Gwen Harwood

(8 June 1920 – 4 December 1995 / Taringa, Queensland)

Estuary - Poem by Gwen Harwood

To Rex Hobcroft
Wind crosshatches shallow water.
Paddocks rest in the sea's arm.
Swamphens race through spiky grass.
A wire fence leans, a crazy stave
with sticks for barlines, wind for song.
Over use, interweaving light
with air and substance, ride the gulls.

Words in our undemanding speech
hover and blend with things observed.
Syllables flow in the tide's pulse.
My earliest memory turns in air:
Eclipse. Cocks crow, as if at sunset;
Grandmother, holding a smoked glass,
says to me, 'Look. Remember this.'

Over the goldbrown sand my children
run in the wind. The sky's immense
with spring's new radiance. Far from here,
lying close to the final darkness,
a great-grandmother lives and suffers,
still praising life: another morning
on earth, cockcrow and changing light.

Over the skeleton of thought
mind builds a skin of human texture.
The eye's [art of another eye
that guides it through the maze of light.
A line becomes a firm horizon.
All's as it was in the beginning.

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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 20, 2012

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