The Lyrebird

Published : Tuesday, October 26, 2010 | Label:

A sestet I wrote near the end of my recent stay at Bundanon appeared last Saturday (23 October) in The Sydney Morning Herald.

It appeared with Robert Gray’s review of the new collection of the late Peter Porter’s poems. I read with Robert Gray the Friday at Blue Metal Vineyard in Berrima, coincidentally, and it was a joy for me to appear in the paper with two such fine and very different Australian poets. Three generations, almost, of Australian poetry.

Here’s my poem (though its line breaks are ruined :

The Lyrebird

Writing is hard work all morning long—
as if I were on trial for each phrase.
Sentenced half to death by two o’clock,
I leave the house and take the driving-too-fast meditation
all the way to the village. Along the Mt Scanzi Road
I panic a lyrebird from its sonic camouflage.
Pretence will get you nowhere fast. I drive a little slower home,
where, later, writing proves just as hard in the dark.
Boobook at midnight: if those are your only two syllables, you’d better make them pay.


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