A horizontal twister, but none of the dramatic life
and drop of hellraiser rides. Sedate, but vertiginous
enough to rearrange conceptions, open perceptions
to a very different York – those eucalypt canopies
a blur of recognition shifting the boundaries

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Tuesday, 29 November 2016 14:15

'Deep Knowledge' by Caitlin Maling

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Wednesday, 26 October 2016 15:29

'Zero Degrees' by John Hawke

Rags of snow unmelting on the southern lawn.
Those younger ones, whose death turns

on the hair’s-breadth incidence of accident,
avoid this perduration of slow misrecognition.

He dreams his cotton blankets are combusting,
but won’t press the hospital buzzer because

the nursing staff are occupied extinguishing flames.
That vandals have broken into the cupboard

of the genial stroke victim in the bed next door
who says only, ‘Here it is’. That children are being

shorn in the corridors. That a chaotic darkness has fallen
on working class districts erased for the concrete husks

of a hulking and labyrinthine construction: apartments
for immigrants and foreign students, with mirrored windows

replicating glare to the suburban boundaries.
The view is of a miniature city in a bottle of smoke,

car pollution mingling with vaporised frost.
An extended family of currawongs gathers

expectantly for the faintest turn of leaf litter.
He requests that his communist newspapers be hidden

in case they are reported – but doesn’t say by whom –
and remembers an article he once wrote for The Nation

about poverty in the Blue Mountains: a young mother
with three clenched children, all without jumpers,

the temperature never lifting above zero degrees.
Soon a plush Pullman carriage will arrive to transport him

to the plains for further tests, flashing through all
the usual stations: Bullaburra, Linden, Warrimoo.

John Hawke

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    Rags of snow unmelting on the southern lawn.
    Those younger ones, whose death turns

    on the hair’s-breadth incidence of accident,
    avoid this perduration of slow misrecognition.

Monday, 24 October 2016 14:40

'The Grey Parrot' by Judith Bishop

after the painting The grey parrot by Walter Deverell, National Gallery of Victoria

The far city must make itself known
even here in the sitting room and
barred by winter branches. The skyline

with its towers square as pillars
built of blocks could be here
as much as then and there and is

in any case beyond hearing.
Long withdrawn from the city
that oversees life to a home

where rapt stillness is a cultivated
guest and the ghost of light
leavens the chores of daily bread,

she would come to lend her features
to ideas she understood
could be treated most faithfully

in art that generates no
propulsion other than
this same descent into pleasure

gently shared between minds
– those branched apart by
evolution, or merely space and time

Judith Bishop


Judith Bishop won the Peter Porter Poetry Prize in 2006 and 2011.

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    The far city must make itself known
    even here in the sitting room and
    barred by winter branches. The skyline

Monday, 24 October 2016 14:46

'Home' by Judith Bishop

Be our heart’s north,
daybreak in our daughters’
breath, be the radiance
that listens
as we gather for the singing
of the wood.

Here is night. Somewhere,
to someone, fear is coming:
dark calls out the human
animal. Somewhere,
in someone, the animal
runs forth.

By night the wood sings.
In its radiance we find
ourselves altered.
Somewhere in the night
our hearts settle
and the breath alone keeps watch.

Judith Bishop


Judith Bishop won the Peter Porter Poetry Prize in 2006 and 2011.

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    The far city must make itself known
    even here in the sitting room and
    barred by winter branches. The skyline ...

His feet were stubborn
on the frozen path.
He put it into His hand, then
they walked along a bit. The mud
splashed; it was all coming back,
that big cow with a bullet-head
bending over his bed
in a dream. His jaw was swollen
with a bull's eye,
his shadow bunched on the wall.

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    His feet were stubborn
    on the frozen path.
    He put it into His hand, then ...

Friday, 23 September 2016 16:07

'Alarms' by Jill Jones

Miracles are not like tempests.
Furlongs are not like hedgerows
though they come close.

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    Miracles are not like tempests.
    Furlongs are not like hedgerows
    though they come close ...

Friday, 23 September 2016 12:42

'The Worst of It' by Sarah Holland-Batt

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    As I combed it,
    he sat cross-legged
    in front of me ...

Friday, 23 September 2016 12:37

'The Changing Room' by Sarah-Holland Batt

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    We tread the wood in J. Crew,
    pluck grey seersucker and navy cashmere
    and talk about dressing for the seasons ...

Wednesday, 24 August 2016 14:43

'Smartraveller' by Tracy Ryan

Just knowing those colours makes it safer
already and how they'll change anyway by the time
you, thirteen now, are old enough for elsewhere:

RED ORANGE YELLOW GREEN but not about weather
except for extremity and those are most finite
and fickle, cyclones though murderous rarely durable

as human cruelty. Where are you going?
the site prompts but you choose Browse countries
then List all countries, then run the current date –

not to miss anything – every day you check them
like a thing growing in the mind's garden
that needs tending, a world of worrying

for others under some degree of mastery; keep track
of flare-up, pandemic, earthquake, and ask me
sidelong, to define civil unrest, safety and security

though these are terms you know, as if rehearsing,
as if there could be something more the words don't
indicate, a further shade in my palette till now

held back, but I can only disappoint, being arms'-length,
and listen my best as you list the ten tallest mountains
while we head for the school bus because last night

and all this week it was Nepal, and pulling your quilt
around you to ready for sleep was rugging up
for Everest, and before that, another land, one day.

Tracy Ryan

Tracy Ryan won the Peter Porter Poetry Prize in 2009. Her latest collection is Hoard (2015).

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    Just knowing those colours makes it safer
    already and how they'll change anyway by the time
    you, thirteen now, are old enough for elsewhere: ...