Mardi May

Mardi May is a Western Australian writer and member of the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre, where she facilitates the social history and poetry groups. She has written several books on these subjects and has also won numerous awards for poetry and short fiction. Her work appears in anthologies and literary journals and has been widely performed and published online.



My father read skies

daily deciphering

the message of clouds,

plotting the fickle

journey of weather

like a traveler, map open.


He searched for clues

hidden in the spheres,

atmo, tropo and strato;

he knew their names

like old friends and family.


‘Clouds are for artists,’

he said, brush in hand

above a sky-washed canvas,

then billowed clouds

like spinnakers on windy seas.


A fisherman at heart,

he liked nothing better

than a mackerel sky,

a mottled, scaly fish skin sky

swimming with imagination,

the big one that got away.


He carried a coat

when nimbus piled

anvil-sharp warnings

on his comfort of cumulus,

and when the racing wind rode high,

his mare’s tails streaked across the sky.



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