By Les Murray
Publish 12 months note: First released in 1998
Les Murray's Collected Poems monitors the complete diversity of his poetic paintings. This quantity includes all of the 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, without difficulty, the only through 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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Additional resources for Collected Poems
And all of us who knew our place and prayers clutched our verandah-rails and window-sills, begging that truck between our teeth to halt, keep going, vanish, strike … but set us free. And then we saw the wild boys of the street go running after it. And as they followed, cheering, on it crept, windshield melting now, canopy-frame a cage torn by gorillas of flame, and it kept on over the tramlines, past the church, on past the last lit windows, and then out of the world with its disciples. 31 TABLEAU IN JANUARY January, noon.
This is for spring and hail, that you may remember 46 a boy long ago, and a pony that could fly. With the creak and stop of a gate, we started to trespass: my pony bent his head and drank up grass while I ate ice, and wandered, and ate ice. There was a peach tree growing wild by a bank and under it and round, sweet dented fruit weeping pale juice amongst hail-shotten leaves, and this I picked up and ate till I was filled. I sat on a log then, listening with my skin to the secret feast of the sun, to the long wet worms at work in the earth, and, deeper down, the stones beneath the earth, uneasy that their sleep should be troubled by dreams of water soaking down, and I heard with my ears the creek on its bed of mould moving and passing with a mothering sound.
Some talked of Providence, or sin, or feared the rot had now got in to a family tree once pruned with swords – but these are words. And Jim said little when his kin found a place to place him in, nor did he ever tell his guards how notes may run, and catch, and veer towards that pitch where shrieks and suns begin – for these are words. 64 TROOP TRAIN RETURNING Beyond the Divide the days become immense, beyond our war in the level lands of wheat, the things that we defended are still here, the willow-trees pruned neatly cattle-high, the summer roads where far-back bullock drays foundered in earth and mouldered into yarns.
Collected Poems by Les Murray