States of Poetry 2016
The light's older
in these sandstone suburbs,
A clipped-haired man held a dog leash
saying one of us is single,
and even the leaves
had hunched their shoulders
in the gutters.
A waiter, golden-brown as a bread loaf,
squirted water at the pigeons
that sat cock-headed at the tables. My tart
(after Jordie Albiston’s ‘Cartography’)
What is the space between this hut and that mountain
but impenetrable black, and frosty cold.
She is writing this at a table in the cabin,
spinning thoughts like threads, as if they can hold
her boys tighter, pull the mountain in, with their bold
tents blooming like flowe ... More
She sees the flowers are red flags
like pennants hauled up, heralding danger,
hailing the world and its lovers
watch out, watch out.
On long stalks they wobble
and wave, handkerchiefs flaring
long after the ship has left port,
their scarlet hue a constancy, ... More
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.
Learning To Know One's Place
(For Gwen Harwood And James McAuley)
'Hello Graeme, old love, it's Gwen,
I'm sitting on a cloud too fine
For jealousy to let you see.
But please believe your ears as I
Exhort you not to bow to age,
To keep tramping around in search
Of at least one poem that will be
As sure of fame as all mine are ... More
For Bill Harwood
A theorist of the purest kind,
Your lectures had no human warmth
And faded like a day-time moon.
The crueller said 'cloud-cuckoo land'
And loudly tapped their hollow heads.
Some thought you clinically disposed,
Contemptuous of eveything
Except the symbols on a page,
Myself included till you said
With gr ... More
Upper Heights And Lower Depths
What heights remain beyond our reach
When dog whistle and tuning fork,
Straining to listen though we may,
Sound notes pitched too high for our ear,
Deserting us yearning to rise,
Freed from the confines of our lives?
Nor can we hear how far below
The scales a crow's cawing might go,
Summoning t ... More