The coarse brass voice of the Vespa


A morning at La Place des Vosges
In the garden of the great Square
the sun has been called to duty,
and the lime trees dress
to their cool attention,
their shade in meticulous ranks;
a fuss of pigeons in the leaves
whinges a gallic monotony.
Hushed joggers puff their discretion
in obedient lines,
and the German ladies
impose their Kaiser bulk
onto the graceful belligerence
that is Tai Chi.
A Vespa, with its coarse brass voice,
falters for an instant,
a dying moment
in the breath of its gear change,
a petit mort.
In an early promenade
Grandmere pouches songs and astonishments
for a sleepy pram;
Granpere trails behind
as silent as the Somme.
Some of the mansions squint
in the morning sun.
If they were not cast
in meticulous brick
they might be tempted to
nod a small acknowledgement
across the way
to the mirror of themselves.
- Grant Fraser
There is no horizon
for the high-rise city;
nothing out there even to imagine.
5000 people per square kilometre
see the sun at midday,
watch it soak the city salmon pink at sundown.
After four days as guests in a father’s house,
four days straining into accents,
four days positioning our words
in the right place; our feet in footprints
like training wheels on the escalators
of a foreign culture,
we packed our bags, carried them
and baggage to the airport.
The taxi-driver smiled You’ve seen
the greenest country in the world.
His world.  We are wondering
where in our world it fits;
Where the light is in the shadows.
– Marlene Marburg

Snow in Kaunas
At first I thought you were calling
from the town square, softly
like the warbling of a magpie,
or reciting one of the poet’s lyrics
as students are wont in Spring:
but this was an October night
and my room was colder than ice
a thousand fingers tapped
and you breathed so many kisses
on the trembling windowpanes.

– Edward Reilly

Grant FraserGrant Fraser is a lawyer, poet and filmmaker. His collection of poetry Some Conclusion in the Heart was published by Black Willow Press. His film Syllable to Sound was screened on ABC1.


Marlene MarburgMarlene Marburg is a spiritual director and PhD research student with the Melbourne College of Divinity. Her area of interest is the relationship between poetry and spiritual direction.


Edward ReillyGeelong-based Edward Reilly is a sessional lecturer in literary and educational studies at Victoria University, and a cultural activist. He is a former secondary school teacher in South Australia and Victoria. His poetry has been published in Australia, the USA and Lithuania.

Topic tags: new australian poems, Horizons, Snow in Kaunas, Grant Fraser, Marlene Marlene Marburg, Edward Reilly



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Existing comments

What a lovely start to the day reading this little anthology. Especially touched by Marlene's poem.
Michael Gray Artarmon NSW | 12 April 2011

Headline has course, not coarse. (You don't have to publish this.)
Penelope | 12 April 2011


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