closing time


the sky
is visible
through the oak tree

that old friend of mine
is closing down
for the cold

I can see now
the companion birds
so well hidden
in the days
of green

as small as a flitter
among falling leaves
adrift on a chilling breeze
that has come
from a somewhere
that must be cradling snow

for it kisses my face
with the love
of a wintry slap


and the sun
has no strength
to do more
than shine weakly now

for the clouds are visible
through my oak tree

that old friend of mine
is closing down
for the cold

© Frank Prem, 2017

June 2017 Poem #09: trench man #3: to the end or until


just shopping

he misses her in the supermarket
finds himself buying things
he never would have bought alone
hydroponic tomatoes
recycled paper for the smallest room

there’s no one to laugh with

he forgot the carry-bag from home
ah well that’s the way it goes
with the environment
everyone’s intentions are good

how is it
that holding hands in the aisle
where the butter is spreadable
and the cold comes from the cool chests
that store yoghurt
(he really almost bought yoghurt)
how is it that it seems OK

it was never so OK before

he misses her
and stocking up is just a chore
but sometimes
when he wheels the trolley around a corner
he can picture the selection
of fruit or veg
and it’s enough to make him stop
a nuisance to people
who just want to get on with shopping

© Frank Prem, 2010

For Mrs B – remember when?

self portrait via life-draw

I have charcoaled a man

I am inking a woman

he wears a short goatee
and no distinctive features

she bears a tattoo
that adorns the skin of her back
like remnant lace
from the rumple of a negligee
tossed carelessly away

his head is drawn as round as a circle
and overly tiny

I find proportion
is not a sense that I possess
at all

her hair has proved impossible to tame
and over-flows a poor arrangement
barely held in place
by a green rubber band

these pictures
my scribbles scrawls and scratches
are impressed on the now-smudged white
of a sheet of cartridge paper
always somehow it seems
I rend them better
penned and then re-worked
into the phrases I find most familiar
here I am
etching a silhouette of myself again
charcoaled and inked
into queer shaped stanzas

this drawing from life
is not really a new thing
it seems it’s just another portrait
in the usual words
that are me

that I am

© Frank Prem, 2016

when flying

arise sir raincoat
there’s a wind beneath your tether
fluff out your arms
as if
you were flying

you and your best mate
a girl-coat in mauve
at full stretch and unruffled
just like
you were flying

on a string
you might be a kite
to skip and dive
all over the sky

or random
as a bag full of air
you could dance
just as the leaves do

but you sir raincoat
are attached to a hook
and only your sail spreads
as though
you were flying

yet the wind will still raise you
up down and tail out
a superman cape
in rehearsal
for when
you are flying

© Frank Prem, 2014

Top 5 from the Bushfire set

Continuing the  retrospective posts, I’ve gone through the Surviving the Devil bushfire poem set to select five poems that are worth another airing. This series dates back to 2009 and languished in my archives because I didn’t know what I might best do with it, or for it. This blog gave me an answer, and I am most grateful for that.

The five  poems that I’ve picked out (with a note about my reason beside each) are by no means the ‘Top 5’, but I think they have merit for this purpose. They are as follows:

surviving the devil – a song of fire – What first caught my imagination – and not particularly in a good way – was the voices of people affected by the ferocity of devastation that came with these fires. More fierce, more devastating, more unstoppable, more helpless. All these things.

I tried to catch some of that and the piece opened up the rest of the series.

first bus to Marysville – Marysville is a pretty little hill town that was wiped out, with many dead and massive destruction. The photographs show ash mounds in rectangular patterns that were houses and house blocks. Graves, in some cases.

all in the ark for awhile – A story of joyous wonder in a small way. The tone of amazement the witness to the Inquiry had in his voice was what stayed with me.

Don decides – This chap lived across the road from Leanne and myself in 2009. I watched his preparations over a day or two and I could see and feel his indecision as to what he should do. What was right. What was best.

Also, the sense of relief when he returned to find all intact.

rebuilding for ferals – This poem relates to the great question – the reason why. Why do we fight? What is our place? What does home mean? Is the least of us worthy of a place to call home?

Clearly, the answer is yes. Even our ferals need to have a place they can identify as their own.

Hope you don’t mind looking again at these few fire poems, and if you’d like to look at more of my Top 5’s (or thereabouts), there should be a link in the categories listed on this page.



Top 5 (or 6) – end of year review

Top 5 for 2016 – from the archives (daily prompt)

Top 10 for 2016 – from the Poem-a-day Collection (Part A)

Top 10 for 2016 – from the Poem-a-day Collection (Part B)

Top 5 from the Bushfire set

Top 5 – Mythologically inspired poems

Top 10 for 2016 – from the Poem-a-day Collection (Part A)

In September 2016, I decided I would take a shot at doing a poem each day for a month. I’ve done this type of exercise before with good, but mixed, results.

At the time (end of August) I felt I was writing well enough and would perhaps benefit from the discipline of producing an acceptable piece of new work every day.

As it has turned out, I have found the project and process most enjoyable, and have extended it, so that it has encompassed September, October, November and now December. My thinking is that I’ll push on towards a full year of daily work, but we shall see. There are times when I have found myself a little daunted and a little mentally drained. If the quality feels like it is falling away, I’ll call it off and be grateful for what’s come so far.

