Judith Beveridge

Rating: 4.33
Rating: 4.33

Judith Beveridge Poems

Perhaps it was when he first felt his shoulders
roll an oar, or when he pulled the thick boots on.
Perhaps it was when he saw the curved thin rod
of the moon angle into his father’s face and hook

I saw her, pegging out her web
thin as a pressed flower in the bleaching light.
From the bushes a few small insects
clicked like opening seed-pods. I knew some

Through the end of an old Coke bottle he tracks
the flight of a petrel, until it is tattered by
sea-wind and another blurred mintage of the sun.
Along the pier, he hears the men with their

I have never been bumped in a saddle as a horse springs
from one diagonal to another,
a two-beat gait, light and balanced,
as the four-beats per stride become the hair-blowing,

Before the sea stops a long mile out
I hear the blades of fishermen scotching the rocks

and their reels beginning to grind like bicycle gears.

The sun stamps his shadow on the wall
and he’s left one wheel of his bicycle
spinning. It is dusk, there are a few minutes

I’ve had my nose in the ring since I was nine.
I learned those cubes fast: how to play a blind
bargain; how to empty a die from my palm
and beguile by turns loaded with prayers –

I feel a sharpness under the surface like tin-tacks,
Having come down to their soft mud among smells
Where most would retch. They sift broken bits,
Tuck into their mud; the bay has the sound

I will use the sound of wind and the splash
of the cormorant diving and the music
any boatman will hear in the running threads
as they sing about leaving for the Islands.

We heard the creaking clutch of the crank
as they drew it up by cable and wheel
and hung it sleek as a hull from the roof.

Begin in a cave.
Listen to the floor boil with rodents, insects.
Weep for the pups that have fallen. Later,
you'll fly the narrow passages of those bones,

Today I watched a boy fly his kite.
It didn't crackle in the wind - but
gave out a barely perceptible hum.

They listen to the myna birds dicker in the grass.
The child's blue shoes are caked with
garden dirt. When he runs, she sees the antics
of a pair of wrens. She works the garden,

Judith Beveridge Biography

Judith Beveridge (born 1956) is a contemporary Australian poet, editor and academic. Judith Beveridge was born in London, England, arriving in Australia with her parents in 1960. Completing a BA at UTS she has worked in libraries, teaching, as a researcher and in environmental regeneration. She currently teaches creative writing at Newcastle and Sydney universities and is poetry editor for Meanjin, having previously edited Hobo and the Australian Arabic literature journal Kalimat.)

The Best Poem Of Judith Beveridge

The Fisherman's Son

Perhaps it was when he first felt his shoulders
roll an oar, or when he pulled the thick boots on.
Perhaps it was when he saw the curved thin rod
of the moon angle into his father’s face and hook
his mouth into an ugly grin; or perhaps when
the sun rerouted his eyes to the necks of wading
birds along the shore as the first pink tones

of dusk uncurled along the ferns. It could have
been the way his father’s knife eased out the eyes
of so many fish like spoonfuls of compote that gave
him thoughts black as the inky emulsions of squid,
a sleep no fishing boat could ease, nor star prick
with its comforting pin. Perhaps he learned nothing
from his father’s face except how whiskey

trawled sleep from his eyes and left him pursued
by pain and thunder and a show of lightning’s
yellow flares. Perhaps when he felt the rod
pull his arms through a reel’s band of static,
when he heard his father’s voice in the headache
scudding low across his forehead, the reel
with an insect’s drum-head pitch his heart into

summer’s mounting heat; the slow drip of days
revved up by outboards then dispelled by a drill
of mosquitoes, or weather finding tenor in its squalls.
Among stars and fish, those notes from the waste
hours he gutted, from the river’s sweep of years,
who could know how many knives he heard
audition for his nerves, or what beat his heart

took, or how many rounds of an ingoing lake
before the wind rushed into the uncaulked
cracks and left him face-down, deep-drummed,
gear-slipped, deaf to his inner repertoire, blind
now to the river’s weather-beaten stare.
Perhaps from a tangle of yellow air, or when
he heard the wind bale out of a speeding sky,

or a firetail add its flute to the rankling handle
of a windlass, a lyrebird weigh its call in
with an anchor’s unrolling links, some twisting
erratic pull of tackle as the mosquitoes buzzed;
when he heard his father’s voice in each dizzy
injected dose…. All day such talk went on
as the men brought in their hauls, gutting fish

to the noise of pelicans, those bills clacking
like clapperboards, the ease of routine. Here
among the brace of tides, as wind skips along
ropes left lank and loose and dangling now
among the sloops, no one fully knowing why
a boy would desire to die….The avocets walking
the shore with their hesitant, hair-splitting steps.

Judith Beveridge Comments

My name is Judith Ann Beveridge from Omaha, Nebraska USA. I am a retired teacher. I too write poetry. Not nearly as good as hers! She inspires me. If she ever comes to the USA for a workshop, I would love to meet her. It is an honor to share the same name!

0 0 Reply
Jenny macaulay 19 November 2017

I attended a workshop run by Judith at the Word for Word Festival in Geelong this weekend. A terrific and very practical workshop. How nice to be reading poetry one (I at least) could understand and connect with without having to consult a dictionary. A good selection of various poets' work was looked at and the exercise inspired me to look at some of Judith's own work. Love it. Thanks, Judith. Very inspirational.

1 0 Reply
Richard Provencher 07 September 2014

The Fishermen's Son is a wonderful poem!

2 0 Reply

Judith Beveridge Popularity

Judith Beveridge Popularity

Error Success