Poem short-listed in 2018 ACU Poetry Prize

I was encouraged to learn my poem “Lute Music” was shortlisted in the 2018 ACU national Poetry Prize and was published in the chap book, Empathy. 

The winner was Annie Hunter with her powerful “Athene noctua”. Emeritus Professor Chris Wallace-Crabbe AM was the Finals judge.

                                  Lute Music

…the first time you feel held, curved like a lute playing grief music… 
Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks                

As you nuzzle at my breast, you hold me:
aching with too much joy to comprehend.

Waves lap across the rim of my dinghy
and stain me with their blue infinity.

The warm night-nesting of mother and babe
begins life’s journey of separation.

A fallen palm frond floating on the tide
rises and falls with the weight of its core.

The surprise of eye to eye connection,
recognition, held-ness, for a heart-beat.

Fireflies of inspiration twinkle
just ahead, close but far, the nub of things.

In the brush of closeness the grace of dance
unfolds within you in slowed-down wonder.

Held – not held back, held down, or held in place –
the thrumming rhythm of the lute’s curved bowl.

Everything becomes mystery: you seize
the depths of not-knowing, being at the edge.

Dreams write their visions into puffy clouds
that shift and drift to vapour with the dawn.

In a maestro’s hands, the lute’s curved belly,
no more a wooden silent thing, finds song.

Published in Empathy, Australian Catholic University Prize for Poetry Chapbook, 2018

Lute Music ACU