Man versus wind


Dial tone

Up and down the hallway
phones are ringing
he went to school
the kitchen is full.

She would've said it
who could stop him?
here is the doctor
I have to sign.

A million squeezes
now certification
I the informant
after all this time.

Snaps of wafers
viewing arrangements
handles like that?
who would make them.

One then another
proofs and papers
'no flowers please'
ward donations.

what a creation.



Trees are moving houses.
scavenger squads
are sling-shot,
flung at squall speed
gather like tea leaves
the day has no front teeth
it raves in the street,
it is grey as a tap.

a murky x-ray
of a multiple trauma
the front door keeps whistling
old songs about going away,
even the radio echoes
'just say the word', Sinatra sings.
these hinges hate me,
not one screw will stay put
they are moving out,
the evidence is
to anchor a cabaret
well you wanted to see a temper

remove a frequency.


Family tree

A cage, a bloodbath,
an acorn of vanities
adorn display cabinets,
decorate the perch.

Some trace to esteem,
stretch sobering feats
some wipe dust
from cobwebbed boxes

Run slave with beast
seek recent arrivals,
indentured drudge
at clearance prices.

Usher silence
uncover gloom
find pummelled men
in boiler rooms.

Shocked on walls
or dragged
from drawers,
ghosts in pleats and hats.

Befuddled grooms
in full costume,
framed by naphtha-flash.

All dearly beloved
waiting in heaven
yours to the last,
remember that.


Floating mountain

in memorial stands,
cool climate tweed

Mountain Ash,
lopped amputees

a daguerreotype
of breath in beams

cottage prints,
tea-towel fernery

filtered fathoms,
gilded shadows

latches, snibs
and boiled sweets

evening gowns,
tentacle jewellery

fountain lights,
drizzle below 

Alistair StewartAlistair Stewart is a poet and editor and the author of the critically acclaimed verse narrative Frankston 281. His new collection, Plain and Purl, from which the above poems were taken, will be launched by Father Bob Maguire at 4pm on April 14 at Gasworks Arts Park in Albert Park, Vic.

Topic tags: new australian poems, Alistair Stewart



submit a comment

Existing comments

Thrilled to see Alistair's work getting some recognition. It has been a long journey.
Maureen Stewart | 27 March 2012

Beautiful words and images that take you away. Thank you.
Josephine | 30 March 2012

Really powerful and moving poetry, Alistair.I like it. Thanks.
Phillip Smith | 31 March 2012

My brother…such moving and heart wrenching words..thanks Al
Jacinta Stewart | 13 June 2014

Similar Articles

Geriatric sex and dignity

  • Tim Kroenert
  • 29 March 2012

The characters' move to India is not merely about stepping outside of comfort zones, but also stepping beyond the familiar in order to examine life in, literally, a new light. Graham has unfinished business there that dates back to his youth. Ageing tomcat Norman simply wants to get laid.


Australia's mystic river

  • Poet
  • 03 April 2012

That river is almost embarrassed at the space it occupies — professionally shocked to be spotted despite the camouflage dust it wears. It scrawls on the grey-soil plains. This consecrated vellum is read by cockatoos.


We've updated our privacy policy.

Click to review