The Poet at Play 2 – ‘Dream’ in many languages

I was writing a poem today, and wanted to name a character.

For inspiration I looked at an old poem of mine, and borrowed its structure, but then the poem soon had a life of its own.  Sorry can’t tell you which one, as it is top secret.

I decided that I wanted the character’s name to be significant to the topic.

Perhaps ‘Dream’ in another language would be appropriate, so I found a website to help me.

It has so many beautiful sounding words for DREAM.

Here are some of the words for dream that also seem to me like wonderful names.

There is something so musical about them.

You can find the language they are from by visiting the link  IN DIFFERENT LANGUAGES


The other thing that I find inspires poems are things of beauty I see, like the tree image shared for this blog.

I have written a few poems based on it, but what would you write about this tree?

It has an interesting true story, in that is was destroyed by a cyclone.

Yet, this image will always fill me with joy and make me want to dance.

But it is also a tree of my imagination now and a place where an adventure might begin.

The tree is a place for stories of the make believe.


(c) Words and Image June Perkins


Poetry Journal

13754269_10208841819975717_2804688684460520908_n.jpgToday I am beginning to keep a poetry journal again.

It’s a way to unpack the day and approach things with creativity and imagination -a sheltered place for daily writing exercises and ideas.

Today’s topics Pokemon Go and Ladders of Music.

Also I’m aiming to read a new poet a day.

The pictured journal was made by my daughter for Mother’s Day.

I want to hand write as well as type some of my poetry journal.

I wrote this for my facebook status statement today.  I think it needs to go in my poetry journal as something to keep reflecting on.

“Music – a ladder for the soul, a ladder to optimism, a ladder to a smile..”

Do you keep a poetry journal?


Children’s Book Week – Australia – Brisbane Event


Join members of the Brisbane Illustrators Group and Write Links at the State Library of Queensland for a series of specially curated activities for children, young people and their families.

In the Knowledge Walk, help create characters and images for two stories written especially for the occasion by Queensland writers.

In the Parlour, there will be illustrators demonstrating their skills using both traditional and digital methods, including Lucia Masciullo, award winning illustrator of Come Down Cat! (CBCA Honour Book and Prime Minister Award shortlisted, 2012), Family Forest (CBCA shortlist 2011) and the successful series Our Australian Girl.

Join the fun in The Corner with storytelling sessions by local picture book authors Andrew King and Peter Taylor who will bring their picture books to life with the help of special guests Bear Bot, and Creepy Crocodile!.

The BIG draw is presented by Book Links, the Qld Branch of the Children’s Book Council of Australia and State Library of Queensland.

There’s also workshops for adults, on writing and illustrating picture books.


Click here to the download links to attend the adult workshops.

Daily Poetry/Crafted Poetry


I have noticed that presently I have four main modes of writing poetry, each with their strengths and weaknesses.

1.  Journalling poems that free flow and spill onto the page often with emotion and passion.

2.  Crafted/Technique poems that come from setting myself a challenge in technique or a set form but still primarily writing what comes immediately to mind.

3.  Playful/ Experimental poems these poems start as games.  To my surprise they often lead to narrative poems, or seem to come from daily life and can turn into a journalled experience.

4.  Narrative poems/works in series which can use any of the above techniques.  In this approach I might take an idea of a loss of a child and create characters to tell a story. I might decide to have a water diviner and a king and see what happens to them as they talk about each other and the problems of their world.

The strength of  journalling is that it enables you to tap into your inner thoughts and flow without stopping yourself.  Journalling poems can be written everyday.

The strength of crafting in a technique or set form is that you know the shape and structure of your poem and it disciplines an idea you may have had emerge in journalling.  Discipline in writing poetry often strengthens it!  These poems may take longer to write than journalled ones but they are well worth the effort.  You might even start writing daily haiku verses if it’s your free flow identity.

I love to take an idea developed in journalling and crafting and then create something more playful and original.  I will often employ creative game ideas, like mixing genres, or found poems to see what discoveries I can make.  This is ideal for days where I feel I have nothing to say.  I find out that I do.

