tasmanian europa poets gazette 190 February 2020

 Tasmanian Europa Poets Gazette No 190 February 2020

Leigh, Joe Lake pen  on paper

The Reverend

When the reverend strode into our room,
I could sense impending doom.
A fire and brimstone preacher
And not our regular teacher
Of religious instruction.
               “Dirty people who use their left hand,
Have evil ways that should be banned.”
With piercing eyes he stared at me,
I glowed red for all to see.
“This school must make a firm stand
Everyone must use their right hand.”
Mendacious words for a child of eight
Turned friend into foe. Mate against mate.
“Don't play with her. She’s not your friend!”
How I wished this all would end!
What does it matter which hand you use?
No-one has the right to abuse.

Robbie Taylor

Wynyard, Joe  Lake, acrylic on canvas, 30/40

A new life

She still had shreds of heaven about her,
p’raps intercepted on the way
and redirected back to Earth.

So long-awaited, first in joy,
then latterly anxiety intervened.
But now she’s here and fears are dissipated,
for she is delicately made.

Perfection cannot be defined
without intrinsic goodness.
If we accept there is no god,
we must perforce invent one.

Either way,
this child will be
much loved.

(Published in The Furgling Fairy-wren, 2017, by Mary Kille

Mary Kille

Painting by Kathryn Conlin

Sailing Our Solar System (a brief journey)

I leave the last planet, though it’s no longer so…
...where the cold and beyondness is more
               than we know,
A dwarf it is called now (so planet is dropped)…
No Disney life here! To the next one I’ll opt…
               Neptune is named, after god of the sea…
Though its gaseous surface hides more than I see.
No depth of an ocean, no waves of delight…
I think I’ll head closer, to where there’s more light.
               Uranus… the god of sky is a liar…
...its uncommon title is no ring of fire.
I’ll pass by this planet, my foot is down flat…
I could never live on a planet named that!
               Saturn is halo-ed… a sight to be viewed!
The problem is this though, I’m not in the mood…
To dodge through those discs of ice rocks and crap
I just might fall through the Cassini ring gap.
               Jupiter, a monolith, large and unblinking,
Overrides all that a human is thinking.    
To sightsee a bit would take thousands of years
And Jovian travel would cost a few beers.
               Mars is a planet, we’ve touched down before.
We drilled a few holes in the hope to find more.
No caramel, nougat or milk choc delight!
Ain’t staying here if there’s nothing to bite!
               Earth, I’ll bypass, I know what lies there…
Have not seen it all but its absence of care
And neglect for the planet, is constantly seen…
I’ll head for the sun now… and have an ice-cream.
               Venus, the goddess of beauty and love,
She plays in the night sky with nothing to prove.
She hides her secrets in overcast skies.
She’s worth just one visit, before one dies!
               Mercury should be the Gold Coast for heat,
Though its hot crispy surface not good on the feet!
I think I’ll move closer, to where I am going,
though my future is probably less than I’m knowing.
               The sun is now close and so is the heat,
I’m fast funning out of a cooling retreat…
I’m melting… and so is my pen and this paper…
The last words I’ve written…
               ...have now become vapour…phhhhht.
 Kathryn Conlin

Compassionate Times

A girl child and her companion, a teddy,
is thrown violently, bleeding and torn, to the ground
As baby boomers, anti-conformists,
Dress in similar-hue dark clothes,
surge over her and onward, oblivious to their
surrounds, with animated lips
their fashion-accessory mobile phones pressed to their faces.
Life is suspended - existing elsewhere.
No one is engaging either physically or with their eyes.
The echoing sounds of the surging crowds’ chattering voices mingle
 with their rhythmical pounding feet on the pavement’s concrete.
A pubescent-boy offspring, a creation of these baby boomers, a skater boy,
is dressed in the floppy clothing of his clan.
He meanders through the labyrinth of legs like
a slalom skier.
His hips and shoulders sway to rapper-sound music
from the earphones of his portable CD player.
The music overshadows for him the rhythmic
pounding of the trampling herd.
He communicates through a mobile phone.
He is oblivious to the blood on the wheels of his skateboard
from the sprawled, run-over, bleeding child
and her torn teddy.

In a disused doorway, a weathered rubious-faced
man squats.
He stares with bloodshot eyes at the scene.
His comforter amber fluid is by his side.
He is dressed in the style and colour of
the once-working masses.
Through a fragmented haze of residual compassion,
he attempts to rise towards the bleeding
and sprawling,
otherwise ignored, child.

Judy Brumby-Lake

Skater, Judy Brumby-Lake, oil on canvas
Skater, Judy Brumby-Lake

Grieving Silence

Melancholy fields raped by hunger fire,
They lie black now,
Stench of hot coals gag at the throat,
Fill nostrils with acrid smoulderings,
Leftovers of a scorched Earth,
Coals that once lived, green,
A canopy of foliage that smothered delightfully,
All consumed in the unforgiving maelstrom,
Sanctuary trees now skeletal,
Death markers after the inferno,
Not a sound in summer’s blister haze,
Grieving silence.

Michael Garrad January 2020

That Look

Missed that look,
Softer shade of love,
Diluted over arc of weary years,
Passion dormant in winter ravage,
Pain, in ascendancy, consumed,
Eyes saw only memories,
The two were without end,
Words changed the between,
In blink of dark, there was death,
After-look etched in eternity.

Michael Garrad January 2020

Burnie Hospital

Thanks for the Burnie hospital workers.
Cleanliness is a necessity.
Nurses are there the moment you ring a bell.
They work very hard, sometimes two shifts.
Doctors who perform necessary operations.
We are lucky to live in Tasmania.
I was there to receive two operations.
In eight months I had my right hip operated on
Then, later, my left knee.
Now I feel a different person,
Walking and other duties are slow
               But I’m getting there.
Thanks to the Burnie hospital workers.
Health is our birthright.

 Yvonne Matheson

Flowers, Joe Lake, acrylic on canvas

Joe Lakeian Sonnets

Behind the skyline lurks the sunrise
               Waiting to devour the night
               As if a tsunami were descending
To clean all towards a new beginning
               But when you look again it is a chimera
               That nevertheless swallows all
But then you turn your back and close your eyes
               And it’s not there - gone
               As if you never existed
Like a gift from God where you find peace
               Way beyond the universe
               Only all is in you - when the curtain never rises.

You aimed too high
               And the bullet missed its target;
               The discerning eye you trusted let you down
As the ocean had turned to ice
               Where you could walk over crags
               Only you were made of flesh
And if you stretched, you could part the horizon
               Where you gathered strength from the void
               Like a colostomy bag
Walking erect, pretended control
               And where wishing made dreams come true
               When you let yourself be frozen.

You sometimes wonder where you are,
               Where in the universe, precisely - now
               And what time it is on Mars.
The solidity of water, frozen in time,
               Made rocks melt to be ejaculated by a volcano
               But they were vulnerable
If you reached up, you could touch hell
               And force it to compliance
               Like a maxi-yacht reaching towards its goal
Where the pain in your knee made you aware
               That wishing was no cure
               When you’re an Instagram millionaire.

 Joe Lake

Ulysses And The Siren, Joe Lake, pen on paper



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