Colleen Duncan

As a child I was always reading, starting with books from the wonderful mobile library that visited my western Sydney suburb. I started writing, early, with poems and stories published in magazines and newspapers. As a founding member of the Kitchen Table Poets, some of my poems have been published in our collection, Tangents. Together with the other KTPs, I organise and read at poetry events on the coast.

I love to write intimately about the small dramas I observe in my world – birds, animals, spiders and insects. I have a great curiosity for story, and draw on memory, relationships and events to explore the nature of human interactions and motives.

In 2012 I was awarded a Varuna fellowship to develop a collection of memoir poems.

I currently run a graphic design and editorial business and am a writer and editor for magazines and corporate clients, including South Coast Style. Since 1997, I have published an online arts magazine artsrush.

Beginner’s mind

in this mysterious alliance you turn
and till the soil mark   the skin of your hands
with earth   invoke the miracle of growth
offer what you have to grace and gladden the ground
so time and season will remember the secret of seed
uncurling in its dark home

you’re suspended in the clarity of a placid bay
saltwater rises and falls against your skin
shoals of transparent fish encircle you
with the message of water   the moving shoreline stretches
broad strokes of darks and lights
with long wings brushing the air an eagle navigates the sky

you know if your hand could touch
the substance of soul it would feel like skin on skin
solace and elation in the heat and deceit of desire
craving still you stroke
it into being on the downy crowns of newborn babies
in the comfort of skin you are consoled

stand in a rain that glazes your skin like dew
see the horizon blur in a margin of silver and grey
breath beating   you move to the rim where ground
submits to sea and sky   go first
on your knees then prone gaze over the edge
on this salted day remember the rapture of air