witchy wire

he said

put away your witchy-wire woman
there’s no need for it here

I can find your water


well well clever man
show me where you say it lies
and let my boy tell you
where I found the precious life
and we’ll see

I don’t know where it came from
but my sister and I
both could follow the water lines
from when we were kids

there was no laid pipe could hide from us
each one we found

my grandfather had the gift himself
but he didn’t teach it
old curmudgeon
he’d give you nothing
but his certainty and scorn

for me it’s a twist of gauge wire
with a short handle
and a long end out front

it acts up like a sudden song
when there’s water below

my hands grow hot
and close to blisters

if I hold the witch up
into the air
she spins like a mad thing

that’s the sign of water

I’m only a woman
and they say divining’s a man’s work
but I can hold the witchy wire
and when I tell you
here be water
be a man
and dig


so he went through the paddock
and he declared it
here and yes
it’s here

and so it was
for my boy confirmed
that the wire in my hand
had seen those places
before him

© Frank Prem, 2010


best words (repainted)

A Poem a Day in September: #35 (Final)

and I see that I
am like a painter
drawn over
and again
to repeat my theme

a self-portrait
sketched in raindrops
then roughed
afresh and differently
the same

in the night
I hear the wind howl
it sings the low song
to me

even the sunshine
of morning
that brings the green
into new light
is a reminder that I see this
every day

a rosella bells
a magpie sings
the plover screams aloud
and I am re-made
my image


before the sound dies
hoo hoo hoo
is that my n…

hoo hoo hoo

it fills me
and I will draw it
in my best words

using my best words

© Frank Prem, 2016

This is the final in the September 2016 poem-a-day set. It exceeded the number of days, but was fun to do. Hope you enjoyed reading them.
The October 2016 Poem-a-day sets starts here: Poem #1: belle and beau

shaman (to the hunt)

the man who was the bull
who was the snake
sheds his skin
then rises up new once more

he wears the hide
that was buffalo
adjusts the mask
and becomes the deer

through the snout of wolf
through the eyes of owl
he knows this is the time
through the feet of bear he begins to move

a primordial stutter

a neolithic strut

a paleolithic grunt

a wide neanderthal smile

the new man is completed
as he staggers

to the crash
to the pound
to the beating of a drum

he is dancing above the plain
gives a cry to the beasts below

the moon is full
the moon is high
and tonight he has risen outside himself
to dance among the wandering herds
to call the beasts again

ki-aiy-aiy   ay-aiy-aiy-aiy-ay
ki-aiy-ay    aiy-aiy-aiy-aiy-o

he has risen with the moon
to summon the hunt again
the beasts are still
the hunters wait
the shaman chants his music
across the plain

ki-aiy-aiy    ay-aiy-aiy-aiy-ay

© Frank Prem, 2010

Another poem in this series is a call: a dance: here again: gone

shaman (to the hunt) is taken from an unpublished mythologically inspired series of poems arising from repeat exposures to the work of the late Joseph Campbell.

Daily Prompt: Façade

three presentations

A Poem a Day in September: #33

surround yourself in silence
for preference
don something black

stand in the sharpness
of a spotlight

say nothing
until it’s right
say nothing until

a few words
just a few words

hold again
quite still don’t move
until the room is shushed
at you

say it again
slowly and clear
say it again

then go


put the white-face on
dust talcum into your hair

wear a white sack

stand at the mic
speak monotone
made up monotone
before you whistle
at the feedback technology
beside you

turn on the static

turn on distortion

turn on the noise


stand at the mic
speak in a monotone
refer to yourself
the third person

turn on the noise


wear the performance Akubra
and a driza-bone
over moleskins

elastic-sided boots
the kind you’d wear
as a swaggie
of the modern day

check you in the mirror
then on to the floor

move around
hold attention
move around

you can’t stand still
while reciting the tale
of Clancy

the Snowy River

the throat-cut
from Ironbark

bow low again

and go
stage exit

© Frank Prem, 2016

Poem #34: for the coming of the wind

the wet September ‘why’

A Poem a Day in September: #32

there has been rain
all my gullies run

debris on the paths
lies in snakes and swales

and in a minute
or so
there’s going to be more

this September
wet days
are becoming the norm

but in my rubber boots
I can make quite a splash
wherever I step
is a watery dance

I can twirl around
my umbrella open
and unfurled

and everyone knows
a wet September

and the swales

and the rain

are the reasons

© Frank Prem, 2016

Poem #33: three presentations

Blog-friend M. Zane McClellan of The Poetry Channel has penned his why in response here.

a spring smoke ring

it is still cold here
surprising when the spring progression
so often throws up glorious days
of promising sun and glowing warmth

the evidence is presented by a wattlebird
ugly grey-speckled harridan of the garden
red-cheeked raucous and discordant squawker
of alleged birdsong
raising its head from among the leaves of a flowering gum
to startle with its booming call
and blow a misty smoke ring
into the sky

© Frank Prem, 2001

there – at the gorge

A Poem a Day in September: #31

view-from-spring-creek-bridge-beechworthInspired by the pastel painting: View from Spring Creek Bridge by Leanne Murphy

did I once swim
in that sweet pool

where a rose-blush
lies upon the honey
and laughter
bubbles the white water

under the curtain shelf
of the little waterfall
was that a glimpse of me in there
from you

did you find me

do you still seek among the wilds
of a long forgotten
creek bed

reach out your hand
right now
and I’ll be there

for you
still waiting

© Frank Prem, 2016

Poem #32: the wet September ‘why’



Woolshed in Spring

A Poem a Day in September: #30

Woolshed you are loud
like an angry man
on the mead
of mountain water


I will not close with you
I hold no trust
no good faith
you are a belligerence
held too loosely

a hungry waterfall

white-water spume
your testosterone
flings froth into the air
to catch and to coat



drag them
beneath you


arrogant beast
you wait
you just wait
as I can wait
until the summer
takes your spunk away

then I will kick
my feet in your waters
I will cross you with a step
from rock to rock

little stream

© Frank Prem, 2016

Poem #31: there – at the gorge

Photo credits: Leanne Murphy


there will be a clue
in violets
when the perfume rises
to force a turn to halfway
across your shoulder
searching for a source
elusive and subtle

another will gleam
inside sunlight
arrayed to warm you
with a faint suggestion
of inner glow
emerging to transpire
porous and enlightened

there will be a third
in silence
when absence is a comfort
honing the quiet senses
to enhance possibilities for receipt
of messages released
and wordlessly directed

there will be clues
for you
if you should seek them
to aid your understanding
and a clarity of mind
that reaches through dilemmas
doubts and wonder

© Frank Prem, 2001