A gnome by Geoffrey Prince, ‘All the galaxies’ by Diane Caney and ‘Lap, lap.’ by Miriam Dale

A packet
of poems
to put in
your pocket


for you to
unlock it …

-Geoffrey Prince

All the galaxies

To the little pirate:
who dreamed of clouds
being fairy floss,
while lording it over ships
and massive sandcastles.

To all the sun-kissed babies:
tucked up in bed, day-dreaming
of riding to the moon on a dragon,
meltingly happy.

Until the moment
when the fairy-tale
was ripped away.

These words are for you.

You were six, maybe seven,
twelve or thirteen.
your childish landscape
was bright shining as the stars …
before it was ship-wrecked,
on rocks of shame
and you were left
in an ocean
of self-loathing …
without any (bed) room
for doubt
that the nightmares
would … not … end …

You couldn’t tell anyone
or if you did, they would not listen,
or they COULD not listen,
or they DID NOT CARE.

feels like an EXIT sign,
beckoning …
after the endless reruns
of ‘The Day YOUR Childhood
Had Its Head Kicked In’

Listen to me …
I want to tell YOU
about the fury I have
for every CARDINAL,
who’s PRO-
for the men and women
the endless yellow days of childhood …
the days you should have had
with lazy blue skies,
red helium balloons …

And the adolescent years
that should have been filled with joy,
and the surprise of first love …

Instead, a wasteland of living death.

I want to tell you about the fury

But if I am to open my mouth …

If I am to open my mouth –

it will have to OPEN
as wide as ALL the galaxies
in every possible universe
and the sound –
that long and anguished


will never end.


But you have my WORD
that I will NEVER
stop speaking

-Diane Caney

‘All the galaxies’ waswritten in pieces while, I was the cafe poet at Chado – The Way of Tea (run by Dr Varuni Kulasekera and Brian Ritchie) in Hobart. I performed a slightly different version of it at a pub in Hobart in 2015. I put a version on youtube, so that it might buoy up the Ballarat Survivors on their way to Rome. Also, in the hope that the Healing Centre in Ballarat becomes a source of hope, love, peace, kindness, restoration, strength, courage, and calm for all who need it– Diane Caney

Diane Caney reads ‘All the galaxies.’ Used with permission by the author.
N.B. Unfortunately, there is no visual on this recording, only audio.

Lap, lap.

Lap … lap
Goes the water on the bones
Lap … lap
The water on the bones
Lap … lap
The water on the bones
Lonely bones on a lonely beach

I read about your story
Fleeing from your country
Seeking life and hope
For your family
The young boy, only 23
Now just –lap … lap- bones on a beach

You hunted for safety
Through so many countries
And you hunted for hope
For life and for work
You got stuck in Calais
On the beaches of France
And now it’s just lap … lap, bones on the sand

You saw one more chance
For hope and for happiness
One more chance
For money, to feed
Saw it across the ocean, the channel
It didn’t look that distant
It didn’t look that deep.

So you bought a cheap wetsuit
And you bought cheap flippers
And you told your family you would see them soon
And then you set out into the cold waters
And swam for your life
Through the washing seas
Swam for your life
Through the gathering gloom.

And you kept on swimming
Who knows for how long
And somewhere you drowned
Who knows where
And somewhere you lost
The battle for freedom
And all that we know is just
Bones, on the beach.

And somebody found you
Though they weren’t looking
And somebody studied
Your bones on the beach
And they studied and searched

And hunted all over
Till finally they discovered
How you tried to swim the sea.

And all I can think of
Is your lonely body
All I can picture
Is the washing seas
And some days, the image won’t leave me
Of lap … lap
Bones on the beach

-Miriam Dale

‘Lap, lap.’ by Miriam Dale was inspired by ‘The Boys Who Could See England’, an article by Anders Fjellberg that was published in The New Statesman on 16th July 2015. Read the article here

                  Geoffrey Prince

Geoffrey Prince is a poet and long-term sufferer of mental illness who lives in the Dandenong foothills of Melbourne with his wife and Australian cattle dog. Geoffrey has several books of poetry published through Papyrus Publishing including, The glass asylum and other poems (2005) and Anthems of artspace (1998). His first book was Highly Commended for the FAW Anne Elder Award for poetry in 1994. Geoffrey was the Australian Poetry Café Poet at Abitza Café, Upwey in 2010.

Diane Caney

Diane Caney was the café poet at Chado – The Way of Tea from 2011 to 2013 which was run by Dr Varuni Kulasekera and her husband, Brian Ritchie (Violent Femmes/MONA FOMA). Diane Caney’s poems are influenced by the live music played at the café, her anger about child abuse, and her PhD thesis on intertextuality. Diane has written a book for children who have suffered abuse entitled, The Time Virus which will be launched on 11 November 2016 at Baha’i Centre of Learning for Tasmania, in Hobart. More of Diane Caney’s poems and short stories can be read at ‘over there’.

Miriam Dale

Miriam Dale is a blue-haired, MMA-fighting, theology-loving poet who lives and works in Melbourne. In between writing and working she enjoys reading Terry Pratchett, Henri Nouwen, and Vogue. Miriam Dale was an Australian Poetry Café Poet at the Brunswick Flour Mill, Melbourne from 2013 to 2014. After a successful Pozible campaign, Miriam published her first poetry collection, The Common Condition: poems and prose in January, 2014. She launched The Common Condition at the Brunswick Flour Mill during her residency there as a Café Poet.

Featured Writers Part 2: Past Australian Café Poets- Curated by Zalehah Turner
Read about the Australian Poetry Café Poet Program (2009-2014)

Zalehah Turner is a Sydney based critic, writer and poet currently completing her Bachelor of Arts in Communications majoring in writing and cultural studies at the University of Technology, Sydney. Zalehah is an Associate Editor of Rochford Street Review: https://rochfordstreetreview.com/2016/02/09/welcome-zalehah-turner-rochford-street-review-associate-editor

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