December 2017 – January 2018

Arts & Letters

The inland food bowl

By Les Murray
A poem

A gapped circle of colonies
each staring at the ocean
through a plaid of cars and imports.

Inland lies the still uncrowded
heartland once of drawl and steamboats
now half desert, half freshwater province.

There the Murray descends its seven thousand
feet off the Pilot, zigzags over the plains,
forest and furrow toward an outfall wash.

Narrow rivers link to this one, or slant north
where the dragon Ceratodus grunts in ivory mail
and streets are shaded in peppercorn and willow.

Having monstered tribesfolk,
dressed POWs in maroon,
it now flickers dials, or pipes experienced water

onto rice, onto cotton, on to Adelaide.
Western scrub rivers merge down the Darling
above flint blade

and reburied bones of the Warrior
as snow wind chills the saltbush
down from seven thousand feet.

Les Murray

Les Murray is an award-winning Australian poet with more than 30 published collections of work, including Taller When ProneThe Biplane HousesWaiting for the Past and The Best 100 Poems of Les Murray. His work has been translated into ten foreign languages.

December 2017 – January 2018

From the front page

Image of Attorney-General Christian Porter.

Corruption spreads

So where the bloody hell is our federal ICAC?

Image of Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews with screenshots from #IStandWithDan

Hopelessly devoted to Dan

The government is your servant, not your friend

‘The Lying Life of Adults’ by Elena Ferrante

The Neapolitan author returns to characters driven by compulsions and tensions of class

Images of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese

Bury the lead

Newspoll delivers an unwanted result for the Murdoch media


In This Issue

Illustration

We are all diminished

Australian politics is full of contradictions, double standards and gaping voids

Unfinished business: A short story

Can a young wartime couple pick up where they left off?

Illustration

The unflappable Finkel

Australia’s chief scientist talks energy alternatives and trying to elevate the narrative

Illustration

Straight outta Narrandera

Victoria Lee takes on the Victoria’s Secret runway


More in Arts & Letters

Listening to Roberta Flack

‘First Take’, released 50 years ago, still echoes through the present

Body politic: ‘Boys State’

American democracy is documented in all its gangly, acne-mottled glory

In our nature: ‘Vesper Flights’

Helen Macdonald explores how the study of animals reveals unknown aspects of ourselves

Image of OneFour rapper J Emz

The trenches of Mount Druitt: OneFour

Australia’s most infamous hip-hop act is an all-Pasifika group born of Western Sydney’s violent postcode wars


More in Poetry

East Melbourne liturgy

Image of Les Murray

Les Murray’s magisterial ‘Collected Poems’

How to approach a 736-page collection by Australia’s greatest poet?

Detail of a painting of Barron Field

Barron Field and the myth of terra nullius

How a minor poet made a major historical error

Collingwood

A song cycle in 5 parts


Read on

Image of Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews with screenshots from #IStandWithDan

Hopelessly devoted to Dan

The government is your servant, not your friend

Images of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese

Bury the lead

Newspoll delivers an unwanted result for the Murdoch media

Image of author Craig Silvey

Character study: Craig Silvey on ‘Honeybee’

The author’s first novel since ‘Jasper Jones’ raises questions about who should tell contemporary trans stories

Image of Bill Murray and Rashida Jones in On the Rocks

Cocktail hour: ‘On the Rocks’

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones are a formidable duo in Sofia Coppola’s new film


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