Fractal Myth

Contemplative Poems

One Thousand Balloons.

[Michelle Chapman ©1987]
One thousand balloons are drifting and floating
One thousand balloons flying way up high
Bowing and bobbing, their colours all blending
Swaying in the sky.

A red balloon... A brilliant drop of crimson blood;
It is ambitious, rising, ascending higher -
Up, up it goes. Will it reach the moon ?
Or perish in the hot sun's fire ?

A blue balloon... Gracefully growing smaller;
Its blue is the colour of the sky or the sea -
It is a shimmering sapphire, glowing with
A chilling, ice-cold beauty.

A yellow balloon... Burning with the colour of a summer day;
Rising effortlessly, floating freely, startling in its brightness
Then - string caught, trapped, entangled in a tree
The dark green leaves, a dungeon, hiding its lightness.

Where are they going, these brilliant balloons ?
These messengers flying to far away places -
Will somebody find them, pity them, these helpless wingless birds
Bringing joy to thousands of faces ?

They come to rest, one by one,
Settling gently down like sleepy birds nesting for the night -
Crowning the pastures with glimmering jewels
As the sun turns out her light.

Thinking Prohibited.

[Michelle Chapman ©1989]
Deep in their own busy lives
the people pass by.
Here in the semblance of silence
serenely sit I.
But that's a lie. A facade of peace
hiding pandemonium.
Inside it's an electrical storm
of thoughts screaming for
A whirligig of confusion.
A merry-go-round of allusion.
This calm quiet shell ?
An illusion.

Flow of Consciousness.

[Michelle Chapman ©2001]
Pebbles polished by fast-flowing streams,
glistening through the clear water's gleam.
Some patiently choose the perfect stones,
setting their gems in gold
and discarding the dross.
Me? I throw fistfuls of shiny things
into the air
and laugh as they bounce off my brain.

Flow of Consciousness - version two.

[Michelle Chapman ©2001]
Ideas are pebbles.
Polished by fast flowing streams,
they glisten and gleam.

Poets patiently
choose the perfect stones and set
their gems in fine gold.

Me? I throw fistfuls
up in the air and laugh as
they bounce off my brain.

Flow of Consciousness - version three.

[Michelle Chapman ©2002]
Pebbles, polished by
turbulent streams,
gleam in clear water.

Some select
only perfect stones
setting gems in gold.


I store pet rocks
in a grass net.

Vanity Press.

[Michelle Chapman ©2001]
Can art survive when mass-produced?
When profit-greed our culture rules,
all creativity's reduced.
Can art survive when mass-produced?
Commercial marketing's seduced
artists, and made them feel like fools.
Can art survive when mass-produced?
When profit-greed our culture rules?

Sister Song.

[Michelle Chapman ©2001]
Simmering passions of rival siblings
Irrupt, maturing into love sincere.
Shimmering joy from God's earthly blessings,
Transcendent over life's intrusive fear.
Eternal friend of childhood memory,
Radiant friend for the future to be.

What Are Little Children Made Of?.

[Michelle Chapman ©2001]
What are little boys made of?
Snips of string and unique treasures,
Snails, lizards, frogs and feathers.
Puppy dogs with soft fluffy ears,
Tails off kites, and oil-covered gears.
That's what little boys are made of.
What are little girls made of?
Often, they're made of these things, too.

What are little girls made of?
Sugar and sweetness and smiles,
Spice, and saucy, teasing wiles.
All things lovely and rainbow bright,
Nice manners and a fairy sprite.
That's what little girls are made of.
What are little boys made of?
Often, they're made of these things, too.

What are little babies made of?
Souls, fresh and new, from God above,
Entrusted to parental care,
To guide and teach and always love,
To help grow healthy, strong and fair,
Not to ignore or push or shove,
But cherish, so precious and rare.
That's what little babies are made of.

What are little children made of?
Laughter and joy and trusting hugs,
Troubles and triumphs, large and small,
Sniffles and influenza bugs,
Learning to run instead of crawl,
Lost toys, spilt milk and broken jugs,
Fun and games and puzzles for all.
That's what little children are made of.

