December 2020 – January 2021

Vox

Newfound poems

By Les Murray
Previously unpublished work from the giant of Australian poetry

HALF-PRICE HARDBACK

 

As the bookshops die

in country towns

it’s department stores

that stock reader shelves

 

with detective fiction

with bisex romance

with veterans and war

with cookery and garden

 

and heaped gifts for children.

This is the culture:

no history but the Allied,

nothing strange. No poetry.

 

All’s preserved slow TV

selling no local memoirs,

no spirit, no religion,

no theory, little foreign

 

except tourist guides,

no languages at all

only ever middlebrow,

the culture of habitual

 

 

SPEED

 

We only realise

how huge is the giraffe

when it is in towering flight

from the blackbeard lion

herding it towards its mate

 

and we see the lioness

erupt out of cover

to be shed, stomped,

rolled like a motor bike

under an express train.

 

We only realise how tough

the lioness is, limping off

unshattered as the mighty

galloper speeds on over

the desert horizon.

Les Murray

Les Murray was 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.

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