Tuesday, September 25, 2012

'revolver' by Samuel Wagan Watson

From my balcony I can read a strong poem that the moon has
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published books and two major awards for his writing, the Queensland Premiers Literary Awards, David Unaipon Prize for Unpublished Indigenous Writers (1999) and the NSW Premiers Literary Award, Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry Book of the Year (2005).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.


Claire Beynon said...

Oh, this is exquisite. It has the clarity and fluid ambiguity of a dream shot through with reality's detail and tremble of light. The words leave the page. I see a painting, hear music.

Thank you, Samuel and Catherine.

Helen Lowe said...

Prose poem or haibun? With the haiku-style conlusion, the form suggests a haibun, but whatever the name, it evokes a wonderful word picture of the Brisbane River. I enjoyed the clever play on words as well. :)

Thank you for posting.

Cattyrox said...

Oh, you're right, Helen - it is a haibun. Apologies everyone!

Eileen D. Moeller said...

I just love this. The specificity of the images, the writing metaphor, the wonderful changes that animate the scene. It feels so fresh and invigorating! Thank you!