What are little parents made of?
Patience, courage and willing hearts,
Imagination and caring,
Expert skills in a million arts,
Bravery and hope and daring,
Endless pockets and shopping carts,
Sympathy and selfless sharing,
That's what little parents are made of.


[Michelle Chapman ©2001]
Bereft of the brilliant songs of poets,
This world would be a drab and dreary place.
Sunburst verse and scintillating sonnets,
Lovely language draped in garments of grace.

Thoughtful treasures trapped in rainbow phrases,
Crystallised moments of shimmering bliss.
Visions of nature's most vibrant phases,
Molten enchantment from word's thrilling kiss.

Fractal swirlings of empathy dancing,
Evocative flames of lyrical fire.
Epic idylls, excitement enhancing,
Endless ramifications of desire.

Emotion's spontaneous overflow
Through inspiration's iridescent glow.


[Michelle Chapman ©2002]
In mirrors
my eyes are


an other.

mocks me,

hanging on
razor wings,

she delights in
deflating dreams
with one claw,

serpentine hair
spitting venom

and her eyes...

her eyes are not sharp
her eyes are soft
~stifling as snow~

to look in her eyes

without a mirror...
without my eyes...

is to turn

to stone.


[Michelle Chapman ©2002]
holy zola
I bring you
wild turkey in a teacup
and half a cigarette.

I hope that's ok?
The instructions didn't say
how to feed a prophet...

Not that you're my first divine fool ~

more than a few have
passed past.

I held on to the one who
refused to be a guru
but gave great advice.

He stopped writing when
his books were stolen,
long before I met him.

Which is why I bring you
in a white cup
(blue birds, pagodas)
& a broken cigarette.

Make It Fresh.

[Michelle Chapman ©2002]
My poems are pretentious,
there's no escaping that.
Though I try for something different
they're mostly just old hat.

'Make it fresh' you say?
What kind of fresh?

Fresh like critics wanted
from Terence in 161 BC,
when they provoked him
to exclaim:
"Nothing in fact is ever said
which has not been
said before"? Jesus meant when
he warned against storing
new wine in old skins? Chaucer in his
House of Fame? Wordsworth and Coleridge
suspending disbelief in
the language of the common man? the Modernists exclaiming
"Make it NEW"? Hemingway
on safari, squatting over
a dead lion? Marianne Moore's
imaginary gardens with real toads? Ginsberg's eternal
conversation with himself? Coral Hull's screaming
slaughterhouse goat?

Where art thou, fresh?

Who's Afraid?

[Michelle Chapman ©2002]
All summer she was mad
- blaming herself for being ill -
while sunlight quivered like
water on the wall.

She wandered past
the unlocked gate, picked
pebbles from the river's edge,

paralyse me...

the animal that's most discussed...
eat excrete eat excrete
the animal of my disgust...

eat excrete and
I... exquisitely happy...

the lava of madness...
shoots out, shaped & final,
not in mere driblets
as sanity does...

but I must wait...
wait to touch it
without bursting into flame...

when I was young,
birds sang to me in greek;
majesty lurked,
foul-mouthed, in the azaleas...

the voices of the dead are loud.

Latham, ACT, 1976.

[Michelle Chapman ©2002]
Two and a half,
mother busy with a baby,
I went walking
through Canberra's suburbs,
stray dog for company-
shaggy breath in my hair.
Cops took turns
driving me home.
Outside Latham shops
the pharmacist grabbed me.
As a bribe to sit still
while she phoned my folks
she chose from a spinning rack
the cheapest, I s'pose.
I still remember,
sliding from cellophane,
a naked, stiff-limbed
plasticperfect female form,
brunette like my mother
and sister.
I kept Chemist Dolly for many years,
took her everywhere.
She never wore clothes.

Latham, ACT, 1979.

[Michelle Whitehead ©2006]
Six years old,
walking solitary to school,
I swept clean the sand
under trailing limbs of wattle
and bottle-brush.

Returning hours later,
I tried to read
what the trees
had written.

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