States of Poetry Poems

Trapped and snapped,
cut from twisted tin,
a blowfly on the windscreen
preening its compound lenses.

Nothing to be done. They sewed her back,
packed the cut flesh in ice and flowers.

Not one for white gloves,
kneeling to the young and the dying
while those lanky knees pushed out,
she proved kings were film stars,
then deposed the prince. ...

‘We were two cranes, each broken-winged,
that hopped and panicked in the dust

till welded, seamless, rib to rib,
we sprang with equal, matchless strokes

to glide above the circling clouds
beyond the glance of counsellors,
perfect, alone, in company’

So wrote the Emperor
of plump K ...

Season of fructose gladness, its sugars mixed
With melancholy for declining life and year.
Now the year turns downwards to the compost tip

Rosella parrots with their sideways treadle-ing claws
Move transverse up the fire-thorn sprays,
Munch golden berries in a slow exultant dance.

But for students in the Acton antipodes the autumn is springtime,
When mig ...

Mark OConnor States of PoetryMark O’Connor was born in Melbourne in 1945, and graduated from Melbourne University in 1965. He lives in Canberra. In 1999 he was the Australian National University’s H.C. Coombs Fe ...

Road Closed

was emphatic,
but the rusty sign
hung on an open gate,
allowing him to kid himself
and drive on through –
up the narrow sandy track
in an erratic

sequence
of hairpin bends
towards the summit,
and as he continued,
with ever less option
to reverse, he began t ...

With daily practice

his stiff fingers found
a music of their own,
the muscle memory of his arm
a rhythm akin
to the unique routine

of a bird of paradise,
waiting for her to come
to his patch of ground
and allow him to impress.

Paul Munden

...

(Il Cimento dell’ Armonia e dell’ Inventione)
                    after Vivaldi
                                 & ...

The violin

perched, slack-strung,
on the dark wooden sideboard
of your Palermitan apartment
opposite the cathedral,
a gift you didn’t yet know
how to tune, let alone play.

Your guests ignored it,
heading straight for the plates
of cheese, olives, bread,
and wine in plastic flagons
from the market, music
flow ...

What he overhears

is the tumble of dried fruit – cherries, currants, raisins, sultanas – and the rest is imagined: cinnamon, the grated rind of an orange, sifted flour … then there’s a crack – ‘never mind, let’s try another!’ – and he pictures the smashed yolk wiped from the floor before the comic repeat, but he forges on with his own task, and later ...

Paul Munden States of PoetryPaul Munden has published five collections, most recently The Bulmer Murder (Recent Work Press, 2017) and Chromatic (UWA Publishing, 2017). He was reader for Stanley Kubr ...