'The Grey Parrot' by Judith Bishop

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Long withdrawn from the city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.

Published in November 2016, no. 386

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to comments@australianbookreview.com.au. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.