So it's back to window shoppingon Aphrodite Streetfor the apples are stacked and juicybut some are death to eat. [From 'The Fall of Aphrodite Street']
You can decide what that metaphor is about on your own.
Sometimes his use of sound is quite over the top: [From 'On Removing Spiderweb']
Like summer silk its denier
but stickily, o ickilier
miffed bunny-blinder, silver tar,
crepe when cobbed, crap when rubbed,...
There's more, but maybe that's enough about icky spiderwebs... 😉
As those quotes maybe show, he has a sense of humor; anyway, he does for me. He says the nicest thing about accordions I've ever heard anyone say: ['Accordion Music'] "it can conjure Paris up, or home, or unclench a chinstrap jaw/but it never sang for a nob's baton, or lured the boys to war." Though I just Googled accordion sonata, and naturally there are a few. So some nob somewhere once tried to tell an accordion what to do.
All me are standing on feed. The sky is shining.All me have just been milked. Teats all tingling stillfrom that dry toothless sucking by the chilly mouthsthat gasp loudly in in in, and never breathe out.
I had a thought about a certain generation of male poets that like formal structures but avoid mellifluousness, using harder consonants (g, k, t) and word-pairings that imply a glottal stop, as if the euphony of Tennyson or Swinburne were somehow suspicious. Les Murray fits in here. I'm also thinking of Ted Hughes (b. 1930) or Seamus Heaney (b. 1939). Paul Fussell in his Poetic Meter and Poetic Form (1965) bad mouths Tennyson for his euphoniousness and not his Victorian sentimentality, which kind of shocked me when I first read it. (As it turns out I'm mostly OK with both euphony and Victorian sentimentality.) But this is an AusReadingMonth post, and I don't feel like pulling a bunch of other books off the shelf, so you'll have to imagine the examples I might use...
My vague sense is that Les Murray became more crotchety and conservative as he got older. Not much sign of it in this. He thanks Paul Keating in a brief acknowledgements section. I thought this quite a good volume, and Les Murray is a poet worth knowing better.
Two short ones to close. A wise, but not very Japanese, haiku:
Politics and Art
like inferior art, knows
whose fault it all is.
And one of:
Three Last Stanzas
is absolute to those
who see the poem in it.
Relegation is prose.