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Robert Adamson

Eurydice Reads ‘Roots and Branches’

The torch-light flares on the book’s cover.
Reading is difficult in the boat —
and you wonder, is the helmsman
distracted by light?
Although on this river
there’s one destination, that one dock
on the other side. The pages
were smeared with the yellow light-beam
and we made out these lines:
‘What time of day is it?’
‘What day of the month?’
We continued the crossing, flowering gums,
bees flying by polarized light.
Then we watched a shape forming:
an emerald blur of wings on the edge
of the light, a bee-eater
hovering over words, the hive of the book.
We tasted honey on our tongues,
an orange beak flashed
in the pale torch-light. Darkness
surrounds you. I’ll come back and read for you
in pitch dark — I shall return
to your body on the wings of words.

Robert Adamson 1985 by John Tranter

Robert Adamson, 1985, by John Tranter

Robert Adamson spent time in reform school and gaol before branching out into poetry. You can read Douglas Barbour’s review of two books, Adamson’s autobiography Inside Out and his Mulberry Leaves: New & Selected Poems in Jacket 23. Barbour says ‘Robert Adamson has long been considered one of the major poets of the 60s generation in Australia, perhaps one of Australia’s major poets of the past century.’ You can read another poem by Robert Adamson in this issue of Jacket and one in Jacket 2.

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