Monday, July 6, 2015

Tuesday Poem - 'The Mitchells' by Les Murray


I am seeing this: two men are sitting on a pole
they have dug a hole for and will, after dinner, raise
I think for wires. Water boils in a prune tin.
Bees hum their shift in unthinning mists of white

bursaria blossom, under the noon of wattles.
The men eat big meat sandwiches out of a styrofoam
box with a handle. One was overheard saying:
drought that year. Yes. Like trying to farm the road.

The first man, if asked, would say I'm one of the Mitchells.
The other would gaze for a while, dried leaves in his palm,
and looking up, with pain and subtle amusement,

say I'm one of the Mitchells. Of the pair, one has been rich
but never stopped wearing his oil-stained felt hat.
      Nearly everything
they say is ritual. Sometimes the scene is an avenue.

I invested in a copy of 'The Best 100 Poems Of Les Murray' (Black Inc)
because I was curious to see which ones he had picked. I didn't always
agree with him, I thought he had left out some corkers. (Aphrodite Street,
for instance). But I agreed with him about this one, it has to be in my top ten.


  1. under the noon of wattles gorgeous

  2. I can hear those men talking when I read it - and see them too. His poetry is so vivid!