December 2007 - January 2008

Arts & Letters

The Usual

By Craig Sherborne

Nose down in the froth of his clover beer

the grey horse sups alone.

He ignores a butting calf with its patched coat,

and the flitting tarts the wagtails -

 

how he must hate their chirpy songs;

they can't really hold a tune,

only some pitiful, high-pitched laughs.

The old lady cow with her udder showing and nipple hair.

 

Dependables this time each evening that he prefers to turn his back to.

The owl on a fencepost stool.

The annoying flickering light bulb of lightning.

A magpie pushes another with its chest, there's a second's flap and fighting,

 

but the horse minds his own business;

he's not complicated with paddock politics -

the only poll he knows about is the knob of fuzz-fringe between his ears.

He's like a simpleton, letting his feet be caked with mud

 

and flies fiddle with his eye corners, hair that never sees a brush.

He pisses wherever he wants and has green teeth

from continually skolling the world. It's his addiction.

He does it for hours, staring into his habit that's eventually quelled,

 

though for all that, his ribs still stick out.

Then his gravity returns, pulls him down

to its level, and he must take up his spot

once more, head lowered in the half dark by himself.

Craig Sherborne

Craig Sherborne is the author of the highly acclaimed memoir Hoi Polloi, and its sequel Muck, which won the Queensland Literary Award for Non-Fiction. He has written two volumes of poetry, Bullion and Necessary Evil, and two novels, The Amateur Science of Love and Tree Palace.

From the front page

Image of fans taking a selfie with a photo of tennis star Novak Djokovic ahead of first round matches at the Australian Open in Melbourne. Image © Hamish Blair / AP Photo

‘Health and good order’

If Novak Djokovic is “a talisman of anti-vaccination sentiment”, what does that make George Christensen?

Image of Kim Philby (left) and Phillip Knightley

On Her Majesty’s secret disservice

The reporter who uncovered the truth about Kim Philby, the 20th century’s most infamous spy, and his warnings for democratic society

Illustration by Jeff Fisher

Echidna poo has changed our understanding of human evolution

Citizen science is not only helping echidna conservation, but changing how we think about evolution

Image of sculpture by Jane Bamford

The artist making sculpture for penguins

How creating sculpture for animals is transforming wildlife conservation and the art world

In This Issue

Illustration by Jeff Fisher.

Dogs of war

Genealogy

Illustration by Jeff Fisher.

Buyer’s market

Illustration by Jeff Fisher.

What a pratt


More in Poem

Abbotsford I

New poetry, after lockdowns

Illustration by Jeff Fisher

Melbourne I

Illustration by Jeff Fisher

The Properties of Water

Poetry from the late Kate Jennings

Illustration by Jeff Fisher

Broadmeadows


Online exclusives

Still from ‘The Worst Person in the World’, showing Anders Danielsen Lie as Aksel and Renate Reinsve as Julie. Image courtesy Everett Collection.

‘The Worst Person in the World’

Renate Reinsve is exceptional in Joachim Trier’s satisfying Nordic rom-com

Image of WA Premier Mark McGowan earlier this week announcing the state will reopen its border to the rest of the country on February 5, after almost two years of border closures. Image © Richard Wainwright / AAP Images

Family’s grief compounded by WA’s hard border

The awful predicament of a Melbourne family unable to bring home their son’s body shows the callousness of WA’s border policy

Image of Liliane Amuat and Henriette Confurius in Ramon and Sylvan Zürcher’s film The Girl and the Spider. Image supplied

The best of 2021 on screen

This year may have been difficult to live through, but it produced an extraordinary crop of films

Image of Rob Collins as Tyson in ‘Firebite’. Image supplied

Raising the stakes: ‘Firebite’

Warwick Thornton’s magnificently pulpy Indigenous vampire-hunter drama leads the pack of December streaming highlights