for Martin Harrison
Born in Stars, We Live on Earth as Poets
− William Blake
Amidst petitions for Sunday’s rally against climate change
education cuts, and all the other head-in-sand
disasters promoted by a Machiavellian
government, an email arrives, telling me you’ve died.
All your life on hold, a memory
before you become the vessel of your words.
“Poetry is the key to experience,” you said.
Choosing “Seeing Paddocks” for the anthology
from poems you’d sent, discovering you
through your created landscape, I found a heart attuned
to the earth dream, the land dream, and was glad.
Some things disturb perception, flicker of shadow
and untruth, like emptiness, a car’s slipstream
the placement of death.
Driving past the out-of-kilter façade of UTS
on Broadway, I will always think of you
one day reading in Gould’s Book Arcade
or talking to students, the next, found by the roadside
near Brooklyn, your generous heart stilled, Wollombi home
quiet, awaiting your return.
Before our dust
goes back to glittering stars, we will journey again
through the no-longer-green forests
and grieve with you, numb elegiacs watering
a dry landscape. In a broken planet
we have to say what’s true.
Margaret Bradstock has six published collections of poetry, including The Pomelo Tree (winner of the Wesley Michel Wright Prize) and Barnacle Rock (winner of the Woollahra Festival Award, 2014). Margaret met Martin Harrison at many readings, and consulted him over contributions to Antipodes: poetic responses to “settlement”, which she edited in 2011.