Jabberdoc by Oliver Freeman

with apologies to Lewis Carroll

’Twas Tuesday, and the Astra Ven
Did slurp and glurp in the bile:
All flimsy were my muscle bones,
Tho’ Gluten-Free Weetbix made me smile.

“Beware the Jabberdoc, my son!
The needle that bites, the swabs that catch!
Beware the blood clot, and shun
The voluminous Bandaidsnatch!”

And, as in stanza thought, I stood,
The Jabberdoc, with eyes of flame,
Came white-coated through the Balmain wood,
And snortled just like morning rain!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The needle came for its daily snack!
Leaving my arm, a little fuller but,
Well before any impact I could track.

I took my Medicare card in hand;
Long time the rebate had I sought—
Exhausted by the GumGum tree
I stood awhile lost deep in thought.
Jabberdoc

“And hast thou now slain Covid Nineteen?
There in the arm of this ancient being!
O jabjous day! Time for a second Flat White
Then off to Melbourne for friend seeing.

’Twas Tuesday, and the Astra Ven
Did slurp and glurp in the bile:
All flimsy were my muscle bones,
Tho’ Gluten-Free Weetbix made me smile.

Isolation by Jennifer Thurstun

Isolation
is passing slowly
here into autumn

as old persimmon trees
pass from plentiful fruit
to yellowing leaves

leaving, one by one,
their gold for sunrise, sunset,
then tones of Buddhist robes.

Gusts of wind release, free
the trees from all adornment.
Trunks and branches bared,

open to spacious sky, lightened,
relieved of purpose,
resting.

knowing spring will bring
tiny lime-green buds
as time unlocks and opens,

the earth warms, butterflies swarm,
cocoons are left behind
and we venture out once more.

April, 2020

Solitary by Fred Orr

White skiff weeping on concrete pier
Chained high above, no waves are near
Awaiting my owners to set my sails
Chasing sun beams, my lust prevails.
Daily pining now months along
Only my shadow for silent songs
Like a pup deserted yet once more
Hollow hopes echo at my core.
Craving company, but just the gulls
Who flap their wings on my peeling hull
‘Is that the wind for my long- furled sails?’
No one near to hear my wail.
Rumbling pebbles washed by the sea
Symphonic sounds in the mellow lee
But laughter and chatter far preferred
My hope for company undeterred.
Maybe tomorrow they will return?
Rub my flanks, my wish still burns
Set my sails and plough the waves
Savouring salt spray is what I crave.

May, 2020

Demise of Certainty by Jennifer Thurstun

We thought we’d be in Spain,
I thought I’d see my son.
It’s such a bloody pain
corona had to come.

We thought that we’d be safe
among the birds and trees,
away from all the riff raff
and virus and disease.

We thought we were so clever
with sunlight giving power,
that we could last forever
on oxygen and flowers.

We thought we were prepared
for all eventualities
but cloudy days appeared,
presenting new realities.

The kettle just stopped working,
we thought we’d bought a dud
but as the rain kept soaking,
the drive filled up with mud

and lights would not turn on!!
We thought we’d manage fine,
Candles are such fun.
We went through lots of wine.

But then phone charges dwindled,
computers would not power
and all desire to linger
diminished by the hour.

“So much for being green.
This is the end,” we said,
“It’s all a bit extreme.”
And back to town we fled.

Embracing Uncertainty by Oliver Freeman

It must be thirty years
(But I’m not altogether sure)
That I’ve been a futurist
Asking my clients to create a list
Of things that are important
But are not open to prediction
Facts and world views in collision
Creating a prospective fiction

We do not think about
The demise of uncertainty
But revel in its opposite
The influences driving humanity
That together create the uncertainty
Without which life becomes inanity

So embracing the unknown unknowns
Is where we want to be
Without this tacit and ponderous feature
Life would be devoid of creativity

June 2020

At our Peril by Jennifer Thurstun

So many warnings:
Fires, floods, fracked earth, smog,
doctors telling us
the big one’s soon and looming.

We just kept lurching forward –
trampling tigers, elephants, deer,
beggars’ and children’s tears,
blindly holding i-phones to our ears.

So now this clear command:
Stay home! Stop
your greed,
your wars,
your restlessness!
Give Earth a rest!
Enjoy its stillness,
silence!

