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States of Poetry ACT Poems

Red Earth

Old fella

Kerry Reed-Gilbert


Wiradjuri country

1,000ks Wiradjuri country
Eagles, angels, sun bursts,
gum trees, geraniums
and a pocket full of poetry.
I travel my country,
my land,
my life,
my religion.

The bush calls me back
to the time of before.
Before tar and cement.
Brick walls and tin roofs.
To the time of Creation
where men were men
a ...

Got ya

I knew he was mine
frothing at the mouth
(literally speaking)
I was waiting for him
my body ready to strike

Like a leopard
on the verge of attack
I waited, biding my time.
I held my breath.

My muscles taut
prepared to pounce
to strike, to maim.

I knew the moment was at hand
the spirits played around him

The old rugged cross

When the spirit has been broken
and there’s no place to go
When you look around the world
wondering what went wrong
When your heart is shattered and
torn no patch ever big enough to help it mend.
No bandaid to help it heal.

When tears roll down your face

cascading like a roaring river
When the spirit has been br ...

The Undiscovered Country

When an exasperated soul
tears itself from its own body
Minos condemns it to the seventh abyss.
It falls into the forest, lands nowhere special -
wherever Fortune casts it, and there
it germinates, like a dropped grain of spelt.
The leaves here are not green, ...


I was all angle once
sharp and schist-like
a spiked rock dragon-back
arching into air

too late you learn    the long
wash of days    given grist enough
finds your fissures
chafes them    wide

these days   knowing    I wade
in a rising tide    of blo ...

What you get when you search for silence

(poem composed of Hansard search results from November 1962)

one of his colleagues has gone into a significant silence
to silence us, but this is having no effect

listen in silence
spoken and heard in silence

the Prime Minister has observed an unusual silence on this matter. There was an old Australian ...


(translated from a Persian ghazal by Rabi’a Balkhi)

I am back, locked up in this love again,
all my daring escapes end here.

Love is a broad shoreless sea
tell me, o wise ones, who swims it and lives?

To take love all the way
you must embrace every horror;

adore ugliness like a fair face;
make sweet delight of poiso ...

some trees

spotted gum
tall classy lady
cradling a listing turpentine

(shaggy old top-heavy
barrel-chested nuisance)
she props him

takes the strain
holds her own line almost true
that’s what you get

when you get
married in a windstorm
but the wind always changes

strands you in strange attitudes
let him slid ...

After the Grand Canyon

18 October 2014


It’s an accident
of composition: sun, sky, bird.
White orb on storm grey
punctuated by a raven –
but which composes which,
and which is accidental?
Is it the sun
a hole
sucking in a bird,
or Icarus about
to singe the sun?
Against the grey
both soft and ...