States of Poetry Series Two
– is made of windows
side by side and repeating the way two mirrors
face to face cut halls of light
back through their emptiness – Its façade,
Storm water piped under the cutting comes out here,
unfolding down under the surface of itself, bluish oil-haze
clotted with seeds and insects – where down the gully
dank onion weed tracks the secret paths of water – Late winter,
black cockatoos scrap and cry in the Monterey pines
which bank the gully’s side – The water flows to a standing pool
out th ...
A single cloud now climbing the hill towards me
and the blue-grey shadows in it are in the shape of a fire
and all about it brightness where the light pours through –
Uninterrupted its shadow moves over the craving grasses –
pale seedheads now shaking out light – as with a sound of wings
the scrubwrens scatter out of head-high rubble
overrun with weeds ...
Now on its stone heaps the tussock is dry
stalks the colour of a scratch in glass and rattling fennel
tendrils from the root – Along the cutting’s side
speargrass with a rain wind in it moves through the shape
of a catching fire – At the level of my eye, its
close horizon, grasses moving many ways
like shivers, incandescent, each force forwards
Lisa Gorton, who lives in Melbourne, is a poet, novelist, and critic, and a former Poetry Editor of ABR. She studied at the Universities of Melbourne and Oxford. A Rhodes Scholar, she completed a Masters in Renaissance Literature and a Doctorate on John Donne at Oxford University, and was awarded the John Donne Society Award for Distinguished Publication in ...
In an age when the news is relentlessly bad, it is tempting to think that we can turn to poetry as either a flight from the pathological politics of our time, or a higher commentary on it. As the poets in this year’s Victorian States of Poetry Anthology show, poetry’s relationship with the news of the day is more complex than that.
The old dust was left behind;
it hatched crystals,
dining with itself
around a table.
Heart twigs beat
against the breath and
winding legs patrol
a speck of flesh;
red neurons fire
the sedge, slip below
the iris of lagoon.
Shuffle the pool,
there are diamonds;
if we are straws slurping
at this pool, it is to slake
our own thirst; we have
claimed this land as
ten thousand flagpoles
needing no flag, but
we are gentle sceptres;
a nest dispersed and
cradling paper wings.
this silt: our home,
where all legs hurry
as their days dry up;
this rot: our mother,
tadpole to sedge. and so ...