Graham Catt


Bio: I am a South Australian writer of poetry, short stories and children's fiction. My work has been published in numerous magazines and journals around Australia, and has been broadcast on radio. I have also been widely published on the World Wide Web in such e-zines as The 2River View (US), Carve Magazine (US), Exquisite Corpse (US), The Danforth Review (Canada), Limestone Magazine (UK) and Southern Ocean Review (NZ). I am a member of Adelaide's long established Friendly Street Poets, where I read regularly. My first collection of poems, entitled "Shooting Stars", was published by Ginninderra Press in 2001.

The Wisdom Of Insects

a breeze
brought it to my door

finger-hooks clinging to brick
alien eyes following every move 

what must I look like to a mantis?
a big pink blur? a tree with no leaves?

it clambers up the branch of my arm

all elbows and needles, scissors and knees
a delicate monster, an intricate machine

I want to ask
which star system are you from?
which mad scientist wished you into being?

but the mantis ignores me
meditates upon deeper questions
dances to a beat I cannot hear

and I get the impression that even if it could
the creature would not speak to me

that I am not prepared for the wisdom of insects

with a sudden leap from the cliff of my chin
the mantis becomes a forest sprite, a little green imp

climbs into a sky of vines

transforms itself into leaf and twig

Maps Of Leaf And Stone

I found a leaf
on the forest floor
marked by a strange calligraphy
dots, curls, hooks, arrows

was it the poetry of an ant
or a love letter from flower to bee?

I found sheets of bark
strewn about a clearing
each one another page
in a tree's autobiography

the forest was a library of such stories

I found maps of leaf and stone

archipelagoes of moss, lichen islands
soft escarpments of yellow fungi

I could only guess at the landscape of such countries
and where they might be found

and on the underside of a granite slab
I found the map of a green continent

my finger traced a coastline of green
I imagined its wide green beaches
green waves upon a green shore

one day
I would go there

The Yellow Balloon

I saw the yellow balloon
crossing the highway
bobbing over/under speeding cars
the balloon was fearless

I saw the yellow balloon
sailing down the river
chasing fish/scaring ducks
I'm sure I saw it smile

I saw the yellow balloon
stranded at the top of a tree
a crowd gathering beneath
there was a crying child

and a man with a ladder
but the balloon broke free
soared away above our heads
I'm sure I heard it squeal

I saw the yellow balloon
browsing in the supermarket
it chose a girl in a yellow dress
later, I saw them outside

the yellow balloon dragging
the little girl by the hand
lifting her, ever so slightly, into the air
both of them laughing

Notes From The Zoo

the woman in the cafeteria
buys cigarettes, a pop dog
and a toy koala at half-price

the youth in baggy shorts
makes beaver jokes
his friend flicks twigs at the hippo

the father imitates a lion's roar
eager to impress his daughter
but the child in the stroller is asleep

bored with empty cages
the man with a video camera
films a small boy running in circles

the girl in a boob-tube
gossips on her mobile
the macaw looks on with interest

two children fight over a bag of nuts
their monkey-like screams echo
across the African Savanna

at the marmoset enclosure
a man says to his son
look at that stupid face

from where I am standing
I can only see the man's reflection
- teeth bared, brow furrowed
grinning in fear