Les Murray: The Widower in the Country

I’ll get up soon, and leave my bed unmade.
I’ll go outside and split off kindling wood
from the yellow-box log that lies beside the gate,
and the sun will be nigh, for I get up late now.

I’ll drive my axe in the log and come back in
with my armful of wood, and pause to look across
the Christmas paddocks aching in the heat,
the windless trees, the nettles in the yard…
and then I’ll go in, boil water, and make tea.

This afternoon, I’ll stand out on the hill
and watch my house away below, and how
the roof reflects the sun and makes my eyes
water and close on bright webbed visions smeared
on the dark of my thoughts to dance and fade away.
Then the sun will move on, and I will simply watch,
or work, or sleep. And evening will come on.

Getting near dark, I’ll go home, light the lamp
and eat my corned-beef supper, sitting there
at the head of the table. Then I’ll go to bed.
Last night I thought I dreamed – but when I woke
the screaming was only a possum skiing down
the iron roof on little moonlit claws.

from Les Murray: Collected Poems 1961-2002 (2002) (p. 3)


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