Monday, January 28, 2013

Tuesday Poem - Death like a shy doorframe by De Er He

Death like a shy doorframe

Death is like a shy doorframe

All Mother ever did was put her hand on it for support a little while

Before it, becoming lower and lower

Turned into a photo frame -

In tight support of Mother.

Translated by Ouyang Yu

This poignant little apercu first appeared in the Weekend Australian Review and then in The Best Australian Poems 2012.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Tuesday Poem - Snow by Louis MacNeice

The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
Spawning snow and pink roses against it
Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
World is suddener than we fancy it.

World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.

And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes -
On the tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of one's hands -
There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses.
This has been one of my favourite poems for 50 years. 
And I don't quite know why it is. Now I can see that
it is in a conversation with other poetry. 
For instance Graves' Warning To Children. 
And as I was googling I came upon a kind of riposte poem, 
an anti numinous poem by Geoffrey Hill. 
But when I first found it in an anthology it came into my 
consciousness in a very free and clear way. And I hold onto that.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Tuesday Poem - Sometimes I Wonder What's Going On by Matt Hetherington

Sometimes I Wonder What’s Going On

she turns up wanting space
she’s not wearing green again
why aren’t her kids making her happy?

she wants to up her dosage
to where it was
before she cancelled the ceremony

she needs to start smoking again
but her mother has just given up

she can’t remember what she forgot
she has a different voice for everyone she knows

someone dedicated a book to her
but she was smarter and never read it
she’s like an avocado inside-out

she likes to renovate her hair
her brain is like a magazine
she apologises but can’t tell you why

while she’s smoking a joint
she tells you
you’re the only thing wrong with her life

she doesn’t see
it’s going to burn her

and you don’t tell her

Previously published in fourW and The Best Australian Poems 2012

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tuesday Poem - from Collusion by Brook Emery

Perhaps the first thing I notice is the sound of pages being
turned. Crease, uncrease. Crack. Almost like a whip. This
is pre-determined, but difficult to anticipate. That’s one.
There’s another.

The second thing I notice is the way the paper is impressed,
the way the pens are squeezed. This must be necessity.
Sometimes pens dangle like cigarettes from lips in silent

I notice eyelids. Visible because the gaze is on the
intersection of pen and paper. The faces look like plaster,
even the tanned and swarthy ones. When eyes are raised
the focus doesn’t shift. This is concentration or some drug.

Eight rows across, sixteen down the length. Walls a lemon-
textured grey. A clock lacks numbers and an hour hand.
Suspended from the ceiling twelve independent moons
distribute almost even light.

Now someone stretches her arms above her head, rotates
her torso against a chair’s resistance, then pushes fingers
through her hair, pinned and tied to stop distraction. This
is still distraction.

Something about the silence is amiss. Yes, every cough or
crack or scraping of a chair is startling, but beneath it all I
hear a low collective hum as though, unorchestrated, every
throat is growling.

I think of a scriptorium but the analogy is wrong. I think
of mass production but this is also wrong. I think of
cryptographers, the word ‘enigma’, prisoners, turbines,
cells, a multi-bodied brain,

schoolgirls taking an exam, an olive grove, a graveyard, an
aviary of tethered birds, but metaphor is beside the point
as they are beside each other, separate and linked; and the
growling, it’s insistent now.

Here is a poem from Brook Emery's intriguing new book Collusion (John Leonard Press).