Margaret Owen Ruckert

Margaret Owen Ruckert was born Margaret Owen in Sydney, NSW, to an English mother and Australian father. She studied at Sydney University, becoming a Science teacher in schools and TAFE colleges. During her career she wrote articles on science pedagogy and was a columnist for the college newsletter. Having written poetry as a child, she decided to take a Creative Writing subject in her mature-age Master’s degree and this opportunity continues to inspire her writing. Following early redundancy, she retrained and currently teaches Literacy and Numeracy. A previous winner of the National Poetry Competition of the Society of Women Writers, NSW, her poems and articles appear in leading Australian journals, as well as newspapers and anthologies. Margaret is Facilitator of the Hurstville Discovery Writers Group and presents monthly workshops on writing. Her first book You Deserve Dessert (2009) explored over 100 sweet foods through the poetry of language.


Margaret's website

Margaret on imagery in writing



she bobs across the city
on the morning rush tide
like cork on water

always on a high bounce
muscles to go

if you asked her
how she was feeling
she’d shout you champagne

orange juice and ice
with compassion like this
her enemies dissolve

she’s fizz, flotsam
head above the surges
of water-mad workers

jealous of her freedom
waves of strangers
confront her future

if she’s wise
she’ll duck-dive
why waste explanations

on signs and billboards
female nudes fish for her
dollars – she won’t buy it

dipping a toe
outside at lunch
she tests the temperature

hot end-of-month sales
hot-for-her offers
it’s hard to stay cool

in a moving waterway
of exceptionally-today

she’s up to her pecs
cool coastal
picking off the predators

blanket of cloud

some phrases are so embedded in language
so in bed with others, we take them as partners

like blanket of cloud – that feature of sky
housekeeping with an English maid

pillows of smoke – implied requiem
a metaphor helpless to smother the horror

cover of darkness – where night is a friend
collapsing your fear with thick black humour

five-star rating – my Continental partner
a different bed, goose-feathers, duvet

I quickly saw the Continental benefits
nothing to be tucked in or tightened

nothing to encourage the gremlins of weather
under a quilted sky, I abandon the blanket

Neuro Evolution

as continents drift might organs drift
toward a body of wisdom
organs as raw, ingredients of change

inspired by an other-worldly mind updating
our continental body, its sensory plates,
our nerve-stitched skin, tectonic cloth

a one-sided cover that daily assumes
our enemies will only do battle at the front
a fossilised design for a seamstress of vision –

a fantasy physician – to cut another template
‘just as the physical world renews, we see
body-parts – volcano-like. Think Krakatoa.’

in this futuristic furnace, technologies ready
with their vulcanising heat, for a fit survival
on a volatile earth – their ideas not mine:

eyes to multiply, with some relocation to a higher
floor, opening brains to the possibility of sky
automatic eyelids to trick the missiles

noses pollution-savvy, some close to ground
vacuuming smells of the dust we abhor
the soil we mistreated, the dirt now to love

mouths as sockets for knowledge, female input,
a power board of mouths compatible with progress
with taste-bud alarms for molecular assassins

ears to flex, wide-ranging as wolves
retractable for safety, swivelling to listen
to the animal channel, its strategies on humans

skin to remain as one source of newness
a lavascape flowing to replenish the day
the body ever growing, the mind a quake

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