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“…a singular surprise and delight…” Robert Holden


Since 1992 ARTRANSIT has been presenting a unique series of contemporary visual arts/poetry collaborations in poster form inside Sydney & Newcastle buses.


The decision was made in 1999 to terminate the series while it still had vitality & the capacity to surprise. Seven years was long enough to mark it as a project of substance enjoying critical attention  & exhibitions both in Australia & elsewhere


Over this time artworks have included one of the last pieces of work from the late Tony McGillick, stills from AFI award winning animations, sculpture, photography, outsider art  & a stunning landscape.


These are the poems chosen.


Poets: Michael Leunig, Pamela Brown , Grant Caldwell, Viv Kitson, Eric Beach, Les Wicks, Colleen Burke, Heather Cam, Andrew Denton, Jutta Sieverding, Richard Tipping, Alan Jefferies, Mark Miller, Christopher Kelen, Karen Attard, Lauren Williams, Joanne Burns, Jennifer Compton, Frances Rouse, Kate Humphrey, Leith Morton, Myron Lysenko, Jennifer Compton, Kevin Brophy, Susanne Lutherborrow & Joanne Burns.


Artists: Wendy Chandler, Philip Hammial, Tony McGillick, Kerry Gulliver, Kurt Brereton, Michael Leunig, Sarah King, Jo-anne Duggan, Peter Fitzpatrick, Viviana Sepulveda Flores, Sylvia Convey, Lisa Chandler, Mark S. Leabeater, Michael Schiavello, Lee Ann Rollins, Dennis Nicholson, Jane Wilson, John de Lombardo & Ron Hartree.


Published by Meuse Press,  edited by Les Wicks.

Les Wicks' page









God bless this tiny little Boat

& me who travels in it

It stays afloat for years & years

& sinks within a minute


& so the soul in which we sail

Unknown by years of thinking,

Is deeply felt & understood

The minute that it’s sinking.


Poem & Graphic by Michael Leunig






Just then, someone said exactly what I was thinking-

"the landscape here is only marginally more interesting

than walking around with a paper bag over your head" -

which was what I had been thinking.



Poem by Pamela Brown. Graphic by Wendy Chandler.






Around our naked feet foams that day’s tide.


A solid wind tosses breaking waves

to soft spume and our breath and words

crumble like sandhill’s white;

                   stark against torn grey clouds.

Memory is the context, fixed now, final:

                   a winter’s day, walking on the beach,

the water’s patterns, changing clouds.


Poem by Viv Kitson, artwork Tony McGillick






Under my skin


take shape -

         curve of rock



of blood.


Under my skin

shadows of






Poem by Colleen Burke. Graphic by Kerry Gulliver.







He took the file photo of his boss.

15 years younger, a new canvas(s)

stretched smile, delinquent spots lounging

around the chin line & grey eyes mapped

with ambition....not yet stress.


Made photocopies, blow-ups.

Wore them like masks, that chocolate of power.


While the phone rang on uselessly, folded

the pages                 some origami then

watched the lot drift elegantly       into a recycling bin.


Wrote a few letters.



                            and the slaves are dancing.




Poem by Les Wicks. Sculpture by Philip Hammial.






On the packed bus

a cry from the front -

Can someone give me a seat please?

I've only got one leg. . .

And with much movement and


he gets his seat

a young man

barely twenty

and everyone becomes gravely silent

but for the girl

singing along with Madonna

on her loud yellow walkman.



Poem by Grant Caldwell. Artwork by Kurt Brereton.








Tonight alone,

I turn down the sheets

and find a hair

- not mine.


It makes the bed too broad,

my night too long;

and in the morning

an orange has two halves,

the tea-bag is too strong

for one cup.



Poem by Heather Cam. Graphic by Sarah King.






When I am at home

And it is almost dark

I like to take my legs out

And stroll down to the park.

And there I feed the pigeons

How I love to feed those birds!

I feed the scraps of bread

And I feed them friendly words

I feed them bits of gnocchi

And sometimes Freddo Frogs

And then, when they are nice & full,

I feed them to the dogs.




Poem by Andrew Denton. Photograph by Jo-anne Duggan.





you know the ones I mean

the wind has subsided and

children are rolling in clover - literally


they're not looking for those four leaves

that spell luck

but I walk with my head bowed.


