Friday 29 July 2022

Ready for more than nursery rhymes

My poem "Ready for more than nursery rhymes" is the opening poem in the beautiful "Quicksilver water - Oasis Women Poets" anthology which was launched yesterday at Hadley's Hotel in Hobart. I read at the event alongside many wonderful women, and what was very special to me, was that my daughter had her first poem published in the book and read it alongside me. Here is my poem.

Ready for more than nursery rhymes


I’ve kept my distance from you for three-and-a-half years

and that’s ok

because I was making new people –

two of them –

and really, life trumps poetry.

But without poetry,

life lacks some kind of empathic resonance,

percipience and depth,

so I am edging back to you

in between nappy changes and lullabies,

liquid Panadol and my own lonely pillow.


forgive me for snubbing you.

Remind me how to observe

more than the swollen gums of the next tooth,

more than the yearning for sleep-ins.

Come and save me

from the repetition of the weekly vacuum,

the dreaded bath-scrub, the urgent late-afternoon question

of what to cook.

I know some things, like these indescribable

love-blossomed smiles from my babies

are outside your scope of practice,

but I need you to rescue me from burnt meatballs,

temper tantrums at the kitchen gate

and this chasm between experience

and words.

Poetry, I’ve taken advantage of your patience.

Will you have me back?

- Susan Austin