States of Poetry Series Two - Victoria | 'Nuages' by Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Ah, the ever-lyrical, even if
stared into from a cabin up above:
snowy cloud-sonata which then
recedes into softness
with its airy iceberg flocks
can be the stuff of verse or
counterpoint, say, but can’t
feed serious fiction for
the yarnspinner has to eat
the heavy middle of our sandwich
rampaging all the way from
Baghdad Prepares for Attack
to an ashtray smell or
puckered brocade on a chair.
Novels know everything
But only if they turn out any
good, solid. While that white
cumulo-nimbus plays here
an almost sturdy part in
unpeeling our transience,
at least for a poet’s paperbark.
My sweetly musical
short fuse recedes again
into the shuffled stuff of dream,
no matter what rough beast
arrives to trash our ghosts
and blow the very legs
off our indolence.

Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Chris Wallace-Crabbe AM is the author of more than twenty collections of poetry. His most recent books of verse include The Universe Looks Down (2005), and Telling a Hawk from a Handsaw (2008). He is Professor Emeritus in Culture and Communication at Melbourne University. Also a public speaker and commentator on the visual arts, he specialises in ‘artists’ books’. Read It Again, a volume of critical essays, was published in 2005. Among other awards he has won the Dublin Prize for Arts and Sciences and the Christopher Brennan Award for Literature. His latest book is Rondo (2018).

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.