That Day

That day when we ran into
watch tv
the black and white of
Sesame St
now full colour

was jump up and down on the couch

That day when someone looked at
me and said
you can’t talk to me
you are not my friend

was tears.

That day when my friend
made a necklace for me out
of fimo and it was frangipanis

the past was lost
and part of me was healed.

That day when someone tried
to break into our house
and our friends arrived
before the police did
and stayed to make us tea
when the intruder was taken away

was scarier than a cyclone
and preparation.

That day when I found out
I could write and research
the rest of a history story
I had been waiting to do so for
twenty years

was a story saying
I bless you
to share me.

That day I told my story
about Yasi
to help others
I began to let it go.

(c) June Perkins


Cyclone Inspired Poetry 3

If Glass Could Talk

for Jacque

If only all the tiny shards of glass
bottle brown
wine green
yellow and purple orchid swirls
could talk.

What would they say
if fragments realigned
knit themselves back together
like broken bones entwined in casts
and heroes walked?

What if the paralyzed
could miracle embrace
pain and grief
trauma and loss
till they walked with stars?

I breathe out Vincent’s starry night
from living room wall
to outside door
then coffee table book on my floor
I wonder – would he obsess about lost socks
from cyclone’s past?


(c) June Perkins, Words and Image

Cyclone Inspired Poetry 2

by June Perkins

What Would Emily Say?

The creek is still here
skeleton bush returns bit by bit
but the swinging tree by the waterhole
is gone.

The tiny blue trimmed butterflies
hide with the dandelions
gold and brown ones nestle
deep into the green grass
capturing them with my camera
leaves them free
to fly.

Why do some children take red nets
and break wings of such beauty?
Why can’t they let them be?

Two friends at a round table
discussing Emily Dickinson
and how she had to speak to others
from another room.

She needed so much room
to write her words but
still she hid them away.

Butterflies hiding in the grass
sing of Emily and wonder
What would she have made of cyclones?

(c) Words and Images by June Perkins

By June Perkins

Cyclone Inspired Poetry 1

Feluga after cyclone Yasi – by June Perkins

After Yasi

He said, ‘You are not out of the ordinary if you feel a little apathy.’

She said, ‘We’re still sleeping on our veranda. It’s so cold.’

He said, ‘Scaffolding arrived on Saturday mornings well before breakfast,’ then yawned.

She said, ‘Will we really have to leave?’

He said, ‘Let’s build our lives again.’

She said, ‘I will sing ballads by the sea,’ as she strummed her guitar.

He said, ‘Let’s salvage and rebuild.’

She said, ‘Will you ring the insurance?’

He said, ‘Can I have a cuppa first?’

She said, ‘I’ll see all our memory moments every time we see this farewell couch.’

He said, ‘Let’s give out medals.’

She said, ‘So many quiet heroes.’

He said, ‘Banana prices are too high.’

She said, ‘I’m going to meditate.’

He said, ‘Are you off to yoga?’

She said, ‘I’m going to see our daughter’

He said, ‘The papers say we’ll nearly all be home by Christmas?’

She said, ‘Just as well.’

He said, ‘Yes just in time for cyclone season, I wouldn’t want to be in a dongah for another one of those.’

They sighed. They hoped. They dreamed.
The sun rose.

She said, ‘I can almost breathe.’

He said, ‘I know just what you mean.’

Then they heard a strong wind.
For a moment it scared them.

The next day butterflies returned.
She said, ‘I’ll paint butterflies on our old roof.’

It was then they knew the secret of insight.

(c) Image and Words June Perkins


Cyclone Lam

Sneaking in like a thief in the night
masked because you came to somewhere
more remote
not one to draw attention to yourself
because you picked
on people
who are already so far away from everyone
it’s easy for the media
to forget them.

Histories hidden
need to be told
but things happening now
still become hidden history
in a nation too accustomed
to forgetting
convinced she’s a sleeping beauty
and yet sometimes
she’s a sleeping monster.

