Tuesday, August 23, 2011

First Burn
by Tracy Ryan

All day she has pitched dry grass, Hardyesque,
perched on the stack, helping to raze the block
in a race against shire deadlines: fire risk.

Only her colours are wrong — curls a stark
hedge in English autumn, young fragile skin
dead-of-winter white. But she will work

to feel she's useful, wanting to fit in,
all my cautions thrown to the easterly,
hot from the desert. I've done all I can —

this is the point, the moment beyond me
for which we've struggled, locked like Gabriel
and Jacob, though the outcome may not be

a blessing. She is tall and capable,
strong on the outside — surely that's enough.
To look at her now no one else could tell

what tinder, what touchwood she was made of.
By evening there appears a subtle glow
upon her shoulders, imprinted as if

someone had held her fast; by morning so
reddened and furious she is aflame
with reproaches, and cries: You made me go

to England and then you made me come home.
Non-sequitur, she knows, but all the same
I am the mother, I must wear the blame.

Currently reading Scar Revision and The Argument by Tracy Ryan. A great poet, highly understated and overshadowed. Her poetry is rhapsodic according to Geoff Page, but it's more - concise, succinct, accessible, minimalist, enough intertextuality without the whole academy. Poetry that engages the reader with form and feeling, and interesting subjects as well to simply enjoy. Precisely what poetry is meant to do! Check out Fremantle Press

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Helen Hagemann's first literary collection, Evangelyne & other poems, was published by the Australian Poetry Centre in their New Poets Series 2009. She has two e-books, The Joyous Lake & Par écrit: poetry of the feminine @ http://issuu.com/evangelyne/​​docs/joyous_lake/

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