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Paperback & Kindle
267 pages
Wollstonecraft Press

New & Selected Poems

Cover photo by James Hardy


from At The Water's Edge; from Views To A Bridge; from Shadow Of A Doubt; Prometheus; from S.S. Snakebite; from Speech To A Mountain; from New Affection, New Noise
Bush Imperial
Abandoned Cricket Pitch, Bush Imperial, Final Proofs, Evening News, In A Temple, I Remember, Body Politic, Vespers, Breathless, Posh, Anxiety On Annapurna, Greenscape, Departures, Surfers Paradise, Puss In Boots, Rising, O, Invitation To The Dance, Other, Raptor, X, Z Waits, The Clouded Sky Is Now Serene, Blurt, On Wings Of Song, Halfway House, Timor Gap, Sh . . ., Tutors, Former, To The Islands, Recognition Scene, Self-Portrait
Up To The Living
Spine, A Lecture, Further, This Birth, Appointment, Bliss, Sunless, Lyric, Going, Zero At The Bone, Angel, In Parenthesis, History, Harvest, Reflection, A Cup Of Water, Sydney, Big Orange Sunset, Ethics, Sweatloaf, Camomile, This Sporting Life, Wing, Wish, Majority, Larkin Land, Up To The Living, Towards The Source, XXVII Olympiad, Giant, Intervista, Ache
A Bit Black
Waiting, Remembrance Day, Century, World Without Tigers, Begin In Gladness, What Thin People Are Eating When No-one Is Looking, Item, Brought To Book, Palm, Truth, Removal, With Wound, Battle Hymn, Blow Of The Axe, A Bit Black, Perhaps, Tongue, Tired, Hail And Farewell, Dedication


Novella Paperback and Kindle
167 pages
Wollstonecraft Press


Cover photo by Alex Holderness

‘We will be the hammerhead shark in the filthy ocean of corruption that comprises our present sorry state.’

Banking executive David Mapleton is working in his Sydney office when he receives a phone call from wealthy business and newspaperman Charles Reynolds. Charles would like Mapleton to join his covert organisation, The Hammer. Reynolds has grown impatient with the failures of the United Nations and other government agencies, and has assembled a group of people who may be able to bring some justice to what he sees as a corrupt body politic. Mapleton has the necessary financial and educational background required by Reynolds, but is he ready for an unknown and dangerous reality that will cause him to re-evaluate himself, his country and his ideals?

The story in this novella is told by David Mapleton, contrasting his deepening involvement in The Hammer’s activities with periods of introspection. Moving between Australia and Europe, Hammerhead also examines the difficulties that come for David and his two companions, Thérèse Sablon and Anton Partl, as they negotiate what Mapleton calls ‘My violent, improbable world.’ 

With the growing incongruities that culminate above the waters of Sydney Harbour, this tale of fantastical intrigue finds a contemporary parallel for the moral and political uncertainties of the post-9/11 era. 

Hammerhead   I Under Surveillance II My Violent, Improbable World III A Traveller Over Antique Lands

From Under Surveillance

I had shot upwards, brilliantly, from the taut bow of youth. But now I was bored with my job.

   I’d traded on my Rhodes Scholarship long enough, a sort of not-growing-up, an embarrassment. Thirty-five years had winged through me so quickly. And people said I was too young to have earned my executive position. Talking to others, whether in the office or on Facebook, I no longer believed anything I said.

   Here, at the height we bankers deign the correct vista for our imperium, I gazed down at the city. What a melancholy prospect. Crowds shuffled forward, oblivious to the machinations going on above them.

   The history of Sydney was an epic of corruption, contained and now tethered, but always ready to break out at the least provocation. Some of my friends spoke to me about ethical investing. I didn’t have the heart to explain to them that every dollar was built on blood. If people knew what had gone on in the Rum Corps days, or why the State Parliament lower chamber was called a bear pit, perhaps they would have had a clearer idea of how we got to where we were. But people usually don’t want to confront the awkward, contrarian facts of the matter. If some glacier was melting a bit more than usual in the Northern Hemisphere, they could go and visit a rainforest in Queensland and get in touch with ecological roots, but political realities left most citizens cynical and thus detached from governmental processes.

   Well, I was tired of life, and very tired of myself. My father was ill and my sister’s marriage was in trouble. Her son, my nephew Chris, wasn’t coping. How could I have known what was about to hack its way into my life. The very ordinariness one always takes for granted was going to be sundered. There were no prophetic intimations, no pricking of thumbs.

   Just as the rose-violet hour of Sydney’s late afternoon settles through the harbour, over buildings and bridges, the decision to separate, to join, or to die, reaching its limit of longing: this was my moment too, where you might hallucinate what could not possibly be true. In that shadowy place, amongst discarded wishes and fruitless pursuits, when one could imagine the original bush and sandstone, bays and quays emptied of ferries, yachts and cruisers, the pleasure seekers, the indolent swimmers—suddenly, I was up against it all.

   A phone call, not a wrong number, at the edge of shimmering water.

   ‘David? David Mapleton?’

