Human windmills

Human windmills in earth liquid

We swam the billabong after dark

Clanking through hydraulic operations of the heart

Excavating every misery of my wounded flesh

Big kids with twenty-nine-year-old bones

Whooping, splashing under stars

The mud inched under each nail until

Our hair was caked

Pineal glands decalcified

Then, under January moon

Full of noise and moan

We raved


Emma Burgess-Gilchrist

First published in the BKI anthology ”Painted Words, 2016”


Lady Rosa

Lady Rosa, lady of the garden, her scent —

olives, fresh bread, a summer afternoon in Crete

She leads to water, flowing aqua, quartz fountain —

where every bird meets for bath or hymn

Lady Rosa whispers

beyond roses, beyond thyme, beyond constellations

I never catch what she says yet

I always remember the meaning

Lady Rosa is a friend amongst dreaming —

ghost, song, plucking at guitar, perhaps whispering ”patience”

Lady Rosa, sky baby, queen of all garden folk —

we plough the dirt,  Zeus fills it with rain,

I make a moat, we sail away

to the land of Lady Rosa

Where as birds we frolic

in garden, sky or shallow swim

Then at night, sing

Lady Rosa is the day of the morning

The midnight of afternoon ”



Emma Burgess-Gilchrist

Published in the BKI anthology ‘Painted Words, 2016’

Late night in the city

When it gets to this time of the evening

No-one is counting

No-one is thinking of tomorrow

Not yet

This is the eternal hour

Lovelorn fools and dreamers

Sing on the streets

Some pine

Some smoke cigarettes

Whilst the smug admonish

And raise a brow to the ”filthy” habit


And the music pours out of the alleyways

And the music pounds out on the street

And the music is playing  quietly in the taxi

And the music is moving the city and her feet


Barbara is falling for Samantha

Jim is making love to Genevieve

Edward is dancing with Daisy

Henry is kissing Ben

Everyone is zen in this eternal hour

All is golden

Life is the moment

Strangers become friends for the evening


And the music jams out from the studio

And the music beats in fast cars all around the city

And the music guides the wave of public transport

And the music pumps through the headphones of the willing


The city is its own genre

Of sound



Night after night

Willing punters ready to gamble

On freedom

Everyone is moving

Everyone is on beat

In the city

In this eternal hour


And the music is raving in the parks

And the music is serenading the ocean liner patrons of the bay

And the music is thumping through every nightclub wall

And the music is sweetening the dishes of Chinatown


The city is alive

And I am her


Emma Burgess- Gilchrist 2015

First published Painted Words 2015


We dance fast

We dip low

We get loud

We are

Women on the scene

We talk hard

We cry soft–

We are women



Big time contemplators

We will save the world

But first


We get quiet

We pine long

We speak Politics

We are

Women on the scene

Full armour

Tight tees

Tattoos and piercings

Jeans that can halt the traffic’s rush–

We are

Whatever we want to be

We are

Women on the scene.


Emma Burgess- Gilchrist 2016

Gaia smiles

Upon watercolour sky

Gaia bathes

The greasy haze of humidity, softening

Heady satellite traffic

She notes

Tiny, iridescent rain drops

Await the sun’s return

Upon flower petals of every hue

She listens

As all her birds sing

She watches 

As two pigeons come to the woman in the garden

The woman offers fresh fruits, crumbed remainders of seeded bread

The ancient communication in play

So far above the mechanics of modern day language

For just like the heat, the rain and the pigeons

Gaia will always return in kind

As will the woman in the garden

Taking notes


Emma Burgess-Gilchrist