Janine Fraser’s book Portraits in a Glasshouse was published by Five Islands Press, Series 10 New Poets.  She has also written numerous books for children, including the Sarindi series published by HarperCollins.  She lives in Riddells Creek, Victoria.



Red Tulips (1)


Tight brown

Fists shoved in dark

Earth pockets


Latent with

The rage of life’s

Short round


Put up their

Leather-red dooks

And deliver


A knock-out

Pummel of punches

In Spring.




Red Tulips (2)

They continue
To grow in glass

To themselves
About an inch a day

As reputation
Growing on decease.

In the mouth
Of the water jug
They pour out

The peculiars
Of their common

Voluble in
Their predicament    
As Plath––the ink-

Blot of
Their throats a dark
Puddled jotting

Last fevered
Poem got out on
A gasp

The flame
Going out in them
Putrefying water

Petal drop
Shocking as blood
On the hearth.


Remembering Stonehenge


Mid April, there is this fractal of a second

     Hand sweeping the clocks bland face,

          Through a day whirling with wind gust


Swirling the parchments of elm

     Into a mushroom circle dotting the grass

          Beneath the slow grind and twirl of


The clothes hoist hung with a rainbow

     Line of briefs, line of socks you peg in pairs,

          Stripe of shirts cuffing your cheek.


You know a mushrooms natural history––

     Science of spores dropped from the hem

          Of the circular skirt, the minute


Mycelium rippling out in the eternal

     Pattern of water disturbed by a smooth

          White stone––know the rings expansion


Is nothing more than the law

     Of urban sprawl, the vociferous animal

          Eating out its patch.  All the same,


This mythic round of pithy plinths

     Pushing up on stolid columns, is as magical

          As muttered lore of faery,


Mysterious as Stonehenge.  There

     Last year in a fine mist of the weather,

          You circled the great hewn rocks


Along the gravel path, the guide in your ear

     Making a monument of date and data,

          Dismantling the mystic.  The sky


Gave up its clouds.  Huddled under

     Your black umbrella, you surrendered

          Your ear-plugs and let the grey stones


Speak for themselves––of the ground

     They’re rooted in, the light they melt into,

          The trembling spaces between.