“Rocking Horse,” “Returning” and “Earth to Man” are from A Deep Fear of Trains which can be ordered online in Paperback, CD or pdf format from Interactive Press




For more poetry from Australia

Sara Moss Sara Moss

Rocking Horse

He wants to play
with iron and fire
but you don't know the rules
and he won't tell you
he just keeps on playing
'till your dolls fall
their clothing torn
their faces overpainted
their limbs twisted
and pulled apart
you hate his game
his toys spread out
in your playroom
he says he has permission
and he just

he has another toy

a rocking horse

the wood splintered
lips drawn back

he wants to rock you
backward and forward

forward and backward

There are no screams
in the house of loss and haunted dreams

where the rocking horse
never stops rocking

in a room where your dolls lie            broken


Gulls cry in the morning
salt grazes my tongue.

You never know
when you have everything

when health courses
through blood and tissue

when you are one
with the lapping tide.

It is later
when you've given up
even the dream of returning

made the bleak landscape
of city street your home

matched your soul
with the brick spaces
that count each square meter

measured your dreams
in similar shapes –

This one is money

and this one
is all the things
our money can buy.

But it can't buy back
the dream of returning

to the place where his motor
churned up clean water

it no longer exists
in any place but memory.

Earth to Man

You will find me
in your own dream.

my reed thin cry.

Your mouth opens wide
but no bass issues.

I am the hollow felt
beneath the ribs

you try to fill
with junk culture.

You feel me going –
already gone.

You remain ghosts
from a once bright

though insubstantial

With the stage laid to waste –
the mind closes.

Life Signs

They're scrubbing
the flightless birds
their wings struck with oil

as the ship heaves
its metal bowels
into a pristine sea.

To a world
it failed to deliver
its cargo of energy.

The breathing machine
rises and falls
a monitor bleeps its rhythm
and we wait
with our hearts in our laps.

A beak opens and closes

a soul that knew
the free air current



Before us

       Swirling gas

       BIG BANG

Amoeba        floating

       From this

               flowed everything

Still we look

       for a better miracle.

One day

       our mind

               will hold

                      the secret.

Tongues will melt

        Scales shine        as


       we swim

               free of the line.

Freedom Poem

(Federal election night, Australia, 2001)

Tonight I'm in
a thin mood.

I could shave my head
slip into khaki

dance my protest
across the streets of this city

if only
my broken body
could release me.

So I'm sending my children out
to the healthy and well-dressed
to speak about poverty and illness...

To the politicians
to plead for justice...

To the economists
to touch the souls of the heartless...

To the Aborigines
to say sorry and ask for forgiveness...

To the refugees
with a welcome notice...

I'm sending my children out
to wrap the world
in the word...love...

to mend
our broken sky.