I had expected the dumb scorn of the world. Seeing that I had chosen to decline the wine cups and the proffered hands of the world, and even disgraced myself in the eyes of love coming cynically with dollars and gum. I am not such a fool but I should have been prepared To meet the averted long silence of friends.
Embryonic snarls herald in lover’s ear; panther and viper like a traveller coming leafing the ice channels of winter roads. with the warm and wired pattern of their bloods. As it were, the eye locates its zoo and the new captives catch old echoes, reprint the stamp of “very good” at school. and cages now crestfallen eagles are, the bars of wings huddled to the side, and the limp glint of lidless eye. curses the fingers of passersby whose torments of cheap peanuts shower the bird’s heart like bullets. The amorous alligator, glutted with lust, sinks its breast in the […]
Lightly, O lightly we bear her along, She sways like a flower in the wind of our song, She skims like a bird on the foam of a stream, She floats like a laugh on the lips of a dream, Gaily O gaily we glide and we sing, We bear her along like a pearl on a string Soft, O softly we bear her along, She hangs like a star on the wind of our song She springs like a beam on the brow of the tide She falls like a tear from the eyes of the bride Lightly, […]
Tunnelling through the night, the trains pass in a splendour of power, with a sound like thunder, shaking the orchards; waking the young from a dream; scattering like glass the old men’s sleep: laying a black trail over the still bloom of the orchards; the trains go north with guns. Strange, primitive piece of flesh, the heart laid quiet, hearing their cry pierce through its thin-walled cave recalls the forgotten tiger, and leaps awake in its old panic riot: how, too, shall mind be sober, since blood’s red thread still binds us fast in history? Tiger, you walk through all […]
This sweep of sky lit now by gold-white clouds, Rounded and full, maternal breasts leant over The young brown furrows, promising Their slopes with sweetest rain to cover, Burst on me with one soul-awakening shock Of glad surprise. my eyes Blinded by beauty after the long dark Of inward-downward looking. Gnarled old vines March down the slope in ordered lines, Each trunk withered and brown as weathered rock. Theresa the Yugoslav who works beside me Chides at my idleness: “You do not care for money then? You mark My words, you better hurry …” But I stand, Wet golden […]
The leaves are gone from the tree, Eddying. We too, wind-cold, with the leaves Revolving. We that were green in the sun Have the yellow of death in our veins. The tree is gaunt in the star-shells, Silver and black, grotesque. And the voice of the wind is a myth In the shouts of the hate. We know of our end— The fear is over for us. But we think and we think– O God! Will there be Spring again?
The planes seem to crash into my room. I feel their wings lurch In torment of darkness And silver; they leave their shadow Flat for an instant, then run Across the floor, like mice. One long, little shadow of death. Sweep, dip, roar in the sudden Zipped bass of them Above my roof, and I crouch down. I am nothing but the seed of fear, Crouching under the plane’s white Ribbed bellies. They are dark and silver in sunlight. Yet in my room they become Little shadows, scimetar slim as Fugitive fear, little shadows left For an instant at my […]
KNAP! … Knap! … Knap! … A stone among stones I sit, Knap . . . Knap . . . Knap— Who is the leader? Not he On the galloping horse, Though he fly like the wind In its course; Not the wheel like a web In the sun, Not even the church And the steeple— But I, the roadmaker. A stone among stones I sit … Knap … Knap … Knap,— I am the people. Mary Gilmore (1865 – 1962) was an Australian writer and journalist known for her prolific contributions to Australian literature and the broader […]
This is the hour When the black dog is eating moonstones and on the dark river gipsies are singing of moons made of blood. This is the hour when moths speak of insistence to a flame of white silence when clocks press the unwanted minutes into caps of metal. This is the hour when Proserpina forgets to cup the moon in her hands and love is a flower of paper under glass and dust.
It was such fun, with lantern light agleam, to hollow out the night of years and dream again, again, again of canefields washed by rain, and we two strolling arm in arm from riverside to farm, past crushing mills a blaze, through lantana lanes to laze on fragrant grass, and listening hear the rumble of the wheels borne on molasses-sweetened air ; and when the light took sudden flight, and blue-grey mantles of the night were spread o’er day, then lantern gleam would seem to leap and dance ahead, while at our muted tread the shy wild things would cast […]