Monday, June 17, 2013

Tuesday Poem - Air Variations in C & D by Jennifer Harrison

Air Variations in C & D

This is the cart my father did not drag behind his life
This is the cartel: the headless girl in Mexico
This is the carton of cigarettes sodden from Toowoomba flood
This is the cartridge in the chamber of my father's rabbit gun
This is a caravel, a poem
What is its lost oar? An empty marriage?
This is cash, a delicacy
And this is the delegate smoking a cheroot
This is the delay between loss and déjà vu
A delectation of swans, deliberating

This is drama and deceit
The same sink with different dishes
This is a backpack of dynamite, trees at night
This is Dominique Strauss-Kahn's defense
Cardamom for rice, rose-water in the desert
This is the moon on my dead dog's collar
What is definite? A claw? A door?

This poem is taken from the extremely interesting book called Notes for the
Translators collected and edited by Christopher (Kit) Kelen at Cerberus Press
– Flying Island Books. I have rarely found a book so fascinating.
142 Antipodean poets take time to explicate, elucidate (sometimes obfuscate)
the meaning and intent of the poem for a possible translator.
Jennifer's explication begins – This poem is inspired by the alphabet.

Jennifer Harrison is a notable Australian poet who lives in Melbourne. Her most
recent book is Colombine, New And Selected Poems put out recently by Black
Pepper Press.


  1. Fascinating, I like the mental leaps within and between lines and the ideas raised and left hanging. Thanks for posting this Jennifer.

  2. I love the way she makes very different words spring from the same root. And from the words spring a veritable cornucopia of ideas and images.

    Thanks for posting this, Jennifer.