of the day

it’s the stillness
of no sound

nothing on the street
except my breathing

it is
the stillness
of no movement
no stirring
except for me
the things I do
as I take in air

it’s the stillness of my mind
on a day of calm
no trouble
in my emotions

I watch the still
within the garden
nothing moves

until the lavender
invites a bee
that hovers
sips and tastes
hardly touching
hardly doing anything at all

a breeze
too small to feel on my face
trembles a leaf
a lovers touch
in the still of day

she moves
in a sway
as to the rhythmic sound
hummed below a breath
barely there
barely enough
to be

there is a stillness
to this day
that moves me

© Frank Prem, 2009


long distance writer

the long distance writer
sets pen onto paper
he taps keys to make marks
on a fifteen inch screen
maybe seventeen
maybe smaller

the ‘s’ key
isssss sssssticky
there’s muck in the ssssspacesssss
where commasssss might go
periodsssss and colonsssss
ssssso he digsssss out the ‘s’ key
disssssplacesssss three hairs
a paperclip
two fluffballsssss
and a golden-brown crumb
from the bun he ate here
not more than a week ago

replacesssssssssssss the ‘s’
with a firm prod
and a tes-s-s-s-t run
to see it’s all working
and ready to roll

the long distance writer
interrupts his thought lines
he cannot think clear without coffee
to help the creation
of line breaks
and the rhythm and rhyme
in his head
are always in need of flat-white
as a lubricant

a moment please
the long distance writer
checks on his email
to see if there’s a comment
from someone out there
some any old where
about the last piece he wrote
and submitted

he’s only as good as he feels
and he feels quite strongly
that he’s only as good
as the last piece
and the next
only as good
as the e-mailers tell him

the long distance writer
flexes his fingers
the coffee is already cold
ideas are fleeting and thin
but it’s time to write something
how should it start
maybe something about
writing a poem
from a distance
or the making of love
on a bright day of sunshine
the meeting of three people
at a party
and the things they said

perhaps better come back
later in the day
after lunch
after phone calls
after slow-reading the mail

the long distance writer
is too busy to write now
he’ll transfer a small verse
from keyboard to screen
at some other time
then post it for comment
to a place far away
that’s as close
as the button
that despatches messages to e-mail land
then wait
till he hears some response
to assure he’s still alive
still breathing
and valid

© Frank Prem, 2014

hello moon

the moon was black last night
the darkness
a velvet perfection
done in stars

twisting a tail

as long as
the universe goes on
until the morning


the moon was a glimmer last night
a slim rind of pallid curd
unfurling into I am
in a small
very small corner
of sky

the hello moon
and new


the moon gibbed large last night
nascence in bloom
glowed against the sky
radiating out
to taste the dark
she shows

soft gold
and a light that calls

come home


the moon
the glorious moon rose slow last night
the sun
defied for hours of silver

she wanders the sky
complete within herself
this moon

© Frank Prem, 2010

in the woods behind

I have worked in the woods
behind Stanley
in the days when the sawmills
were king

stringy gum
yellow box
and radiata pine trees

we put hard woods and soft
to the blade

down came a tall tree
to my handsaw
down with a crash
to the ground
then winch the dead giant
still bleeding to the truck
trim hoist and away
to be milled

I still remember young Charlie
he was a go-er
and a gun-hand at the chains
but when the tall timber slides
it’s odds-on someone will die
they grow blunt when they’re felled
just a dull moving mountain
of timber

now there’s no mills left
in Stanley
the place where the hardwood was sliced
is a restaurant
you can’t tell
from the remains
what went on in this place
there’s no tradition
and hardly a memory

but the community gathers
at the recreation ground
on the occasion of the fall of a tree
that has stood here
since the halcyon days
old now and a danger
like me

so we saw it and we split it
for firewood
and everyone takes home a load
the over-large stem of a peppermint gum
too big to be cut
will remain
as a stubborn unmoving reminder

