Poems, Imitations & Translations



Harry Flockton Clarke: June feeding a wallaby (c.1939-40)


The picture is sepia-toned
like the not-too-far-distant war

the need to stay silent at mealtimes
so her father can hear

every radio news report
the need to pose paramount

in the stiff lines of this schoolgirl
reaching out a tentative hand

to the strangest of beasts
in the latter stages of dementia

my father removed her photos
replacing them with snaps

of his militaria
I don’t think she understands

what we see in this picture
the meekness before authority

the gentleness of the pose
the dark fringe of trees

in a faraway world
where my mother

has just been told
to pretend to feed

a wallaby


  [Dianne Firth, Poetry and Place: Catalogue for the Poetry and Place Exhibition, Belconnen Art Centre, 25 August – 17 September 2017 (Canberra: University of Canberra, 2017): 10]

Dianne Firth: Poetry and Place (2017)

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