August 2005

Arts & Letters

Drought essay: Recognising the derision as fear

By Les Murray

Death gets into the suburbs, but sleek

turnover highrise keeps it out of mind

 

and wilderness, wrapped in its own deaths,

scarcely points us at ours,

 

but furred rusty machines, and grey

boards unglazed for heritage or holiday –

 

you can’t truck in enough bricks.

Settled country is the land of the dead,

 

there you are taught love as mourning,

you shop in boarded-up places.

 

It’s great to follow car-dust

out towards the Mistake,

 

way past a working people’s farm,

long widowed, standing in space.

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.

Cover: August 2005
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