Recently I went to a seminar organised by the tasmanian writers
centre, 2000 Years of Western Poetry, given by Christpher Wallace-Crabbe. a few days later i went to a poetry reading at The Lark Distillery. 2000 years from Homer to Beowulf all the way to Les Murray, as dizzy as a ride in the tardis. Seamus Deane described Finnegans Wake as 'a transcription into a miniaturized form the whole western literary tradition.' With this permission i conflated these events and threw in some personal stuff into one (hopefully) rhythmic layer cake piece, not so much a review or critique as an impressionistic or maybe expressionistic diary note.
Prospect of princess parry and den mark it well while southern
whales wild in wide oak leaf shadowed river valleys give sea salt
birth and eye hugger-mugger torque haysi cosmic fantayzee jive time
hobby hobble horse down wide fit for governor boot blacking venereal
log truck careening one up one down roads to marengo darkened stolid
timber beamed low head bending hougoumont dripping blood dropsy hell
o' beans joint old fashioned counter turn and her long blue thin cold
in the night wooly ursula taperings.
And it was spelt old fashioned - but pronounced abomination.
Plink pop now the tide is turning and the light is failing and the
hosts of invading star fish are hidden from view divertimento river
knowing the matzo flat salt marsh islands of north west bay will
slip slide away under the lapping wave waters and the hurly burly of
pellmell havoc and arriving on end of lines reef fish into the oak of
oath value of no more tears and then thick rich aromatic tieing shoes
inventory of pockets and history of pens and pencils and lint and
little balls wadded of paper more now than at any time and an old
woman walked up the tome staircase and a young family huddled and
conspired and smoked the giant chess board fountain square never made
it to the nor'west passage never at all tried but was too old and the
snow and sleet ice blizzard were too numerous many to be over came.
Whippington of all whipping wind end of winter winds tumult the
streets and i look down the park done the stairs dun the street to the
low heavy arcola door and the invite of grain based drip droppings
after the sundry all dawn intensive at the trumpet blowing bugle song
slow and of dead comrades legacy history of fangled metric readings
(to break the pentameter, that was the first heave) of visions
transferred to ten many add the rise of capital itself and the rise of
the city and the poet could be that one that wanders around to explode
the city in a constant new appraisal of constant new engagements.
And the satyrs and the sibyls all siren faulty attempts at candour
and of the cloud burst over above around the city streets busy with
the pleasing hum of 'em of gossipy gossiping old Irish washerwomen one
each side the river and gossiping and wagging overt the fading of hue
of light and the rising of the bats two thousand aeons of poetry and
rushing and wild riding past the makaris and buoys and gulls and
outhouses that glide us on our ways names rattle and hum and a helter
skelter treasure hunt of voices all at tumult once clam bakerings and
clamouring for attenzione multitudes within hoboken leaves of grays
hobart both without space and across tim tam time tinny more as a way
things be done than as a tink inna itself.
Poor potsherds of poetry grand sweeping and the rise and break
down of the universal synthesis distilled into a few short paragraphs
like archaeologists digging and calm breaking in and out of diggings
to phyre inspiration and research to imagined readings for if the
first duty of the singer is to sing the urevent is to listen.
Cups and nut blank note books of chai verde and penciled middlings
and scrapings and lite sandy bay which ways with fruit and various in
a rend about way the sundry attempts at legumes and all the things
that could be wanted - food drink and made comfortable.
Mea cuppa daze latter atom upsy duke of work neither up nor down yon
hill wise way and the plank and the frog and toad and the one that
goes dawn with the growing drawn of the sun and the old bone budding
grove jena wise grain groan graven impalage holds all of our absolute
rattle tattle freedom and absolut freedom and terra hazy daisy i
enter and drink and raffle and sit myself down.
Many times with two poets reading it becomes like a contest a two
house raze and peepee come up to me and they expectation plead wonder
ask how 'twas it? how 'twere it? lah lah eh and i chaw out me pierce
and that be that.
And then (sum say) - so if you speak highly of poet A- ergo all
that twerp nite means you did not like B-.
Disb NOT the case.
Simple minds nourished on the lies that piss for culture in this
our age can only see competition and dichotomy and difference and all
your san franciscos will fall into this error but we should understand
that one thing does not negate the udder.
Sarah Day generated a charming solid suspension with her poems a
feeling was generated while she was reading of time moving slow of
folding vast distances and ages even across language failures simple
and with an eye for the imagist detail light and luminous.
Christopher Wallace-Crabbe spoke second and spoke well clear and
with the light touch with a seurte as one would hope to hear from a
poet who has published over twenty volumes of poetry in a career
running since 1959.
Both poets wended their way across border lands of the particular
and to use this as a jumping forward base for wider explorations all
the poetic fames including love & death and the endless cycle of
rebirth and transmission across time and space generations both poets
spoke to and from a deep educating understanding of traditions of the
storms of yestertempest of the leaves that wither weather the
superstitions of birds that migrate the changing seasons.
Tight control of language of the words and the why and wherefores
simply used and with no flamboyance political without militant fist
clenched marching. Questioning and slicing doubt and no overturning.
And after all this afternoons of wild squalling spittles and of
sugar dusty mountains and afternoons of rainbows and child delight and
sally forth to sea froth tidal salt shallow splashing as spray the
-- and so ends my catechism.