Willy Wagtail

Little legs moving
on pool’s edge
back and forth
dipping his feet
for a moment
dip then scamper
sip then scamper
he glints his eyes at me
suddenly a different turn
he races to the water’s edge
throws himself in
not right in
just the very top
his tiny black wings
fluff the water up
and underneath
his white chest
sparkling droplets
he retreats
two seconds
and alights
on the surface again
and after his splashy bath
he soars and curves
over the brick wall


Copyright    Sandra Roe

For Our One Term Prime Minister

Joe Hockey is a flunkey
a real flunkey is he
he’s oh so proud of himself
like a little bumble bee.

He is fat, round and striped
with colours yellow and black
lately he has grown a black heart
and he was always yellow from the start.

They called Tony Abbot a monk
and the Mad Monk he purports to be
however he’s not even a friar
he is only a really good liar.

I saw through him years ago
he’s always had it in for the young
and now that he’s gone and done it
he will be well and truly sprung.

They won’t get away with it
placing ideology above reason
let’s move, stop them and their game
and surely hang them by next season.

Copyright Sandra Roe


Let’s go to London
stay near Victoria Station
walk along the Mall
from Buckingham Palace
past Clarence House
through Admiralty Arch
to Trafalgar Square
where four bronze lions
guard Nelson’s Column
and the fountains play
before the National Gallery.

Let’s do the Strand
and the Courtauld Gallery
see Van Gogh’s bandaged ear
and the Bar at the Folies-Bergere.

Let’s walk Westminster Bridge
from Big Ben south to Lambeth
County Hall and the London Eye.

Go round the South Bank
past the National Theatre
and those birch trees
near the Tate Modern.

Cross the Millenium Bridge
from Bankside to London City
with a clear view of Saint Paul’s
and its English Baroque style
sitting atop Ludgate Hill.

Go on down Fleet Street
to Waterloo
and catch the red bus
back to Victoria.


Copyright      Sandra Roe



Pope Pius and Pienza

Romeo and Juliet
were in Pienza
with Franco Zeffirelli
so I went there.

A tiny town in Tuscany
it’s Corsignano rebuilt
by Pope Pius the Second
as the Renaissance ideal.

I approached past vineyards
olive groves, honey stone villas
fields of wheat
and pastoral hills
crowned with cypress.

I entered the Porta al Preto
turned immediately right
and down the Via Gozzante
gazed from the belvedere
upon the Val d’Orcia
and its winding roads.

Back in Corso Rosselino
is a cathedral, a papal palace
a town hall and a well.
This is Pius’ perfect city
his ideal Renaissance design
the new vision of urban space.

Transforming his boyhood town
for his summer court
the Pope invented the piazza.
It is defined by four buildings.
Palazzo Piccolomini is on the west side
with an inner court
and loggia on all floors.

The Duomo
the cathedral
dominates the piazza.
Pilasters and columns
on its façade
standing on high dados
and linked by arches
was a novel idea.
Light is heightened
in the Duomo
no coloured glass
or paintings on the walls.

Instead Pope Pius ordered
five altarpieces
by four Sienese artists
to follow the new architectural style.

Across from the church
is the town hall
the Palazzo Communale.
Its three arched loggia
face the Duomo.

On the third side
of the piazza
is the Palazzo Vescovile
which housed the bishops
who travelled to Pienza
to attend the Pope.
It is now the Diocesan Museum
and the Museo della Cattedrale.

The travertine well
in the piazza
was widely copied in Tuscany
for one hundred years.