Day 8 – Daughter of the Poets

Second day of Judging a Book by its Cover … & today’s text is Wooroloo by Frieda Hughes. My friend & fellow poet, Jules Leigh Koch, lent it to me following my reading at Lee Marvin on Tuesday night.

Those who’ve read Day 5’s post Crows everywhere you turn, will know I elected to perform what amounted to a “concept album” of poems; with every one referencing in some way, a crow or crows; including a couple inspired by a chilling experience at this year’s Adelaide Writers’ Week, where the voice of Ted Hughes reading poems recorded in Adelaide 40 years earlier were played through the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Gardens. It made for a very a haunting session dedicated to Hughes, with guests Jonathon Bate (biography of Hughes) & Max Porter (Grief is the Thing With Feathers).

I didn’t know that Ted & Sylvia’s daughter had tried her hand at poetry. Nor that for a time she was married to an Australian and lived on a West Australian farm. Sadly, the collection did little for me, with only a couple of poems I found engaging. However, if the cover is anything to go by, she is a pretty talented artist.

conflagration

the sky is a golden fleece
— a beach furnace fuelled
by driftwood embers
— the front face of fire
leaping into the air
— flames catapulting over
themselves to escape
— everything it is destroying

wooroloo.jpg

NOTE: this painting is not called ‘Wooroloo’, but ‘Two Sheep’, 1996, by Frieda Hughes. Sadly for the sheep, they have been cropped out by moi.

Day 6 – 2016 Miles Franklin Longlist

dry-salt-creek-murchison-western-australia-DJ7R9X copy

Whichever way you spin it, today was a good day. As an earlier post stated, it was the first day of my Poets Residency at Adelaide City Library. For three hours I was paid to be a poet, paid to interact with the public and talk poeting, and paid to write poems.

Today I am spoiled for choice (I wrote several title poems today). Today is also the day of my first truly solid poem.

I chose, as the clever among you may have worked out, to use the 2016 Miles Franklin Longlist titles as the basis for my Title Poem today. The longlist was announced yesterday and the titles are all glorious. I defy anyone not to write a good poem using them. However, to be fair, I was the most lax/playful/non-rule-bound today of any Word Game so far this NaPoWriMo. & so …

 

Australian pastoral

the hands that work the earth
know the natural way of things

of the never coming rain
of the hope we farm

this burnt black rock
so far from the white city

the river’s a ghost, the creek salt
where fish no longer leap

these dirty hands know
the world will go on, without us

..
So yeah! Pleased with that. That is pretty much an archetypal roi jones kinda poem.

Tomorrow will be a new game for a new week.

Here for those interested, is the full list. Look forward to reading them…

Tony Birch for Ghost River (UQP)
Stephen Daisley for Coming Rain (Text)
Peggy Frew for Hope Farm (Scribe)
Myfanwy Jones for Leap (Allen & Unwin)
Mireille Juchau for The World Without Us (Bloomsbury)
Stephen Orr for The Hands: an Australian pastoral (Wakefield Press)
A.S. Patric for Black Rock White City (Transit Lounge)
Lucy Treloar for Salt Creek (Pan Macmillan)
Charlotte Wood for The Natural Way of Things (Allen & Unwin)

& a link to a Sydney Morning Herald article about the announcement.

dry-salt-creek CROP flip.jpg

Day 20 – image games

The story of this poem tells itself within the poem. Makes life easier.

*****

misplaced lake

one of my favourite travel stories
concerns a photograph of holy water

taken after my european sojourn
framed with precise pre-digital care

a vivid purple, a pool of venal blood
the top dam at twilight, my first night back

when showing it, i told my parents it was
a lake in france — for 3 days they believed

until i caught dad looking closely
it’s not really france is it?

no, i admitted, it’s your own country
the heart of everything 

*****

lake