different (a cloud man). Introducing: A Book of Clouds.

101 b

he spent
all the mornings
of all
of his days
taking photographs
of each passing cloud

he tried
to get each one
they all
are different

in the afternoons
in the evenings
he would write them

day after day

cloud after cloud

a dossier
of the passing sky

who could grow tired
of the subtle craft
of cloud counting

when he needed a change
or needed
a break

if he rose early
he could greet
the sun


or later
wish it
good bye

good night


then write that down
as well

he thought
there might be something
about him

but then
he thought again

each cloud

each dawn

each dusk

is just
as different


I have just commenced posting poems and pictures for a new series – A Book of Clouds – over at my Seventeen Syllable site.

It’s a considerable undertaking, and I hope, a worthwhile one.

Please feel invited to join me for the journey among A Book of Clouds.


by imagery

tomato mound 1

I mean to imply
a garden mound

I mean to imply
with lines

suggesting the stakes
are high

but the dependent ones
are fallen


but once
in a while

to attempt
the heights

veg box

I mean to imply
a vegetable bed

raised up

in a box

leaves and fruit

the top

down deeper


I meant
to imply

only suggest

in imagery
another place


the miner reflects on his mountain deep

Poem #167 from a series of poems drawn from the imagination and collected as: a Bachelard reverie.

Back to Bachelard and me – Introduction

it’s a long way

when you know
that there’s a half
a mile
of dirt
and rock
above you

and the space you’ve carved
for yourself to move
is only two men

you have to
your tunnels

keep the pump
and pushing out water

and keep the light
on your helmet

went down there

in my hand
and no concern
for risk
or for danger

breathing black
shitty dust
in the eternity
of black
shitty night
where I could not see
my hand


right before my eyes
and my ears filled up
with god

choosing that deep time
to start talking

but I plinked
and I plunked with my pick
and did my best
to keep his voice
of my head

because I needed clear mind
for the work

it is a soul
down there

some kind of spirit

I’d sit down
on a break
no light

no sound at all
but my breathing
and I could see
I swear
six different kinds
of blackness

the working
of a heart
is a loud call too

its sound
is a determined beat
and it would fill all the tunnels
right up
with me

like a claim I’d staked
I didn’t really
belong there

I didn’t own
any part of that creature
I only

I stole all the ore
that ever gleamed
or glittered
in my light

thief that I was
I don’t think the mountain
squatting up there above me
ever even knew
that I was alive

I stole the ore out

I was a miner
and a thief
half a mile down
I learned
to pray

© Frank Prem 2018

Bachelard and me Poem #168: oneiric elements #3

when the watch stopped

when he noticed
that his watch –
worn most days
on his left wrist –
had stopped

he half-assumed
that someone he knew
must have died

all through the morning
while attending
to his work
his regular routines
and labours
he realized
he was waiting

for a change
in the feel
of the wind

the cry of a bird

for his heart
to beat aloud
from the stress
of him holding on
to his breath

while he waited
for news

for confirmation

he adjusted the hands
of the watch
to correct the time
they were showing

and the day
without incident


ar-ah-ar for the ride

ahhrrhh ar-ah-ar-ah ar-ah

ahhrrhh ar-ah-ar-ah ar-arrhh

from the tenth floor of the hospital
the view across melbourne at this late hour
is of a suburban universe
twinkling through thousands of halogen and neon lights
red yellow and green for cars
that all have some place to go
even now

behind me an old lady
is moaning aloud in greek
for elli
the next time it’s for soula or toula
one of them
it all ends up sounding the same

ahhrrhh ar-ah

there’s one behind the curtain
with a tube running up through her nose

-ar-ah ar-arrhh

I think it affects her breathing

at three a.m. they brought in a big guy
way way overweight
I must have missed it while I was at doze
in a stiff arm-chair with about as much give
as a harassed night nurse
until he rattled the windows with a snore
that could have sliced through an old-growth forest
without needing to be re-sharpened

his pauses are just long enough to be filled in by

ahhrrhh ar-ah-ar-ah ar-ah                               soula

where is soula

and my guy
the fourth in this bedlam of ailments
is asleep at last still wearing his glasses
now set absurdly at a jaunty angle
that’s almost a summary
while the streetlight universe continues to flicker
with a flashed message that even though there’s nothing
that really matters
some-thing elects to go on

call it life call it death
there’s no need to call it at all
just wait with your thumb sticking out
when the car slows down to catch the next green
hop on board and remember
you only get to ride once if you’re lucky enough
to ride at all

© Frank Prem, 2009