the bottom drawer

I asked illustrators to dress my poems and here’s what happened…

Old Dog

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He’s starting to wobble
on legs short and shonky
he tries to walk straight
but his path is all wonky
where is the puppy

we’ve loved from the start
why must we watch as
he falls all apart

his skin’s become flaky
his fur falls like snow
his ears only work
now and then, so we know
not to call him to dinner
cause he probably won’t hear
why must we watch him
it just isn’t fair

his eyes are like buttons
shiny and dark
but buttons won’t help
him to see in the park
so he sleeps on his beanbag
for most of the day
why must we watch as
he just fades away

we watch cause we’ve always watched
right from the start
and that feeling we’re feeling
down deep in our heart
isn’t pain caused by breaking
it’s love bursting through
and we watch to remember
the friend that we knew

Jacqui Petersen

Shez Kennington


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At the top of the cliff
Is a walking track
Where I walk from the town
To bush and back

Last week the bush
Was green and dense
This week the trees
Are scarred and black

The flames in the night
Stole the green like a crook
You can see through the bones
What the fire thief took

Last week the bush
Was tangled with life
This week the trees
Have a skeleton look

There’s a lonesome crow
An abandoned shack
And a wet ash smell
On the walking track

Last week the bush
Was green and dense
This week the trees
Are scarred and black

Alan Murphy

Debbie Mourtzios

The Old House

Trundling down the country road
With heavy eyes in sleepy mode
Ghostly fingers creep towards

Kelvin Hucker

Kelvin Hucker

The house with peeling weatherboards

Nestled snug beneath the hill
Peeling paint from windowsill
Flakes like dandruff crack and fall
Etched neglect on every wall

Windows weep their tattered lace
Stare beyond the weathered face
Seeking times before the haze
Rest on memory’s happy days

Barking dogs and laughing smiles
Echoed dreams across the miles
Nimble fingers worked towards
Freshly painted weatherboards

Now as distance waves goodbye
A puppy yaps at starry sky
While ancient man with youthful stride
Tips his hat and goes inside

Kelvin Hucker

The Beach

The beach is like an empty slate
A hungry child
That cannot wait
Eager for the day’s surprises
Feasts of feet, all different sizes

Jacqui Petersen

Jacqui Petersen

Squid boats see the day begin
Pumpkin sun
with fiery grin
licks the dunes with orange glow
as I’m poised on tippy-toe

Sandy canvass meets the shore
Waits to see
what I will draw
One step, two step round it goes
Swirls with sand between the toes

Soon, with artists all around
Footsteps flash
across the ground
Squealing children in the sun
Painting patterns as they run

Time to go it’s getting late
Waving waves
refuse to wait
Slowly, slowly up they creep
Wipe the slate with one clean sweep


I think I saw
a flick
a fleck
a spick
a speck
of pink
I think

Perhaps you mean
you might have seen
a carpet
emerald green
you mean

You could be right
I think there might
be shades
of green
But in between
a flick
a fleck
a spick
a speck
a rainbow
might have been


Grass Trees

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In the bush there’s a tribe
not of folk but of trees
made of grass

They were burnt from the flames
but their hair thickly grows
green as glass

From the black comes the jade
in the light from the shade
life from death
bold as brass

Alan Murphy

Debbie Mourtzios


To Catch a Dewdrop

Between the wooden fence posts
is where to set your net

Jacqui Peterson

Jacqui Peterson

Though best to try to make one of your own
You’ll need the smallest needle
and the most exquisite thread
For it must be the finest ever sewn

Imagine you’re creating reams
of silken fairy lace
Each stitch must be exact without exception
Then hang it from the fence posts
Like a veil between the space
A doily matched by none in its perfection

Leave the net till morning
And then check it with the sun
Though best to go at dawn when day is new
And there you’ll spy some other nets
That something else has spun
As spiders like to capture dewdrops too

Bird Watch

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I find it disconcerting
alarming and alerting
the unashamed asserting of their glee

It’s true they sound impressive
if not manic and aggressive
then undoubtedly excessive definitely

Their reaction is confusing
as I’m not at all amusing
it’s my ego they are bruising carelessly

Don’t they know it’s impolite
taking unabashed delight
cracking up at all in sight hysterically

With their cacophonic chorus
piercing skin that’s thin and porous
you would think that they abhor us certainly

But apparently this bird
whose refrain is so absurd
was created to confer a word of warning

To the spirits who reply
to the Kookaburra’s cry
lighting up the inky sky at dawn each morning

Moira Court

Debbie Mourtzios



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A paw in a puddle

A cat in a muddle

She tiptoes in vain
to get out of the rain
And howls at the door
to loudly complain

Wet to the skin
looking comically thin
We fluff her and puff her
and wrap her in towels

ignoring her howls
She wriggles and squirms
as each take their turn
to ensure that her fur
is as soft as her purr

Jacqui Peterson

Claire Wildish

Katherine Appleby




He wraps himself
Around the trees

And roughly tugs
At all the leaves

He drags the mist in
From the seas

And whips my skirt
Around my knees

He pushes butterflies
With ease

Playful puppy –
Autumn breeze


The Star

Claire Wildish

Claire Wildish

There’s a star
in the sky
to the right of the moon
And it sits like a jewel
as it twinkles a tune

And it winks
at the earth
with a glistening eye
And it sits like jewel
by the moon in the sky

It’s as silver
as ice
And as gold
as the sun
And it sits like a jewel
till the night-time is done


Seaside Sounds

Yvonne Low

Yvonne Low

Where the sea meets the shore
marine artists draw
a graffiti of seashells and such

Where the shore meets the sea
there is Granny and me
barefoot and eager to touch

shiny olives and grapes and
the seaweed shaped shapes that crackle
and popple and split

making carnival sounds as we crunch
on the sandy-gowned carpet
while misty rain spits

So without any care for our neatly
brushed hair, we search
the debris at our leisure

Where the sea meets the shore
you are certain to score an eclectic
collection of treasure


Yvonne Low


4 thoughts on “the bottom drawer

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