Old Building

In this stairwell
light is water

pouring from a glass Niagara
sheening down handrails
into a boxy valley

it cascades
around shadows
splashes off posts
and doorknobs
spills across a landing

I tread lightly here
keep shoes dry
on the dark non-slip
of days

enter sub-surface
filtering ripples
from a vaulted ceiling

down there
are dark rooms
their dry secrets

Dick Alderson (Western Australia)

From The Astronomer's Wife (Sunline Press 2014)


Sometimes she would ask one of us
to help, to hold up a skein
while she wound the wool into a ball

we’d sit facing each other
on two chairs in the kitchen

our child-hands held towards her
in an almost embrace, the wool

passing between us like a gift
she had given us to give back to her

holding one of her boys still for a moment
while she took the soft thread.

Dick Alderson (Western Australia)

First published in Westerly

That camera

tight strap, long face
black leatherette
smelling of Kodak

we would ease the lever
with a thumbnail
until it snipped

a thousand times
the shards of light
loving the darkness in there

what a treasure.
But what now to do
with all those pieces

that dark box

Dick Alderson (Western Australia)

From The Astronomer's Wife (Sunline Press 2014)

Watching a Fire

There is something of self in a fire
the hesitant start, equivocation

then taking hold, a familiar reek
of match and firelighter seeming
older than fire itself, something
you watched elders do

but once it’s going,
the glass door closed
to a muted purring

it is the tiger’s eye which fixes you
flickering your face —
a fascination with
being consumed

Dick Alderson (Western Australia)

My Voice on Tape

how it changes

when it’s up in my throat
it keeps me safe, guarding the entrance

and I sound like I’m keeping safe
some sort of mill grinding out
a voice

when I let it come down
it lives in my belly
knows what to do with all those
pipes and strings

someone I could get to like
might talk to

Dick Alderson (Western Australia)