I had a wonderful experience last week. My poem was given a Commendation by none other than Mark Tredinnick, who was judging on behalf of the Society of Women Writers NSW. Tredinnick is a bright star in the firmament of Australian Poetry. This, then would be excitement enough.



What really made the event though was the generosity he displayed. A public speaker occupies a privileged role, and it is a role so often abused . Not here. He spent time with the winning poems, sharing with us the minutiae of what he considered praiseworthy. He also described his ‘near encounter’ with the late, great Seamus Heaney at the recent Oxford Writers’ Festival, and even read some stanzas from Heaney’s Squarings.

Finally he expressed admiration for the winning works in a way I found so inspiring. He lifted my spirits and encouraged me to write; to think; to expand and to celebrate.

Find out more about Mark Tredinnick here


A beautiful poem of Mark’s:



Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo at Dusk

 We sense and we experience that we are eternal

—Spinoza, Ethics, Part V


The white bird high in the crown of the elm is a better idea

Than any you’ve had all day; a smarter prospect than her name


Implies. She’s a flag of erotic surrender, an outbreak of love

In the middle of June. Behind her, the whole sky is a ghost, hunched


Inside his famous grey raincoat, and a rainbow hangs from his pocket

Like an old joke. Dusk swells and strands the tree in halogen floods.


You, at your window, are the bird’s entire audience, and she knows it,

And she drops from the treetops and flies at you as if she doesn’t mean


To miss—until just metres from the glass she departs hysterically,

From the script, and does. The world works best when it misses


Its mark. Good ideas rush you, but never quite arrive, leaving room

For doubt and time for questions. A life lived there is a life in love: desire,


Growing wise in the attempt, flies from how things look to what they are

Or might be yet, and your body, losing its footing, becomes your soul again.


Mark’s poem is published in The Wonder Book.


My poem:


Start me up; untuck,

drive mad to sweet spot.

War-smoke; wild – eyed

convince me I’m alive.


I’m foreign to your dark heart;

can’t see where foot falls

but old graffito indicates

some way; some gate.


Thunder up, rain down;

All dive and drink deep.

Earth me soft; cradle clean,

grow me, grow me green.