Tag Archives: Max Fatchen

Who’s Frightened Now? by Max Fatchen


The spider said, “It seems to me

A spider’s case could worsen.

Miss Muffet has a pressure spray

Concealed about her person.


“And any spider who is lured

By pretty eyes downcast

Had better see that he’s insured

Before he breathes his last.


“Her gentle charms are on display.

Do come and sit beside her?

This routine with her curds and whey

Means curtains for a spider!”


The spider shook his trembling shanks

And through his web went flitting.

“Miss Muffet’s tuffet? Please, no thanks.

I think I’ll miss this sitting!”


Source:  Fractured Fairytales & Ruptured Rhymes compiled by Ann Weld. Omnibus Books, 1990


Gate Gossip by Max Fatchen


I like our gate,
Its sturdy charm
That guards the entrance
To our farm.

It’s nice when shut,
Or open wide,
To sit upon
Or sit astride.

But gates are there
With things to do
Like letting sheep
And cattle through.

Our gate has bars
With several bends
From careless cars
Of farming friends.

The gateposts lean,
A little tired,
With fences stretching

A country gate
Is surely best
To prop a farmer
For his rest.

With one foot up,
And elbows flat
Now who could pass
A man like that?

While every bit
Of iron will ring,
With all the
Rural gossiping.

The magpies fly
To sunset tree.
A voice impatient
Calls to tea.

Then whistling,
Home the farmer goes
As gate
And conversation

Source: A Paddock of Poems (1987)

Tide Talk by Max Fatchen


The tide and I had stopped to chat
About the waves where seabirds sat,
About the yachts with bobbing sails
And quite enormous, spouting whales.

The tide has lots to talk about.
Sometimes it’s in. Sometimes it’s out.
For something you must understand,
It’s up and down across the sand;
Sometimes it’s low and sometimes high,
It’s very wet and never dry.

The tide, quite crossly, said: ‘The sea
Is always out there pushing me.
And just when I am feeling slack,
It sends me in then drags me back.
It never seems to let me go.
I rise. I fall. I’m to and fro.’

I told the tide, ‘I know it’s true
For I am pushed around like you.
And really do they think it’s fair?
Do this. Do that. Come here. Go there.’

Then loudly came my parents’ shout.
So I went in.
The tide went out.

Source: The ABC Book of Australian Poetry: a treasury for young people compiled by Libby Hathorn (ABC Books 2010)

Old Horses by Max Fatchen


Old horses,

Leaning on fences.

Old horses,

Rubbing on trees.

Old horses,

Lazy rumps pointing

Towards the cold gusts

Of a southerly breeze.

Old horses,

Never a gallop.

Old horses,

Heavy hoofs slow.

Old horses,

Down by the creek-bed,

Down on the flats

Where the sweet grasses grow.

Old horses,

Sweeping tails twitching.

Old horses,

Tossing their manes.

Old horses,

Gone are the hauling,

The shouts of the driver,

The tug on the reins.

Old horses,

Sleepy heads hanging.

Old horses

Of yesterday’s teams.

Old horses,

Soft nostrils breathing

The wheezy contentment

Of hay-scented dreams.


Source: The ABC Book of Australian Poetry: a treasury for young people compiled by Libby Hathorn (ABC Books 2010)