TEXT poetry


Edith Speers

3 poems


the writer as farmer

when you work alone
you can swear at yourself
fart freely and spit where you want to
wipe your nose on your sleeve
the trees don’t care
there is no etiquette
and it all comes out in the laundry

you can swear at the job to be done
and the tools you use
argue with wood and wire
steel and dirt
maybe the mosquitoes that mob you
the bracken fern and grass in a tangle
the bushes and brambles that bite

and none of it matters really
it’s an old game
the sparring of good mates
both of them stubborn and willful
wanting their own way
taking the piss out of each other
and never conceding defeat

all the work of farm and garden
of carpentry and shed repairs
all the long hours of fencing
up along the stony barren ridge
or down in the willows by the creek
the digging and pulling and mulching
of weeds that won’t go away

the come and go of the seasons
the ins and outs of a day
the back and forth with buckets
and hammer and pliers and rakes
among bull-ants that hang on with pincers
or fantails that flutter and dance
or flies that swarm round your face

with blockbuster and chainsaw and axe
with a hip-load of cheap wooden droppers
and a couple of expensive steel stakes
with or without those worn-out gloves
and occasional glances for snakes
with whatever it takes
to finally get there and do it

to walk there and do it alone
in hot sun so the sweat stings your eyes
or in rain that soaks to the bone
and while hands and muscles are busy
doing what has to be done
your thoughts fly the coop like raptors
and roam the world before they come home

the cage door is finally opened
the tasseled jesses are loosened
and the falcons and hawks and owls
of your locked-up mind are released
and up they go past the clouds in the sky
to soar and to hunt through the blue
and bring back their stories to you


R.I.P. Grammar

goodbye to good grammar
you are dead and gone forever
and most likely will never be missed

likewise the whole world has kissed
proper punctuation goodbye –
the commas are breeding like flies

yet speech marks are almost extinct
because modern writers think
they’re too messy and break up the flow

of their aerodynamic prose;
while adverbs are pruned like shoots
back to their adjective roots

so we spread our butter thick instead of thickly
and athletes run quick instead of quickly
and play fair, we hope, but not fairly

yes, the ‘–ly’ ending is heard very rarely
which shows how the murder of grammar is stealthy
because if you say food is healthy,

rather than healthful or wholesome, it seems
everyone still knows what you mean
and since, surely, the point is to be comprehensible

it all seems quite sensible
to use, say, the oxford comma
which reduces confusion and trauma

and there’s no need to furiously throw a fit
when infinitives get split
or a preposition is what a sentence ends in

– after all, we’re speaking english not latin –
so maybe one day i won’t wince
as our beloved language is ground into mince

and flushed down the sewer
when i’m told that less people – instead of fewer – 
even know what i’m talking about

let’s face it, it’s a rout –
if you understand me, you are in a minority
with only a sense of superiority

to compensate for teeth-grinding chagrin
as grammar gets chucked in the bin
so if your war cry is ‘Never to who – it’s to whom!’

then before it’s engraved on your tomb
treasure each sentence you parse
because no one else gives a rat’s arse


too sacred

talking about humour and satire
in the high school writing class and
one girl says

some people make fun of god and
there are all kinds of sick jokes
about war and famine

so i guess you can make fun of anything
so i guess nothing
is too sacred

anzac day
says a boy and they all nod in agreement
anzac day


Edith Speers emigrated to Australia from Canada after completing a BSc (Hons) in biochemistry. Her writing has won many literary awards; her poetry has been printed in major Australian literary magazines, many anthologies, and several Canadian and American journals. She is the author of two published collections of poetry and others awaiting publication. As proprietor of Esperance Press she published other Tasmanian writers, then completed a BEd in order to teach in her local rural school.


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Vol 21 No 1 April 2017
General Editor: Nigel Krauth. Editors: Kevin Brophy, Enza Gandolfo & Julienne van Loon
Creative Works Editor: Anthony Lawrence