States of Poetry ACT Poems
Every morning, with an authority
of clinging, earthy foundations
a house sat in air.
Inside someone was singing an aria
about how love inflects its failings
and a woman, absorbed in her toilette
considered how pained words work
the world awry, even as air fills with song.
Outside a man hammered boards
to make a dwelling; crows sat on a wire
as i ... More
A gap opened every evening
emitting a panting – as soft as darkness,
or stray dog at exhaustion's end.
Unsettling, like a straggly bird,
it dropped dark feathers
of prickling desire into the room.
It knew the edges of solitude
like the blue glacier's encrusted ice,
and morphed into a clouded mirror
on which each searching glance stuck fast.
There was never an explanation
as to why he walked into the river,
took hold of a log
and floated away.
They found letters
but the love he expressed
in sometimes obsessive detail
was no explanation –
except, the coroner declared
that perhaps it indicated
'a lack of a grasp', etc.
Someone who saw him pass by
said that he was waterlogg ... More
As a new century dawned white Australians were urged
to feel comfortable and relaxed about their history.
'Shake off that irksome black arm band – legacy of radical
lefties who can't leave well enough alone – and their
tiresome chant that white Australia has a Black history and
we all have blood on our hands.
We've got a new song to sing now!'
Right win ... More
For Patrick White (1976)
When the Badtjala people discovered Eliza Fraser,
her story of cannibals devoured a history.
A century later when the Badtjala people
rescued Ellen Roxborough on the fringes of paradise
White's imagination captured the Aborigine –
the Blacks – for the nation.
When she ate Badtjala woman's flesh,
she ... More
The desert dreams of harvest,
of holy writ & rain.
The city dreams of ruin,
of upturned cars
& vine-dressed churches.
The tiger dreams of freedom,
of shaking loose the stake & chain
& racing into shadows
large enough to hold it.
I dream of you.
There was a time we collected
&a ... More
after it has died,
we will hold a vigil for the moon.
We will burn candles,
cheap mimics of its light,
& utter prayers we forgot to utter
while it still lived.
And we will say,
'Remember how it
spoke to us its bone-coloured dreams?
Remember how it gave us hope
when all else seemed savage?'
And some will say it was ... More