouncing off the stone and glass,
claiming space in the air.
The poets’ words burn and burn,
taking space in the air.

In Response to Triage (2014)

Contributor to In Response to Triage – a collection published by the School of Music Poets (2014) in response to an exhibition of paintings by Karen Bailey, who was a volunteer appointed military artist with the Canadian Military Forces at the Role 3 Hospital, Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan. Published online and in print.

Inventing Siberia (2013)

Inventing Siberia is a collection of 15 poems that emerged from a journey on the Trans-Siberian railway from Vladivostok to Moscow in July 2013. Published online and in print.

Inventing Siberia cover with close-up of railway track.
Contact: renew.sandra@gmail.com