Anne Casey – Season’s Greetings

Anne Casey LEP&W V1 Dec 2022

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume One December 2022.

Season’s Greetings, poems by Anne Casey.

Season’s greetings

We have left
the wettest November on record,
crossed the invisible threshold of December.

Small blunt-edged stars
string plastic jollity from
the frangipani—still
refusing to bloom.
The flamingo lily
has sprung a single
shrivelled bloodshot aureole,
the first Christmas beetle
belly-up in a puddle
at its feet.

In a rare outburst yesterday, the dog
launched feet-first yelping at the fence.
A crash high in the palm while I ventured
to investigate, loyal hound quivering at my shin,
as a massive snake clattered through fronds
to the ground, arrow head held high,
olive back zigzagging over sandstone—
a flash of yellow underbelly
as it vanished through
a gap in the fence.

An hour after, the dog
had returned outside:
nose twitching skyward,
dropping to the landing site
then mapping the winding trail
to the snake’s exit point. Over and over,
his small head followed the same course
while he stood planted under the palm.
Next day, he was there replaying it again.

I might talk of portents,
how we are stuck on repeat
as omicron cases double every two days,
our Health Minister warning of blistering records
to come—our ‘other’ home, family again on the wrong side
of a closed border, but for now, I have turned my gaze
to a rare break—blue sky spilling sunlight, branches thick
with shining green stars, wattles decked in golden garlands,
where the first cicadas of summer are chirping
their song of freedom from the bogged earth.

Conversations with my father

The dying sun is sketching
the neighbour’s trees
in charcoal on our bedroom wall

in a last surge of pale amber
as I follow my father between
pots of gold, purple, fuchsia

and flaming orange,
the small brown wren hopping
ahead, his ancient
ginger cat grumbling
over his missing breakfast,

sunlight flaring between
fistfuls of vigorous foliage
as he shows me his bounty of strawberries—
Never mind the earwigs
he is saying as he plucks a pocketful for Catriona
up the road: the children love them
with a sprinkle of sugar—
and They keep the slugs at bay, aphids too,

the earwigs I realise as he ambles
to the tangle of blackcurrant bush,
draws back the emerald curtain
to reveal clusters of darkening orbs—
the blackbirds are busy looting
further in, he tells me:
Let them have their fill,
drawing me past the swell
of wild roses as I lean in to inhale
the scent of nothing,
gasp obligingly at the grace
-ful sweep of his ivory lilies:
I’ll bring some to your mother
when I go to weed the grave,

as I dutifully inspect the ripening apricots,
grapes thronging the shrivelling vines,
chirp brightly as I find myself


from room to room in our dark house
with him
beaming from my palm.

The stillness of dying

hangs over every room in the house.
Outside, a thousand ponderous drops
glint from rain-bloated foliage,
the monstera deep green now,
fronds poised like over-sized ears.

My son’s beloved
spiny leaf insect
has been losing her grip
for a week, unwilling to leave
his warm palm when
he gently lifts her back
into the lower branches,
where she will come
to no harm each time she falls—
until now, when we lay her
on a small bed of leaves
in the moist dirt,
the dark orbs of her eyes
following us, her pearly
peach cheeks,
apricot abdomen
and coral petal-wings
vividly belying
her decline.

Since early morning,
her sister has come to cling
an inch above her
downcast face,
front legs joined around
her bowed head, to linger
all day and through the night:
a hint there may be a whole world
of attachment beyond
our narrow understanding.

We will plant her under the Eucalypt
whose wide sweeping arms still
feed her small brood,
and leave
with the mystery
of her
and all
she left us.

© Anne Casey

A native of west Clare in Ireland, Anne Casey is an award-winning Sydney-based poet/writer and author of five poetry collections. A journalist, magazine editor, media communications director and legal author for 30 years holding senior positions in government and the private sector, Anne’s writing is widely published and anthologised, ranking in leading national daily newspaper, The Irish Times’ Most Read. She has won literary prizes in Ireland, the UK, the USA, Canada, Hong Kong, India and Australia, most recently American Writers Review 2021, the Henry Lawson Poetry Prize 2022 and iWoman Global Award for Literature. She has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize and shortlisted for the Red Room Poetry Fellowship.

Senior Poetry Editor of Other Terrain and Backstory literary journals (Swinburne University) from 2017 to 2020, Anne has served on numerous literary advisory boards and as Vice President of Voices of Women arts alliance. She is a founding member of the Prankqueans, a women’s arts collective, twice commended in NSW Parliament for their cultural contribution in Australia. Anne is the recipient of an Australian Government scholarship and a bursary for her PhD in Creative Writing at UTS where she researches and teaches.    @1annecasey

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