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Books & Poetry

Poem: By way of introduction

Books & Poetry

In this Poet’s Corner, Milton Moon follows on from last week’s verse “Who is this ‘I’?” by pondering the question: what’s in a name?

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By way of introduction

My mother chose my name; I found out
why this particular one when I discovered the book.
Old enough to pry in special cupboards
it was there; old-time padded covers,
big as the family Bible, gold embossed title:
“Paradise Lost”.
I always thought, with a sense of entitlement,
it would come to me. Old, possibly valuable,
I don’t know where it ended up. I wasn’t there
when things were divided.
Other hands took it and a half-century later
still wondering where it is,
my name still there in fading gold.

My mother loved poetry,
thoughts in lines held dear,
reflecting dreams, hopes for a perfect world.
Hoping too for children who would do nothing
other than God’s will.
Six children of her own, two more besides,
meant keeping dreams in rein.
She was a ‘religious’;
cooking meals, sweeping paths,
bound her to duties to be fulfilled
before distant Paradise be gained.
She used to quote: “where two or three
are gathered together in My Name,
there am I also”. She knew that He knew;
that’s all that mattered.

She knew all of us; sagacious in her knowing.
She knew human weaknesses,
searching desires, greed and covet-ness.
Wise in judgements, and careful advice,
secretive of things she knew were sacred.
A mystic in many ways;
after all she had been to death’s door,
coming back after glimpsing

Milton Moon. Photo: Denys Finney

Milton Moon is a leading Australian potter. He studied painting and drawing at the Central Technical College in Brisbane, with private tuition from Margaret Cilento. At this time he also learnt the traditions of pottery and wheel-throwing from pioneer Mervyn Feeney. Moon has been the senior pottery instructor with Brisbane’s Department of Technical Education, art tutor at the Architecture Department of the University of Queensland, and senior lecturer, Head of Ceramics at the South Australian School of Art. As a Myer Foundation Geijutsu Fellow, he made one of his many visits to Japan, living and working there and studying Zen; he has since also studied Shinshu. Following his return to Australia he left lecturing to establish a workshop, home and gallery in a restored 1850s stone mill at Summertown in the Adelaide Hills, but has since moved to Norwood. Other awards include a Churchill Fellowship, Australian Government Creative Fellowship, Order of Australia (AM), Member of Honour of the International Academy of Ceramics, and Life Membership of the South Australian Crafts Council. Moon has exhibited widely in Australia and internationally, and is represented in major Australian collections worldwide. He has also written verse, with more of his poetry to be found in the collection The Other Shore at the Shin Buddhism website Muryoko.

Click here to read Moon’s Who is this ‘I’? in last week’s Poet’s Corner

Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to A poetry book will be awarded to each contributor.


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