Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Poetry makes nothing happen

... as W.H. Auden once said.

(However, he also once said 'I have no gun, but I can spit.')

Things are a tad fraught here chez Pav so to take everyone's mind off whatever has been disturbing their rest, here in honour of the US's Poetry Month is a favourite bit of a favourite poem: the final section of Les Murray's 'The Buladelah-Taree Holiday Song Cycle'.


The stars of the holiday step out all over the sky.
People look up at them, out of their caravan doors and their campsites;
people look up from the farms, before going back; they gaze at their year's worth of stars.
The Cross hangs head-downward, out there over Markwell;
it turns upon the Still Place, the pivot of the Seasons, with one shoulder rising:
'Now I'm beginning to rise, with my Pointers and my Load ...'
hanging eastwards, it shines on the sawmills and the lakes, on the glasses of the Old People.
Looking at the Cross, the galaxy is over our left shoulder, slung up highest in the east;
there the Dog is following the Hunter; the Dog Star pulsing there above Forster; it shines down on the Bikies,
and on the boat-hire sheds, there at the place of the Oyster; the place of the Shark's Eggs and her Hide;
the Pleiades are pinned up high on the darkness, away back above the Manning;
they are shining on the two Blackbutt Trees, on the rotted river wharves, and on the towns;
standing there, above the water and the lucerne flats, at the place of the Families;
their light sprinkles down on Taree of the Lebanese shops, it mingles with the streetlights and their glare.
People recover the starlight, hitching north,
travelling north beyond the seasons, into that country of the Communes, and of the Banana:
the Flying Horse, the Rescued Girl, and the Bull, burning steadily above that country.
Now the New Moon is low down in the west, that remote direction of the Cattlemen,
and of the Saleyards, the place of steep clouds, and of the Rodeo;
the New Moon who has poured out her rain, the moon of the Planting-times.
People go outside and look at the stars, and at the melon-rind moon,
the Scorpion going down into the mountains, over there towards Waukivory, sinking into the tree-line,
in the time of the Rockmelons, and of the Holiday ...
the Cross is rising on his elbow, above the glow of the horizon,
carrying a small star in his pocket, he reclines there brilliantly,
above the Alum Mountain, and the lakes threaded on the Myall River, and above the Holiday.

3 comments:

Kate said...

I hope the fraughtness doesn't last too long and that it isn't anything too bad.

genevieve said...

I saw the whole Scorpion in the sky t'other week. It's lovely to be able to pick it out once in a while. No one in my family was interested in constellations except me. Yet as Les observes, they shine on us all.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Wow ... I can only ever see the Cross and the Saucepan, which I believe is actually the Hunter. (And his Belt.)

The moon always wipes me out, though, no matter what it's doing.