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Monday, December 12, 2011

Poetry at The Gods - Tuesday Night


From 8pm Tuesday 13th December,
Poetry at The Gods, ANU, Canberra
with Guests
BARBARA TEMPERTON
&
ANDREW BURKE
compered by
GEOFF PAGE




XXIX
From the light tower, the kero drums
performing their daily cycle
of expansion and contraction,
toll dully.
She knows the smell of kerosene
as well as she knows
her own distilled essence,
the scent of her daughter’s hair,
the keeper’s salty presence.
Kerosene smudges everything
with its hazy-blue skin,
is the lighthouse’s other tenant,
always present, never seen,
a bitter layer on the lips
after she’s kissed her husband’s hand.
Remembering the children’s dog
barking until its voice was gone,
she wonders how long she could scream
before she would not make another sound.

- Barbara Temperton, The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter



Washing
at Tom Collins House

Today you won’t see one
but back in the Sixties
the historic house I lived in had
a timber and wire clothesline,
propped up in mid string
by the long sapling of a eucalypt tree
which forked at the top and held up
the sagging line. Urban Aborigines,
out of work and down on their lunch,
walked door to door selling these props,
cut down on bush walks out of town.
With over six metres of sheets and nappies
flapping in an easterly off the desert, strong wires
hung loose between two crucifixes
with movable arms. On the night of a full moon
a small feathered woman would arrive
and sit on top of the post near
the gnarled and knotted mulberry tree,
her wisdom silent in her,
two deep eyes focused on me
as I wrote by moonlight,
sitting on the back steps,
pad resting on sunburnt knees.


- Andrew Burke 

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