I find that extending a narrative and trying any of the approaches allows me to create a world in my poems, similar to that a novelist does.  I find a technique that might suit a particular character.  I am enjoying these sorts of poems more and more.  I write these when I feel the next chapter of a poetry narrative is ready.  I am thinking of writing outlines for these now.

As for weaknesses journalling poems can be without enough structure and are not always the best ones to share publicly, crafted poems can become too constricting if you are working in a form that doesn’t suit you or the topic.

Playful and experimental poems can be too playful and not focus enough on content if you take it too far, and as for narrative poems, it’s finding the best approach for a particular narrative, or a particular character that can be challenging.

I’ve decided whilst I like all of these techniques, it is now time to find some poetry buddies and add to all of the above, consult poetry critique buddies and rewrite.  I especially need to find poetry buddies who write a lot of poetry and know a lot about it so that they can challenge me to push my ability in this form, like a running coach does for a runner.

Perhaps, more on poetry writing buddies in future posts.

How do you approach writing poetry?

Cyclone List Poem

school yard tree - straight after Yasi
Tree near our house, lifted by the cyclone – June

The Cyclone Survival Kit
bottled water
some real space cash in case the bank machines out
some filling but light food
maybe some tins and a tin opener if they don’t have those lids that open instantly
a sleeping bag or better still a swag
a small pillow
a torch and spare batteries
some matches
urgent medications
a wind up lamp
some tins
a first aid kit
a safety drill
a knowledge of when to move and not move
a radio
some batteries
a mobile phone
a charger
a tablet
identity papers and bank cards
a water proof bag to carry it all in
commonsense courage
calming love
family unity
friends who you might stay with to go through it
a plan for the pets
a favourite thing of each family member if all is lost
lots of patience
phone numbers written on paper
names of friends who have a generator
memories of last time you went through a cyclone
that you survived.

(ii) Cyclone Yasi

The last time we went through a cyclone
we taped windows
put mattresses against windows
had a theory about the safest room in the house
a phone to use sparingly
children calming guinea pigs and bird
ringing panicking relatives
scary radio and for a while television news
which thankfully cut out when the power went
a disappearing pet bird
rounding up other birds for safety
too many carry bags
lit candles
our windows smashed
doors blown open
carried guitars our eldest son treasured
left my skin medication in the fridge
no time to carry our pets when we had to leave
a sense of direction
little time to make important decisions
difficult decisions
our unity
neighbours who would take us in
a hard laundry floor to squeeze onto
thankfulness when the children slept

(c) June Perkins

So today is list poem day.  For inspiration for this one I read a few online articles on the subject as well as Sidman’s prompt.

What is a List Poem?  The main ingredients for a list poem are that it should be thoughtful, have a beginning and an end and something compelling about the list that makes you want to read it.

Poems worth reading before doing this exercises are Christopher Smart’s poem ‘Jubilate Agno’  and the humourous list poems  ‘Sick’ by Shel Silverstein.

My list poem topic – cyclones.

The New Century is Found

Art by ZedettaArt – song lyric in cut out shape

Star Song

The new century promises
the eternity of song

holding binoculars
in every mood.

a bunch of flitting fireflies
liveth here.

A telescope can show you
songs I’ve heard.

Beyond the asteroid  belt
lie songs like grass.

The giver said
to be a backyard sky watcher
simply go outdoors
and look up to
see creation’s music.

Come and see the road map
locate the Southern cross.

Constellations can be
bright and easy to find
melodies of earth and sky.

Crowds and cities pass away
in journeys from star to star.

(c) June Perkins


Today I created a found poem,  using some of the Jigsaw poem technique.  With the Jigsaw poem Sidman uses a found poem and reshapes the poem.

With the found poem any document that is not a poem is used to construct a poem.  It can be anything from a list, postcard, letter to graffiti, travel guide  and history book.  These are mined for interesting images and words which are thrown up into the air and used to inspire a new work.  It is a collage of words found in other texts.  You can of course add more of your own words to make it all make sense.

I am going to pluck words and ideas out of two contrasting books: An Astronomy  guidebook and The Collected Poetry of John Clare.

I have picked them because of John Clare’s attention to small details – and the astronomy books sweep of the universe.

