Poem a Day for April – continued

I’ve committed to writing a poem a day for the month of April as part of National Poetry Writing Month.


7th April

About a year ago, I read a great book about the Ern Malley affair, by Michael Heyward. You can read about it at:
The Ern Malley Affair

The striking portrait of Ern was shown in the Art Gallery of South Australia, a few months later. This is my recollection of standing in front of the painting, for quite a long time. The “Ethel” referred to, was the mythical sister of the mythical Ern.

Standing in front of Sydney Nolan’s Ern Malley

Ern in slouch hat
right rib cage bared
tongue hanging out
claws mark his right cheek
eyes of blue
eyes of a dead man
staring as if over half moon glasses
jaundiced skin
army fatigues
teeth bared in agony
left breast pocket like a sealed envelope
hiding a letter from Ethel

6th April

I want your life …

I want your life to be a poem
not too much structure
or predictability
or repetition
feel free to free verse
you can skip the rhyme if you like
and the reason is not all that important either

I want your life to be a painting
lots of colour and action
not too abstract but not too classical
oils or watercolours
coloured crayons can look pretty good
pencil and charcoal are fine too
don’t worry about where you hang it
as long as its appreciated

I want your life to be a song
hitting the high notes as much as the low ones
personally I find bass as resonant as soprano
rock, hip hop, opera, jazz
just sing it as best you can
with all your heart and soul
to people who matter


5th April

This is a bit weird. Inspired by the Charles Bukowski line “Love is a Dog from Hell”.

Love is a Dog from Hell

Love is a dog from Hell

all eager

drooling energy

hot breathed, fetid

lolling tongued

bounding over

bowling over

any obstacle


going for the vitals

sinking its teeth

into a warm body

heart first

toying  with

its stricken victim


briefly sated

it loses the taste

for this particular flesh

moves on in search

of fresh prey.


All poems copyright Mike Hopkins 2012

12 thoughts on “Poem a Day for April – continued

  1. don’t know the Bukpwski poem but I like the canine personification of this which says quite a lot about love reminiscent of this wonderful piece:

    Love is a rebellious bird
    that nothing can tame …..

    hey Mike I’ve rewritten the opening of Bent inspired by your comment on the word ‘bent’ itself; if you get a chance drop by and let me know what you think

    • I don’t think you’d like Bukowski’s one John – pretty hard core, I’m not even keen on it myself, just found the line very memorable.

      Glad my “Bent” comments gave you some food for thought.

  2. Is that dog’s name Animus or Anima?
    …though a little on the cynical side, I still like this poem because it is totally accurate! And I like your drooly metaphor, that too is Spot on.

    • Don’t know the dog’s name I’m afraid.

      Yes, the poem is certainly not anywhere near the romantic end of the spectrum. But with Bukowski as the starting point, it would take a huge shift to get to romance!

      Perhaps the dog’s name was Spot.

  3. A juicy little piece, MH!

    I like the play on words at the end, ‘…fresh prey’ (pray). Definitely conjures up the hound of hell. Actually it conjures up the hound that bit Robert a couple of years ago!

    I’ve only just posted my daily offering… wasn’t feeling inspired at all!

  4. Yaay, well done Mike.

    I was a bit worried that you weren’t going to post yesterday’s but now I know about your technical difficulties, so I’m relieved!

    ‘I want your life’ is lovely; I love the sentiments, the metaphors of poems, paintings and songs for life. And you’ve pulled it off without falling into cliché.

    The Ern Malley piece is good. Nice and succinct, and a bit of intrigue, referring to the envelope in the pocket. I haven’t seen the portrait but you’ve arranged it so I don’t need to.

    Well done, enjoy the rest of the evening, and let’s see how Sunday inspires us! 😉

  5. Hi again MH,

    s it happens I have a copy of the Ern Malley poems, with an introduction by Max Harris. It’s a 1974 Adelaide Festival of Arts special edition – and it’s even signed by Max Harris himself! 🙂

      • Hmmm, can’t remember exactly where I got it, must have been at some second-hand book shop in Adelaide. I paid the princely sum of $20 for it.

        I have quite a few interesting books actually. In a crazy little bookshop in North Sydney I came across a copy of Seamus Heaney’s ‘North’ (1975 first edition) signed by him. And I paid…. $10! Bargain!

        Remind me to tell you about my Charles Dickens book sometime.

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