Lorraine Marwood

Lorraine Marwood has three collections of poetry published with Five Islands Press- the first Skinprint in 1996 and the last two collections Redback Mansion 2002 and that downhill yelling 2005  both for children.  Her first verse novel ratwhiskers and me will be published by Walker in 2008 and her latest book The girl who turned into treacle is an Aussie Nibbles with Penguin 2007. Lorraine loves taking poetry workshops with schools, writes techniques regularly for Literature Base, and has just returned from a month’s creative residency in Adelaide with the May Gibbs Literature Trust, to write a second verse novel.  She lives in Central Victoria with her husband and most of her six children have now left home. 



Colouring In

Stretched on the lounge room floor
I coloured overalled American farmers,
patches on their knees and holding pitchforks
(my dad never had these)
and fine feathered roosters,
(our chooks had no male company).

I coloured an old tractor,
a prancing horse and sunflowers
that nodded eyes and mouths
like farmer’s daughters all in a regular
healthy row.
We were farmer’s daughters
so I sketched in the flies
and the motes of chook dust,
even the rats that stole between the earthen
chook pen floors and the sacks of pellets
my father piggy-backed,
and wondered if ours could be called
a farm at all;
after all I’d coloured beyond
the mass-produced lines.




The years have pouches,
saddlebags for camel skin.

I know this as the sepia sweep
from the photograph
helps me brush across my grandfather’s
chin,  to pause beneath the sphinx shade
to reach my hand along desert lines,
sword cuts, crisscrossed railway
lines, meanderings and cul de sacs.

The prairie cheeks have harvest
stubble, rough and sharp as thistle
blades.  My grandfather turns
his head, the deep shade makes
me tumble and I see the furrows
that his travelling years have made,
the quick shuffle between farmer
and soldier, the scramble for
a horizon, like riding the dawn beach
on his own farm horse
with the pebbles of men floating
out to sea. I try and climb
along that rough prairie plane,
try to climb for the eyes, but
my grandfather pulls his hat
back over his brow

and all I have is a sepia hood,
a strong sphinx man looking
to horizon, always horizon

searching for his Anzac men.