Looking closer the poem I want to be inspired by is John Clare’s Poem -‘Songs Eternity’, which does have a slightly expansive feel to it, and any section of Robert Burham’s, Astronomy (Home Reference Library) that is interesting.

This is a fun writing game to play.  I found using two texts more inspiring than using a single one.  I wasn’t that keen to write about snow and winter as in the exercise of Sidman.

Ducky, light bulbs and having fun with the pictorial fonts

2012-08-02 2012-08-02 001 043
One of my true love’s nicknames is ‘Ducky’

So today I am attempting an ideaogram.  I didn’t want to do the Sidman exercise just as it was suggested  because I have written a poem like that before, so instead I came up with a variation on her exercise.

For this one I went looking for some further inspiration and found some in googling images.  It seemed obvious one way to write something like this might be to play with the ideogrammatic fonts on my computer.  But how to play with them?  I used the geotype font and the following images came up when I typed my name, june: Light bulb, Duck, Globe or Sign and a Hand.  I thought why not use them as inspiration. That’s pretty random isn’t it, but here goes.

For ‘Ducky’

I look for my light bulb moment
Married to a man whose nickame is Ducky (because he impersonates Donald Duck)
We are world citizens by nature
Who after twenty years or more still remember to walk hand in hand

(c) June Perkins

Let me know if you try this, now I’m off to experiment with some other fonts.  Is this a true ideogram, well I really don’t care, it’s fun.  Pictorial font fun.  Another variation of this would be to then extend the metaphors and expand the piece.

(c) June Perkins


Shades of moonlight on moss singing

Enchanting mermaid’s tail flicking colours of
fairytale and dreaming

Taste of Mission Beach rainforest tinted with sky

Textures of ocean seaweed woven into waves
of legend and changelings.

a colour inbetween
not quite green and not quite blue.

A mermaid not quite girl and
not quite mermaid.


Imagination wrapped in the sky of
summertime’s embrace.

A girl on a rock writing of memory
and dancing
moonlight blue and
emerald green.

(c) June Perkins

Using colour poem prompt from Joyce Sidman, this is my colour, synesthesia, poem.


Pink Paisley Dress

Pink Paisley Summer Dress

The best thing is material so thin
prevents me boiling
inside my skin
so I embrace the summertime.

No, the best thing is  doesn’t weigh me down
makes me feel like I have hips to sway
and time to play in the
dancing ocean.

No, the best thing is mix of pinks and purples
weaving memories of sunsets
in special places
with the ones I love.

No the best thing is pencil thin straps
so my arms can move freely
so my thoughts move freely.

No, the  absolute best thing is
so comfortable pretty paisley soft,
yet functional,
makes me feel like writing.

(c) June Perkins


I thought I would try some ideas for poetry from Joyce Sidman’s website .
Why not just begin from the top and work my way down.
The first suggestion being the best thing poem.
I’ll follow her instructions the first time and then maybe play with the idea for a second object in a couple of days.
She has twenty ideas so that should (if I do 2 poems) in each suggested idea give me 40 poems.
I’ll come back to Jackson and Miranda’s story every now and then, maybe even apply some of these poetry ideas there.
Sound like fun to you, why not join in and work through the ideas as well.

Art singing and dancing in the Streets

One way to find a poem is to go on the lookout for street art . . .

Pearlz Dreaming

2014-05-07 2014-05-10 001 008 June Perkins – photograph of power box Brisbane

Art in the city, not shut away in galleries, but everywhere you look.
It’s on power boxes, telegraph poles, railway station walls.
climbs onto walls and alleyways.
chalked, painted, sprayed, and poster papered.

It’s murals with messages from Martin Luther King
everytime I used to catch the bus in Marrickville
I’d see his face with an Aboriginal flag behind it.

It’s pieces that make you think, smile, wonder remember nature.
Driving past telegraph poles to the Gold Coast
we catch nature wrapping itself around telegraph poles,
birds and trees just in case we don’t see the real
they’re there in art.
I would love to go back and photograph these artistic poles.

I think of the artists commissioned or perhaps underground ones.
What are their names?
Are their signatures there?
Is there a guidebook somewhere to tell me the story of the…

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