Author: Claire

Long gone

there’s a place I don’t go

where the rocks grind smooth

a place where dancing cockatoos

sing glitter tunes in hot pubs with

sticky carpet and the clunk of

boulles outside in a warm

pink evening

I don’t abide there anymore

in a beer-soaked fug of joy

the urgent oration

knowing words were

so important

ephemeral

and you

looked at me across the bar

flying on sequin wings

back to the room of my four-poster bed

yet another place I no longer dwell

Undertow

my sands are shifting

and the tides

always the same but

look at the minutiae

different every time

so how

do you justify or feel safe

always, it vibrates

buzzing with life or at

mechanical pace

like the train rattles by my place

at night, dark speedthought tangles trace

catch and drag

that undertow when sleep

is lying backwards

underwater and

looking up at the light

nowhere else to hide

and no place to return to

do, do, do, do

ideas massed like kelp piles, stinking high

how do I…

where is, why,

just write.

Bookend

It was like a soft night in Melbourne

Or like trains or distant trumpets

Up early to hear birds sooth

A gentle grey sky that sounded blue

I thought about the mountains in my heart-window

How that bright cloud flowed down the saddle

Of the Jungfrau, the real Jungfrau of one thousand poems

Cumulus sitting white and low and lit

Like a lazy dragon’s exhale

I won’t forget

The cow-flavoured, blacksmith-woodfire scent

Noise of building-works nearby

And an early morning’s nostalgic lament

Farewell

Larkspur

There’s all these

small purple flowers

in the forest and the bowers

of neglected front gardens

behind bins and mowers

and I feel like I never saw them before

they probably don’t last long

brave little shoots

growing away insouciant

are they larkspur?

symbol of love, ardent

Life

Goes

On

Shush owls

where the rocks crash

where the shush owls

turn the lights off

swoop, frothover calls

 

throaty and distraught

no starboard lighthouse

green glass and sheet metal

black box never found

 

where the waves grind

behind old bedposts

ancient lamps move

inexorable warmth, breath

 

This poem was inspired by a beautiful and strange poem my good friend Joh from Milk and Motherhood sent me on a postcard once.

I also finally had the chance to use the “shush owls” phrase I was so taken by in one of the NaPoWriMo poems by Kevin J O’Conner

Thankyou both

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

Life update!

Dear Clairvetica friends and fans

It’s been a while since I posted one of these. Probably the last one was my New Year goals. A few big changes on the horizon for me.

I will be leaving Switzerland this month. You may have got an inkling of this if you’ve been reading my poems closely. I am very sad to leave and there is so much about this country and my life here for the past 5+ years that I will miss. It’s the place my second child was born, where I started this blog, where I stumbled on the poetry month, which was a gateway to becoming a poet (a label I now wear with pride), where I visited all of Switzerland’s 26 cantons in 52 weeks . It’s where I started running and rejoined the full-time workforce after taking maternity leaves/freelancing.

However, I’m also excited to see what it’s like to “repatriate” myself back in Australia. And I guess you’ll come on that journey with me in the coming months.

Another big change that’s perhaps not so obvious is I stopped drinking at the start of the year. Maybe it’s a bit personal to mention here but it’s been a huge shift in perspective for me. I feel like I’ve gained freedom and new insights and, in some ways, the choice was provoked because I wanted more time / headspace for my writing. So it’s relevant to the blog! This may be an odd thing to say, but getting sober is simple but not easy. They say that those who can moderate their alcohol consumption don’t need to, and those who need to, can’t. For me, 100% is so much easier. Also cos I’m hardcore! Anyway, One thing I’ve found unexpectedly enjoyable about the process is helping others (and being helped – it’s virtually impossible to do on your own, imho). So I’ll put it out there: if it’s something you’re curious about, please do read up on it, reach out to me, or an online group, or anyone. I’m finding life is so much better without booze!

