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Oct 2018 - Year 20 - Issue 5

ISSN 1755-9715

Selected Poems

These poems are from It Only Takes One Hand to Write a Poem.  Rod Gibson was an Australian performance poet, playwright and storyteller who grew up in Sydney but lived much of his adult life in the Northern Rivers district of New South Wales. He won numerous prizes for his work, was widely published and was affectionately known as ‘The Poet Lorikeet of the North’.

The Northern Rivers/North Coast area of NSW is known for its creative communities and Rod produced much of his work there. His obituary in the Sydney Morning Herald states that ‘his muse, schizophrenia, provided inspiration and insight that enabled him to see and express life in ways others could not’. He died of cancer in 2011. The poems were kindly selected by his sister, Janet Gibson.

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Fishermen, Brunswick Heads

These fishermen posted between sea and sky,

on a long wall of jumbled rocks

audaciously standing up to the ocean-

their rods are like thin fingers against the grey horizon, and their lines

are dragging the murky depths,

but might as well be

fishing the blue above

for fine fillets of celestial music,

or satanic whisperings, or molten cherubim

with wings on fire. Their God

dwells out there somewhere, the greedy Fish King

who lures people to their doom,

past the white breakers on the bar,

and devours them beyond recognition.


If you ask these fishermen their names

they would not tell you; if you looked

for their faces you would not find them,

for the wind has long since claimed them.

The day is overcast. It is cold,

early winter. I am on

the beach watching the fishermen.

They stand. They stand.


It’s a Long Way To The Shop If...

I was heading

down the street

for a sausage roll

with sauce

at the local bakery,

when I remembered

I had a frozen

Sargent’s meat pie

In the fridge

at home. Should I

turn around

and have that

instead? I parked

under a tree.

The sun went down,

it was a long, cold night,


to make up

my mind.

Birds twittered

in the morning,

the local bakery


and I

finally decided.

When I got home

my wife

thought I’d been

with another woman,

and left for good.

I tried to kiss her

goodbye, but I still had

tomato sauce

on my moustache.

It only goes

to show, it’s a long way

to the shop

if you want a sausage roll. *

*a reference to the AC/DC song ‘It’s a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll’



The wind blows the trees about

as if they were in a wrestling bout


I stand here in my blue pyjamas

feeding meat to my pet piranhas


The world is spinning slowly I’m told

the Sahara is hot, the South Pole is cold


I think I might be mentally ill.

I decide to give the piranhas a thrill


I place my left hand in the water,

the room echoes with my laughter


They strip my hand to the bone- it

only takes one hand to write a poem.

  • Selected Poems
    Rod Gibson, Australia

  • More Selected Poems of Love Liberation & Beauty
    George Patterson, US