Summer 1981 • Vol. III No. 3 Contemporary English and Irish Poetry |

Loveless Leaving

From The Loveless Letters George Loveless was one of the six "Tolpuddle Martyrs," farm laborers transported as convicts from Dorset, England, to Australia in 1834 for the political "crime" of taking a secret oath. He was sent to Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania), one of the harshest British penal settlements. They were pardoned, largely because of public agitation in England, and returned home in 1837. Dear, distant wife, soon no longer distant: my masters have spoken to swivel my world again and I'll trade in this gaudy pang of distance for home and the soft combe of your tongue. And yet . . . I've marveled at the high art of the sea, its epic, cerulean canvas; I'll bear to my grave the marks of all the sun's instruments, their glittering aptness. Back with you, I'll look to the north from habit, expecting this forged meridian: I'll look for the lorikeet's rainbowing hurtle and see a dunnock so shy of color it might be a mouse with wings; I will look for light as sharp

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