pasted on the river. Everything is quiet. Now and then, a wave
breaks the message, temporarily changing the font from bold to
italics. The moon in its crescent appearance is the precision blade
of a Shaolin warrior. I’m concerned that if I gaze too long, I may
carelessly jag my retinas on its razor points, pierced globes adding
vitreous humor into this serious stretch of river. A mullet leaps
from the water and reconstructs the moon’s message; it is now the
sound of one silver hand clapping. Above, an anonymous comet
breaches the sky a small eternity, but shooting stars don’t have the
recoil of a poem executed in the lull of moon fire.
oval mirror lights
seduction on night-water
flagrant moon kisses
from: Samuel Wagan Watson, Smoke Encrypted Whispers, University of Queensland Press, 2004. Reproduced here with permission from the author.
Smoke Encrypted Whispers is a collection of Samuel Wagan Watson's earlier work with the addition of a number of later prose poems. What I loved about these was the sense of the poet moving from prose poetry to the haiku which complete the almost journal-like entries. The later poems in this collection are available as an audio recording with responses from 22 Brisbane composers. When Samuel sent me the collection, he mentioned 'revolver' was his favourite poem in it and I think I agree. I love the wave changing the font, the mullet leap and - having lived in Brisbane by the Brisbane River, I know and love the landscape.
Samuel Wagan Watson is a poet with five published books and two major awards for his writing, the Queensland Premiers Literary Awards, David Unaipon Prize for Unpublished Indigenous Writers (1999) and the NSW Premiers Literary Award, Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry Book of the Year (2005). You can hear him talking about his poetic influences here.
Catherine Bateson is a poet and writer for children and young adults who lives in Melbourne, Australia. You can read her Tuesday poem blog here.