The house for once stilled,
silence breaks like luck
of some kind. The light is on my back
and I am looking at the slow
mottling on my hand, each stipple
a story that happened behind my knowing.

My eyes, tired in search
of a new sight, are following
an old pattern. Somewhere, a machine
is winding down.
                              Only music
is fresh, so fresh it pricks like a conscience.

Ted Mc Carthy (Ireland)
Author of November Wedding and Other Poems and Beverly Downs



Under this flickering blue light,
in this sea of tapers
and taffeta,
saccharine bite of toffee
and floral pattern of
too-sweet wine on my tongue,
I am indifferent to the hollow
faces that cackle,
jolt their heads like dolls.
It is hot in this room,
another place I have to be:
there is nowhere else to go.

The empty road is a release,
the car a coffin
where we breathe out of sync.
On the petrol station counter
pumpkins leer
and when Hotel California enters my head
I know it will loop too long.
The man steaming the floor
in a zombie mask
says ‘have a good night’
and I totter in high heels to the car,
the sky, no stars,
locked up in clouds.

Jane Frank (Queensland)


Into the Lion's Den

It was not the lion, majestic,
harbouring its life force in the easy
rise and fall of its flanks,

so much as the fear of it
coming with me into the den,
making me quake and tremble,

a fear no slowed breath,
no mental strength could suppress,
knowing as I did the lion would wake

and what would happen next.

David Adès (South Australia / USA)