   No introduction? Rose-violet fell to evening’s pure purple.

   ‘This is Charles Reynolds here.’

   I sat up in my chair. Not that Charles Reynolds. He was one of the wealthiest men in Australia, not to say the world.

   Someone was trying me out with a tall story . . .


ISBN 0 908022 12 3 Wellington Lane Press 106 pp Published July 12, 1997 AUD$25.00 Digitized Google Books Indiana University April 6, 2010
Australian Book Review No. 193 1997 pp. 50-52 Michael Costigan ‘Nicholson emerges with this collection as an important figure in the crowded world of Australian poets born in the decade after World War ll.’

A Dwelling Place

Speech To A Mountain pp. 1-46
The Path Taken, Short Prayer, Go, A Grace, Crocodile Tears, Apple On A Plate, Clouds, Green, Cut Skin, ICI REPOSE VINCENT van GOGH, Sunday Afternoon, Dear Diary, Winter Solstice, Gifts, I Saw Elvis In The Supermarket Queue, A Definition, Confused In The Pacific, Suit Of Our Dimension, Big Stuff, Now, Voyager, On Platypus Rock, An Encounter, Anton Bruckner, Summer With Mosquitoes, Speech To A Mountain, In The Making, On Children Going To Sleep, Trophy, What Horses’ Eyes Have Seen, Great Attractor
Notebook (prose) pp. 47-60
New Affection, New Noise pp. 61-105
Autumn Elegy, Voluntary, Emily—, What’s Up, Doc?, Laurel, A Dwelling Place, Songlines, Surfer, Triumvirate, A Prophecy, Cloudburst, Forty, Word, Crest, Good Weekend, New Affection, New Noise, An Answer, Five Shakespare Studies, Remembrance Near A Trace Of The Berlin Wall, Geography, Gym Junkie Freakout, Star Sign, In Transit, You, who have come thus far, Reversal
Notes p. 106


ISBN 0 908022 09 3 Wellington Lane Press 108 pp Published April 28, 1994 AUD$23.50 Digitized Google Books University of Michigan March 11, 2008
Australian Book Review No 161 1994 pp. 51-52 Mark O’Flynn ‘The poems themselves are sometimes incandescent . . . concerned with raising the mundane to a finer sensibility . . . so vibrant and concise they demand to be read.’

Such Sweet Thunder

Introduction VII-XI
Shadow Of A Doubt pp. 1-47
Bienvenue à Moruroa, Bad, Double, Hitch, Poet At Work, Thirty-five, The Speewah Ballad, Absolutely No Extensions Possible, Cold, Tooth And Claw, Stone, Thou Swell, Late News, Swan, Morning Assignation, Ascent, Pause, e je danse, Passing Trade, Old Acquaintance, Transformation Scene, In A Country Garden, Evening, Official Secrets
Prometheus pp. 49-64
S.S. Snakebite pp. 67-107
Top Hat, Rendezvous de Fruits-de-Mer, Circus Animals Burning, Be Kind To Insects Week, Summer Nights, Scorpion, Mortamadonna, Salt, Asia–Pacific, To Mr W.S., Mirror, Lustre, Black 1988, Waiting To Abort, Swan Box, Slept Soundly, New Year Retro, May I Have This Dance?, Feedtime, Micky Takes Valium, Country, Things Wrong In The Dream Kitchen, Owed To Feral Face, Rock Face, Apocalyptica, Orange Penguins, Decades, A Patient, Found Hanged, Greenpeace, S.S. Snakebite Docks
Notes p. 108


ISBN 0 908022 08 5 Wellington Lane Press 133 pp Published August 28, 1991 AUD$22.00 Digitized Google Books Pennsylvania State University November 18, 2009
The Canberra Times 29 February, 1992 p. 7 Peter Pierce ‘In general, this is an impressive gathering of two decades work. . . . Under the Southern Cross, Nicholson does some poetic yearning for civilisation, be it here, or in that beckoning outside world.’

A Temporary Grace

At The Water’s Edge pp. 1-43
I Australia, New England Graveyard, Open Season, The Poet, Wilfred Owen, Final Solution, Orpheus, Miniatures, Australian History Lesson, Galileo II On The Asian Continent, Among The Florentine Gallery Tributes, Poet And State, Revenaant, Armidale, Veni Creator Spiritus, Terra Australia 1974 III Pax Imperium, Round Sydney Harbour, Metamorphosis, Pierrot, A Wedding, At Cannes, Années de Pèlerinage, Tribute, Nuclear Nightmare, Music
Fast Forward (prose) Novella pp. 45-81
Views To A Bridge pp. 83-131
While The Billy Boils, Confetti Candour, Sheep-Dip Muster, Adelaide Festival 1984, Asking Auden, Views To A Bridge, Sydney Spring, Lunch At Centrepoint, And The Winner Is . . ., In Celebration, Rehearsal, Tooth Fairy’s Desertion, Figures In A Landscape, Ode To Suburban Man, Ars Poetica, Elegy For Ruth
Notes pp. 132-133