And just when you think the corner’s turned
well cyclones remind you that the
ink on the changing of the laws
has barely dried

so that’s when the keyboard angels
have to come out and
community correspondents
are the ones who’ll
sound the burglar
tap, tap, tap
remember the Northern Territory
they had a cyclone too.

(c) June Perkins 25/02/2015

For More on Cyclone Lam

Messages to Cyclone Marcia

Marcia, oh Marcia
some panic at the torment you could cause,
but I think you’re just a little sister to
some brothers called Larry and Yasi,
and you might throw a tanty and cause some havoc
but you’re a little sister,
and that makes me relieved.

Marcia, oh Marcia,
stop deciding to get bossy
tough, bigger, fiercer.
Let’s just get this straight.
You don’t need to become a big sister.
I think category 2 was quite enough.
You don’t need to become 3
– seriously the smaller you are the better.
There are so many advantages.
Why not even become a 1.

Marcia, oh Marcia
just remember to not cause too much
damage or disruption as mortals
we just can’t put up with too much of it
although we have proven capacity
we’d rather concentrate on fixing
the problems we create
without having to deal with you.

Marcia, oh Marcia.

Typical, you’re just not listening Marcia.

Isn’t that just the thing that tantruming toddlers
do right at the checkout
where the sweets used to be strategically placed.

Category 4 – Now I’m telling you that is just not on.

You can huff and puff and blow everyone’s houses inside out
sure, but do you really need to do that.

I mean there must be better things for you to do.
There is a lovely ocean view somewhere
without many people around. hint, hint…

Now I don’t want you getting any ideas about heading to
any vulnerable islands, or any other places
not keen for your arrival.

Just go and blow yourself out.
Go on – I dare you.

(c) June Perkins


Links – Cyclone Marcia .


This poem is featured in After Yasi, Finding the Smile Within.  

The blog hop tour of this ebook is about to take place.

Box painted by Barbara Baker Johns

There’s a lady with coloured birds
who knows how to breathe
long and deep
from head to toe
all through her body.

She told me it’s easy to take the
thoughts and put them aside
good or indifferent, stressed or
restless and
just breathe

in and out watching the breath
aware of the presence
that keeps us alive
taking in the oxygen
forgetting all else but this

She tells us not to sleep
as we become aware of each toe
and each part of our hand

And our chests rising and falling
our thoughts are not welling up stillness
except for the breath.

But someone is snoring because
she has become so calm
but that is alright too
as she is free for a moment

from the broken tarp rooves
wind gusts
insurance companies
and all that interrupts
the breath

And she breathes…

In goes the pain
but out comes a dream
a dream of a calm sea
and a green rainforest
but she must let go even of this
future dream
and breathe.

Sinking in as she leans
on a chair and feels all the tension
drift away
fall away and she can fly
in a way
she can swim in a way

With the breath . . .

By June Perkins

Best comments for each blog will be given a PRIZE, either a free copy of the ebook or a choice of a signed print of one of the photographs from the book. Would absolutely love it if you retweet, reblog and share this post – and the blog hop posts, to all your friends.
The After Yasi Blog Tour includes visits to:
Jan 27   (Tuesday)  ABC Open  (guest blog, June Perkins, storytelling tips)
Jan 27   Karen Tyrrell
Jan 28 (Wednesday)  Dimity Powell (interview)
Jan 29 (Thursday) Charmaine Clancy (guest blog)
Jan 30  (Friday) Michele D’Acosta
Jan 30 Jedda Bradley  – (interview)
Jan 31 (Saturday) Carol Campbell  (review)
Jan 31  (Saturday) Gail Kavanagh  (review)
Feb 1 (Sunday) Owen Allen (focus Dance)
Feb 2  Ali Stegert (Monday)
Feb 3   Melinda Irvine
Feb 3   Wrap up and thankyou blog from June
You can find sample pages of the ebook here:
More on the book at After Yasi 
You are welcome to attend from wherever you are in the world -the online launch – February 3rd
See the facebook page: The Launch Link: Program being prepared.
*This schedule is still subject to  minor changes but I will post any changes closer to lift off.

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.