States of Poetry 2016 - New South Wales | 'Pyrra' by David Malouf

after Horace, Odes I, v

 

What slim-hipped beachboy dripping
with musk is riding you
now on a bed of roses
in your snug den, Pyrra? Is it

for him you have braided
those honey-gold locks
in a knot so neat, so
homely? One day

soon, black moods, black
looks, he'll be cursing
you and the fickle
gods who have dropped him,

but for now he's
hooked, you're his, all this
is for him:
calm seas, endless horizons.

Well tides,
as we know my precious,
can turn. These trophies
I've hung on the clubhouse wall

speak for one
man in his golden prime
cruelly dumped
and broken. A warning to all.

 

David Malouf

David Malouf

David Malouf

David Malouf is the internationally acclaimed author of novels including Ransom (2009), The Great World (1990) (winner of the Commonwealth Writers' prize and the Prix Femina Etranger), Remembering Babylon (1993) (winner of the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award), An Imaginary Life (1978), Conversations at Curlow Creek (1996), Dream Stuff (2000), Every Move You Make (2006) and his autobiographical classic 12 Edmondstone Street (1985). His The Complete Stories, published in 2008, won the Australia-Asia Literary Award of the same year. His most recent books are A First Place (2014) and The Writing Life (2014). He was born in 1934 and was brought up in Brisbane. David Malouf is the ABR Laureate.

 

(photograph by Conrad del Villar)