In the Bleak Midwinter (Terrible Poetry Competition)


In the Bleak Midwinter



It’s the bleak midwinter

cold winds are blowing

snow is falling, everyone

is miserable and frozen –

but not me


here in the southern hemisphere

it’s summer and I’m in short shorts

and a close fitting tank top

sitting out in the hot sun

getting tanned


and I think of you all up there

in the frozen north

cold and miserable

and I smile at the thought of you –

because I am an arsehole.



Joanne Fisher


This was written for Chelsea Owens’s Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest #54. This weeks theme was The Bleak Midwinter.


In other news: I haven’t been online much lately. The WiFi where I live has been turned off as everyone is moving out (including myself once I find somewhere), and I’m relying on some free data my phone company has provided which will run out in a few days…. I’m praying that some kind-hearted soul might top my phone up before then, but my hopes aren’t high…



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©2020 Joanne Fisher



Telemachus Schemes, The Return/2 (poem)

Jan Styka – Telemachus Invites Theoclymenus to His Boat



Telemachus Schemes


I planned to go & find him –

in my dreams a goddess

with long dark hair &

ivory skin faintly whispered

that he would return


I traveled but found

no word of him, just assurances

so I pace the walls of our palace

while fat old men

drink our wine

eat our food

lounge around

planning to covet my mother

in my father’s house


they pay no attention to me

I wander unnoticed

& unchecked


my mother hides behind walls

picking & unpicking at embroidery

there is nothing to do

but wait


my father left me for the wars

I was too young to join

now that I’m older

my mother seems unsure

of my intentions


every day I look

to the fathomless sea hoping

to see my father’s ship

negotiating the waves


one day I will find him

my time will come



Joanne Fisher



This is part two of my Odyssey Sequence.

Part One – Penelope Waits



This first appeared on my blog in February 2018.



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©2020 Joanne Fisher

Penelope Waits, The Return/1 (poem)

Penelope and the Suitors by John William Waterhouse


Penelope Waits


why do I constantly

look out our window

hoping to see your ship

returning to its harbour?


why do I listen for the sound

of your footsteps echoing

up to our bedchamber?


but I know you too well


you’ve gone after

your own desires

& I’m the spider

who waits quietly


the thing with journeys

is that they spiral inwards

to your own dark heart


should you return

you’ll find me here

spinning a web

to ensnare you


& every night I unpick it

while hungry men wait below


none of them

have your eyes

or your smell


all the heroes returned

from the wars,

except you


long have I dreamed

of your dark hair, tanned skin,

& sinewy form to emerge

out of the frothing sea-water


& into my arms


but I know you too well

you will come home only

when you are tired

of your journeys


your betrayals

your lies


& after so many threads

I’m tired of waiting

for our lives to begin again


is there anything worth


between us?



Joanne Fisher



First published in JAAM.

This poem first appeared on my blog in February 2018.


This is the first part of a sequence which retells the Odyssey through the eyes of various characters in it. When I was child, the Odyssey was read to me (a prose version intended for children), so it’s a story I’ve been familiar with for most of my life.


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©2020 Joanne Fisher

The Direction of the Road (poem)



The Direction of the Road

(for Steph)


we follow the road

not exactly knowing

where it leads us …



to black tunnels rolling into

the strata of the earths crust


to weaving black hawks

tearing up the blue sky


the wind tousling your

marram grass hair


now you are drumming

your bone fingers

on a red formica table

nervous energy

you say

as a thin clear light

dances through the café

we discuss a thing

called love & other



perhaps we are lost


in these deep sea-green



lost like poems


unable to rise

out of sleep


Joanne Fisher


This was first published in Takahe.


This poem first appeared on this blog in February 2018.



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©2020 Joanne Fisher

Lewis Pass (poem)

Photograph of Lewis pass by Ron Laughlin

Lewis Pass



you & I

lying together in the darkness

individually wrapped

in our sleeping bags

the heavy rain


on the corrugated roof

of our tramping hut

today we stomped over

river flats & paddocks


in some parallel dimension

where the stars are lanterns

fixed in the sky by angels &

the sun orbits the earth

after swapping stories

of past lovers

we reached across the spaces

between our distant bodies

& held on to one another’s hands

in the darkness

through the night

the rain falling

you & I

strangers to each other’s


the rain exploding

above our heads

& slowly filling

the river beyond



Joanne Fisher



This is from when I went tramping along the St James Walkway with a friend just prior to Christmas one year. I found it disconcerting to be in the bush for five days and then reemerge into civilisation on Christmas Eve.


This was originally posted on my blog in January 2018.


It was first published in The Christchurch Press.



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©2019 Joanne Fisher