Small town big wet. Poetry from Ivy Ireland

Ivy Ireland was runner-up in the University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor's International Poetry Prize 2019 with her poem, "The Owl Inside". Ivy completed her PhD at the University of Newcastle and her poems, reviews and essays have been published in various anthologies and journals including Cordite, Overland, Mascara, Going Down Swinging and Plumwood Mountain. Ivy has lectured in Creative Writing at the University of Newcastle, Ivy’s literary awards include the Australian Young Poet Fellowship, the Harri Jones Memorial Prize, the Thunderbolt Poetry Prize and the Newcastle Poetry Prize local award.


When this whole world terminates, it does so
spectacularly. And that’s when you say
there was never any kick to it, no actual
grandeur. Spring, hitting like summer:
cut lawns, possum poo on the trampoline.
Hose the kid off too while you are at it. Make a melon
daquiri, bring the soccer ball inside before the
sun forces it to fade away into nothing. The
highs – grab the branch – the lows – watch the 
sewerage cap – and the fine static electricity
in her winged hair. Zap. Boing. The jump-squelch sounds like
subordination; it all falls apart before the chance to mark
passage, build a safety grid, bear witness against. Is it to be up now or 
down? And who shall say which or when? A sad little ghost, 
beckoning you out towards the shade beneath the mango tree, 
holds the truth of the matter in its eyes. And yet…




at first he is the quality of light 
on rainforest floor
dappled shifting uncertain

she is one small seedling
reaching one slim limb
towards gleaming

past noon he is 
that darkening 
fringe of leaf-litter

she is the twitter of
tiny wings beating through
thickets of twigs

by night he is
smooth black creek stones
worn to gloaming in moon

she is water eroding
a rock thick need to name mystery
eternal things whispering

come dawn they are gone


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