Two poems from ‘Sparrow’

That’s Ervin, second from the right

Old Mrs Szabo

Old Mrs Szabo
used to give me cakes
when I was a child
and here she was
on Szegedi Utca
tearing the skin
from the corpse
of a KGB man
with her fingernails.

The White Coat

When the soldiers came to the hospital
I had just carried an injured man in.
The doctor put a white coat on me.
‘See to this equipment, Doctor,’ he said.

So I was pretending to adjust
a hanging bag of blood
with its little knobs and tubes
when the soldiers passed me by
without seeing my freedom fighter’s boots.


From: Sparrow: Poems of a Refugee by Belinda Broughton

So different aren’t they, these two poems: revenge, kindness, fear, bravery — humanity. They are from during the 1956 Hungarian Uprising but he even manages to tell some funny stories about that time.


Belinda Broughton: Sparrow, Poems of a RefugeeSparrow: Poems of a Refugee is available from:
Ginninderra Press
FishPond (Free shipping in Oz)
Book Depository (Free shipping outside OZ)

I can sell the book for $22.50 AUD plus postage ($2.50 in Australia). I make more $ that way!

my first book, at last!

Belinda Broughton: Sparrow, Poems of a Refugee
Belinda Broughton: Sparrow, Poems of a Refugee

It will launch at 3.00 p.m., Saturday 5th September 2015, at The Light Gallery, Centre for Creative Photography, 138 Richmond Rd, Marleston SA 5033, Australia.

Feel free to pop over, all ye other-side-of-the-worlders!

Will post buying details soon. It will be available from Ginninderra Press, (you have to scroll down to my name) The cart wasn’t working but it is fixed now.

Gininnderra advises that buyers outside Australia would do better to order from Amazon or Book Depository, especially since the latter doesn’t charge postage.’

Here is the blurb from the back cover. What a succinct piece of writing!



(in the voice of my husband) 



crusty and warm, smelling of yeast
and earth, accompanied by grapes and cheese
and the soft wild herbs under a tree in spring
with the sun building its strength, warming
the soil, warming your winter bones,
sprouting the seeds of grain, holy, holy.

I cut bread as my grandparents did
by holding it against my heart and slicing
the knife in and around. My wife complains
that the end is rough. She slices it on a breadboard
with a serrated knife like a clinician, straight through,
as if it were not a body. Sometimes she even leaves it
the wrong way up. I turn it over patiently.
It is an insult to put the body of Christ on its head.

Old habits die hard, as they say;
I wouldn’t call myself a Christian
but a loaf of bread is a loaf of bread
and Jesus was a man in the line
of enlightened teachers. He made
some mistakes and the church many more.
It’s ironic that Jesus stood pointing the way
and everyone is still looking at his finger.

He said, ‘Cleave the wood
and you’ll find me there,
turn a stone and there I’ll be’
or something like that.

Christ in the wood, in the stone,
in the soil that grows the rye,
in the muscles of the baker’s hands,
in the sweet yeast smell in the darkest hours,
in the shy girls in aprons counting coins into your hand,
in the sparkling tiles underfoot,
holy, all holy.

And the hand that holds the knife,
the hand of my wife passing a slice,
neat and straight and perfect for toasting.
It sponges with the life of yeast and rye,
with sunshine and the minerals of the earth,
holy, holy, holy, holy.


from The Sparrow, by Belinda Broughton


suds to my elbows —
he kisses a tremor
into my nape

Untitled, acrylic on canvass 1200x1200 mm © Belinda Broughton
Untitled, acrylic on canvass 1200×1200 mm
© Belinda Broughton

Why this figure? No idea. She has a strange archetypal look to her. An energy, a virility, a sexuality? In any case, here she is in her glory. Ready for something.

Today’s prompt on Carpe Diem Haiku Kai is ‘kissing’, used by Jane Reichhold as a summer kigo. ‘Heat’ being the operative word. Sensual, sexual kissing though one of hers is sweet rather:

together in a glass
our toothbrushes

© Jane Reichhold

but then this!

desert kisses
than ever before

© Jane Reichhold

How suggestive is that? I hope my suds poem is just a little bit suggestive.

Palm Reading

I probably shouldn’t admit that
reading his palm made me move
in with him. That would seem
superstitious and I’m really not
superstitious. Neither do I know
anything about palm reading.

He had said, ‘Why don’t
you and your daughter move
in with me and my sons.’
And I’d said, ‘Why?’ and
he’d said, ‘ Because you
are unhappy.’ And I’d cried.

So we were making small talk to
lighten the situation and I picked up
his hands. Blunt hands, soft and
slightly plump, large square palms
with delicate fingers. ‘Like mine,’
I thought. And the lifeline and
the one above, set apart, like mine.

It wasn’t noticing these things,
but holding his hand like that,
it was as if I recognised it, as if
my body knew his body.
I’m not talking about lust,
just this knowing, like looking back,
like memory.


home and in love

autumn night
the smell of disinfectant
and the scent of him

The great love story continues. Ervin came home from hospital yesterday. He is exhausted, weak, scarred and bruised, but home. He has pain and hiccoughs and he moans in his sleep. I hate feeling unable to magic pain away from my loved ones. 

But he is just so happy to be home, to eat decent food, sit on his verandah amongst red falling leaves, feed his wild magpies, and to be loved by his grandkids, his kids and me.

gingerbread-usGingerbread us. Our good friend and relative Amanda Mckay made these for us one Christmas. We never ate them. We hung them up to admire and eventually ants came to them. And they are completely accurate. See: