States of Poetry 2017 - ACT | 'An argument in glass' by Merlinda Bobis

An argument in glass

For Jenni Kemarre Martiniello,
Aboriginal glassmaker

As you hold me,
you think your fingers know
I’m glass magic,
this slip and slide on cool satin,
then suddenly I’m water
and an eternity of greens —
O song of sea flowers,
you make drowning
Or so you say.

But what of other shades
or shadows?

From umber to gumnut brown,
we are the ancient corals
that you presume are dead.
But look: our eyes are open,
our mouths are open.
Do not forget us.
Do not resist us.
We are the dead that refuse to die
surging through
the eternal greens underwater:
emerald, seaweed, pine, juniper,
moss, crocodile, olive, lime,
chartreuse with tufts of yellow
like light flickering
and red
like blood insisting,
We are here.

Look deeply.
I’m glass magic
only when you see us.

Merlinda Bobis

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 We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.