Favourite body parts



Thank you eyes, for opening onto a new day,
every day, for fifty years. For blinking
before the camera, for allowing a little spray
of ocean in, or a storm, when that sinking
feeling came, or when my babies were born.

Please accept my apologies that certain 
images — hurting animals, whichever war — 
found their way into the picture, again.
Thank you feet, for putting one after another
along shorelines, new countries and long

country paths. I like how you bothered
to sometimes pause, sorry for all the con-
crete, landmines and shoes. To hands, many
thanks, for touching many things, and not
flinching. I don't know how you managed

when the object was sharp, or angry, or hot
but you did. I hope you enjoyed a season
of sun and sand between fingers, the feel of
another's occasional flesh, I hope the reasons
for clenching a fist against injustice, or love

were real. My gratitude to spine for holding
me up, your sufferings did not go unnoticed.
If I asked too much, if the task of unfolding
day after day caused you to buckle and twist
I regret. Thank you legs, for lurching your

burden from moment to moment, for taking 
that extra step. Forgive me for the backward 
directions, forgive all the sudden braking.
Sometimes the map is wrongly rendered.
Sometimes the lines are laid upside down.

The world turns strangely, her head on her
knees, her brain in a vacuum of please don't
and please. We look to the hugeness and
feel microscopic: yes hello! happy birthday!
goodbye! Our ship becomes sea, no land

for miles, but I digress. Yet let me just say:
I am indebted to mind, you kept me going
when everything else was broken or tired or
stalled. I admire your hunger for knowing.
Thank you especially for closing your doors

that time. For the music, the music, through
which I survived the sunken, most capsized
of years, I thank you ears, and call on you
to pardon the propaganda, small-talk, lies.
And finally, for constancy, for braveness in

the darkest of places, I address my brightest
thing: you beat forever, deep down within
me, striking the wrong along with the right.
What is me, what is you, no man shall part:
never quit, sweet drum, my dear, sweet heart. 

Jordie AlbistonJordie Albiston is a Melbourne poet. Her sixth collection the sonnet according to 'm' won the 2010 NSW Premier's Prize.

Topic tags: Jordie Albiston, Australian poetry



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Existing comments

The world does indeed turn strangely. If we look for turmoil it's there, but the country road feels fine too. Thanks Jodie for my Tuesday morning poem/prayer.

Jenny Esots | 13 September 2011  

LOVED the poem, thank you Jordie. Now you need to write one for your nose. . . for all the memories it rekindles, for the places it leads you, for the love it overwhelms you with when you smell a newborn baby!

glen avard | 13 September 2011  

Dear Jordie, I love it! Thank you!

jean SIetzema-DIckson | 13 September 2011  

Lovely poem Jordie, made me cry a little :-)

Miriam | 16 September 2011  

Thank you. Lovely imagery. I agree with Glen that you could do one about the nose.

Kath | 19 September 2011  

Jordie, I wonder whether I read that final line correctly with its one beat short of iambic pentameter, acknowledging that your sweet heart will of course, no matter how much you thank it, quit. One day. Love the images of leg lurching, spine suffering and eye and ear intrusions particularly.

Bill Wootton | 12 December 2014  

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