Marcelle Freiman

marcelleMarcelle Freiman has published two books of poetry, White Lines (Vertical) (Hybrid Publishers) and Monkey’s Wedding (Island Press). She grew up in South Africa and lived in London before migrating to Sydney, where she has resided since 1981. Much of her poetry emerges from her biography and from a constantly shifting sense of place. She teaches creative writing and literature at Macquarie University and has research interests in creative writing as theory and practice, and in poetry and postcolonial and diaspora literatures.



A Book

I’m leaning towards a book
with pages the colour of honey
and linen – as if clawed
from a desert wadi cave,
preserved by the cold arid nights:
threaded like beads on fibres of jute,
the words in this book
veil a quiet love – hidden
in the traces of names of things
I want to hand to you: feather, wood,
a whitened shard of glass smoothed by tides,
grains of sand sieved fine through my fingers,
the chambers of a nautilus –
can these objects – stone, pebble, driftwood, shell –
echo my body’s sound waves,
transmitting like whale-song
or pulsing satellite arcing across the sky
sudden as a falling star?
A body in feeling is silenced
in the face of wind-tunnels of distance.
Only the emptiness in my hands
is the name my love – a blown
feather, multiplication of cells,
a book without end,
amber pages and caught threads.


Chinese Box in Hong Kong

Roots of a banyan have taken the stone wall,
this street is uneven, like an ankle-twist
the air thick with heat, humid with fumes,
bloomers and t-shirts hang above the canopy
of a restaurant, modern food in lacquer bowls,
shiny shops, heavy jade buddhas, money runs
in the veins of this city, the drains of wet markets
and fancy boys in pants cut for tight hips
and haircut perfection queue for noodles, the best in Soho
where sidewalks slide down hills, the escalator clacks
up to Mid-levels. I buy red happiness candles
and an antique box of leather, also red,
its dark metal ying-yang clasp a promise
one day I will learn this too is home, 
that you thrive like scarlet bauhinia
growing on rocky peaks of this city
with its dumpling stalls and teeming streets –
its speed the energy in the tips of your newest roots.