Kenneth Slessor
Winter Dawn by Kenneth Slessor

Winter Dawn by Kenneth Slessor

AT five I wake, rise, rub on the smoking pane A port to see—water breathing in the air, Boughs broken. The sun comes up in a golden stain, Floats like a glassy sea-fruit. There is ...

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William Street by Kenneth Slessor

William Street by Kenneth Slessor

The red globe of light, the liquor green, the pulsing arrows and the running fire spilt on the stones, go deeper than a stream; You find this ugly, I find it lovely Ghosts' ...

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Wild Grapes by Kenneth Slessor

Wild Grapes by Kenneth Slessor

The old orchard, full of smoking air,Full of sour marsh and broken boughs, is there,But kept no more by vanished Mulligans, Or Hartigans, long drowned in earth themselves,Who gave ...

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A Bushranger by Kenneth Slessor

A Bushranger by Kenneth Slessor

Jackey Jackey gallops on a horse like a swallowWhere the carbines bark and the blackboys hollo.When the traps give chase (may the devil take his power!)He can ride ten mile in a ...

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Five Bells by Kenneth Slessor

Five Bells by Kenneth Slessor

Time that is moved by little fidget wheels Is not my time, the flood that does not flow. Between the double and the single bell Of a ship's hour, between a round of bells From the ...

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Country Towns by Kenneth Slessor

Country Towns by Kenneth Slessor

Country towns, with your willows and squares,And farmers bouncing on barrel maresTo public houses of yellow woodWith '1860' over their doors,And that mysterious race of ...

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Mangroves by Kenneth Slessor

Mangroves by Kenneth Slessor

These black bush-waters, heavy with crusted boughs Like plumes above dead captains, wake the mind.... Uncounted kissing, unremembered vows, Nights long forgotten, moons too dark ...

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South Country by Kenneth Slessor

South Country by Kenneth Slessor

After the whey-faced anonymity Of river-gums and scribbly-gums and bush, After the rubbing and the hit of brush, You come to the South Country As if the argument of trees were ...

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Fixed Ideas by Kenneth Slessor

Fixed Ideas by Kenneth Slessor

RANKS of electroplated cubes, dwindling to glitters, Like the other pasture, the trigonometry of marble, Death's candy-bed. Stone caked on stone, Dry pyramids and racks of iron ...

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Sleep by Kenneth Slessor

Sleep by Kenneth Slessor

Do you give yourself to me utterly,Body and no-body, flesh and no-fleshNot as a fugitive, blindly or bitterly, But as a child might, with no other wish?Yes, utterly.Then I shall ...

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Gulliver by Kenneth Slessor

Gulliver by Kenneth Slessor

I'LL kick your walls to bits, I'll die scratching a tunnel, If you'll give me a wall, if you'll give me a simple stone, If you'll do me the honour of a dungeon— Anything but this ...

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Elegy In A Botanic Gardens by Kenneth Slessor

Elegy In A Botanic Gardens by Kenneth Slessor

THE smell of birds' nests faintly burning Is autumn. In the autumn I came Where spring had used me better, To the clear red pebbles and the men of stone And foundered beetles, to ...

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City Nightfall by Kenneth Slessor

City Nightfall by Kenneth Slessor

SMOKE upon smoke; over the stone lips Of chimneys bleeding, a darker fume descends. Night, the old nun, in voiceless pity bends To kiss corruption, so fabulous her pity. All ...

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A Sunset by Kenneth Slessor

A Sunset by Kenneth Slessor

THE old Quarry, Sun, with bleeding scales, Flaps up the gullies, wets their crystal pebbles, Floating with waters of gold; darkness exhales Brutishly in the valley; smoke rises in ...

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Out Of Time by Kenneth Slessor

Out Of Time by Kenneth Slessor

1I saw Time flowing like a hundred yachtsThat fly behind the daylight, foxed with air;Or piercing, like the quince-bright, bitter slatsOf sun gone thrusting under Harbour's hair. ...

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Thief Of The Moon by Kenneth Slessor

Thief Of The Moon by Kenneth Slessor

Thief of the moon, thou robber of old delight, Thy charms have stolen the star-gold, quenched the moon- Cold, cold are the birds that, bubbling out of night, Cried once to my ears ...

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North Country by Kenneth Slessor

North Country by Kenneth Slessor

North Country, filled with gesturing wood, With trees that fence, like archers' volleys, The flanks of hidden valleys Where nothing's left to hide But verticals and ...

