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'The Grey Parrot' by Judith Bishop

by
November 2016, no. 386

'The Grey Parrot' by Judith Bishop

by
November 2016, no. 386

after the painting The grey parrot by Walter Deverell, National Gallery of Victoria

The far city must make itself known
even here in the sitting room and
barred by winter branches. The skyline

with its towers square as pillars
built of blocks could be here
as much as then and there and is

in any case beyond hearing.
Long withdrawn from the city
that oversees life to a home

where rapt stillness is a cultivated
guest and the ghost of light
leavens the chores of daily bread,

she would come to lend her features
to ideas she understood
could be treated most faithfully

in art that generates no
propulsion other than
this same descent into pleasure

gently shared between minds
– those branched apart by
evolution, or merely space and time

Judith Bishop


Judith Bishop won the Peter Porter Poetry Prize in 2006 and 2011.