Congratulations to Orbis Quarterly International Literary Journal and Editor Carole Baldock. The 200th issue has just arrived. It is a bumper bundle and I look forward to getting stuck in.

Orbis is not just a poetry magazine, it is an international community of poets: each issue carries Lines on lines – brief communications from readers and I particularly like the Readers’ Award. Each issue readers can nominate up to four contributors whose work most appeals. A sum of money goes to the poem(s) that get the most votes and a similar amount is split between the runners-up. I find that I read each poem or prose piece with more attention – to have a rationale for my choices and votes.

I appreciate that my work has been featured in orbis three times. Below are two poems which featured most recently.

Credit: Steven Hill via Pixabay

The fire in Sydney

We’ve been out in the harbour
to get our Lifeboat Certificate.
The only woman, too feeble to row,
I had to steer the lifeboat
alongside SS Oronsay. First time
I didn’t manage to line it up.
Passengers lean over the railings,
watch us circle for a second attempt.

A fire on board has cut the electricity.
Our lifeboat cannot be winched back up.
The small, wizened Australian examiner
stares straight ahead. A passing ferry hoots.
From the galley portholes drifts
the smell of freshly baked bread.
The ferry hoots again. We dare not wave.
We don’t know yet if we’ve passed.

The last dogs

are running along the flood line.
Visitors are leaving for home, vacating the boarding houses; hotels.
A few people sit outside their huts: Parnassia, Shangri-La, Paradise;
grand names for a row of painted wooden boxes
which will be taken apart, then taken away at the end of the season.
The last dogs of the day are running along the flood line.
Gulls are scattering. It’s still warm. Somebody is singing a Beatles song.

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