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Five Visions Of Captain Cook by Kenneth Slessor

Five Visions Of Captain Cook by Kenneth Slessor

ICOOK was a captain of the Admiralty When sea-captains had the evil eye, Or should have, what with beating krakens off And casting nativities of ships; Cook was a captain of the ...

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Advice To Psychologists by Kenneth Slessor

Advice To Psychologists by Kenneth Slessor

YOU spies that pierce the mind with trenches, Feasting your eyes through private panes, Who, not content with Heavenly stenches, Insist on taking up the drains, For you I've only ...

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Heine In Paris by Kenneth Slessor

Heine In Paris by Kenneth Slessor

LATE: a cold smear of sunlight bathes the room; The gilt lime of winter, a sun grown melancholy old, Streams in the glass. Outside, ten thousand chimneys fume, Looping the ...

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Cannibal Street by Kenneth Slessor

Cannibal Street by Kenneth Slessor

'BUY, who'll buy,' the pedlar sings, 'Bones of beggars, loins of kings, Ribs of murder, haunch of hate, And Beauty's head on a butcher's plate!' Hook by hook, on steaming stalls, ...

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Crow Country by Kenneth Slessor

Crow Country by Kenneth Slessor

GUTTED of station, noise alone, The crow's voice trembles down the sky As if this nitrous flange of stone Wept suddenly with such a cry; As if the rock found lips to sigh, The ...

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Earth-Visitors by Kenneth Slessor

Earth-Visitors by Kenneth Slessor

(To N.L.)THERE were strange riders once, came gusting down Cloaked in dark furs, with faces grave and sweet, And white as air. None knew them, they were strangers— Princes gone ...

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Captain Dobbin by Kenneth Slessor

Captain Dobbin by Kenneth Slessor

CAPTAIN Dobbin, having retired from the South Seas In the dumb tides of , with a handful of shells, A few poisoned arrows, a cask of pearls, And five thousand pounds in the ...

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Glubbdubdrib by Kenneth Slessor

Glubbdubdrib by Kenneth Slessor

IN the castle of GlubbdubdribHow spendidly we dineOn flesh from magic potagersAnd cups of dead men's wine,Dead men who run with bottles,Lackeys of silent air,A ghost in gilded ...

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Full Orchestra by Kenneth Slessor

Full Orchestra by Kenneth Slessor

MY words are the poor footmen of your pride, Of what you cry, you trumpets, each to each With mouths of air; my speech is the dog-speech Of yours, the Roman tongue—but mine is ...

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Last Trams by Kenneth Slessor

Last Trams by Kenneth Slessor

ITHAT street washed with violet Writes like a tablet Of living here; that pavement Is the metal embodiment Of living here; those terraces Filled with dumb presences Lobbed over ...

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Beach Burial by Kenneth Slessor

Beach Burial by Kenneth Slessor

Softly and humbly to the Gulf of Arabs The convoys of dead sailors come; At night they sway and wander in the waters far under, But morning rolls them in the foam. Between the sob ...

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The Night Ride by Kenneth Slessor

The Night Ride by Kenneth Slessor

Gas flaring on the yellow platform; voices running up and down;Milk-tins in cold dented silver; half-awake I stare,Pull up the blind, blink out - all sounds are drugged;the slow ...

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The Knife by Kenneth Slessor

The Knife by Kenneth Slessor

THE plough that marks on Harley's field In flying earth its print Throws up, like death itself concealed, A fang of rosy flint, A flake of stone, by fingers hewed Whose buried ...

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A Bushranger by Kenneth Slessor

A Bushranger by Kenneth Slessor

Jackey Jackey gallops on a horse like a swallowWhere the carbines bark and the blackboys hollo.When the traps give chase (may the devil take his power!)He can ride ten mile in a ...

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Cock-Crow by Kenneth Slessor

Cock-Crow by Kenneth Slessor

THE cock's far cry From lonely yards Burdens the night With boastful birds That mop their wings To make response— A mess of songs And broken sense. So, when I slept, I heard your ...

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An Inscription For Dog River by Kenneth Slessor

An Inscription For Dog River by Kenneth Slessor

OUR general was the greatest and bravest of generals. For his deeds, look around you on this coast— Here is his name cut next to Ashur-Bani-Pal's, Nebuchadnezzar's and the Roman ...

