Saturday, February 23, 2013


Bitumen blisters,
Sun’s glare ripples the vistas,
Sky scans stone-washed blue.
Roll west down the hill
And the town waits standing still -
Sliding into view.
Some cars whisper by,
Others flash with roar and cry,
And soon they have flown.
The road evens out
Near churches for the devout;
Doors to zones unknown.
Shopfronts seem to weep
As if the town chooses sleep;
None spend money here.
The hotel corner -
Vaguely forlorn like a mourner -
Remnant of old cheer.
The station’s grand
Glimpse of yesterday’s slow hand
Rewards the alert.
Playing fields tell tales -
Tough tackles and falling bails;
Winners never hurt.
The creek winding beige -
Flooded in a long gone age -
Near the honoured dead.
Mountains seal the west,
Some soft curved like a warm breast;
Laced with late sun’s red.


Of course, it was never my choice:
Could I have made a better one?
Someone before me chose the top
Of a sheltered kuche’s tight run
Beneath the nearby mountain slopes:
Each rear window’s craggy montage
That sprawled and took my breath away –
Arching like an electric charge.

At the kuche’s open ending
Stood the small shops – quaint enterprise –
Hire cars, general supplies, fresh fruit –
Not much that could excite my eyes.

Meanwhile, the swarming traffic swirled
Around narrow streets that converged
In this reclaimed village that housed
Big spenders all – hard won gains splurged –
On luxury homes that towered
Behind concrete walls’ marble facing
Hiding gardens for summer sport -
Pool parties that set hearts racing.

Swimming stopped when the snow fell thick
On flat black roofs and garden beds.
We stoked the furnace to stay warm
And set metal studs in tyre threads
So we could drive south to our work
In the frosty districts below
And look back north again to see
A lasting lustrous coat of snow.

The sun was soon back in our skies.
Chizar was high so it stayed cool
Compared to the dense heat below.
Still pale, we blushed into the pool.
Leaves once more graced tall poplar trees
And mad parties upset the night.
Is it any wonder our noise
Annoyed the force beyond our sight?
We failed to see the crowds at mosques
And overlooked new black chadors
Until the guards were in our streets -
Trained to settle a few old scores.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


David Morisett's latest publication is now available from Amazon and CreateSpace.

This collection presents both poetry and short stories previously published under separate covers.  There are also 15 new previously unpublished poems.

The phrase "Twisted Banners in the Grass" comes from a line in David Morisset's favourite Australian poem - Mary Lang's 'Tom Groggin'.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


His stare is much too intense
To be pronounced primly vacant.
His eyelids are hunched by horrors
That slip, slimy, out of the nothingness.
His lips are latched so tight
That teeth must grind until they grate.
His forehead is knitted like a compound fracture –
One pearl, one plain, one dropped, one lost.

He can hear all the hurts again –
The night cries of sorry and goodbye.
He can feel the loose lonely air
Lunge up like a glass fumbled on a marble floor.
He can smell the barley’s malted summons
And the stench of vaulted vomit.
He can taste the ale of acrid fury
And the brine of rotten tears.

But seeking nothingness is somehow sustaining
And almost more than he can manage.
Yet all the exit doors are clashed, closed,
And jammed too tight to jimmy.
But each day’s ripe reality still jars and scars
And keeps old poisons pure and primed.
Yet looking for nothingness houses hope,
For, hopefully, nothing can come of it.

* The title of this poem was inspired by Les Murray's "The Averted".  The last line is an allusion to the opening scenes of  Shakespeare's "King Lear".  The picture was found through a Google search for images associated with Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray".

Monday, February 4, 2013


They are the first shock
To your perspective.
Charging at you but never moving;
Looking back at you
But never seeing you -
And never caring much.
The mountains rise like fire,
But they are already black –
Except for the tops of snow,
Brimming over mostly white,
Like ashy vanilla ice cream.

Then your eyes move lower;
And the city comes into view.
It is light brown and beige
And every colour in between.
But it pleases you
And makes you warm to it.

At ground level
You are always lost;
Until you see the mountains
And north is clearly defined.
And you feel almost secure,
But not quite safe.
And your blood rushes –
You are very much alive.

The local people
Never look lost.
They stride with a purpose;
Or loiter with unstated intentions.
Even the women,
With covered heads bent low,
Have a dignity
That surpasses
The cheap familiarity
That passes for freedom
In whatever home
You flew from
For the sake
Of sheer curiosity.

As a man,
You cannot help but admire
The beauty of the women -
And sense yourself
Becoming competitive
With the men –
As you unconsciously
Search feminine faces
For some sort of response,
In much the same way
As if you were at home.

But it is truly different
So you adjust
To the local pace.
You find yourself
Longing for the sheen
Of jet black tresses
Beneath each fetching scarf.
You marvel
At the shimmer
Of smooth olive skin;
And you smile at smiles
That herald wit and humor
You might never comprehend.
And you search
Each garment’s movement
For those hints
Of shapes and curves
That make a woman.

You drink in the smells –
For there is no other
Drinking to be had.
The sugary fumes
Of the roasting beet
Assail you with delight.
Then a hint of something
Much more earthy
Astounds your nose –
It is the nuts –
Fragrant pistachios
That make you wish
For a beer or two.

You notice the bold young men
And the vibrant young women
Sneaking a peek at each other.
And you cannot help
But wish them well
And wish them safety
And wish them a chance
To know the joys
That you have taken
For granted.

All the time
You hear the noise -
Car horns blare louder
Than faulty mufflers;
There are brakes screeching,
And motors humming.
Voices engage –
But your ear is untrained.
So even the calls of greeting
Sound like an argument.
But the expressions
On countless faces
Put you at ease.

At the very end you wonder:
Why are these handsome people
Still so proud
After so much
At the hands of recent history?

Then you remember:
Great Cyrus was called,
By Yahweh (no less),
A messiah (His anointed).