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Sonnet for a city

Sonnet for a city

(After Trent Parke's Photographs of Sydney)
The apparition of these faces in a crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

------------------------Ezra Pound, In a Station of the Metro.

Water colour petals grow into a crowd, now they’ve found legs to weigh
upon, waiting, standing in thought, and gathering to bus themselves away
from their lonely poise. They populate like confetti the dustproof draft
of an afternoon under the offices of a singular Promethean glare, the loose

change of cloud, and a sky adamant in light blue — Heaven's own gallery, where a saint
shall guide anyone towards a meditation on the whole picture, if one can see it — that is,
the cityscape you look upon, looking back at you, and asking 'Your name is again?'
You'll say it's a tag to tell you're a complex figure of an individual graffittoed onto

the Central Business District. Yet, you, in your graphic image, have no walls to be aware
of, merely the cuts of quotidian eclipses filing their fill from working buildings. And
the economy adheres each apparition along the damp, black boughs of common sense,
while feeding every person a sharp, laconic wash of light — enough for a photograph

or a few, to redeem them in their frailty, to hold their impermanence from their
souls, framing all within an illusion, the great art, that human sort of eternity.

Ben Hession


Tunnels of rent world and the cool white light
of autumn overcast the restless day
plaiting strands of air through gum
then with an impatient hand
letting go, so that almost undone they leave only
the loose knit of leaf sigh and bird song
beneath the crown.

Sound flaps about
like the tail of a kite, as wind picks up and shakes
the fragile resolve of things
that hold their own,
like a knot of frightened men
with flame lightening their brows,
and the word braiding women in their midst.

Anne Elvey


What of the understanding politicians are trite?
And others who seek to blind the public's eye?
As our journeys mature, black we are told is white
We accept this reasoning and we don't know why.
What of the frustrations with the gatekeepers of truth?
Ether they become, whilst the keepers walk the talk.
Is injustice a feeling spoken only in youth?
That sincerity, when required should easily baulk?
In the answer to the question what makes up the figure zero
Public figures come forth with their self-endorsed advice,
The scholar is rejected in favour of the spin-doctor's widow
An answer is given: this answer will suffice.
If cynicism is reality for the deflowered ideal
Let scepticism mine for what home truths may reveal.

Bede Moloney


Ben HessionBen Hession's poetry was commended in a South Coast Writers Centre competition in 2006, and received a prize at Sappho's Books in Glebe this year. He coordinates an annual community radio Language of Origin series of ethnic language poetry as a part of National Poetry Week.

Anne ElveyAnne Elvey is former Director of Research at Melbourne College of Divinity. She is on the editorial board of Pacifica: Australasian Theological Studies. Her first book, An Ecological Feminist Reading of the Gospel of Luke, was published in 2005 by Edwin Mellen Press.

Bede MoloneyBede Moloney is a bookseller based in Leith, Tasmania.Bede Moloney is a poet. He blogs at The Grumpy Verse.


Topic tags: new Australian poems, Sonnet, Ben hession, Pentecost, Anne Elvey, Sonnet, Bede Moloney



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