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A poet’s journey 2: What are poems about?

Michael DomMICHAEL DOM | Winner of the 2012 Crocodile Prize for Poetry

A POEM CAN BE ABOUT many small things in our lives that, when gathered together, reveal something far more enlightening about our state of being.

Each word adds a new meaning, each sentence creates another dimension, and each stanza is a whole different experience.

And it is while reading such poetry that we may see our own reflection, even as we peer through this window into each other’s souls.

Take a ‘love poem’ or romantic verse for example. This may be the easiest type of poem to write because love is such a powerful emotion and demands an expression from us as writers, which we all respond to very deeply.

Usually the love poem is about passion that one feels for another person. But what about the mundane things in life that two lovers may share, that don’t necessarily have that ‘romantic quality’?

A poem may express an emotion, but a poem should be more than emotional expression. A poem should not only move the reader, it also should “stand still”. As Archibald MacLeish wrote about modern poetry, “A poem should not mean / But be”.

This poem was inspired by the woman I like and James St Nativeson’s poem, Things I like.

The poem consists of seven five-line verses with ten syllables in each line and as an added challenge it was written to exactly 300 words in length in order to fit within the required word limit of the Crocodile Prize competition.

Things I like which you make so

For my fiancé Isidora Ramita, whose birthday and engagement anniversary I missed in September due to work commitments

Michael and IsadoraI like the scent of citrus, freshly cut,
when I am reading in the lounge, and you
are in the kitchen preparing our lunch;
which is just tinned fish, tomatoes and bread,
with extra butter, the way you make it.

I like the sound of ice, in a glass cup,
when you bring me fruit juice and Panadol,
to ease the high fever I am running;
which is malarial of course, and bad,
but you make it alright to be unwell.

I like the touch of satin, and your hand
on my cheek, when I play at being asleep,
but I’m spying beneath drowsy eyelids;
which is silly, when you know it’s an act,
but you make it a moment we both like.

I like when you enter, while I’m hiding
behind the bedroom door to surprise you,
and you don’t see me until it’s too late;
which sometimes makes you very cross with me,
and then my peace is when you make it so.

I like all the glass stuff, which we both own,
like the glass table where we eat and work,
and the glass vase that we put flowers in;
which are not cheap, like we say we can be,
but our life is dear the way we make it.

Window of Opportunity - Michael Dom's PCI like private thoughts, popping in my head,
with a look in your eyes or a slow dance,
while our favourite music is playing;
which is not always, but often enough
to make it something to look forward to.

I like falling asleep, on the sofa,
with you, while the movie plays itself out,
so we have to watch it over again;
which is what happens when we’re good kittens
and time is as good as we could make it.


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Erasmus Baraniak


Through the mist, awakened, seeing but in part
Like a frozen song the mountains stand, solemn
Bowing only to mystic valleys way,way below
Where the rivers run deep,and they run wild.

Here Handel's harpsichord or Haydn's strings
Would tune a heart to deepest primal longings
And Bach's undulating tempo finds form and shape
In warm stirring sonnets of cold grey mountain lair.

In the distance, where the air is crisp and clear
Where the mist hangs low and still, rise tempest tune
Every note, fret'n bar defined in strained suspense
Like a sharp cresendo, the pressure too much to bear.

The mind rebels- at that moment, resolution arrives!
Swift and abrupt, like warm mid September rains
Fear and faith coalesce to reveal the naked heart
Like an ancient sentry at dawn's gate, truth stands.

The suns fiery arrows flung, the trees clapt'n danc't
Lifting hazy curtains hanging low in shaded air
Rambling rivers rocks rills'n ravines now revealed
Gradually becoming one,intermeshed before the eye.

If truth be sung from passion's loftiest heights,then
We, the music, and the caressing hand that play'd it
To richest harmony- ever wooing sweetest vibrations
Casting furtive hearts to gladly burn in hade's fires.

Lo! silent fenceposts proclaim life's unclad brittleness
Yet,ever racing thru-time, chance,beauty and mystery
One knows tis better; race and dance on cold grey days
Than to wistfully walk thru sunshine ever wondering.


Michael Dom

Erasmus and Steven you are very welcome.

I'm always glad to have the opportunity to share my work.

Now it belongs to all of us.

Steven Ilave (Snr)

I like it when a poet can skilfully make simple everyday moments become special extraordinary ones for loved ones! Thanks Michael.

Erasmus Baraniak

Wow! Love the lilt, the rhythmic canter, the playfulness of it all.

Yeah...I remember...a time and I place. If we are all honest we could each remember and smile. Thankyou.

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