While swimming in the secret bay



Selected poems



While swimming in the secret bay

I love reading about the lives of the poets.

It is as if they are real, especially the forgotten ones,

The ones for whom nothing good ever happened,

The ones who were sure that if they did not write

They would surely disappear,

The ones who tried to make the invisible visible,

And failed,

Who carried news to this world from another one

As if it were bottles of wine and loaves of bread,

The ones who said the same thing over and over,

Without giving in to the stormless predicates they bumped up against

While slowly swimming in the secret bay.



I was born or something

I was born or something

With a pen and a compass in my hands.

Without my pen

I cannot find my way anywhere.

Without my compass I am useless,

Drifting like a wet, white cloud.


I became accustomed

To the tender poetry of the tentative,

The concentrated,

The narrowed down

To a practical, a necessary canal,

Cast like a slack line through everything.


I pick up some urgent artefact, an old stone, a young stick,

Whatever waits without overthinking,

And read a poem there.

All of this happens

Like the ocean happens.

Lo, we are alive.



A strange role

About the role of a poet, a strange role, difficult to discern any pattern, poets are always pocketing scraps of cloth and broken threads, unravelling the loosely knit, knitting things together without purpose or apology, saving for later little pieces of loveliness in jars. Strange beings, poets, distinguished principally and only by their horror of prose. About their strange role I will say nothing, About their strange role there is nothing to be said.



John FalzonDr John Falzon is Senior Fellow, Inequality and Social Justice at Per Capita. He is a sociologist, poet and social justice advocate and was national CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia from 2006 to 2018. He is a member of the Australian Services Union.

Topic tags: John Falzon, poerty



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Existing comments

Keep 'knitting' poetry, John. Its a necessary respite from some highly focussed and committed political writing!
Michael Furtado | 08 October 2019

‘horror of prose’ Dr Falzon? But your own well-crafted and convincing prose is such a great weapon in the cause of social justice! I hope you won’t be overwhelmed too soon by the horror!
Joan Seymour | 09 October 2019


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