"Spring Day" by Jutta Sieverding. "Hear the Earth" by Richard Tipping.




listen to the wind



listen to the wind

worried mind

and write the diary of the fishes

splashing through the leaves.




Poem by Alan Jefferies. Photograph by Peter Fitzpatrick.







I look out on red tongues

of the flame-tree


while you pad about

and prepare breakfast


I watch birds

loop and carol


the tree bursts

with the sun's flares


you dress quietly,

last night's grievance


smouldering within.




Poem by Mark Miller. Photograph by  Viviana Sepulveda Flores.






An angel fallen into muck.

Your work's to see another way.

Dreaming and the waking world

are yet to settle up. Your skin

out there is what you wish, your

pale voice hoarse from shouting.

The place is all unfathomed sound.

In tin the lost words of the rain.

Pick from the ashes beams above.

Truth's voice out of air, its shell.



Poem by Christopher Kelen. Artwork by Lisa Chandler




Like An Omen


As spring starts to simmer

wanderer butterflies


hot-foot it to the mountains,

blazoning burnt orange


and black wings: charred branches

on the ghosts of old flames.



Poem by Karen Attard. Artwork by Mark S. Leabeater.






With all the poems in the world

pressed to its chest

the sun balanced on the horizon

sagged like an old balloon

took the day deep into the bay

From his shiny car

the man watched the yellow light

between green and red

missed the yellow light

between sea and night.




Poem by Lauren Williams. Photograph by Michael Schiavello.







have always

been punished

you have

to learn

to ask





Poem by Eric Beach. Artwork by Sylvia Convey 





Rain prickles the air,

camphor laurel leaves dip,

the cabbage tree palm reflection

slithers across the roof

of the red sports car


so mm--mm lipstick--shiny,

so mango--luscious,

so take me --


except through water trickling

down smoked glass,

the little orange light

blinks off, blinks on.


Poem by Frances Rouse. Artwork by Lee Ann Rollins .





morning dozes off in its deja vu jumpsuit

couch potatoes are being steam cleaned

poems evade the rumour of chopsticks

sashimi swims to the goldfish bowl

someone's lost in a club sandwich collage

most tea leaves are refusing to read.


Poem by Joanne Burns Artwork by Dennis Nicholson.





The river is moving,

lorikeets are flying.

Why do we wait here

watching reflections of clouds

drift past?

You think

we wait for inspiration.

I am

waiting for the river to stop.


Poem by Kate Humphrey. Artwork by Wendy Chandler.





The air is like glass

The glass is brittle

I break in the air

How cold are the grasses

How empty is the air

- Leith Morton



I bent

to kiss

a rose

and it

bit me.

-         Myron Lysenko






The cloud must drift so the sun strikes the nail hole

in the corrugated iron so the horse dances sideways

on the thin shaft of light in the indoor arena - so I


am lifted across the bunkhouse kitchen by the flash

of blue loosed out of your eyes like laughter see me

dance sideways to switch on the kettle in a blue flash


the rider doesn't shift in the saddle she has her weight

low holds the heartbeat between her legs so I seek for

the blue thrill of your glancing blow.


Poem by Jennifer Compton . Artwork by Jane Wilson.




Two Year Old Faith

On a day

when the sky

is a filthy sink

of fatty white

I ask him what colour is the sky

and he says blue.


Look I say

and ask again what colour?

He stares up

at the dullness of it

the low whited-out mist of it

and he says The sky is blue.


Poem by Kevin Brophy. Artwork by John de Lombardo.





I see the pre-dusk light

the colours pastel stroked soft

when the sun is behind as I rise

the moon in front as I fall

over the hill when I am still

the quiet is not quiet

but hushed everything anticipates

this night even the wind.



Poem by Susanne Lutherborrow. Artwork by Ron Hartree.





Specially printed limited edition signed & numbered copies of the posters were produced.

For further enquiries contact:





(in order of joining)

State Transit

 ACTU-Aust Council Devolved arts Fund

Isis Design

the New South Wales Government - Ministry for the Arts

Buspak Advertising

the NSW Writers' Centre

Australian Centre for Photography

O’Kelly & Assoc


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