gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back

Image

How heavy we sat –
the road scarring in from the east,
through stands of burning eucalypts,
threading its unwelcome way between the bloat
of mining towns all turned to tumours,
nagging over Triassic sandstone, shouldered hills,
then through the bloom and wretch of gidyea,
descending steady as a thready pulse
into the ache of the inland basin.

The antipodes was never a world inverted
but a landscape smashed flat
then curving in below the axis of its own horizon
like an Old Testament god’s fat fist
clenched full of fire had wound up and swung
down.

And when it lifted up at last it left behind
in the bruise the pair of us, bleached white
and rattling bones on the banks of a river
long since gone to the gulf,
watching and watched as we sat
beneath a blood-sworn pair
of hunting hawks
wheeling in the phosphor burn,
widening
in the fire-eyed sky above.

4 thoughts on “gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back”

  1. I love this poem, it feels like a place I have been both emotionally and physically. Is there any place in particular this relates to? It reminds me of the north west W.A.

    1. Hi silent(?)

      Thanks for the positive feedback! I drew on some experiences and images from a few places in western Queensland but glad to know it evoked WA for you!

  2. Hi Simon–

    I’ve been following your blog for about a year now and I absolutely love your work. I was wondering if you have read any of Anne Carson’s work? Her writing is so rich and elegant, very soulful. I read one of her books, “The Autobiography of Red” for school, and it kind of reminded me of some of the work you’ve shared here. It’s a novel in verse, so it kind of merges fiction with poetry and it’s lovely. I think you would really like her work if you haven’t already read it. Thanks for sharing your poems with us.

    Best,
    Libby.

    1. Hi Libby, thanks for the wonderful compliment- what a lovely thing to read on a Sunday morning. The Autobiography of Red has been on my list for a while. I’m working on a second draft for a verse novel at the moment so with your recommendation I think I might have to get myself a copy… Research purposes… That’s a good excuse to spend money right:). Thanks again for the kindness!

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