Name: David Barnes
country : Australia
I began writing at 18 years of age when I took up folk guitar,
performing at folk centers around main-land Australia and Tasmania.
I worked as a carpenter in Melbourne, leaving for the bush settling in Perth 1972.
I became a full-time writer poet in 1996.
I have been an active Internet poet, and have been published in Australia and
at many online poetry venues in America, England and France.
I was first published in the Paris/Atlantic,a literary journal in 2001
with further poetry published in Anthologies released in 2001 & 2002 by Empowa Inc.
here in Western Australia.Further work has been published in Firefly Magazine
and in the Poets Hall of Fame Anthology released late 2001.
My poetry has been acccepted for an Anthology Number ( ii ) with its release in Austin U.S.A., 2003.
I was featured poet in the September Issue of Poetic Voices 2003.
In addition to writing I have been the publisher/editor of Poetry Downunder 1998-2002,
an online poetry site now known as Numbat Poetry Journal.
established January 2003
Storms in Childhood
We are neat rows
of hard steel framed beds
weight of bodies in the dark,
heads turned sideways
installed for the night.
torchlight; body counts,
darkness hangs, numbers,
we closed off
shaped sanctuary walls
where nothing could
Outside the thick bluestone walls
exposed branches sway like whips,
lash the air,
and the shriek
of the wind penetrates
through the gaps in the dormitory
echos, a voice,
the pious priest administering
the thick lash,
in tempo, bruising,
the dreadful sound suppressed, drowned
by the noise of the storm.
In night’s shrill cry
large dark hands lift to winds,
wielded somber, menacing.
pale pallor wept within the dormitory;
outside snarled savage anger.
His voice ominous,
tangible, sliced through night,
frayed whipped stripped bare,
rises to follow behind the priest.
irritable priestly hands stir air;
furious night whistles tempestuous sacraments,
flashes on the window,
the priest, hand on the door instructs,
as jagged surges flare against
the black frame.
In the room, centered -
two aged wooden chairs pushed together,
inflexible, stark in the yellow glow
my bed tonight.
I would be left alone,
cold seeping through frayed pajamas
alone in wretchedness, held by the night.
He would have it so.
how this bruising pulsates.
It aches in me.
Choked by furies, thunder, lightening,
quivering fear weaves to a fleshed heart,
through the long night.
In the morning,
gusty winds blow, I look at mountain walls
through frosty panes, alone,
cut off from streets I have not walked.
In shadows, dawn awakens;
rich shallow fog veils remnants of night;
the sun captured, blunted by overcast skies.
I turn away.
A sea of faces lift,
gaze toward me, beds stripped, undressed,
lights glow; we shiver in the drafty room;
floorboards creak, footsteps approach, and
a new priest enters, scowls.
‘Line up! Showers! Move!’
rolls over flesh; life is a sluice of sensations,
tepid water varies, hot and cold,
chilly air slaps you, crimson chilblains sting.
Showered, I grab a towel, dry myself,
sprint to the spartan dormitory.
It’s a frenzied hive,
industriously preparing for inspection;
at the foot of our beds, eyes front, we stand,
avoid glancing at his scrutiny,
locker tidy; bedcovers straight-neat...strip it again?
How many times must we make a bed?
we await his instructions.
‘Chapel, ten minutes.’
In single file,
I walked along glistening floorboards;
young hands continually toil, burnish them,
and the old stairwell,
down to the basement chapel.
It’s beautiful; leadlight windows,
ground level color stunted by first light.
The altar is draped in purity;
multi-hued wall tapestries hang,
and cover arched-brickwork.
we take our places.
The priest stood, somber...
in white-gold fluid garments, a crucifix before him,
his heavy hands lift in supplication before the altar—
higher, his voice rises in tempo, as he prays
for our salvation.
I did not know his god.
I did not know his god.
In the beginning, I did not know.
As a child
I never knew the moon
that birthed me,
or the storm that
Sometimes I saw them
figments in my child’s mind;
dreams which caused
… And now
I look at pictures
sent by a brother that I never
fragments from my unfilled
It is all
I had ever known.