Monday, December 22, 2014

Tuesday Poem - 'Morning Ride' by Lisa Jacobson

Morning Ride

Eltham Station, 8.01 am

School girls whinny and toss their yellow manes
in half-wild herds on board the morning train.

I'll never be like that again. What's quick
in them now slows in me, though I recall

their visceral scent, new-glistening, which makes
grown men and school boys shift, ambivalent

in their vinyl seats. The girls gossip and stamp
their black-laced feet. Some part their legs a bit.

Something's begun, some urgent heartstrong need
for root and seed that no old god can halt,

no worn-out creed. The train groans to a stop.
The girls get off in a flecked-skirt, skittish mob,

disperse. And yet, the taut wire of their want
persists; their sharp desire, its imperative.

I really look forward to The Best Australian Poems each year.
It's always a feast. And this year it is not sorted from Adamson
to Ziguras (or even vice versa) nor by the title of the poem, but
by a narrative imperative. Look, almost every poem in the book
is tip top, (it's a rare year that has many duds) but this mob of
school girls on the train is my first pick to share. I have been
one of those girls, and now I am not one of those girls.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Tuesday Poem - 'At River Bend' by Frances Olive

At River Bend



First blue day -
mint on the water.

Above the clothes line
a wedge-tailed eagle
does not mention me.

All my plans
aren't a woman
now I am here.

With my thought I snatch
the fishtail -
passing future.

Is this a path?
Or is it my eyes
who are tame?

When will my memories
learn non-attachment?

One month passes
more slowly than the moon.


Slipping on the lazy morning
the sun wheel gifts me
her spare hour.

Tomorrow is clean as stripped bark;
still, today is not a tree.

Green grass wears
a blue face.

The day moon
our picture books.

When is this present?
I don't remember it.

Arriving is
hot in the hall.

A held breath
on laughter.

Talk happy
tangled in the sun.

How can I remember in time,
not to rush?


Too quickly passes
the beauty
of the river.

This gold guitar is all that's left
of the yellow moon.

What is silence,
that is brought by the loud rain?

If I turn in
am I sleeping or entering?

Because only God is perfect,
on such a night
we will spill a little wine on the carpet.



My words spilled before strangers
are strangers.

What white face stands
opposite truth?

She is there.
Why can't I lift her
out of my eyes?

When there is no reason,
there is the pink dawn.

Rain brightly breaks
into my solitude.

You have buried a cloud
beneath the path.

Is it you
or the day
who passes?

What is the river,
that when I open my door
it comes in?


The twitching grass -
I see you rain!

The glowing moss
is eating
the light.

Yellow moon through wood-smoke
(memory rising)

Can you see the clearing
for which I am longing?

As we talk
hot chestnuts
burn my fingers.

It's easy
lighting candles
for the bath.


More rain!
Do you want to fall to Earth
old sky?

The cold in stones
is trying to leave.

Is smoke the future
or the memory
of fire?

I sadly grow accustomed
to beauty.

Only midnight.
What luxury!
Seven more hours to sleep.

Where does terror go
when we wake?

Gum trees rock softly,
in the wind.

Night tenderness -
cicadas after rain.



Beautiful dawn
blows clean.

The animal has lost
her burrow

Old typewriter,
words pass through
with suitcases.

Memory – a scent
I cannot place.

A house
can be
a well.


The wane of year -
each day sliced thin

The blue-lipped land
has eaten my time.

Winter pollen – the bee
calm on my foot.

The old spirit:
smoke in your hair.

Cold creaks her body
through my body.

I will learn from the river
how she leaves.


We have something to travel.

The end of home;
I pack away my mind.

The longest night -
our fire in space.

Embers smack
their toothless lips.

Sudden rain -
cleanse me with falling!

Spring is a memory
of what comes.

And another of the short listed poems from The Newcastle Poetry Prize.
At River Bend is such a magnificently calm, lucid piece of work. It puts
me in my proper frame of mind.
And how, oh how! it reminded me of my year at Honey Cottage in the
Wairarapa on the Hungaroa River. What a blessing it is to live by a river.