Sitting in a room with my mother and father


Cliff path, north-west Tasmania


On the cliff path, early, the wind a cool shadow
felt at my back: when the sun’s blaze slams
into my chest, I am held between them
as if both would claim me, pass through me.  

So grief, with its heart-heat, its pressuring shadows,
lays claim, passes into and through us.
After, a stillness in which you may learn
from memories, know those who’ve gone
in new ways; and even imagine
their own past knowing of you.

My most frequent memory now
is of sitting in a room with them,
  my mother and father,
the sense of space and warmth in their presence
as, through the opened house, air streams from the garden.    

The Bay

I'm old enough to have wondered
what my last memories will be,
young enough to seek out new ones that might,
in extremis, keep me company.

On a century-old pier stump, far out,
a cormorant airs its wings – a cross-shape against
the mountains, their violet darkness shared
in this light, by reefs in the shallow bay.

Where I wade, gold lines web the seabed,
trace each crinkling green surge. Even cloud-wreathed
the sun lays down a path towards me
as dolphins thread in, their easeful arcs
soon to traverse that ribbed glitter;  
the peace of evening already present.

Diane Fahey

Diane Fahey is one of Australia’s foremost poets. Her most recent publication is The Wing Collection: New and Selected Poems (2012).


Topic tags: Diane Fahey, modern Australian poetry



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Existing comments

Both these poems - so gentle and evocative. My only memory of 'sitting in a room with my mother and father' is when I was perched on a window-sill with my father very close by, it's just a fragment.
Pam | 02 February 2015

Such beautiful phrases bring me a peacefulness and draw out my own private yet similar memories of parents long gone. Seeking out thoughts to keep me company in extremis them painting them with a brush made from the sun and the seabed - beautiful. I could see them clearly. Thank you for these moments of healing recall.
Anne Doyle | 03 February 2015


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