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Getting a handle on this diabetes thing is no joke mate
it’s as slippery as a bloody eel, or a big pot of boiled brisket.


Sure, you can take away those cakes and biscuits and crap
I’d rather have a tin of peaches any day. What? But it’s fruit, man!


I don’t think eating too much of that rabbit food
can do a bloke much good either – don’t know how


the cattle eat all that green stuff and still put on the beef.
Must have a different kind of guts somehow.


Pretty astonishing to be told that spuds and bread get turned
into sugar inside the belly. Find that one hard to swallow, eh!


Give away the fizzies? Yeah, fair enough, they’re just lolly water
but the beer’s a different story, eh – like an uncle who


puts an arm across your shoulders when you’re taking things hard.
He asks no dumb questions. Yeah, the beer’s family, it’s gotta stay.


Hey, if these pills are any good, can’t they take care of it all
and let me get on with normal life? Why pay twice?


I really don’t know about this diabetes fella, who gate crashed
my life and looks like he’ll never leave. Does a bloke’s head in.





I walk to the end of the road
taking more time than time before
when a rough bearded pōhutukawa
stops me as if to share a tale.
Emotions migrate like birds
in a confusion of seasons
but the cracked concrete path takes me
for what I have become
and accepts my present
so I go along with it.


I won’t pass this way again
so take it in with a wary eye
but at the steep end
a stiff turnstile
yields into a wide yellowing
paddock bounded by rock walls
with a spreading evergreen
at its centre, and the end of the road
may have been a gift.


Extracts from Shrapnel. © Greg Judkins, 2022


  • Don’t knock technology you precious Boomer
    with stents to hold your options open
    pacemakers to keep you up with the beat

    lenses to enhance your critical eye
    and aids to stop the youngsters mumbling
    there’s mesh to hold in your sags and bulges

    titanium screws for your shattered dreams

    so don’t give us all that natural bullshit
    carry with pride the shrapnel of the age.

    These poems are warm and accessible personal reflections ranging from medical practice to a close observation of the telling details in daily life; from family fun and loss to the natural world and time-wrought transitions.

    In this collection, poetic form playfully traverses haiku, compact vignettes, sonnet, villanelle and lyric free verse.

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