Bookshop capers


at night, behind locked bookshop doors
words sneak from their pages to mix with others

the aisles host a disco of ideas …
elegies hobnob with cocktail recipes

clever sonnets disband, mingle
and reform into villanelles

a pantoum shakes her booty beside self-help clichés
busy tending to each other

vulnerable haiku rush to adopt more words
free verse cruises, chatting up abandoned rhymes

heroic couplets leap from shelf to shelf
idylls cower in their archaic clothes and venture nowhere

rap practises its rhythm as loud as permitted
without waking up Your First Baby

ballads can-can all over the place trying to
jingle everything into a logical tale

as the night goes on, limericks attract all sorts
to their stand-up sessions at the back

while the dictionaries and thesauruses
quietly make out in the corner.


Susan Austin grew up in Queensland and has settled in Hobart where she writes poetry in between working as an occupational therapist and being an eco-socialist activist. She has published poetry in various newspapers, journals and anthologies. She has won prizes in several FAW (Tas) poetry competitions, and was the judge of the 2012 WILPF Eve Masterman Peace Poetry Prize. Susan has been a featured reader in many events including the Hobart Republic Readings, The Tasmanian Living Writers' Week and the 2011 Tasmanian Poetry Festival. The poem 'Bookshop capers' appeared in famous reporter 43, and in Susan's collection Undertow (Walleah Press, October 2012). She blogs at