I’ve had a little scan through the poems that have been put up at the blog site to see what has been achieved, and to try to whittle down a group of poems that might be worth drawing fresh attention to. (Any excuse for a Top 5 Top 8 Top 10 post, really). This was going to be a Top 5 post, honest, but I couldn’t do it. I think I’m a bit close to them still, so I’ve settled on 2 per month.

The first four I’ve picked out, plus an honorable mention (with a note about my reason beside each) are as follows:

September 2016:

digestive fibonacci: fractal-izing mandelbrot: This was an oh wow small moment,with gigantic extended implications (sort of). It’s just about a snail and some broccoli, right?

there – at the gorge: Leanne’s painting of the gorge – her first landscape – is as real to me as touching. I know the place, the feel of the water, the slip of the rocks. To see it is to be transported to a childhood place, where that could just be me there, under the curtain of water …

October 2016:

tenderfoot dancer: Well, this was a bit of a hoot. That’s all. I think it came from a willful misreading of a gardening text, but in any case, the idea made me laugh. I hope you do, too.

way poem #3: to a higher place: A coffee poem, and one of the first of what became a series of ‘way’ poems. I was playing with some ideas I had about the Tao, and ended up with a themed set that I enjoyed doing very much.

October 2016 honorable mention:

way poem #5: the five steps to wheaten pecks: This because I have been studying the ageing and gradual physical and mental deterioration of my parents into their old age. I find the inexorable decline quite moving at times and my father’s descriptions of his relationship with his last remaining hen seemed potent to me.

Hope you enjoy looking again at these few pieces, and if you’d like to check out some more, there should be a link in the categories listed on this page (I think).

Part B tomorrow.



Top 5 (or 6) – end of year review

Top 5 for 2016 – from the archives (daily prompt)

Top 10 for 2016 – from the Poem-a-day Collection (Part A)

Top 10 for 2016 – from the Poem-a-day Collection (Part B)

Top 5 from the Bushfire set

Top 5 – Mythologically inspired poems

Top 5 for 2016 – from the archives (daily prompt)

It has been a great pleasure to find work that responded approximately to the daily Prompt provided by WordPress. The hours are a bit murderous, though. The prompt was initially becoming available to me in Australia here at 10:00 pm – lovely.

Then we went over to daylight saving time, so the hour became 11:00 pm. Not so flash.

Then, WordPress also went over to daylight saving time, so now it comes out at midnight.

I used the daily prompt word as my excuse for trawling through years of my personal poetry archives, reacquainting myself with my own early work. The result is around 150 odd poems that have seen the light of day, some for the first time.

For today’s review, I thought I’d try to nominate 5 pieces that I think merit another airing. I’ve assigned a brief rationale for selecting each piece. There is no special order to the poems.

5. cloudy face prayer: This has always felt like a spiritual moment to me – as close as I overtly come to such things.

4. april moon: An outright favourite. The magic of writing, the despair of words drying up.

3. materinski jezik – the mother tongue: Feedback suggests this piece touches something that resonates with migrant families – like my own. The process of assimilation at work.

2. don’t think about: I posted a collection of poems about the 2009 bushfires in Victoria. This is a piece from fires in 2003, but deals with the great poignant reality of the bushfire experience. And here we are in hot summer, again.

1. dreams of a lesser child: I think the this piece speaks to every person who has ever aspired in love, to reach their personal unattainable goal.

Top 5 (or 6) – end of year review

Top 5 for 2016 – from the archives (daily prompt)

Top 10 for 2016 – from the Poem-a-day Collection (Part A)

Top 10 for 2016 – from the Poem-a-day Collection (Part B)

Top 5 from the Bushfire set

Top 5 – Mythologically inspired poems

Top 5 (or 6) poems – end of year review-

I started posting my poems back in May 2016 because between Leanne and myself, we had a couple of songwriting projects that interested us and we we were contemplating putting in a submission to do some work as a team.

At that point, I had no place that could serve as an accessible CV of my creative writing work and so Leanne set me up with the blog,and I began posting like crazy – self-published books, poems published here and there and so on. The aim was that the party on the other end of our submission could readily check out some of my work, and also some of Leanne’s activities (which I recommend for a visit).

Well, I had forgotten what a hungry creative beast I am. I became quite addicted to putting my work on the blog and that only intensified as I realised that there were such things as likes and follows in play in the blogosphere. I know, I know, I’m not the first, won’t be the last, but it is both a humbling and an inspiring knowledge.

I’ve been inspired by the sense that I could place my work before a group of people who might willingly read (that would be yourself) and give feedback. That duty has been solely Leanne’s for quite a while now.

Now, at year end, I have been interested to look back and see what flew and what flopped – as measured by your like button.

Without further ado, the best liked pieces so far (and please feel free to revisit):

Fifth: Fading Beyond

Fifth: through passion (hey!)

Fourth: the new gecko

Third: necessary preparations

Second: amaze me

First: old dogs

For me, there are some surprises in this group, but I’m also delighted  by them.

Thank you.

Top 5 (or 6) – end of year review

Top 5 for 2016 – from the archives (daily prompt)

Top 10 for 2016 – from the Poem-a-day Collection (Part A)

Top 10 for 2016 – from the Poem-a-day Collection (Part B)

Top 5 from the Bushfire set

Top 5 – Mythologically inspired poems