States of Poetry Series Two - Victoria | 'Simaetha' by Gig Ryan

(Idyll II, Theocritus)


Where are my bay leaves and charms, my bowl with crimson flowers
while him inexorable
has gone from my bed like a dress
Distance: spells of fire wreathe you

Shine on this spin or grave
As sight stunned me

leaves burn
Wheel of brass turning from my door

Now wave is still and wind is still
My heart stopped in its foundry

As horses run, so we to it
Starts love’s knife

whose hair shone like dunes
whose body greased with labour

He had brought apples and his hair sprigged
unasked love into the oak and elm

and words went and came
Now from my lintels

Day drags from me and tells his flowers elsewhere
Farewell, ocean and its team,
whose white arms wrap
Silver flute who sang, and bright-faced moon
who knocks on a door of shadows

A rose for you, to match the wound
but tomorrow’s like now  

Gig Ryan

Gig Ryan

Gig Ryan

Gig Ryan has published six books of poetry and her New and Selected Poems was published in 2011 (Giramondo, Australia; and Bloodaxe, United Kingdom). She has reviewed Australian poetry over many years particularly in The Age and ABR, and has written extended articles on Les Murray, Judith Wright, and Indonesian novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer. She has also written songs with her occasional band Driving Past, and has been Poetry Editor of The Age since 1998. (Photograph by Mia Schoen)


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.