Swings & Roundabouts

Len Mosley composed and performed all the music which inspired the words. Len’s kind-of-jazzy track has a great pop-with-swing feel that reminded me of Dire Straits. The swing vibe and his request to ‘write something nostalgic’ led to a train of thought about a childhood memory I’d started to write about a while back. I’d been stuck because it was too literal (it’s all true) to be a poem and not long enough to be a short story.

After I’ve listened to it a few times it seems the music and the lyric are made for each other. The guitar break in the middle section has a pretty, innocent sound which suggested simple pleasures to me and Len’s keyboard work even reminds me a bit of fairground music.

Thanks Len for another great collaboration from 7700 km away!


The Finger


The Finger.

Originally written as why I didn’t go to mike ladd’s 50th birthday party, a kind of ‘the dog ate my homework’ letter of apology to my Max-Mo mate, poet Mike Ladd. The story’s 100% true. I still lack feeling (and always will) in the finger tip, making certain guitar chords and shakuhachi notes difficult. My carelessness also resulted in missing a really good party by all accounts. But quite a decent poem came out of it… Thanks to Anandamine for the cool music & production.






Why I missed Mike Ladd’s 50th Birthday Party.


The tractor-mower hits a stump on the slope and

flips in a second. Thrown off, earphones ripped from

the iPod when Sergio is between mas que na and da.


Then an adrenalin-fuelled leap to avoid

being crushed between tractor and post

and trailing fingers go thump in the blades.


When the eyes see the end of the finger hanging,

a flap of mincemeat, a second thump of the heart

orchestral stab in a horror movie soundtrack.


The other hand squeezes

mashed flesh to stem the flow.


The drive to Flinders Medical Centre, cold sweat

dripping into eyes, blood dripping on gumboots,

willing myself to breathe slowly. Pain like hot needles.


Triage, grass-clippings on the ER floor

Calming pulse, x-rays. The matter-of-fact

Egyptian surgeon with French accent.


At first my eyes clamp shut but

he works for almost an hour reconnecting

nerves, tissues and finally skin.


I watch him fascinated as he reconstructs

the end of my ring finger,


a busted raw sausage held together

with fine blue thread.


© rob walker, 2011.


Originally published as why I missed Mike Ladd’s 50th birthday party

in Metabolism: Australian Poetry Members Anthology, an e-journal released in early 2012


ISBN: 978-0-9871-7650-9 Dewey Number: A821.3



wandering life’s beach

Wandering by Robwalkerpoet by leonjw

Attribution Noncommercial  (3.0) Creative Commons License
A new interpretation of my poem wandering.(Click on “Wandering” above to hear it.)
Thanks Leon & ccmixter.
You can browse other recent audio versions of my work HERE.


life’s beach

we collect stones named hurt


we swallow these bitter lumps

or keep them in plastic shopping bags in the shed


like the seashells we never look at again

or hide them under a lake to


retrieve at our lowest  ebb

and throw them at each other


© rob walker 2005




A reflection on the notion of Hurt and our obsession with collecting.


This poem has only ever seen the light of day on a US poetry website called Plum Ruby Review. (Vol II Issue1 Summer 2005.)



Toshi’s wrinkles, the noh mask and the haiku


At a time when I was busy with exams at school a few weeks ago and there wasn’t much time to squeeze in any writing, it was particularly gratifying to get a little bit of recognition for a poem I’d written in the ancient castle town of Sasayama back in March. Yoko had taken us to a tiny museum of ancient wooden noh masks and I was drawn to one which had an uncanny resemblance to my friend Toshi. Later in a souvenir shop there was a little post box inviting people to submit haiku so I scribbled one out and put it in. (We’d also seen these invitations to the public and haiku letter-boxes in the other castle-town of Matsuyama.) Months later I get a nice packet of Japanese green tea and a letter from Sasayama thanking me for my contribution and a printed version of a poem which would be a mystery to most gaijin without the wordy preceding preamble!




Toshi’s laugh wrinkles

carved into Nikko’s Noh mask

six hundred years since













a cup

I Ain’t, I Ain’t a Cup by KungFuFrijters

Listen HERE





A cup

is always weakest at the handle

A cup is not a bouncing ball

A cup is a physically handicapped teapot


A cup is not the best seat in the house

A cup is half a bra

A cup is not an anorexic toilet bowl


A cup is an upwardly mobile mug

A cup is not prepared to take the rap

about that slip

twixt it

and the lip


A cup is the runt of the Crockery Family

A cup is not considering elopement with the dish (or the spoon)


A cup is far from happy when it runneth over

A cup is not enough for the caffeine addict.


A cup is a glass      unclear

of its purpose



© rob walker 2011



First published in Illya’s Honey (US)

Dallas Poets Community

Vol 18, No. 2 ISSN 1527-7798

(Spring/ Summer 2012)

Thanks ccmixter, Kung Fu and featured artists Speck, mikhalt, Puie and squidfeatures for your creative input.