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Les Murray: Learning Human (2001, Farrar, Straus and Giroux) No rating

A bighearted selection from the inimitable Australian poet's diverse ten-book body of work

Les Murray …

Migratory by Les Murray

I am the nest that comes and goes, I am the egg that isn't now, I am the beach, the food in sand, the shade with shells and the shade with sticks. I am the right feeling on washed shine, in wing-lifting surf, in running about beak-focused: the feeling of here, that stays and stays, then lengthens out over the hills of hills and the feedy sea. I am the wrongness of here, when it is true to fly along the feeling the length of its great rightness, while days burn from vast to a gold gill in the dark to vast again, for many feeds and floating rests, till the sun ahead becomes the sun behind, and half the little far days of the night are different. Right feelings of here arrive with me: I am the nests danced for and now, I am the crying heads to fill, I am the beach, the sand in food, the shade with sticks and the double kelp shade.

Learning Human by 

Les Murray: Learning Human (2001, Farrar, Straus and Giroux) No rating

A bighearted selection from the inimitable Australian poet's diverse ten-book body of work

Les Murray …

Hearing Impairment by Les Murray

Hearing loss? Yes, loss is what we hear who are starting to go deaf. Loss trails a lot of weird puns in its wake, viz. Dad's a real prism of the Left— you'd like me to repeat that? THE SAD SURREALISM OF THE DEAF.

It's mind over mutter at work guessing half what the munglers are saying and society's worse. Punchlines elude to you as Henry Lawson and other touchy drinkers have claimed. Asides, too, go pasture. It's particularly nasty with a wether.

First you crane at people, face them while you can still face them. But grudgually you give up dinnier parties; you begin to think about Beethoven; you Hanover next visit here on silly Narda Fearing—I SAY YOU CAN HAVE AN EXQUISITE EAR AND STILL BE HARD OF HEARING.

It seems to be mainly speech, at first, that escapes you—and that can be a rest, the poor man's escape itch from Babel. You can still hear a duck way upriver, a lorry miles off on the highway. You can still say boo to a goose and read its curt yellow-lipped reply. You can shout SING UP to a magpie,

but one day soon you must feel the silent stopwatch chill your ear in the doctor's rooms, and be wired back into a slightly thinned world with a faint plastic undertone to it and, if the rumours are true, snatches of static, music, police transmissions: it's a BARF minor Car Fourteen prospect.

But maybe hearing aids are now perfect and maybe it's not all that soon. Sweet nothings in your ear are still sweet; you've heard the human range by your age and can follow most talk from memory; the peace of the graveyard's well up on that of the grave. And the world would enjoy peace and birdsong for more moments

if you were head of government, enquiring of an aide Why, Simpkins, do you tell me a warrior is a ready flirt? I might argue—and flowers keep blooming as he swallows his larynx to shriek our common mind-overloading sentence: I'M SORRY, SIR, IT'S A RED ALERT!

Learning Human by  (Page 96 - 97)

Les Murray: The Biplane Houses (Paperback, 2008, Farrar, Straus and Giroux) No rating

This is Les Murray's first new volume of poems since Poems the Size of Photographs …

Panic Attack by Les Murray

The body had a nightmare. Awake. No need of the movie.

No need of light, to keep hips and shoulders rotating in bed on the gimbals of wet eyes.

Pounding heart, chest pains— should it be the right arm hurting?

The brain was a void or a blasted-out chamber— shreds of speech in there, shatters of lust and prayer.

No one can face their heart or turn their back on it.

Bowel stumbled to bowl, emptied, and emptied again till the gut was a train crawling in its own tunnel,

slowly dragging the nightmare down with it, below heart level. You would not have died

the fear had been too great but: to miss the ambulance moment—

Relax. In time, your hourglass will be reversed again.

The Biplane Houses by  (Page 85 - 86)