Welcome to Eureka Street

back to site


Already died

  • 14 November 2016
  Selected poems    

Already died

I live in the remains of an old castleLost to the worldAnd next to the seaVirtually in the seaLike an inexplicable vigilBy the deathbed of one who has already diedIn a life that has gone before us

And if I were not writing this poemIn the old lost castle too close to the seaI would still be in the caves and cavernsDrinking up the dustI likely came from.




I was thirteen I thinkOr nearly thirteenWhen Salvador Allende told meI had to be absolutely seriousIf I was to follow the callingOf poetry

Already I had a notebook goingAlong with whatever I was readingNo different really to how I am todaySome forty years later But when Salvador Allende told me I had to be seriousOr else I should stop trying to be a poetRight awayWell that was a turning pointThat was when I stopped trying to be a poetAnd just turned my face to the poemAnd since then I have never turned awayI have never turned awayI've gone down so many strange alley waysSo many canalsTunnels even especially underneath the hospitalsUnused wings in overused buildingsSuperseded suburbs that have lost their namesIn countries no longer on any mapPlaces outside the zonesNot in any programmesAll lovable predictable familiar desiredSo much the thread of my one poor poem I've been nowhere tooBut even then I did not turn away from the poem I talked to no oneLet no one catch on Ate nothingNever got wet in the seaOr from the sea in the skyI did nothing wrongExcept everythingBut even soI never turned away from the poemEven when I shaved off little bitsTo sharpen my sense of the poemOr the unseen warfareIn the world.


Dr John Falzon is an advocate for social justice. He is the author of The language of the unheard and has had long experience in political analysis and activism. He has worked in academia, in community development and in research. He has been the Chief Executive of the St Vincent Paul Society National Council of Australia since 2006 and a poet since 1973. He has written and spoken widely in the public arena on the structural causes of inequality in Australia.