7 Jan 2013

Ariadne – Jennifer Maiden

[1949–current, Australian]

There is a claret light, a flood 
of chubby, meat-dark clouds, but you, intent, 
at first are in your old scent-satchel mood. 
Your hands are in the gliding mode, 
balletic, suppliant, sisterly, spin 
out grace in a web that love early 
crumbled to a fragrance, tannin-dry, 
but that dances now steadily, succulent, 
in revels, reverberant where within 
your threads and labyrinth you hold 
confined to the drunken god. 

Source: Maiden, J 1979, The Border Loss, Angus and Robertson, Australia.

My Friend Judge Not Me -- Anonymous

My friend, judge not me,
Thou seest I judge not thee;
Betwixt the stirrop and the ground,
Mercy I askt, mercy I found.

Source: Camden 1637, Remaines Concerning Britaine, p. 392. 
Quoted by Dr. Hill on epitaph to a man killed by a fall from his horse. www.bartleby.com/78/450.html

I Cannot Say -- Lynn Hard

[1938–current, born America, migrated to Australia in 1977]

I cannot say 
what other men desire 
in women,

what causes 
the meetings beyond the first,

but I 
am attracted 
to the lady fading

With her beauty 
like a dropped vase 
and the seam 
between glaze and clay 

it is then, 
if there is to be any style 
beyond fashion, 
and utility to the style 
that it may be found.

It is then, 
when she is deciding 
on what to jettison 
like an overburdened vessel 
that she may most rewardingly 
be boarded.

It is then, 
midst all the confusion, 
her vulnerability an innocence, 
that one may want her 
for her previous, ageing youth 
or her present youthful age.

Source: Hard, L 1993, Dancing on the Drainboard, Angus & Robertson, Australia, pp. 16–17.

Drifters -- Bruce Dawe

[1930–current, Australian]

One day soon he’ll tell her it’s time to start packing
and the kids will yell ‘Truly?’ and get wildly excited for no reason
and the brown kelpie pup will start dashing about, tripping everyone up
and she’ll go out to the vegetable-patch and pick all the green tomatoes from the vines
and notice how the oldest girl is close to tears because she was happy here,
and how the youngest girl is beaming because she wasn't.
And the first thing she’ll put on the trailer will be the bottling-set she never unpacked from Grovedale,
and when the loaded ute bumps down the drive past the blackberry canes with their last shrivelled fruit,
she won’t even ask why they’re leaving this time, or where they’re headed for
she’ll only remember how, when they came here
she held out her hands, bright with berries,
the first of the season, and said:
‘Make a wish, Tom, make a wish.’

Source: Dawe, B 1962, No Fixed Address, Cheshire, Melbourne.

Packing Poem -- CL Sonneborn

Cardboard boxes brood in corners
They’ve been waiting for weeks.
I don’t fill them – 
only collect them.

The night damp day is right for this.
I work like an automan.
Books, towels, nicknacks – 
I’m not really leaving:
Just practicing disengagement.

Eight years slides into a tube.
Rain drips down the sill.

Source: Sonneborn, CL 1991 ’Packing Poem’, Poetry Australia 132, South Head Press, NSW Australia, p. 37.