of something …

of something …

of something …

what was it again

© Frank Prem, 2011

(like new) all around the world

there’s no memory

just the automatic flip-flop
of a fin

the open-closure of my mouth
to taste delicious water

I have no delightful




haven’t I been here
at least just once before

no recognition
of my good friend aqua-man
or his diving suit
neither one of which
has ever stopped their friendly waving
since they grounded
long ago
just before

everything is new
on every circumnavigation
of the world

I’m really not sure
is that you

your face seems
so familiar

it’s just my own reflection
in the bowl

© Frank Prem, 2009

final perspective

another beating sun
pours down its heat
under an open sky

instead of cloud and rain
the air becomes an oven
for baking dirt
and me

I walk inside the blast
without a purpose
or an aim
my naked feet
seek out grass
and find it
sharp and needle hard

the softness I recall
has gone
with a season
that’s been and left

a bare and brown façade
that’s almost nothing now
but dust that rises

dancing like a devil
in brown veils
a pantomime seduction
with the power to engage me

mesmerized I see visions
of everything that’s been
of what’s to come tomorrow
and that day may never come
for you and me

in an abandoned field
of thorn and weeds
the devil-dancers dust
is king

the sun beats down
with scorching joy
that has no end
who’s to say that pleasure
ought to be denied

© Frank Prem, 2009

The Churchill Avenue Push

take notice that
this avenue is closed
to low level flight

from first chortle
to the call at sundown
the road between
the corner and the bend
is off limits

the gang is in control
and “the push” doesn’t take lightly
to rule breakers
or any casual passing by

fence scouts are posted
each end of the turf
watching out for trouble
that better not be you
they know ways
of making things unpleasant

bachelors every one
the big boys
are smart strutters
walking to symbolise elite
let the pheasants fly
if that’s the best
they do

who let that pigeon land?
go take its name and number
what a cheek
we’ll have no more
of these peckings of rebellion

black and white
you better wear
the colours
if you want to walk
the avenue

black and white
if you’re not magpie
you’re nothing

© Frank Prem, 2001

mourning oma

oma may be dying
she has gone to some trouble to let us all know
and the signs are
that she believes it herself

I have no recollection of her
as a woman of ready smile
solemnity in all things has been her way
a tight widening of closed lips
the closest I can recall
more common
an acid remark
or an appeal for sympathy
while expecting always
matriarch rights

it is thirteen years since opa died
requiring a rewrite of history
and assertion of a need
for new heights in the level of attendance
to woes and needs
by family and friend alike

there has been no acknowledgment
of a good day
in quite some time

and now it may be
that she is genuinely feeling poorly
or that she has seen a portent
in the coffee grounds she once read
she may have had one of her dreams
predicting the end is nigh
whatever the reason
she has told us
one and all
that the next family milestone
is all she has been living for
that she will be finished after that

that milestone has now passed

there is scepticism
even evidence in some quarters
of muted hope
for she has had difficulties
in the endearment department
but mostly
there is disbelief
and indifference

I think my oma may be dying
I wonder if it will happen this time
I wonder how many will cry

© Frank Prem, 2002

Preparations (Two In The Kitchen)

there’s two in the kitchen
and no room to swing
the cat has to be told to leave
while the raw meat is waiting
for a cut down to size
and a marinade to soak it
as only three of four burners have
life left to raise pressure and boil
pontiac potatoes right over the sides
of their pots with a hiss and a
splutter of summons to attention away
from the onions that are still making
me tear up and cry

at a nudge from the chief cook
I’m out and away to
the fridge at the back that has
never seen work like tonight
before the flurry of pastries to bake
with an aim for somewhere less than midnight
we might be doing ok but
they’re burning and we’re nowhere
near ready for the dishes to load
in the washer and the benches need
a wipe down to put preparations away
then to bed where there’s more room
than the kitchen for two
and I’m tired so hold me a moment
then let’s close our eyes
and goodnight till I see you
at first light again

© Frank Prem, 2001