New words for Sally



Leaf litter organisms

Sally gave me the words NOW, GORGEOUS, and GAUDY. And I came up with this (rather cumbersomely-titled) poem.

Leaf litter


Far below the gorgeous blossoms of spring branches
and gaudy summer blooms —
hide in a world of golds and browns
and seed pod husks,
bits of bark and damp and dark.

Hide away.

Now take the bushland’s songs and stories
taste them, test them, tear them,
bury them,
still …
until they turn to earth.


A New Year Pirate Poem

Happy New Year to you. If you’ve just tuned in here, Poetry Tag is where Rebecca and I take turns challenging each other to include a set of words in a poem. Topic and form are the poet’s choice, but the set words must be included.

I have to admit, this is the first time since we started that I’m posting something I’m not best pleased with.  It’s my fourth attempt to use the words, and I’ve decided I just have to post something, to show that I tried, I really tried.  And to show that sometimes poems just will not behave.

The problem lies in one of the words Rebecca gave me ‘pirate’ – or, to be more accurate ‘the pirate’.  As soon as I saw that  word, I vowed that there would be no actual pirate in my poem. I would use  the pirate as a metaphor for something else. But my metaphor just would not behave, and each attempt was not only trite, but also didn’t flow as a poem.

This latest attempt presents the idea I wanted to get across – of doubt being a pirate trying to rob us of success or happiness or pleasure.  But I did want my final version to be cleverer and read less preachy. Still, time has tick-ticked by since Rebecca set the words, so I have decided to post this version, and then let it rest, in the hopes that my  subconscious treasure box will work away at what I was really trying to do once the pressure is off.

So, here’s my response to the words ‘the pirate’, ‘idle’ ‘eats’ and ‘will’. And watch out, Rebecca. You might have stumped me, but vengeance will be mine because now it’s my turn to set words for you!

New Year

A new year

Is a an uncharted sea

on which to set sail

aiming for lofty horizons.

Goals are the ship you board

hoping for treasure before year’s end.

Doubt is the pirate

that battles will

and eats



at courage

and determination

and hope

in idle moments.

Trust is the noble warrior

brandishing the cutlass

that forces the pirate

onto his own plank.

Belief is the sailor

who takes the wheel

and redirects the vessel.

Success is the ultimate goal

though it rarely looks

exactly as planned.

Sometimes the treasure is

different than imagined,

other times it lies in simply

looking back at the journey

and still others

it’s being alive to tell the tale at all.

(Copyright Sally Murphy 2018)




After a storm

Sally gave me the words CRUSH, STORM, WHEN, NO, YES and I was super slow getting this poem written. (It’s been awfully busy in my household.) But here I am! Finally!


nasturtiums photo copyright Rebecca Newman 2017After a storm, when you run through the garden,
crushed nasturtium leaves
smell strong and peppery,
snails hide under their green glowing canopy
where no-one can see.
Willy wagtails shake raindrops from feathers,
they swoop and play,
they call to each other —
Will you dance?
Will you dance?
Will you dance?

Yes! I will dance!
I will dance!
I will dance!


Postal Nonsense

Rebecca only gave me three words this time: ghost, with and global.  I wrote the three words on a stickynote and thought they would do their magic on me, worming their way into a piece of poetic brilliance – or at least a piece of poetic averageness. But nothing happened. My mind played a bit with the alliteration of global ghost, and flickered briefly to global warming and the ghosts we might become if we don’t take stronger action, but that seemed a bit dire for this blog.

So, some weeks went by and the words were still just three words. Till my son asked me whatt heyw ere and I explained that I needed to put all three in a poem. “That’s easy!” he said: “There once was a ghost/Who got some post…” His words trailed off, but my mind started, at last, to tick away. Because I’ve been working on a workshop about forced rhyme, and there was one staring me in the face. “Hmm,” i thought. “I think I can do soemthing pretty corny here.” And the res, as they say, is history.

It’s not poetic brilliance, but it is a bit of fun, and perhaps an example of what happens when you try to force rhymes to a topic. (Sarcel? Thanks for that one, Rhymezone.)

Here’s my effort:


Postal NonsenseAdvance Sage 3

Can you exchange post

With a ghost?

Write mail

To a snail?

Send a letter

To a red setter?

Or a card

To a St Bernard?

Can you write a note

To a goat?

Send a global parcel

To a hawk’s sarcel?


(You’ll want to go

And look that up).

I guess you know

The answer’s NUP.


Poem copyright Sally Murphy, 2017

Back-to-school Blues


You can see I’m a little late posting this poem. But I’m sure it’ll work just as well for starting term 4 …


The school break is over.
It’s time to prepare,
re-set the alarm clocks,
start brushing my hair.

My hat smells quite musty,
my shoes need a shine.
I can’t find my jumper —
this one isn’t mine …

I’ve got those
Term 3 back-to-school blues.

What’s this in my backpack?
My lunchbox is black.
I think it’s gone mouldy and
my drink bottle’s cracked.

Back to boring old sandwiches,
apples, (no cake).
How many sleeps
’til next holiday break?

I’ve got those …
yes I’ve got those …
I’ve really got those
Term 3 back-to-school blues.