Literary Review

Quizzical Carlton Blues

Quizzical Carlton Blues – Poem

Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Quizzical Carlton Blues

Somewhere between truth and meaning

among those colourless corners in the sky

can be found piled up like mad

a terrible heap of old descriptions

of god, much like inventing a person

but the bitter converse, in fact,

as though these cold sou’westerly raindrops

crept backwards up my windowpane.

Somewhere under the shifting reefs

of animus-driven, sharkhued cloud

the questions ricochet once again

like a hierarchy of little headaches.

Do presbyopics inhabit the same

Australia as the short-sighted? Or

what lies between gossip and metaphysics?

Why do cockatoos mime our language

without being intelligent?

Why pain?

The sashes rattle, our backyard gum

is tossing its thick head, the gilded spire

on top of red Our Lady’s glints

and I feel chilly in my larger bones,

warming my fingers on the coals of memory:

you can’t make toast over desire.

It must be in spring that one feels worst,

mortality bunched in the fleshpink prunus,

but the mystical survives.

Not bound by my life

nor even dependent on quarks and quanta,

it’s the non-being at the very heart

of all our being. It merely expands

like the unseen, epiphanic ether.

Chris Wallace-Crabbe, Founding Director and Professorial Fellow of the Australian Centre, is a distinguished poet and critic who has won many awards for his work, including The Age Book of the Year in 1996. He gives frequent readings in Australia and overseas, and was Visiting Professor of Australian Studies at Harvard, 1987-1988.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Fairleigh Dickinson University

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group