Poetry from Tony Beyer

loaves & fishes 

lower-case because 

not the biblical miracle 

but the Anglican lunch bar 

behind the cathedral  

in Wellington in the 80s 

where you selected your comestibles 

and the good ladies of the parish 

rang up the till 

and dispensed coffee or tea 

sometimes nearly all the staff 

of the Correspondence School 

were there queueing up 

with writers and artists 

and even occasional RC clergy 

from the parallel concern down the road 

I remember the cheaper 

raw carrot and crackers- 

and-cheese option 

never so much 

exponentially multiplied 

as available in abundance 


attention to detail 

is a measure  

of becoming older 

now 20 Pansy needs 

anti-thyroid ointment 

in an ear each morning 

also a steroid eye drop 

to reduce inflammation 

to say nothing  

of her special diet 

hot water bottle and  

earth box for the night 

all of these aids 

to enduring feline 

geriatric life appear 

naturally delegated 

to my responsibility 

as a fellow pilgrim 

through this late 

not entirely disagreeable 

phase of being 

who once held her 

in the palm of a hand 

when she was new 


every day with reasonable weather 

our neighbour Val 

pushes Gemma her Pomeranian 

around the block in a pushchair 

Gemma is about eleven now 

on medication for cancer 

and needs to wear dark goggles outside 

to protect her eyesight 

when we pass their house on foot 

she is often vigorous and vocal 

but there are also days 

we don’t catch sight of her  

the pushchair is of an older style 

and has obviously transported decades 

even generations of human 

members of the family 

Val’s granddaughter who is a friend of ours 

believes the old lady wouldn’t long 

survive anything happening to Gemma 

her only companion 

for now they define their perimeter 

Val by sight and memory and Gemma 

by sound and smell and the feel of wheels 

on the not always even footpath 

Tony Beyer writes inTaranaki, New Zealand. Recent work has appeared online in Hamilton Stone Review, Mudlark, Offcourse and Otoliths. Print titles include Anchor Stone (2017) and Friday Prayers (2019), both from Cold Hub Press.