Mark O'Connor

Those big laundry baskets heaving at anchor,
a soft lift and fall
like a cat landing on feathers

Nervous passengers toeing the frost,
invited at last, to stand packed
in a cut-down phone booth of wicker.

Each shot of flame brings a slow delaying lift

then the light up-gathering pull of nylon
as tugged seams unite to draw on hawsers, cats-cradl ...

For John and Bini Malcolm

 

Just when you think it’s all coming together
And you could take a bit more of this partnership,
Time coughs and observes, it’s been forty years now, more than average,
And maybe it’s time to sum up.

In the road to the planets and stars
The step from the croft to the town was the harshest
Then – for a Scot ...

Trapped and snapped,
cut from twisted tin,
a blowfly on the windscreen
preening its compound lenses.

Nothing to be done. They sewed her back,
packed the cut flesh in ice and flowers.

Not one for white gloves,
kneeling to the young and the dying
while those lanky knees pushed out,
she proved kings were film stars,
then deposed the prince. ...

‘We were two cranes, each broken-winged,
that hopped and panicked in the dust

till welded, seamless, rib to rib,
we sprang with equal, matchless strokes

to glide above the circling clouds
beyond the glance of counsellors,
perfect, alone, in company’

So wrote the Emperor
of plump K ...

Season of fructose gladness, its sugars mixed
With melancholy for declining life and year.
Now the year turns downwards to the compost tip

Rosella parrots with their sideways treadle-ing claws
Move transverse up the fire-thorn sprays,
Munch golden berries in a slow exultant dance.

But for students in the Acton antipodes the autumn is springtime,
When mig ...

Mark OConnor States of PoetryMark O’Connor was born in Melbourne in 1945, and graduated from Melbourne University in 1965. He lives in Canberra. In 1999 he was the Australian National University’s H.C. Coombs Fe ...

Illustrations are almost mandatory for certain types of books, technical manuals, travel books. Illustrated poetry is not unheard of, but neither is it a common phenomenon in Australia, the normal perception being that poetry is a discrete and competent medium. Nevertheless, there are times when pictorial complementation has been thought desirable. Such a book is O’Connor and Coleman’s Poetry in Pictures: The Great Barrier Reef, which collects some of O’Connor’s reef poems and matches them up with some superb photographs of the birds and marine forms described. The result is a handsome book of the sort you might buy at a reef resort for a Thinking Friend back home.

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