Judith Wright

(1915 - 2000 / New South Wales / Australia)

Request to a Year


If the year is meditating a suitable gift,
I should like it to be the attitude
of my great- great- grandmother,
legendary devotee of the arts,

who having eight children
and little opportunity for painting pictures,
sat one day on a high rock
beside a river in Switzerland

and from a difficult distance viewed
her second son, balanced on a small ice flow,drift down the current toward a waterfall
that struck rock bottom eighty feet below,

while her second daughter, impeded,
no doubt, by the petticoats of the day,
stretched out a last-hope alpenstock
(which luckily later caught him on his way).

Nothing, it was evident, could be done;
And with the artist's isolating eye
My great-great-grandmother hastily sketched the scene.
The sketch survives to prove the story by.

Year, if you have no Mother's day present planned,
Reach back and bring me the firmness of her hand.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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Comments about this poem (Request to a Year by Judith Wright )

  • Rookie Susan Witman (4/23/2008 11:10:00 PM)

    To sum a life in carefully chosen lines. To paint a picture with words in a way no other image would suffice. The life that pokes out in its confidence from between the lines, was the life of one who was alive every moment of her existance. No end to love's portrayal. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Barry Van Allen (4/15/2007 6:15:00 AM)

    It seems that this lady passed away,
    before I got to say,
    that I enjoyed her imagery.
    I cannot speak for you,
    but, at least I said that I enjoyed it.

    Though it be posthumous!

    B.V.A.
    ` (Report) Reply

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