Everyone has problems

By Vita Forest

They listen holding breath

to a tale about a convict boy

No older than they

Crawling up a smouldering chimney

Into blackness

                                           Into nightmare

                                                          Scraping off the soot

Feet calloused and cut

Stomach growling

Eyes squinting into the

grimy yellow smog of daylight

waiting for the day

when he’ll be too big to shimmy

and crawl and worm his way through

the secret innards of other people’s houses

Til he’s stuck

til he’s sold again

til he’s out of luck

We close that book

Let out our breath

and open another

And they complain

about the tracing

and the posture

and the pain

in their fingers from holding

the pencil

Handwriting is hard

Almost as hard as being a chimney sweep in eighteenth century London? I suggest

They stare and nod

Yes.

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Tai-chi and Tennis rackets

By Vita Forest

Leap from the bed

Roll up the blinds

Release the felines into the day

 

Opening shutters and children’s doors

Shadowed by jogging cats

Tails held high

 

While crossing the drawbridge with my daughter

We stop at the scratch! scratch!

from the place where the moat would be

If we had one

 

Instead, a brush turkey in the garden bed

Sorting twigs and leaves and straw

Raking claws, giving me pause

On the way to the garage

 

Rousing the engine

rolling up the drive

Hovering, humming, hanging for my son

He tears down the path

 

Barefoot in Winter

Carrying bag and shoes and

That navy jacket he just will not wear in the flat

To save it from the white fur of the cat

The bane of his existence.

 

We roll through streets

Talking music and homework and dance and

plans for the weekend

 

Toes are pressed into shoes

Arms are threaded into jackets

Pockets are checked for keys and phones and

I plan the evening meal

In my head.

 

They leap out at the station

And I wish for a red light

So I might stop a moment

At the railway

 

Long enough to see

The elderly couple

in tracksuits and fleecy vests

Dancing

 

As they practise

Tai chi with tennis rackets

Balls tossed over shoulders

caught again in unison

 

Swinging back and forth

Again and again

On the well-oiled tracks

Of their knees.

Shelly Beach

By Vita Forest

Lying on the surface

While striped fish streak through my fingers

And white rays shimmy down into the sand

And kelp wrings forwards and back on the tide

Hiding and revealing the groper

And its widening and shrinking jaw

Leaning on the wooden rail

While heavy clouds squat on the horizon

And the sky loses itself in the sea

And the procession of paddlers follow the leader

Tracing a curve around the shoreline

And swerve to avoid the snorkelers engrossed in the sights below.

This week

By Vita Forest

From Castle Cove towards Middle Cove

This week I have been

WRITING Everyday more geckos

READING The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (just delightful!)

GETTING to school early for our performance group’s big audition (you may be interested to know that we had Ivan of Will you take the risk?  fame read half the introduction (the other girl reader was back too) – so they both got their moment of “Fame and Glory” and both did a fabulous job!)

FINDING out later in the week that we were successful and will be performing at the Sydney Opera House later in the year!

The Succulent Garden with the Sydney skyline behind

SKETCHING in the sunshine in the Succulent Garden in the Royal Botanical Gardens

The Succulent Garden, Royal Botanical Gardens, Sydney

WALKING in the bush of Castle Cove with Saskia and Rowdy as we continue our exploration of this beautiful part of Sydney

A fallen bird’s nest amongst the ferns, Castle Cove

Everyday more geckos

By Vita Forest

For the last two weeks

A strange phenomena

A gang of geckos in my classroom.

They march up the walls

Keeping watch over the rubbish bin.

They peer at the whiteboard

Their sticky toes hugging the frame.

Some particularly curious ones watch me work at my computer

They must tell their friends –

Everyday more geckos.

And on the back wall by a Boy table and under the Indigenous language map

An army has appeared

Everyday more geckos

One clings to the clock and listens to its tock

They crawl up the windows

Every size, every colour, every pattern

When will it end?

Everyday more geckos.

We need that girl

By Vita Forest


While carrying a bag of cat litter through the supermarket

I was startled when three pigeons swooped up

the Jams and Spreads Aisle

Over the Fruit and Veg

And across to the Frozen Food section.

 

Three birds!

In this underground supermarket!

Taking off and flying over the shelves in formation

As if migrating together over rows of tall buildings

All the same height.

 

And I thought

How did they get in?

And I thought

How will they get out?

 

And I thought

We need that girl from school

That wide-eyed uncertain girl

peering sideways, talking hesitantly

But she certainly knew what to do

That time on playground duty when a group of breathless girls

Ran to report

A mynah bird in the classroom!

It couldn’t get out!

 

I advised opening blinds and windows

And carefully herding it toward freedom.

But this girl, this uncertain girl

Marched into the classroom

Swooped down on the anxious mynah

Cradled it in her hands

Walked determinedly outside

And released it.

“Wow!” I thought

(“She has chickens,” I was told.)

 

But today

we need that girl again.

In the underground supermarket

Can someone make the announcement on the loudspeaker please?

She is needed in Aisle 12

Near the Frozen Fruit.