a morsel said the dog

I asked the dog
it seems she doesn’t know

just wagged
in case of snacks
or treats
whatever is needed
for a happy ending

the sky
of course
is much the same
but bluer

the creek beside our walk rushed by
too fast to offer counsel or talk
beyond the kindness
of a susurrous cascade
goodbye goodbye goodbye

the rain falls

in a pattern of no-answers
on the path
and trickling across my head
as the dog practices gratitude
in hope of a scrap
a little morsel
of tasty joy

perhaps that’s enough
and all
that anyone can hope for

© Frank Prem, 2008


citrus winter

Grapefruit 1

the grapefruit are changing
from green
over to yellow

sit as small orange balls
the tree is laden

it’s winter
citrus time

brush the leaves
rub the skin

put your face right there
the citrus smell

lifts me up

I want a mandarin
I want to squeeze
a Tahiti lime

navel oranges


and lemonade

it’s middle winter and it’s time

citrus time

Grapefruit 2

© Frank Prem, 2017

July 2017 Poem #01: currawong cries

dangerous devices in the rear

Poem #12 from: Memoir of a Dog

Back to Memoir of a Dog – Introduction

well he’s a big dog
it was to be expected
but none of us are happy about it

we could’ve trained him
to go to just one corner of the yard
we never quite got around to it
so here we are
all in avoidance mode

never the neatest gardeners
or house-proud in terms of the backyard
it is now overgrown
hasn’t been mown in an age
is damp from winter rains

but the time has come

garden spade
plastic bags

a painstaking process
of dividing the yard into a mental grid
hunting for hidden deposits
that smear and smell when disturbed

who on earth could imagine
that a dog could shit so much

it takes forever
and there’s no guarantee of full success
so the mowing is done
still in gumboots
the sound of the mower
periodically distorted
by a phhhtttt
as an unexploded bomb
is caught by the blades
and a pungent smell
makes me wrinkle my nose
and push on just a little faster

in a day or two
if there’s sunshine
it will be safe again
for the boys to ride their bikes
for us to wander to the neglected garden beds
to plan their future in the springtime
and reclaim
for a time
our back yard

boots and poo-bag 30%

© Frank Prem 2009

Memoir of a Dog Poem 13: electrification by gentry


angling the big deep

I will entice you with lines
I have baited and burly-ed
cast with my strength to the sea
in which words filled with elegant meaning
swim by in phrases that turn
and twist
as a wave danced in undertones
then left near-expired on my beach
by a receding tide

I will talk my fish in
drawn by a lure
and the romance of angling a moon
risen up with the sun down
so full and so warm as she shines me
in ripples and stanzas that break in near rhymes
from far by the horizon
all the way in
to a splash on my toes

I am thinking in small tugs and nibbles
experiencing occasional bites
the big deep is thrashing
just under the surface
not quite within grasp
but perhaps
it will come if I call

perhaps it will come
if you call

© Frank Prem, 2014


the inevitability of bow wows

Poem #11 from: Memoir of a Dog

Back to Memoir of a Dog – Introduction

it has become woman’s work

every few weeks
the dog needs to be washed
and dried
the tangled mat of his wool
combed and brushed

he is tolerant of the brushing
but most unhappy about bath-time

when released from the tub
and initial drying
he runs like a fool
shakes himself
runs again
overjoyed to have survived another ordeal

and then the clipping

he needs to be held
while she works the electric clippers
a makeshift shearer and a reluctant lamb
an awkward job
that fills plastic bags with clippings
leaves wool fibres throughout the house
and makes us smell of lanoline

the result is often lumpy
but they say the difference between a good haircut
and a bad one
is only two weeks
he’ll survive the embarrassment
but we notice it
feel a little sad that we cannot make him look better
as good as he should

it may be time to consider bow wows

forty-five dollars for a wash and clip
but better

© Frank Prem 2009

Memoir of a Dog Poem 12: dangerous devices in the rear

five bird poems (Benalla)

highway (crows)

