By Les Murray
Publish 12 months note: First released in 1998
Les Murray's Collected Poems screens the complete variety of his poetic paintings. This quantity includes the entire poems he desires to look after, except the verse novel Fredy Neptune, from his first publication The Ilex Tree (1965) to Poems the scale of Photographs (2002). In tracing Murray's inventive improvement, it exhibits an ever-changing energy, grace and humour, in addition to nice versatility and formal mastery.
"He is, conveniently, the only via whom language lives." - Joseph Brodsky
"There is not any poetry within the English language now so rooted in its sacredness, so broad-leafed in its pleasures and but so intimate and conversational." - Derek Walcott
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Extra resources for Collected Poems
THE BURNING TRUCK FOR MRS MARGARET WELTON It began at dawn with fighter planes: they came in off the sea and didn’t rise, they leaped the sandbar one and one and one coming so fast the crockery they shook down off my kitchen shelves was spinning in the air when they were gone. They came in off the sea and drew a wave of lagging cannon-shells across our roofs. Windows spat glass, a truck took sudden fire, out leaped the driver, but the truck ran on, growing enormous, shambling by our street-doors, coming and coming … By every right in town, by every average we knew of in the world, it had to stop, fetch up against a building, fall to rubble from pure force of burning, for its whole body and substance were consumed with heat 30 but it would not stop.
We had huddled together a long time in the shed in the scent of vanished corn and wild bush birds, and then the hammering faltered, and the torn cobwebs ceased their quivering and hung still from the nested rafters. We became uneasy at the silence that grew about us, and came out. The beaded violence had ceased. Fresh-minted hills smoked, and the heavens swirled and blew away. The paddocks were endless again, and all around leaves lay beneath their trees, and cakes of moss. Sheep trotted and propped, and shook out ice from their wool.
The idle length of a street … There is more light than world, and what few outlines Persist forget their meaning in the heat. The metal sea’s too bright to walk upon. Thoughts pass, and figment shops, and random glimmers From crystals in the concrete, and oiled swimmers. The sky does not exist when it’s outshone. On the dazed white sand, umbrellas stiffly lean To pose and impose their shade upon the shifting Languor of bodies and glare, and all the sifting Motes of dim music mingled with the scene Fade into summer, January, drifting … Things drift apart, significances fade.