Elly McDonald


Complex Organisms (1983)

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fashioning roses

You restore my hand from a crown of thorns

starfish into petals

I could hug you; so crude

when your is an origami touch

as if I were sheer and white like

a nautilus shell pure

coddling, coaxing growth

from an African violet bella

donna prima donna temperamental

unearthing a fossil, living coral

flushed with myriad gasping, sucking mouths


taking: life-giving, sleight of hand

a healing touch – herbs and tenderised nettle

by moonlight, calm and soothe


cultivate concern

Author: Elly McDonald

Worked in the Australian rock music industry as a journalist and published widely as a poet before moving to London and spending the better part of a decade in advertising agencies. Returned to Australia and tried teaching, primarily teaching English to non-English speaking, newly-arrived refugees but also briefly as a high school classroom teacher. Has travelled Western Europe, North Africa, Russia, Northern India, East Asia, coastal USA, some Pacific Islands, and Australia.

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