Poetry – Bound

Hey all,

This poem speaks for itself, but it is best read out loud by far.




I think I’m addicted to poetry:
The words flow through me torrentially
and I know that eventually
I’ll be mentally spent,
physically bent on creating –

I’ll be maintaining
these literal paintings,
I’ll use the remaining
breath in my fingers,
those delicate bringers
of new thoughts,

new ideas untaught
rhythms made fraught,
webs pulled taught,
naught but a small
sort of catharsis.

And then when the feeling passes,
like a million smashed vases
the class is over.

I try to slow her,
but my Muse is a clover:
her four leaves leave me sober
and I can’t believe I got to
know her.

So I bestow her with passion,
ration irrationally –
pure banality life’s fatality –
but a secret part of me
would like to see
where I will be in twenty years –

Have I faced
my fears?

Held back

Watched near misses
pass me by?

All I know is I can try,
pry floating thoughts
from frozen ports.

A wry smile’s on her lips
and the ships report bad news
of good views.

So I guess I’ll simply choose
my paths better,
and won’t just let a
precocious letter
confound me.

Then, I’ll be unwound
and let out a triumphant sound,
let the words resound
and in the end,


Poetry – My happy poem

Hey everyone,

I was clearing out my draft posts the other day, and found this poem half-finished from last year. I polished it up a little and made it much better, and here it is.



My happy poem

I want to write a happy poem.
A poem ’bout love or hope
or realised dreams.
Where is my happy poem?

I’ve been told to write straight from the heart,
make art that speaks to others’ souls,
from mine. But I can’t.
Where is my happy poem?

I think of those I love,
the shining stars,
heavens above – but nothing.
Where is my happy poem?

Maybe it will never come.
I’m fated to stay sad or numb
to shining lights – the meaning in
the little sights
held close by some.

But if one day insp’ration comes –
the light looks light, the days feel fun,
the morning dew does dance in early sun
and those around see me as one
of them,

then on that day, my words take flight,
and on that day all will be right,
and I will dance, cheer at the sight,
and finally that’s when I’ll write

My happy poem.

Poetry – Self-Portrait #1

Hey everyone,

I have been meaning to write some self-portraits as poems for a long time, and finally managed to smash one out. It’s pretty dark, but it was a nice cathartic release for me to write it.

Again, it’s in Iambic Pentameter (I can see why The Bard was so into it), and is in the Terza Rima form that one of my students got me on to (thanks, if you’re reading).

Brace yourself for some angst and self-pity – as if you aren’t expecting that from my writing anyway.




Self-Portrait #1

He stares at me back from the polished glass,
the light behind him sparkling like fireworks,
but as my view adjusts I see nought but a mask.

In darkened eyes though is a world of hurt:
of times abandoned – those who seemed to care
aware of burning pain that’s in the works;

of times beat down – hands thrown into the air,
the desperate surrender in his voice
simply a window into his despair;

of hard regrets – as if he had a choice
to be like this, suffer like that, and hold
back tears. Instead I watch the mask rejoice.

I can’t imagine what he’ll look like old,
in fact that is the point – the mask won’t change,
but stay the same, its sincere smile cold.

He looks away, and so do I, the page
on which we both reside is equally
a place to go and hide, as is the stage

that is our life. My thoughts are where he’ll be:
the hateful gaze remembered in mind’s eye
while in my mournful thoughts I’ll try to see

a proper way to help him when he cries –
in that reflection all I see is I.

Poetry – To ‘scape these thoughts

Hey all!

I chose this week’s poem in my weekly duel with my student. Given that it was my turn to pick the form, I chose the Villanelle. Partially because I love the form, but also because it will work well to convey meaning for her chosen topic, in my opinion.

The extra challenge for myself this week was to write the poem in Iambic Pentameter, which I was scared of doing. It turns out it is a very natural way to write, in the end.

I have been feeling pretty low this weekend, but writing a hopeful poem despite this feels like a success.

Happy reading 🙂



To ‘scape these thoughts

A thousand, thousand ways is what we’ve tried,
but failed to find a way to ‘scape these thoughts,
to let us settle in, enjoy the ride,

accept the permutations of real pride,
and stoke the flame that new love has now brought.
A thousand, thousand ways is what we’ve tried

and though it sometimes comes across as snide
I treasure what you’ve done and what it’s wrought
to let us settle in, enjoy the ride.

But even when together we have cried
and when our time has seemed all but a rort,
a thousand, thousand ways in what we’ve tried –

and when it works, into the night we glide,
the days behind us that we felt were fraught –
to let us settle in, enjoy the ride.

What if in time we let our feelings slide?
Remember joy that our true love has brought.
A thousand, thousand ways is what we’ve tried
to let us settle in, enjoy the ride.

Poetry – Home and Away

Hey all,

Just a quick update.

A few weeks ago, when my Year 8 class was studying a picture book called Home and Away, by John Marsden and Matt Ottley (found here if you’re interested in reading it), I asked them to write a poem. That poem had to be either inspired by the events or the feelings found in the book. When they had finished that, I asked them to choose their favorite line from their poem, and thirteen of them came to write their lines randomly on the board.

That’s where the fun starts.

Every year I have Year 8, I challenge myself to construct a “found poem” live, in front of the class, while they watch, from lines that were written in 10 to 15 different poems. It’s a challenge, but entirely doable, even with thirty sets of eyes watching as you do it. The kids sit there staring, first in disbelief, not sure their random lines could every make coherent sense, then as I reorder and punctuate them, they are dumbfounded as the poem emerges and – quite often – is very moving.

One of my first posts ever was about this activity (you can find that post from 2016 here), and I have done it every year I have had Year 8 since. Unfortunately I didn’t keep the poem from 2017 (silly past-Richard), and I didn’t have Year 8 in 2018, but you can read the most recent two below.

I am proud of myself for being able to construct (rather than “write”) these poems, but I am also proud of them for trusting me every year and pouring their heart and soul into a silly activity.

I am a very lucky teacher.

I love my job.

Happy reading 🙂


Home and Away (2019)

Originally a happy family in our home,
I could NEVER understand why it had to be this way.
A false sense of security:
The war destroyed us all…

Days go by – love changes, best friends become
told me that crying made me weak.

On the rocking dinghy, we washed ashore,
they died, their bodies resting in a river or red
From the garden, chaos and laughter now turned malicious,
Until it was all wisps of smoke.

They’re all gone now. I miss them.
We never know just one day,
Could make the difference between home and away.

Home and Away (2020)

First comes, first goes
It was his time, they say.
Will I be able to keep going?
Because you are an amazing memory
And we hope, for what else can we do.

Shriveling out in the scorching sun
It was cold
From a fight of endless pain.
Lifeless bodies strewn across the deck,
the lucky ones still had a beating heart.

But you don’t, and you aren’t,
and if you really listen you can hear silenced voices:
We are now the people who needed saving.

Poetry – Through the night

Hey friends,

Apologies for not posting recently – my muse has been very quiet, so quiet in fact that I couldn’t even write a Furious Fiction story last month. There have been some big changes to the treatment of my mental illnesses over the last couple of months, which may be the reason I have had some trouble getting my head into gear.

Fortunately for me, though, I made a commitment to a student at my school who is writing poetry for her English Extension 2 major work. I agreed that I would write some poetry if she does for her major work. The stakes are obviously quite a bit higher for her. Nonetheless, we’re setting each other a challenge on the weekends. Sadly, I failed the first week as we decided to write a Sestina each and I was never happy with mine. She said that meant she “won” the first week, so I guess I have to “win” this week. An English teacher cannot be beaten by their student two weeks running.

This weekend we were writing “Terza Rima” poems (she was astounded that I knew that meant “third rhyme” when she wrote down the name after butchering the Italian pronunciation) and this is my entry to our little challenge. It’s a little stream-of-consciousness, but I like it all the same. In my investigations into the form I also came across the Terzanelle form – a hybrid of the Terza Rima and Villanelle forms – and if you know anything about my poetry, I doubt I will be able to resist writing one soon.

Anyway, I hope to post more often again. I feel better when I do and I like feeling better.

Happy reading, and see you next time!


Through the night

Now I can see
it all laid out
in front of me:

small chances flout-
ed by small men
who don’t care; out-

siders “amen”
while they walk back
to sultry dens,

red lanterns stacked
high, veiled behind
shrouds of jet-black.

I’m not the kind
to save them – I’d
rather they find

their own way, glide
through the winter
night, rocking side-

to-side, glitter
settling softly
like snow, bitter

tastes that will lead
them back home through
the dark, safely.

I don’t know who
to be now-days –
no time to screw

up, do what pays
the bills and hope
those I love stay

despite the slope
down which I slide
and climb. I cope

where I reside –
that is to say
my thoughts inside

are there to stay
unless of course
I find a way

to send them forth,
and make things right,
and use the force

that haunts the night
to settle my
internal fight.

I grasp the sky
now, fingertips
brushing clouds, high

enough that ships
look down on us
and wave. She slips

away, no fuss
is made but she
holds back. “You must

come back,” I see
her say. She turns
away, “I’ll be

waiting.” They burn,
those words, but through
the light I yearn

for morning. You
can see us now,
sometimes. We two

who still allow,
through pain and strife,
true love somehow.

And when this life
becomes too hard
that’s when my wife

will grasp my shards
and hold my heart,
forever scarred,

and let me start,
or fall apart.