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I’m waiting for you
Alone in this noisy room
My coffee growing cold
Numbering the lies you’ve told
To me and all the others
Such a faithless lover
Yet I’m still waiting
Waiting for you

What will you do?
If you find me here
Sitting all alone
Will you linger
Or turn and hurry home
Such a cruel beloved
Loving no-one but yourself
All your pretty girls now
Sitting on the shelf
Just waiting for you

One day I’ll be through
Waiting for you
But till that day I linger
Hoping you’ll be true
I know this is foolish
To you it’s just a game
But I’ll still be waiting
Each day all the same
Waiting for you

(c) Helen Valentina 2019

Posted in Poetry, Water | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments



Image credit: EerikSandstrom/Shutterstock.com

This fine year
See the harbour glow
Without fear

Ferry ride
Cross the water flow
Safe inside

Bridge above
Like an angel wing
Hand in glove

This fine year
See the ferryman
As he steers
Our way clear

(c) Helen Valentina 2019

Posted in Poetry, Water | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone – Review

Van Apfel 2


The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone‘ by Felicity McLean is comparable, as the book jacket says, to ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock‘ but also stands strong in its own right. A highly evocative and masterfully rendered work, it seems art to me just as much a story. And I will admit, at the very beginning I struggled with the novel – not because of any fault of the work but because the deeply immersive style of writing is very different from many books I read. ¬†While you experience the memories and the current world of the main character, Tikka, she does not ‘explain’ her thoughts, instead providing you with an array of details and vignettes that finally come together to give you the narrative’s form.

For some works I might find this style frustrating, but it’s perfect here. This is a dark dream of a book, an implied nightmare with razor sharp insights to the underneath of suburban life and timeless social issues. As an Australian myself who grew up in the country her depictions were on point, reviving memories of my own. Once I yielded to the beautiful prose it seduced me and I was sad when it ended. Sad that the mystery would remain unsolved – though in some ways it would have felt wrong and unsatisfying for any other outcome. For what Felicity McClean has done here so perfectly is to illustrate the corrosion of secrets kept and memories mis-understood over years. In her work, like life, there are no easy answers, no pat solutions to wrap up the story with a bow at the end.

I remember once reading a story about Michelangelo that when asked how he sculpted David he said something like “I took the stone and chipped away all that wasn’t David.” I don’t know if the story is true, but in some ways I felt like this novel was the literary equivalent of the point just before David emerges fully formed. Still indistinct, a living thing not yet defined, but able to be seen even so: you feel you see David, or in this book you feel you can see what happened to the girls, at least leading up to their disappearance, if not after. But you don’t have all the information, and as Tikka says, no-one ever really knows.

This is a hauntingly beautiful book and one I unreservedly recommend. I look forward to future works from this author. Her vision is something very special indeed.


Helen Valentina



Posted in Conversation, Earth | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments



Image Credit: Breadmaker/Shutterstock.com

So perfect our home
The white so bright
The sterile sense
Of everything untouched
By day or night
Reflecting us

When did we turn
Into the ghosts
That roam these perfect rooms?
When did we better treat
The fabric of the covers
Than the roses that might bloom
In windows in the sunlight
Or somewhere in our hearts
When did that start?

We never speak
For words would rock serenity
The white stillness of this place
I’ve forgotten what you sound like
I can’t recall your face
We’re alien in rooms
We take up too much space
All alone
In our perfect home

(c) Helen Valentina 2019

Posted in Earth, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments



Image Credit: aliisia/Shutterstock.com

Might as well call for Pegasus
To fly down from the sky
And rescue me
From ennui
These days go by
All the same
I need something more
A spark, a flame
But hour by hour
I plod this path
Again, again, again

All those stories they told us
When we were young
Gods and angels and devils
Fighting in the skies
Beautiful to my eyes
More than this
The pale ghoul of reality
Seeping every day
Deeper into me

May as well call Pegasus
To be my mythic steed
May as well dream
Foolishness indeed
But if for one moment
He filled the sky
All of this would fall away
All of this would die
And we could fly

(c) Helen Valentina 2019

Posted in Air, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments



Image Credit: Eleanor Schweitzer/Shutterstock.com

We will build this city on ideas
On stories from our childhood
On inspiration’s glorious wings
Until our hearts arise
And sing
This library of wonder
For us and us alone
Our truest home

We will make our home on dreaming
Held within our inner eyes
We’re children eager for the prize
Imagination may bestow
So you and I can know
The greatness of the world
Beyond its earthly form
Beyond the storm

The stories that we share
Will take us there
Upon the words we fly
With no need to wonder why
Just this library of wonder
For us and us alone
Our truest home

(c ) Helen Valentina 2019

Posted in Air, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I Yearn


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I yearn for something I cannot name
I sometimes see it out of the corner of my eye
Or dancing in the fire’s flame
An ethereal understanding
Or a test or ritual that if I pass through
I’ll never be the same

I want to grow
To reach beyond these windows
The safety of this room so I may know
Where all the wild things go
But I am meek and mild not wild
It is not my terrain, my home
Not a place that I may own
And yet I yearn all the same
For this thing without a space or name

I feel the call outside of me
That might be hope, that might be free
From all the day to day necessities
The things they tell me I must do
To conform, confirm that I am true
To something so alien to my nature I
Wish only to escape, to fly
To touch the flame
Of the thing without a form or name
I yearn

(c) Helen Valentina 2019

Posted in Air, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments



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I come for the fallen
At the break of day
Tears and lamenting
I carry away
The souls of the finest
The brave and the true
Lost to their families
Lost to you

I come for the fallen
I wish to be kind
My face may seem cruel
But later they find
I honour their service
And if I could pray
I’d ask that they live
Were not fallen this day
Lost to you

I come for the fallen
At this bleak morning light
The broken, the vanquished
This terrible sight
The souls of the finest
The brave and the true
Lost to their families
Lost to you
Lost to you

(c) Helen Valentina 2019

Posted in Air, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Lights


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The glorious lights
Awakened my soul
Quenched a thirst
I did not even know I had
Until the colour
Opened my eyes
To the testament of the All

So small I fell
Before beauty immemorial
I cannot hope
To touch such glory
Yet I seek
Stand on pilgrim’s feet
Before the wonder of the All

(c) Helen Valentina 2019

Posted in Air, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

We Burn


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We seek the tree
Axis mundi
Centrepiece of all reality
We seek

On dried land it dwells
Parched of life force
As souls that fell
Dwindle down
Into private hells

We make our pledges
All we can learn
From sacrifice
Fire and ice
The wheels that turn

Sacred tree
You wait for them
You wait for me
You will withstand
We will return
Till then we will shine while
We burn

(c) Helen Valentina 2019

Posted in Air, Fire, Poetry | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments