A Journal of poetry and kindred prose

Peter Bloxsom

is an Australian freelance writer and web developer. He has written several published books (fiction, management, and technical) as well as articles, stories, humor, reviews, and puzzles.

He only occasionally submits verse, but can recall being published in The Susquehanna Quarterly and, in 2005, winning Second Prize in the Iambs & Trochees metrical poetry competition.

Peter lives in Brisbane’s bayside area with his wife and teenage son.

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Courting the Nine

Worshipped, begged and flattered in vain, the sisters
all have spurned me. Thalia gave a chuckle;
Epic-voiced Calliope scorned me grandly;
Clio was past it.

“No,” said grave Melpomene, looking tragic.
“Sorry!” said Terpsichore, trilling, whirling.
Starry-eyed Urania, spacy, snubbed me.
Lyric Euterpe

scanned me, found me wanting in style or polish.
Miming Polyhymnia sent me reeling.
Last but never least comes love’s own Erato,
always my favourite

even though she tends to be fickle, teasing—
even though I never succeeded with her.
Can’t I now desist from this supplicating,
cancel the courting?

Can’t I make an end of this unproductive,
drawn-out siege? While even a wife of flesh will
cease some day to stir to your kiss, preferring
sleep as her lover,

still you pleased her once or, it might be, often.
Harder is the lash of the muses, stingy
with their favours; I should forswear them now and
turn to some other.

Yet the sweetest apple may ripen slowly,
prized by one who stoically waits in patience.
So I’ll try once more with those artful ladies,
hopeful as ever.


The Descent

Two mountaineers were roped together. One
fell, and dangled over a sheer crevasse.
His friend hung grimly on above, though torn,
knowing that both would tumble down unless
he cut the rope. With one decisive slash
he sent his comrade down the frozen crag—
surely a fatal fall—and saved himself.
Days on, the “dead” man met him with a hug.

Now in his troubled dreams the two descend
again and yet again that icy slope;
only it’s he who falls and should be dead,
the other who must choose, with knife in hand.
Would he have willed his friend to cut the rope—
and met him like a brother if he had?

(Inspired by the true story told in Touching the Void by the man who fell and survived,
and by the documentary film of the same name.)



Ask the man who can stay his hand
when horseflies hover,
and ask the woman too cool to summon
love for her lover:
Must we pretend to the very end
and run for cover
when soon in the garden hollyhocks harden
and summer is over?