Could we learn to turn
and tune our feet
to walk tiptoe
across the continents
of crumpled cars,
and oceans filled with plastic
to a forest still
unfallen. To pastures and a river
deep and clean,
to trees that shade and filter breeze,
the quietness
of a place without machines?

Could we,
unblinkered,
nurture this small space
while still we can,
and care for bats
and pangolins,
the whole amazing ark?
Let nature balance
as it used to do?

Then we, perhaps,
might be invited back
if we have learned
not to expel ourselves
again

March, 2020

Covered in Covid by Rosalie Fishman

They came from the epicentre,
New York’s thirty-one thousand dead
and the figures rising. We quarantined
at home, house mates in a shuffle
of co-existence.

You use this tap, I’ll use that, a sofa for
you, one for me, the kitchen-sink yours,
the laundry mine, the dining table yours,
kitchen mine. Half the fridge tied with the
green ribbon, left from yesteryears
Christmas wrappings to designate
what you can touch, what I can’t.
No hugs of course, just the happy birthday
ditty to count the time and the foaming
Suds that designate hands well washed.

We became accomplished at the game
standing back at corridor intersections,
stop signs in the mind, kind of fun, still
I sank into bed, exhausted each night
and in the morning, woke to numbers’ lust.
How many and where? Sick or dead?
What to do? Wear a mask? See the kids?
And my partner, what of him? Toilet paper,
tuna, no flour on the shelves, sanitizers
rationed, do I have enough? Must learn how
to keep in touch! Zoom the new ‘good ay.’

Every one shares their burst of news –
only from reliable sources of-course,
and in exponential leaps, we all, know it all.
Fake news abloom and yet some relief
in the minute by minute decision tease
that make up my day. Should I move aside
for that approaching mother and child?
My daughter’s head peeping over the fence
to say hello, her dog allowed in to play.
Is that OK?

Separated in physical space, a sense
of the other, yet true to my own.
As if in days of old, a village life
seems to unfold.
I note the number of people
out for a walk,
shop at my local store,
chat to the neighbour down the road,
barely use my car, distancing
dictates a slower pace.

So many saying how they
like this slack in the race.
And now a new wave,
I’m just as happy
to stay home.

Sydney, July 2020

Contagion by Jason Morris

There’s something
we don’t want to know
that’s in the world we live
It’s not obvious or shows
but it’s something that we give
We pass it on to others
when we breath and touch
It persists and creeps
and smothers
too many times too much
It hangs around in boardrooms
backrooms and buses
Sometimes we pass it on
to our family who trust us
Our world that suffers
far too many famines
inequalities and wars
may no longer bear
its terrible, terrible soars
We could name it
or shame it
if only it was seen
But this particular contagion
will never have
an antidote nor vaccine …

April, 2020

GERUND by Oliver Freeman

The Co-Vid 19 world is booming
We all seem to be into zooming
We have a new gerund
To master, share around and
Relieve this sensation of glooming
Not the only gerund off the rank
We’ve had googling; an invention of the Yanks
And then there is streaming
Giving media a whole new meaning
As the analogue sinks without thanks

LOL the new art of texting
That makes publishing not worth vesting
And to make matters worse
Instagram is a curse
All pictures and goodbye to meaning

So much language now needs decoding
As technology is persistently eroding
The magic of poetry
With its verbal rosary
That we must protect from corroding

Rozelle March 2020

PANDEMIC BLUES by Oliver Freeman  

A mask in my pocket
Like Zorro in waiting
No handshakes just elbows
Say goodbye to dating

Socially distancing 
Family and old friends
Sneaky Co-Vid 19
Makes a world without end

There’s no bang nor whimper
Nor something more formal
This pernicious virus
Is now the new normal

Let’s dwell for a moment
On other smoking guns
Like the Plague of Justinian
In 5 hundred and 41

Near a millennium later
Black Death the Bubonic
Followed by London’s Plague
Now that was some tonic

And in more recent times 
Smallpox Cholera Flu
When thinking pandemics
There’s really nothing new

Each was their ‘new normal’
now it is time to sing
Ring-a ring-a rosie
And shake your shiny bling

Rozelle August 2020