Peter Bakowski, Featured Poet

Wake up call and other poems

The Magdalen laundries, Abbotsford Convent, Melbourne 1932

Emerge from stone cold rooms. The penance of work will cure you of
Nocturnal sobbing. Do not voice the   
Doubt—that morning prayers may not salve your deepest wounds.
Unending torrent of laundry to starch, iron and fold. Hands are 
Raw which once played the piano, dared to hold the hips of a man in
Errant embrace. You must quell the fires of the flesh to be truly saved. 

Views from a park bench, the Treasury Gardens, Melbourne,
28 May 2018

Please rest even recuperate on my slatted lap.
Accept that you may be judged by passersby,
Relegated to a type, perhaps of fanciful vocation—
Kilt-maker, embalmer, lion tamer.

Bustling is for others. Let them stampede to water cooler and
Elevator, while you, in looser clothing, study the plumage of a duck, 
Nibbling at bread scraps lodged in tufts of grass. You’ve gravitated, 
Chosen to venture here, to undertake this escape or close examination of
How you are or how you aren’t, as the autumn leaves loosen and fall. 

Wake up call

Doing can take a lot of doing—
Involves getting off the couch of your thinking.  
Find a way out of the fog of your pyjamas. Get vertical.  
Flex an eyelid. The sky’s still there, the horizon its trump card.
Interest yourself in more than yourself, there are other
Curious beings, relentless in understanding, undressing the 
Universe. Look at who you are as a seed not a sentence. 
Learn and unlearn. Excuses are more scaffold than building. 
Truth—coax it from the hiding place on the tip of your tongue.

If you liked Peter Bakowski, you will also like Nicola Geddes

Find out more about Peter Bakowski on his Blog

Peter Bakowski The Courage Season is on Book Depository

Peter Bakowski

About the contributor

Related Articles

A Girls and Other Poems- Anne Bevan

A Girl There was a girl Who lived in a glass mind And carried her emotions From room to room In a brown suitcase. Blackbirds pecked at her Through see-through walls, Hissing...

Poetry by Jennifer A. McGowan

Jennifer A. McGowan has appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, The Rialto, and The Connecticut Review.

Clara Burghelea’s featured poet, Elliott Freeman

Elliott Freeman is a poet, educator, and game designer living in the mountainous hinterlands of Southwest Virginia.

More Like This

Featured Poet, Anne Casey

AFTER MAKING LOVE WITH THE LIGHTS ON, DOORS WIDE OPEN resting my head on your shoulder when you said there is no...

Five Poems Anne Walsh Donnelly

THE CONFESSIONAL BOX Women cluck like hens outside the door, they interrupt Fr. Doyle’s thoughts. Joan doesn’t cluck, her voice a double bass, her laugh, a well-tuned string. He...

Spotlight on J. Taylor Bell


The Fates and Other Poems – Clifton Redmond

The Fates You sit and cry at her polished porcelain feetwith moss and gravel for a bedand grieve the un-lived life.Her frozen stare outstaring...

Featured Poet- Peter Boyle

Two poems by celebrated Australian poet and translator Peter Boyle, which dwell simultaneously on the miraculous in life and its precariousness.