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

Sweet nothings in our ear
   cherub   pumpkin   dearest chuck
but to the heart   which is the better
     listener   the password
to a tongue that only two in their comings
         and goings have access to

     A blessed mouthful

   Drawn from a stream that is forever
       fresh   and on our lips forever
         true   however
                   casually we call
upon it to speak for what we have no other
                         words for

                  What we catch
       at a glance   or in a breathless
         moment
                   what catches
         us   at the first
             touch

 

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)