Mar/Apr 2019 • Vol. XLI No. 2 Poetry |

Red

[with Liszt’s “Purgatorio” from A Symphony to Dante’s Divine Comedy playing in my head — thinking over cantos XV and XVI] Red is sleep before the long fast dry has made red of most things — a powdery bleeding, a sweeping irritant flow. This great storm we rely on. Tirades. What the smoke takes from us at the end is the lighting, not the day. It gears up on waking, the shed leaves of a dream of red — what will be written, enclosing in the hours to come. Already the wind sheaves its prepared piano — in lockdown, we know the timpani of window in its frame, that might shatter the grooves. It’s where the music carries or drags across scenery, across black & red, across a blue hope that dumps the spectrum off the precipice. But the hills are leery and squat — though edgy. Really, the red air thumps the red shed, fusing with the ground it sits upon. All is stirred up, the deluge striding behind the crump of ploughs. Indoors is the only way 

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John Kinsella
John Kinsella's recent books of poetry include Firebreaks (WW Norton, 2016), Jam Tree Gully (WW Norton, 2012) which won the Australian Prime Minister's Award for Poetry and the Judith Wright Calanthe Award, and Sack (Picador, UK, 2014). He is an Extraordinary Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge University and Professor of Literature and Environment at Curtin University.

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