Rob Schackne

Born in New York, he lived in many countries until Australia finally took him in. He was a Foreign Expert EFL teacher in China for many years. He now lives in Castlemaine, Vic. where he enjoys the blue skies, fresh air and the birds. There were some extreme sports once; now he plays (mostly) respectable chess and pool. A Moonbeam’s Metamorphosis/The Parachuting Man (with Nicholas Coleman) was published in 1979 by LEFTBANK PORTFOLIOS (Melbourne). He published two poetry collections in Shanghai: Snake Wine (2006) and Where Sound Goes When It’s Done (2010). A Chance of Seasons was published by Flying Island Books in 2017. 
More recently some of his poems have appeared in The AnthillOz Burp (Five) zine, Ariel ChartThe Blue Nib MagazineBluepepperThe Rye Whiskey ReviewPink Cover ZineThe Raw Art ReviewOutlawPoetryHUSK, the Sappho Lives! Anthology (2019, 2020), Taking Shape (Newcastle Poetry at the Pub Anthology, 2018, 2019, 2020), and the Messages From The Embers bushfire anthology (Black Quill Press, 2020). 
When he’s not writing, he likes taking photographs. He listens to the Grateful Dead. Some days he thinks there is nothing easy about the Tao.

Some recent poems…


My strength ebbs away

like a grip on the tide

dangerous invitations 

I counted most important

rucking forever, battling

sunrises and sunsets

past the moments 

I might’ve stopped

working up the plate rack

what was I thinking

small animals press 

a hundred times their weight

now watch me blow

ants have no problem 

cats vault fences 

I used to measure 

now measure other things


Some carry everything

even their survival

dragged till sundown

just imagine it

all the food in the world

and the pockets of nothing

eating bitterness

hold yours tight

never let me go

imagine the pillow

beneath your head

the limited supply

deal with it they said

can’t eat any more

have another bite

imagine Big Got

clean clothes well fed

his children wait

the pie in the sky

sits at the rainbow

gets on the next bus


The violence of noise

music as a place to think

the wind is howling

call it peace

cleaning my igloo

the desperate times

that are returned to

their prepositions

or call it protest

against a war

I cannot fracture

however gently

revisiting the light

From “A Chance of Seasons” (Flying Island Books, 2017)

She Saved My Ass

During an altercation

in a bar one night

she saved my ass

my back was turned

he came up with a knife

she hit him with a bottle 

she was from the mountains 

they believe in hard things 

it was then I fell in love 

big arms and shoulders

every inch of her 6 foot tall

it was such a simple thing 

when we were leaving

she stomped hard on his hand 

after that the graceful years 

Lord she was so tender

her feet were lovely &

she loved me very well. 

A Soldier’s Cough

Head sounds like a drum when it’s scratched
Left ear still sore after a blow 25 years ago
A throat that lost its whisper song and shout
A lonely whisker creeps to just below the eye
The neck that shook the bridge for days is weak
The old chest looks full but the heart is hollow
Old comrades say that vitamins will put it right
(A pity the right side doesn’t quite match the left)
Broken leg the pelvis spine back my knees and feet
Sore from a million steps in the wrong direction
A cough that alerts the dog who begins to bark
The doctors say there will be no more fighting
I climb the stairs slowly to my small apartment
Grateful that my eyes can still see you waving
While you hang the wind in your white clothes.

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