States of Poetry 2016 - TAS | 'Bill and Gwen' by Graeme Hetherington

Bill And Gwen

In Swiftian mood, insisting that
The human race would never learn,
Was hopeless, doomed, Bill Harwood, pure
Logician and philosopher,
As well as spouse of poet Gwen,

Proposed a universal ban
On sex to end our sorry ways
And brought our threesome's talk on how
The world was going to a halt
Of the socially awkward kind.

Then magically, as tension grew,
As though specifically she knew
This impasse would arise, she whipped
A book up from her lap and showed,
Spread open at the very page,

A photo of a rationalist
And his divinely inspired wife,
Of Abelard and Heloise,
Their mediaeval counterparts
As sculpted on a column in

The Conciergerie, Paris,
His castrated parts cupped by her
Protectively as in a nest,
Their stooped backs turned forever on
Each other in a bed of stone.

Graeme Hetherington

Graeme Hetherington

Graeme Hetherington

Graeme Hetherington, born in 1937, grew up on the west coast of Tasmania before attending boarding school and the University of Tasmania in Hobart, where he became a lecturer in the Classics Department. Not finding any Hittites, Greeks or Romans in Australia, he went to Europe for a more substantial contact with them. Most of his adult life has been spent there, but he now lives back in Tasmania. He is the author of four books of poetry, and has another two coming out in 2017.

One of the themes of his work is disorientation à la Richard Mahoney!