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Books & Poetry

Poem: Message to Les

Books & Poetry

In this week’s Poet’s Corner, Annette Hunt-Bown pays tribute to the ‘Bard of Bunyah’, ‘the poet of the rural poor’ – Australia’s internationally acclaimed unofficial poet laureate Les Murray.

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Message to Les

Les Murray, 1938–2019

I count syllables on each line,
write all the numbers down.
I use your framework as foundation –
to bring forth a poem.

Not born one like you, though wish to be –
I dream you my mentor,
joined in excavating poetry;
but it’s too late to ask. For

you have finished making poems now,
a lifetime’s work has come to pass.
I lived every breath and notion felt deeply,
each word and phrase you nurtured with grace.

You painted portraits and landscape
for our minds to vision,
breaking-free impressions,
you dug up the dry bone –

all this time you’ve let me in,
by taking my daily offering from the corner post.

I feel I know you through your spirit;
Thank you for your poems.

Annette Hunt-Bown was born in Adelaide’s Elizabeth and lives in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. Music, dance, art and poetry have been her lifelong interests and involvements. In 2015, she was a finalist in the 2015 Lismore Regional Gallery Hurford Hardwood/Northern Rivers Portrait Prize, while her poem today pays tribute to the leading Australian poet Les Murray.

Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to Submissions should be in the body of the email, not as attachments.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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