Tag: Poem

When I Venture

If I fail
With courage
I learn

If I succeed
With humility
I grow

As I learn and grow
With generosity
I contribute

Martinos @ 2018

On Funicular Stairs

I climbed down through coastal scrub

Sandstone nub and turkey scratch,

Purposefully counted into the hundreds

And then became distracted for caution

And for possible misstep. On safe arrival

The foreshore held its mysteries

Within wash and cliff and ancient sands,

I did not inquire or pause to study, yet

committed and turned again to climb

knowing afore each rise I would by needs,



Martinos © 2018

Of Cynicism

the voice of cynicism
with imperious wisdom
informed by circumstances past
where through defeated expectation, corrupted naivety
perhaps wounded vulnerability has been
disappointed on innumerable occasions

and chanting incessantly
in a cavernous register
“there is no hope – there is no point”
and louder
“there is no hope – there is no point”
and louder still
“there is no hope – there is no point”

would have you adopt this epigram as your own
in the belief
that if you do
the prophecy of self determined hopelessness
will be affirmed and validated

its unspoken fear of course is that you will leave it there
abandoned and alone in the cavern of its own arrogant despair

so here’s an idea
surprise it
take it with you
out of the pit
take it for a bicycle ride on the beach at low tide
hump it in a ruck-sack up a rocky ridge
swim with it in a lake with a sandy bottom and willow banks
invite it to the funniest Robin Williams film you can think of
above all else, let it experience your unconditional positive regard

offering counsel
in all the tones and voices
of unrelenting love

MChallis @ 2104

The Answer

For Toke

This answer
This search
This elusive entity upon which knowledge attempts to triumph
as a theist reaching epiphany.

This in all of us.

This beast hungering for
answers to questions the natural world never needs to ask.

In seeking the meaning of things
in seeking the meaning of meaning.
This endless relentless pursuit
to capture the ultimate metaphor
upon which somehow everything might turn,
and somehow be held or be understood.

And then within all the pontificating
The blunt fact slaps, that:
There can be no return
to the cocoon
to the cradle
to the womb
to re-curl magically into unknowing pre-form.

And eventually the wisdom to see
and perhaps only after exhaustion,
in the nothing more for it,
in the I’ve got nothing left, of it,
to cease the relentless pursuit,

to live longer in the question

And quite simply
To find the wisdom
To live within what is

and what is becoming.


c. 2013 MChallis


To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure [enjoy] the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded! ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Mountain

cloud shadow mountain
darkening an empty sky
the lightning shatters

Cold Comfort

Rust, that un-used plough;
vigilant in the swallowing green
shares the fugue
of its various machinery.

In tangible mist
milk-cans emptied flood the ground,
cows are sent back to pasture,
fence posts made ready to burn,
in an afflicted winter
burning cold in the comfort of sorrow.

If an old crow happens at the cloudless
this is more omen
for a shrinking market.
And when the shoulders of my father
farming this winter
are no longer brave enough to carry
the sky
I carry his gun to the gate;
we walk a silent trail
to wait for an enemy
that never comes.

The cold sun; a bright nail
pinning us, the blue weight
pressing horizons from reach.

Father searches this expanse,
his hands extend
to something…
but I see
they only move
to wave away flies.

And if there is any comfort…
my hand in his
is cold this winter.

Music in the Magic

music in the magic in the mystery
of softness in the footsteps
that your voice takes
to the place within my heart
brings a secret fascination
for intrigue’s imagination
where enchantment chords a yearning
willing obstacles to part
yet when music is discordant
I in truth cannot confide
fear comes overpowering
for the little one who hides
Yet with childish laughter promising
the joy of trusting smiles
I wonder for the soft heart
set free from all denials
I wonder for the joy of things
as they bubble as they soar
and I wonder for the song of love
on the path of evermore
music in the magic in the mystery
of softness in the footsteps
that your voice takes
to the place within my heart

From His Wilderness

The way each hill runs down
the way tree lines suspend the turbulence

My father’s arms are in these hills
taking timber from the gully

The crest of his hat starts at the waterfall
his toes peep through lantana

His advice trickles into pools from the hollows;
his boots peeled open, dry before the fire

Lizards bask like heat-curled nails in the sun,
billy smoke whispers its tale through the canopy

Through the slow step of a century
he has turned one-eyed squinting toward the sun

The scrape of sharpening-stone on an ancient scythe
sets my teeth on edge

The whistle to the bullock team calls me back
but it’s too late, my ears have gathered for another harvest

I am already removed from his wilderness.



A broken spiral-shell
A stream of moonlight through the
imperfect aperture – the delicate intention.

The sure clutch of a seagull that turns this
in the foam of low tide. And
the sandy-wind turning out the dried-up husks of baby turtles,
once clutched surely.


A fisher-man turns,
squinting from the moon to the sun.
Down through his nets are nests of old fish tales
and an old wife waiting for his return.
Ever awatch for a silver sprinkle under the wave-crest, and for
a basket of fat herring
to be thumped proudly on the table-top.


A crane steps lightly on its mirror behind the sea,
fishes the land locked pocket with a spear in his beak.
An albatross,
no time for gulls or cranes and less for yearning nets, encircles.
The fisherman is for his pipe.
Fishing in his pocket for a pouch of backy.

For waves.

For wind.

And for silver.

Martin Challis © 2009

The Gentleness of Contemplation

Listening to the first awareness of morning
I sense the kind of clarity elusive
at other times of day.
She is still, a singular breath, formless,
offering insight into the endlessness
of something pure.
Yet she moves away as thoughts come:
those dissenting armies that tramp in
to involve me in the containment of opposites.
She will not be held in place by argument.
I long for her when she leaves.
She has opened up a space in me
And I’ve glimpsed a purpose.
My intention is to attend to her throughout the day.
To be the gardener who loves the flower.
That she might touch me when she will
That she mind find me, often
In the gentleness of contemplation.

Martin Challis © 2009

In the Dream

In the dream of death

where I surrender

the fall to earth completes me

and I learn

the last breath

precedes the first.


In the dream of life when I have given names to all I fear

I call to them, and in so doing

begin to dance with my enemies

embracing  them

as worthy opponents

as teachers

who bring me fortune

Martinos © 2009- 2017

© 2019 martin challis

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