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Some Poems



It’s cold enough for snow we used to say and it does

I bend my head as far back as I can Face a swarming

sky white swirl on white a pause and it sheds itself again

quickly quickly yet so softly a shower of whispers

It’s not the first time I’ve seen snow fall on an Australian

landscape yet it seems new inconsistent with what I have

come to believe in


Two magpies take a close look bomb one another and

head for the trees burrow in There are no branches bared

like bones here although one eucalyptus leaf has fallen

is now iced on to my shoe I feel the cold wet bite through

leather think of people without shoes children without

feet What if this trick of nature is really a side effect of

governments at work what if I have walked around in

eaten nuclear fallout Another pause a silent explosion

then feathers fall tufts of fairy floss hit the ground instant

meltdown I go back inside continue faxing media with

news of ‘jellyfish babies’[i] as peace activists arrive at

the Mururoa Atoll


There is no real evidence of the weather gone haywire

only a scarified sky settling in for the evening

If I hadn’t looked up just then I wouldn’t have known it

had happened at all and now I can’t pretend anything else



© Lizz Murphy

— from Pearls and Bullets (Island Press, 78 pp, 1997)

[i]  From Daughters of the Pacific by Zohl dé Ishtar (Spinifex Press)





Recount the three chokes of fish

Their absence is a metaphor

just like night is a ship

and the photo is an eelish moment


The woman folds sheets

under a gypsy sun

She canít count on living

stumbles into silence and fishbones


Her story is a

bruise on underwater skin

braiding rivers

the weariness of weather


Her past is a hesitation

a hovering voice

hands fading after endless repairs

to the dance of dust


Worry less about

the shouting wakeful moon

square-shouldered night


More about each ant bite of suspicion

the free-glide of traipsing tongues

all those birds in custody

© Lizz Murphy

— from Walk the Wildly (Picaro Press 2009 RRP $5)




You sense the shifts in landscape 

before you see them

the grizzled sky drained from earlier rains

A lemon line thin as wire

and hollow-eyed children

Dusk dancing and dipping

Its polka arms inscribe the grass ridge

and that moon again worship-white

Their skin and bone

temporary shelter

© Lizz Murphy

— from the Footnotes sequence in Stop Your Cryin (Island Press 2004 RRP $15 pb 66 pp)