These are linked poems created week by week for a year, inspired by the book No Choice But To Follow, and the poets therein who did it first.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

January #4

What Links Us

My neighbour is playing his music.
This afternoon our windows 
are closed against the heat
yet still I hear the heavy pulse
of the drum, of my throbbing blood,
my heartbeat, everyone's heart,
across our dividing courtyard.

This morning I swam
in the hydrotherapy pool.
There was my old friend Irwin, 
stretching his herniated discs.
'I can't do this in the river,' he said,
and I remembered all of us swimming 
with him in his river, years ago.

At Christmas I went back
to the town I grew up in.
The hospital there, where I was born
and my little brother was born,
was also where my Nana died
who held me in her lap. I was four. 
Now I am 74. I still love her.

The handsome lizard in my kitchen —
how did that get in? — didn't scurry away
but kept very still. I opened the back door
and fetched the broom. Could I
manoeuvre it out? I don't like 
killing the creatures. Oh, but this one
was dead already, a gift from the cat.

Do I put these things before you
as question, answer, or neutral description?
Not to instruct you how to think,
let me just tell you what I imagine:
all the trees of the world messaging each other,
their roots connected through earth 
and their branches sharing the air.

— Rosemary Nissen-Wade

Sunday, 19 January 2014

January #3

Fill us

Fill us with humanity,
between the cracks of our facade,
down where what is left of love
hides its face in fear of pain.
Fill our hearts and let us feel
what links us all as one again.

— Michele Brenton

Monday, 13 January 2014

January #2

Paper Currency

The circle is cast,
we are between the worlds
of dark and light.
We hold strips of bark
from a gum tree that gives of itself
in summer.
On the bark,
beige and smooth on one side,
dark brown and coconut rough on the other,
we have written those berry bits of ourselves
we wish to purge.
One by one,
we toss them into the fire,
shouting goodbyes
(and good riddance).
The cauldron fire leaps from red to orange.
Sparks fly, and are stamped out
on the dry ground.
Mother Gaia, Father Chronos,
take this earth-money to the gods.
With the branches empty within us,
we call for the good to come,
to spiral from the sky and fill us.

— Helen Patrice

Saturday, 11 January 2014

January #1

Late, but here it is ...

Daylesford Singers Festival Volunteer

Mixing money with music, we come
to a Town Hall built from rock-solid
golden funds. Even the rococo brackets
holding up the balcony speak of
independent thinkers, believers
in the power of possibility, faith in
excavation, running water, the wealth
of the underground bringing riches
beyond wildest expectation.

As seats fill with choirs of anticipation

the voice of "a heartbroken angel"
anoints us with love song and longing.
Raffaele Carboni comes to life as
dissenter happy to seek refuge in
London, then Ballarat, pleased to literally
be translator: making available
the language of rebellion, faith and belief
in a future not obviously apparent then.

We are rewriting history.  Music is a

lingua franca, and the generations raised
with it at festivals like this have us
stamping our feet and wildly clapping.
So much comes to light in songs of
repression, liberation, victory.
The Town Hall, 160 years old, rocks.
My raffle-ticket seller's bumbag rattles
with coin, crackles with  paper currency.

— Jennie Fraine


Over to you, # 2!