Jenny Powell-Chalmers
New Zealand

Jenny Powell-Chalmers is the author of three books of poetry, Sweet Banana Wax Peppers and Hats (both HeadworX, 1998 and 2000 respectively) and Double Jointed (Inkweed, 2004). She is currently working as an arts co-ordinator in a Dunedin High School. She has edited a special NZ issue of the Sydney Poets Union newsletter Five Bells and has appeared in many anthologies and journals, including Another 100 Poems for Children, Sport, Poetry NZ, JAAM and Takahe, and has appeared at many literary events nationally and at the Subverse: Queensland Poetry Festival in 2001. Two new collections of her poetry have just been published: Four French Horns (HeadworX, 2004) and Locating the Madonna (Seraph Press, 2004), a collaborative work with Anna Jackson.
A Slow Fax to China

Her shadow stoops
with the ache of age
her shuffle is in the slow
time of bound feet.
She is bound for Silk
Road; the crossing of East
and West.

Her tree root hands
hold the rice paper scroll,
fingers light as leaves
curl into the calligraphy
of every character.

Her feet stop.
She can hear her name
in the fragrant air
of a lotus blossom.
She can hear her name
In a new cycle
of radiance, the scroll
settles on the road
into ancient secrets
of silk threads.

Diego Rivera Paints the Madonna of the Mirrors

In the mirror
she is mirrored
                 white Madonna
                 of the Grecian gown
                white Madonna
                of the San Angel Inn

On the canvas
her mirror face
is mirrored
              in the gold of gods
             her face turns
            from his gaze

She is his mirror,
He, her reflection.

The Sworn Affadavit

What if
God  was wrong?
What if
the book I solemnly swore
on was a myth?
What if
Adam met Eve
at a bus stop?
What if
it was snowing
and they both wore
thermal underclothes?
What if
Jesus didn’t walk on water
but skated
on a frozen lake?
What if
the crowd was hungry
after their fish
and bread?
What if
Lazarus had only
What if
they don’t believe
the truth I told?

Under the Blue Jacaranda Tree

Under the blue jacaranda
scented memories gather
in a garland of blossoms,
how still you are.

Your breath is singing
in a lost lullaby,
sighing in slow whispers
of wonder,

you hold the horizon of hope
in your hands.

What happened to you?

Once it is done,
there is no return ticket,
no tracks to follow
back to this world
but the demon doors
will be slammed shut.

There will just be
a sweet breath
whispering your lullaby,
under the blue
jacaranda tree.