crows shone
on the shoulder
of the highway

business like
from carrion to carrion

ruffs alert to the tender kiss
of a passing breeze

black feet
black beak
black feathers

the black crows
on the shoulder
of the highway


evaluation of a swimmer

the line of the wake
is a duck
is a dabchick

a moorhen

the bobbing of her head
is the forcing rhythm
of hard work
under water

a flotilla of ducks
by the shore
their evaluation

but a quack
is such a nasal thing
whatever their conclusion
I’ll never know


slow water

lazy river
upside down
your silt rides
on the surface

a turbulent mirror
for the sun
to reflect an arc
of cockatoos
in slow flight

among the branches
of a restless corrugating
by soft breeze
soughing low
low along
the rippling water line

but hardly touching
red gum leaves
that dangle close
and lazy

slow river
slow waves
slow water


Cockatoo Tree

cockatoo tree
against the olive

the afternoon
this afternoon
is for sleeping

until you wake up
a hundred
one hundred wings

cockatoo the sky
full of squawking

your white
up against
the stainless blue


More hens please

moor hens
on the foreshore

on the grass

red faced
red chased
by other moor hens

dabbling the river

and still
it rolls

© Frank Prem, 2017

June 2017 Poem #38: breathing air and truth

getting a grip: a man should stay a man

Poem #10 from: Memoir of a Dog

Back to Memoir of a Dog – Introduction

this is a difficult matter

I don’t even want to think about it
have put it off three times already
but each year
there is a new confrontation

and I know why they do it
it’s well known that there’s an impact
it’s about control
aggression management

I know all that
and the local council make sure I do
by adding a financial penalty
for those who choose to do nothing

it’s almost funny
this discomfort
seems exclusively a male issue

it makes me feel
just a little bit alone

don’t get me wrong
no-one is exactly ecstatic at the prospect
or feels a driving societal need
there’s no thought
that anything will be changed
for the better
it seems to be only me
who can visualise
and feel the need to squirm
from the sensation
that shivers me inside
and makes this my decision

I can’t do it
will pay the extra

no-one is going to cut the dog
not this year

© Frank Prem 2009

Memoir of a Dog Poem 11: the inevitability of bow wows

once a hole

he is
a prisoner

the poet prisoner

his jailer

what will you write
of this

a ha ha

and what
will you make
out of that

blood spills
to the floor

teeth fall
hardly a sound
where they settle

each movement

each moment

brings him close
to the end


a gift of paper
a gift of pencil
blunted to stub

come you poet
write me your poem
write me


the universe is black
and contained
within a room

four rising walls
and a hardened floor

there are no openings

the dark

the beam of a lonely ray
up in a roof
so high
he can hardly
imagine it

the sun
is a kindness
with a benevolent face

who longs to shine
even into the dark places
where no welcome lingers
to greet passing light

a single ray
through an un-guessed hole
a halo
around a sharp white point

high on a wall
then slow-moving around
and down

circling the room

towards the floor

as day-time passed
and the sun moved
in its progression

through the sky

so so slow

until ray meets floor
and shines its light
for a moment in passing
upon the upturned face
of one poor man

on his knees

face upturned
eyes closed
reverent as
a worshiper

the sun



so you poet

so that is a poem

I know it now

I know you now

tomorrow I will pound a poem
of my own

metal on metal

can you guess the name

my poem will be called

a hole
was here

a ha 
a ha ha ha

once a hole

© Frank Prem, 2017

June 2017 Poem #37: five bird poems (Benalla)


hurrah for the salt

when I smell the briny sea
I start walking with a rolling gait
as though I was a sailor-man
with a boat beneath my feet

hurrah hurrah for the sea and the tar
hurrah for the able seaman
hurrah hurrah there’s rum in the jar
and hurrah for the salt I’m breathing

when I come near the fish-laden air
I start testing the breeze for squalls
as though I held a wheel in my hands
and all hands a-waiting my call

when I hear the white gulls cry
beneath my feet I feel the planking
as though I stood on a deck worn smooth
by storm-wash and wave-spanking

when I cast my eye over harbored boats
I hear the ropes and wires singing
and I feel as though there’s sea in my veins
with a fair wind in my rigging

so hurrah hurrah for the rum in my jar
hurrah for the waters green I’m dreaming
hurrah hurrah for the sea and the tar
and hurrah for the salt hurrah

© Frank Prem, 2009