Back to bloggery. I thought about changing the name Clairevetica once I’m no longer a Helvetian resident but, after some contemplation, I’m keeping it. (Also, in a sudden rush of blood to the head one night, I went ahead and bought the domain!) So Clairevetica remains and is actually official now.

Finally – a warm thankyou to all my readers. I really appreciate all your likes and comments and emails so much. Also thanks to the ‘silent’ readers who I know are out there too (well, I think you’re there. Are you there?!). It can feel a bit like “shouting into the void” sometimes so it is lovely to hear from people.

So, that’s it. In terms of writing goals and changes, my subjects and photos might change a bit. I’d love to get back into my novel (always the plan!) … maybe I’ll be doing more freelancing (please contact me about any writing / editing jobs or commissions! Maybe one day I’ll even get amazingly efficient at self-promotion too).

Watch this space.

Leaves

What will I do

with the view from my window

my own slice of building-behinds

and trees, the Catholic church spire

in the distance like a giant watch

on a pin

and the way the air shakes

every quarter-hour

vibrates

from the Reformation church nextdoor, out of shot

my white room

my tower, not ivory but

maybe sometimes I feel like

I’m in a precious high-up spot,

far from the world

like the empress in Neverending story

flying through space

with warm lights on and

Give me a name, Bastian!

so my domain is remade

I’m really here with dusty piles

of books that may be read

notepads filled with ink

spilled through with words,

lists, oh they just keep flowing

no matter how afraid or sad I get

I have built my life anew

and when I look out at

those trees and backs of flats

the kindergarten playground

where the foxes live

must remember that

it’s all mine, all mine, not owned

just like I carry the Pool of London

turbulent, tea-coloured Thames

strong, with still a whiff

of Elizabethan sweat and

Dickensian toil

the thriving grime of unwashed success

grit of an ancestor locked in

a prison hulk perhaps

so too, this Swiss scene is kept

inside

and yesterday, the trees so green

the fresh young leaves of spring

and did my heart ache with sadness

desolate, or was it merely glad to see

that once again

 

Photo: Claire Doble

Bright Daze

The blue days
The bright daze
How will
You fulfill
A promise made?
Shadows sharp
Cookie-cutter heart
Could still
Bode ill
For the next part
Can’t contemplate
The relocate
Will kill
Summer’s spill
Rather desolate

 

This poem was for yesterday’s prompt, a poem that is specific to a season and includes a rhetorical question (like Keats’ “where are the songs of spring?”). It also fits OK for today’s prompt: a poem that uses repetition. Not sure if it’s an official form but by repetition, I mean the rhyme structure is AABBA, CCBBC, DDBBD. Hmmm, or maybe it’s just an off-prompt poem after all! 😉

 

Photo: Claire Doble

 

Woof

I’d like to get a brown and white dog
a dog-dog
with a pointy nose, not too sharp
triangle ears. No, floppy ears
like a spaniel
or terrier
maybe a black and white dog
not too shaggy
or a smooth-toffee Weimaraner
but you pay an arm and a
leg for those
a short-hair mutt
good with children
likes to run
not too energetic
must enjoy lazy afternoons
watching How To Train Your Dragon
medium-sized
a smart dog who
only barks happily
jumping in the waves
or defensively
when the situation is grave
and if the kids fall in a hole
“What’s that Skip? The old quarry? I’ll be right away!”
OK
that was a kangaroo.
A handsome dog. A nice dog
not Lassie, or Timmy or The Littlest Hobo or Flipper… oh
that was a dolphin.
The right dog
a dog-dog. A dog…
woof

 

Today’s prompt: write a poem about an animal

Photo: Photo by Catherine Heath on Unsplash

I turn my camera on

Look without words
simply observe
click
it’s not perfect
take five shots, one hundred
lucky
it’s not drinks
my eyes become
photo scouts, seeing
colours and depth of field where
before
it was merely
the world

 

Today’s challenge was to write a poem that engages with another art form. I have been getting back into photography lately and really enjoying it! The poem title is stolen from the awesome song of the same name by Spoon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94IMfEvXtl0

Photo: Claire Doble