Fractal Myth

Photographic Poems

These poems were written to accompany photos of Australian flora and fauna. The photographs were taken by my father, Arthur D. Chapman. The poems showcase a wide variety of forms, including sonnets, fibonacci and haiku.

'Red Algae'

[Michelle Whitehead ©2006]
Undersea fractal,
delicate dance of holdfast,
severed, sundrying.

Red Algae


[Michelle Whitehead ©2006]
Brother Tree Frog ~
no saintly caress needed
to remind you of your innate glory.
Clad in emerald splendour
you squat in plump contentment,
a closer relationship with
Sister Mosquito.


Eucalypt bark

[Michelle Whitehead ©2007]
They'll put on party frocks of red and gold,
adorn their limbs in glorious array.
A gaudy show of colour, one last fling,
then, naked, sleep away the winter cold.
In slumber deep they'll dream that soon they may
awaken to the gentle kiss of spring.

But in the bush, that's not how things are done.
Bold eucalypts embrace the winter sun.

She'll swell her trunk and split her skin, unfold
the pearly wood beneath. She'll curl and shred
the dangling, tattered ribbons of the old.
In stormy gales, she'll toss her heavy head.
Where others lose their leaves, she'll keep her hold.
This eucalypt will shed her bark instead!

Eucalypt bark


[Michelle Whitehead ©2007]
tight furled
whorling curled
geometric world
uncoiling mysteries beyond
truth beauty unfolding behold golden spirals turn.

Fern frond

Fantail on Fence

[Michelle Whitehead ©2007]
New songlines stretch across an ancient land -
no sacred trails recorded in the stone,
no tales of dreaming written in the sand,
but tight strung wire announcing "this I own!
This property is under my command!"

No more the faithful quester's quiet tread
will trace creation's map in dots and string
bright beads of waterholes on story's thread,
ancestral spirits teaching through their prayer.

Corroboree of breezes left to sing
the ceremonial rules of 'taking care';
to strum the fence wires, humming as they play
for tiny feathers flitting light as air;
to wonder why the elders went away...

Fantail on Fence

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

[Michelle Whitehead ©2007]
In bright treetops white cockatoos screech scorn,
unheeding, scatter debris as we feed.
Our cacophonic chorus shreds the dawn.

We're raucous hostage-takers of the morn
demanding tribute - ripened fruit and seed.
In bright treetops white cockatoos screech scorn.

Is wattle scarce? Then feast on wheat and corn.
Whatever is in season suits our need.
Our cacophonic chorus shreds the dawn.

Get up, and feast! Come rend with beak and horny
claw. The time of plenty's here indeed!
In bright treetops white cockatoos screech scorn.

The spoilers soon will leave our chicks forlorn,
will satisfy with sharpened steal their greed.
Our cacophonic chorus shreds the dawn.

We'll strut and preen on monocultured lawn,
indomitable, the sulphur-crested breed.
In bright treetops white cockatoos screech scorn.
Our cacophonic chorus shreds the dawn.

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

Masked Lapwing Nest

[Michelle Whitehead ©2007]
Cupped hollow of grass and lichen,
bracken and bark,

Fragile curve of shell and spirit,
speckled, mottled,

Secret growth of bone and feather,
eggs of the masked

Masked Lapwing Nest

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