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Poem: Going Home

Books & Poetry

A journey poem of leaving things and finding things is this week’s Poet’s Corner contribution from Linda Westphalen.

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Going Home

I’m going home,
a train, a cooling rise to see the sun die in a sea.
I’m going home,
to find my reason and work my way along a line of washing
and ask a lover’s questions.
I feel the press of ache against my heel
and wish for healing balms, a child, a meal and silence.
We are not alone even in the single seat of the train,
the heat of cattle pressed and panicked eye
as we take our chilly path to death –
and blink and watch the trees go by.

The sun catches a scarf of cloud
like a bright brooch on a mourning wife.
As grey night rises,
a cavalcade, revels, steaming voices sooth
and a simple single voice, in stillness –
a pause between zeros and ones.
A streak of contrail betrays –
a wild swipe of paint against a wall.
A child’s call trips memory. In younger days
I did not think of endings at all, but only of what was:
this rich jewel, this life, this breath.
This step from the train to the cooling earth.

Linda Westphalen is a senior lecturer at the School of Education at the University of Adelaide. She began her love affair with English literature in the 1980s, particularly with Wordsworth, Milton, Yeats and Manley Hopkins, while teaching in secondary schools. She completed a PhD in Aboriginal Women’s Life Histories in 2002, and moved to university teaching, where she is known for her passion for pedagogy.

Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to Submissions should be in the body of the email, not as attachments. A poetry book will be awarded to each accepted contributor.

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