Welcome to Eureka Street

back to site


A poem for Agnes Bojaxhiu

  • 04 September 2017


Selected poems


Corellas at Dunkeld

From our distance we saw the Corellas

hanging like a hospital's washing

in the tenements of a large Redgum,

and heard them crooning the scandals of the day

each blushing mildly,

cronies of the nudge and the wink,


one watchful bird rose on a whim

drawing with him a thousand companions,

and they swung boisterously up,

then broke into raucous quorums

in a vast drunken carousel,

bringing and taking tidings,

gathering and breaking apart,

seeding the skies with gossip.


And the elect among them

rose on their high sabbaticals

until they all disappeared

beyond the sneak of their horizons,

but still haunting the evening

as a migraine staggers light

at the corners of the eyes.



with all the spanish majesty of a living Caravel,

coursed by the momentum of their thinking wings,

they soared as one in their din above us

lavish with the imperium of flight,

a great hush in the thunder of their passing.




Japanese paintings

Here, the air is buffeted by kites,

the tug of carp, the blossom's kiss,

Waves of fire coil through a paralysis of storm,

and the song of the Samurai

is whetted sweetly

in arcs of chosen light.


Through snow,

through the night's ink,

bandy men come trotting,

thatched men

with feet the size of snowflakes,

each warmed by spoonfuls of lantern light;

the breath from their paper lungs

does not disturb the pieties of smoke.


In the kindling house

tea blooms in amber steam,

fans rustle insinuations,

tinder screens slide their propriety.

Here, the tides of meticulous oceans

are stilled,

even the wind is content

with an exact debris of leaves.




Bellini: Lamentation over the Dead Christ

In the Uffizi,

Past miles of forgettable popes

And galleries of swooning virgins;

Past the custodian

And the craft of her cornered eye:

' Signora!'

You may chance,

As I did,

Upon the Bellini,

And ...


Stilled utterly

By the shock of absence,

The unravelling of life into grief,

Their shyest privacies

Are spilled into the painter's eye;

And they stare into their elsewheres,

As if they were watching

What they were already remembering.

Except for one of them

Who has turned to watch

The young man at the left of the painting

Who is caught in that abysmal moment

Before weeping can begin,

Reminding us

That grief itself,

Might in a kinder eye,

Become an act in love

Of tenderness.




A poem for Agnes Bojaxhiu

Recently published letters have revealed that although

Mother Teresa of Calcutta spent many years

In her inspiring ministry, she felt, during much

0f that time, a profound spiritual emptiness.


At each day's end

You shawled the night about you

Gathering in the cold,

And rehearsed again

Your most private agonies,

As if your turn of phrase

Might stir a holy grammar,

Might persuade the silence to speak.

But by day,

With the sureness of one who might attend upon a prince

You washed the disgrace from their bodies,

Eked out