Anne Elvey’s poems have appeared in journals, including most recently Blue Dog, Cordite, Island and Westerly and in The Best Australian Poems 2009 (Black Inc.). Her first chapbook Stolen Heath was published by Melbourne Poets Union in 2009. Her research and writing is supported by the Centre for Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, Monash University, and Melbourne College of Divinity.
lacing and unlacing her song
The ear is a window where she transfers
a blue wren. Her song
is a cat’s tail curved
round the air when her fingers
bend to the strings. And her bow
is an oar, striding a river.
She ties up to a she-oak, shakes
its raindrop chandelier. The rest
becomes a body, composed
to chocolate and wine. Bread.
A magpie. Weeds trodden into
loam. A stump
where insects trace their graffiti.
The perfume of fennel. Wild.
Her touch says wood and gut.
At home the frame bends.
With use a string frays.
All night she will play
shadow puppets on a wall.
They disappear when the day awakens
beside her score.
And unlacing her song, she laces
her song with the remembered scale
of her years.
memento: the manuscript under may hand is/not written
The verse etched on a tree selects
a variety of media to represent itself.
On the smooth trunk where the bark has peeled—
such a robust street tree, thick
and rugged, not that I’d lean into it—
is the kind of word this land leaves
on things, neither exodus nor crucifixion,
but a slow tapping into soil, a writing outward
of time that was rock and clay and an everywhere
sky. With its dense foliage this is not a tree
for a clearing. Cars’ fumes create their own
mass and insects travel woody
roads eeking through age, so that I wonder
do they hear the tree as it makes itself?