I am a member of Cattistock Poets, a group led by Annie Freud, and last night we put on an evening of poetry at the Fox and Hounds pub in Cattistock. Annie organised things brilliantly. The guest readers were Rachael Boast and David Briggs, both from Bristol. They read some wonderful poems to us. I’m now reading Rachael’s lovely collection, ‘Sidereal’, published by Picador. (The title means – relating to the stars and their position in the sky). The poem, ‘Moonlight on the Dial of the Day’, especially stays in my memory. It’s set on a train (I love journey poems!) and widens to reflect on nature and love.
Members of Cattistock poets read some of their poems also. One poem that I read last night is ‘A Poem about Australia’ (plane journey poem). It was first published in ‘South’, issue 43.
A Poem about Australia
I can’t write a poem about Australia –
it needs a novel-sequence
or a symphony.
Flying over from the West,
seeing the dry, red earth beneath us,
in the blazing sunshine,
eating lunch, clearing up,
observing the well-built man trip over
as he exits the loo,
land on the woman blissfully asleep
in the front row, apologize, explain,
I read another chapter of my book,
about a child lost in a shopping mall,
and then watch a funny film, ‘Juno’,
about a teenage mother in America,
and I’m still flying over Australia.
I didn’t realise it was so enormous,
still rocky, uninhabited, dry.
Then, at last, one or two dwellings, a road,
a few smudges of green
as we soar towards Brisbane.