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In A/C With Ghosts by Kenneth Slessor

In A/C With Ghosts by Kenneth Slessor

You can shuffle and scuffle and scold, You can rattle the knockers and knobs, Or batter the doorsteps with buckets of gold Till the Deputy-Governor sobs. You can sneak up a ...

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Chessmen by Kenneth Slessor

Chessmen by Kenneth Slessor

CHAFING on flags of ebony and pearl, My paladins are waiting. Loops of smoke Stoop slowly from the coffee-cups, and curl In thin fantastic patterns down the room By cabinets of ...

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Sensuality by Kenneth Slessor

Sensuality by Kenneth Slessor

FEELING hunger and cold, feeling Food, feeling fire, feeling Pity and pain, tasting Time in a kiss, tasting Anger and tears, touching Eyelids with lips, touching Plague, touching ...

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Snowdrops by Kenneth Slessor

Snowdrops by Kenneth Slessor

The Snowdrop Girl in fields of snowdrops walks,Whiter than foam, deeper than waters flowing,Flakes of wild milk gone blowing, Snowing on cloudy stalks.The Snowdrop Girl goes ...

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Polarities by Kenneth Slessor

Polarities by Kenneth Slessor

SOMETIMES she is like sherry, like the sun through a vessel of glass, Like light through an oriel window in a room of yellow wood; Sometimes she is the colour of lions, of sand in ...

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To A Friend by Kenneth Slessor

To A Friend by Kenneth Slessor

ADAM, because on the mind's roads Your mouth is always in a hurry, Because you know odes And ways to make a curry, Because you fall in love with words And whistle beauty forth to ...

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Adventure Bay by Kenneth Slessor

Adventure Bay by Kenneth Slessor

SOPHIE'S my world . . . my arm must soon or later Like Francis Drake turn circumnavigator, Stem the dark tides, take by the throat strange gales And toss their spume to stars ...

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William Street by Kenneth Slessor

William Street by Kenneth Slessor

The red globe of light, the liquor green, the pulsing arrows and the running fire spilt on the stones, go deeper than a stream; You find this ugly, I find it lovely Ghosts' ...

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Talbingo by Kenneth Slessor

Talbingo by Kenneth Slessor

'TALBINGO RIVER'—as one says of bones: 'Captain' or 'Commodore' that smelt gunpowder In old engagements no one quite believes Or understands. Talbingo had its blood As they did, ...

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Burying Friends by Kenneth Slessor

Burying Friends by Kenneth Slessor

BURYING friends is not a pomp, Not, indeed, Roman: Lacking the monument, Heroic stone; Nor is it an obscuring parasol, The pad of customary gloves and cries And a black leather ...

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The Atlas by Kenneth Slessor

The Atlas by Kenneth Slessor

I. The King of CuckoozTHE King of Cuckooz Contrey Hangs peaked above Argier With Janzaries and Marabutts To bid a sailor fear— With lantern-eyed astrologers Who walk upon the ...

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Serenade by Kenneth Slessor

Serenade by Kenneth Slessor

THOU moon, like a white Christus hanging At the sky's cross-roads, I'll court thee not, Though travellers bend up, and seek thy grace. Let them go truckle with their gifts and ...

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Marco Polo by Kenneth Slessor

Marco Polo by Kenneth Slessor

READING how Marco Polo came By bridle-path to Kanbalu, Forgotten fibres wake to flame, And smoke old memories anew . . . . For in a bygone life of mine I watched the carven ...

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A Surrender by Kenneth Slessor

A Surrender by Kenneth Slessor

WHEN to those Venusbergs, thy breasts, By wars of love and moonlight batteries, My lips have stormed—O pout thy mouth above, Lean down those culverins twain, and bid me spike ...

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Thieves’ Kitchen by Kenneth Slessor

Thieves’ Kitchen by Kenneth Slessor

GOOD roaring pistol-boys, brave lads of gold, Good roistering easy maids, blown cock-a-hoop On floods of tavern-steam, I greet you! Drunk With wild Canary, drowned in wines of ...

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Waters by Kenneth Slessor

Waters by Kenneth Slessor

THIS Water, like a sky that no one uses, Air turned to stone, ridden by stars and birds No longer, but with clouds of crystal swimming, I'll not forget, nor men can lose, though ...

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Nuremberg by Kenneth Slessor

Nuremberg by Kenneth Slessor

So quiet it was in that high, sun-steeped room,So warm and still, that sometimes with the lightThrough the great windows, bright with bottle-panes,There’d float a chime from ...

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