I dedicate myself to theft
stealing from conversation
serving it up without sauce

I’ll get more curious, retentive,
more listeny, more learny
more thought-full

I can’t think all the thoughts there are
but I can put them
into pixels

poem and pic by rachel mcalpine cc by 2.0

Thirteen waves: xiii.



I should be out the porthole,
surfing violet mohawks,
bursting the orange horizon.
But in this Fokker Friendship
we are dozing
over the disc of dusk towards
the cardboard box
you say is my home too
for a while
if I like.
(One eye juicing the sunset.
One eye tasselling
wigs of pingao.)

Poem and reading by Rachel McAlpine CC BY 2.0, photo by Phil Capper CC BY 2.0

Thirteen waves: xii

Australasian Gannet seen from above, photo by Avenue CC BY-SA 3.0
Australasian Gannet photo by Avenue CC BY-SA 3.0


It’s not the atmosphere
that wounds the gannet.
The air revolves in her wake,
she horns her wings,
the South Pole swivels
and gravity inflates.
The earth is an eyeball
lashed and lidded;
every stabbing shocks
the eyes that drive the beak.
The hunter, suddenly goosey,
bobs on the mound of water
that will blind her.

Poem and reading by Rachel McAlpine CC BY 2.0, photo by Avenue CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia.

Note: Gannets risk their lives when they dive. Whether they really risk losing their eyesight after repeated high speed dives, I have no idea — but that was a common belief at the time I wrote the poem around 1985. Please do correct my errors for me. And what a spectacular sight they are! 

Thirteen waves: ix.



The first penguin peels her voice,
and the shuffle inside the wall
is a field mouse
rushing an octave through.
When it snows on the mountain,
they feel like improvising.
The sea brushes our earlobes:
skeins and skeins of whisking tails
drumming with silk on the globe.

Poem and reading by Rachel McAlpine cc by 2.0, photo of Mt Taranaki by Denis Bin, CC BY-ND 2.0 via Flickr