All copyright © 2003 remains with the authors.
All copyright © 2004 remains with the authors.

Clint Greagan

My Backyard 4 - Everything

When it rains

my ducks stick their beaks in the mud and search for things

slugs and bugs I guess.

They have white feathers.

Their whole bodies, apart from the orange bits, are white.

Despite this, they spend hours slurping around out there.

It seems a little strange

but they stick together.

You should see them - I could watch them forever.

There is no point to this.

They are ducks.

They stick together.

Their white and orange bits are covered in mud

and, it seems, they are happy.

It's very challenging -

you have to watch and watch

but if you keep watching

things you once thought of as important, will pass

and days of seeing nothing

but white feathers and black mud

will tell you something, at last.

Clint Greagen 12.10.03 Australia Postdiluvian snap


My ducks are uncoordinated.

They are, I suppose, more suited to swimming than they are to walking.

Their legs are at the back of them.

Their necks carry their heads too far from their bodies.

They are, it seems to me, in a perpetual state of falling forward.

When I am bored,

or more often than not, annoyed,

I walk behind them

with an inhuman intent.

They waddle away from me.

They waddle slowly at first

but the faster I stalk them

the faster they waddle.

I've worked out, over a few months, that if I raise me knees with each step

the ducks will see this as an increase in pace

even if I maintain my original speed

they will waddle faster than their natural structure allows.

There is something I find rewarding

about increasing the pace of an animal' gait —

my ducks are armless,

they struggle with balance,

I hate to see them suffer

but when they reach their ultimate speed—

when they fall over and quack

I like it.

I like it—

that I can cause that to happen is affirming.

Most things are beyond me —

there are things I have no control over

but when the ducks reach their maximum speed,

when they fall over and quack as if their lives were over

I like it.

I like it.

I do.

Clint Greagan


Poetryetc is a listserv relating to poetry and poetics which provides a forum for poets to debate their critical and creative work. The list has over the years run a number of projects for its members, of which Snapshots has been the most enduring.

Every Wednesday, Poetryetc members were invited to post short poems on any subject or in any form they chose. The idea was to make a poetic collage of instamatic “snaps” of that day that reflected the international membership of the list. The project has generated an astounding number of poems.

The first two runs, of six weeks each, and the first ten weeks of the third run, are archived at Wild Honey Press under Poetryetc Project. The rest - amounting in all to a run of a year - are archived here.

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To contact the listowner: Alison Croggon

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