Stuart Barnes


Nursery Rhyme

              FIRST GREY

The moon’s cow boomer-
angs: lingua salmistrata
blanches a ginger.


               STOCK FOOTAGE

A white scoop elopes
with a black paella pan:
the moon Oes an ode.



Masquerading cats
fiddle with Les Pâtes la Lune:
dogs lose their marbles.



i.m. Nancy Barnes

we smoothed the blooms enclosing diaphanous
atmospheres, scrambling tangerine globes
in the home that seemed miles & miles
away from my home away from Hobart

cackling about this & that, we pipped
through waist-high pasture, tin pail crooning
between us, one hand small & white
on its handle, the other smaller, browning

we embellished the pail
with shelled sweet peas &
sidesplitting broad beans, nacreous
Christmas beetles

cousins blew
air cells of future selves
with slug guns, Ataris & moon-
shine; we dyed & Bostiked personas

we transformed faults
‘Googies!’ shook the kitchen
your buttered soldiers
served alongside molten

cups      fifteen years
we walked
on them around my father’s
father, your husband

we crushed them with blue fists
that white & brown
confetti we sprinkled
through his glasshouse



Stuart Barnes’ The Staysails (UQP, 2016) won the 2015 Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize. He is poetry editor of Tincture Journal and tweets as @StuartABarnes.

Barnes writes: “‘Nursery Rhyme’ was occasioned by photographing the moon and rereading Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber. ‘eggshells’ was an exercise in rhyme and the first complete poem about my paternal grandmother; central are the eggs we collected from her and my grandfather’s henhouse.”