“Now I’m such a useless bastard, I’ll have to shut the gate.

Murray Hartin


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Perhaps passing through the gates of death 
is like passing quietly through the gate 
in a pasture fence. On the other side, 
you keep walking, without the need to 
look back. No shock, no drama, just the 
lifting of a plank or two in a simple 
wooden gate in a clearing. 
Neither pain, nor floods of light, nor great voices, but just the silent crossing of a meadow. 

Mark Helprin

A very great vision is needed and the man who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky. Crazy Horse


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In ‘Cloud Storm’ the poet shows us ‘the cloud skin’ of ‘the oldest wedgetail in the world’ with a ‘string of men … resting on the eagles wing’, a mythological context that makes sense of the world in which people often ‘sit broken together’ and ‘darkness waits’


Little snakes need to grow in hiding. Haiti.

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Hunting snake by Judith Wright

Sun-warmed in this late season’s grace

under the autumn’s gentlest sky

we walked, and froze half-through a pace.

The great black snake went reeling by.


Head down, tongue flickering on the trail

he quested through the parting grass,

sun glazed his curves of diamond scale

and we lost breath to see him pass.


What track he followed, what small food

fled living from his fierce intent,

we scarcely thought; still as we stood

our eyes went with him as he went.


Cold, dark and splendid he was gone

into the grass that hid his prey.

We took a deeper breath of day,

looked at each other, and went on.


Source:  A second Australian Poetry Book compiled by Barbara Giles (Oxford University Press, 1983)

Be very, very careful what you put into that head, because you will never, ever get it out. Cardinal Wolsey


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Which artist painted that?

Andrew Burke

Chances are the artist attends school now

and learns more and more logic

and language skills each day. Still

ocean seeks grass, river reflects

sky. His poem about a truck

is illustrated and pinned on

the display board. In his poem

the truck carries things

and drives between shops, but

it has a  disquietening element the author

will not change: his truck drives

north, it seeks North unerringly.

Teachers dismiss this as

a blemish, Father wants to know

how the truck will ever return to base,

and Mother tousles his hair, saying,

He’s just a boy, he’s just a boy.

Grandpa bends down to ask,

Do you want  to  be a truckdriver

when you grow up? No, he shakes

his head, a scientist, only

a scientist. Can’t they see that?




As I come down the hill from Toro Poutini’s house My feet are sore, being bare, on the sharp stones And that is a suitable penance.

James K. Baxter, Collected Poems (OUP 1979)


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“I was surrounded by friends, my work was immense, and pleasures were abundant. Life, now, was unfolding before me, constantly and visibly, like the flowers of summer that drop fanlike petals on eternal soil. Overall, I was happiest to be alone; for it was then I was most aware of what I possessed. Free to look out over the rooftops of the city. Happy to be alone in the company of friends, the company of lovers and strangers. Everything, I decided, in this life, was pure pleasure.” 

― Roman Payne, Rooftop Soliloquy