2010 Winners

Joy Chambers & Reg Grundy Award – Open Age Other Poetry

Highly Commended

by Vanessa Page
Mitchelton, Qld

It’s in the way the foliage deepens to viridian, each
time you leave

and in how silk sheeted sky spills over to inhabit the
impressions you’ve left

there tiny fissures, these sweet little fractures.

I paint what’s left of the afternoon with a brush as fine
as eyelashes

a weeping emulsion, watercolour thin

in this kind of emptiness, even the sound of a leaf
detaching, then spinning back to the earth booms

I am a fulcrum. I am carved from stone.

Highly Commended

by Penelope Cottier
Lyneham, ACT

Weaving nets of strong noise in the air,
the electric weft and warp alarming,
they swoop down, direct as any stare.
They are nobody's favourite bird,
brunching on bright blue wrens
or snacking on smorgasbords
of tenderised olive silvereyes.
They watch us watching them,
estimate our worth, and dismiss us
from their mental menu: Too big,
head too tough to spear with beak.
This is why we dislike these
sharp-gazed moving funerals.
They don't sing for us, or plume for us,
and reduce us to something at the edge.
Currawongs' natures know no flattery,
offer nothing to our mountainous vanity.
Beyond cute, below eagle's sky-high beauty,
they care only for their meat, song and nest.
They tell us that we are not the centre,
the be-all, the crux; the in arguable best.

Highly Commended

Double Glazed and Frosted
by Jane Buisson
Westmere, Vic

The Mission

Enveloped securely in a reputable suite
He might be anywhere
And probably is
Dainty toiletries stand like idle virgins
Beside the familiar vinyl zip-top
A craggy relic of some Christmas past
Gap tooth zip grinning wickedly
Spewing condoms and spearmint Colgate
Strange pillows and starched linen
Cloud his morning agenda

Double glazed and emotionally insulated
He can impress on any occasion
And probably has
Custom suit hangs lifeless as a body bag
Ticketed and testified clean
The razor slashes to fanatical smooth
Contouring the jugular
Through the sweet soda of scented foam
Dripping softly onto the cold steel
He is ready to take on the world


Enveloped in private thoughts and fantasy
She can be anywhere
And probably is
Velvet ribbons bound to a chaos of tangled chain
Drape the evening performance
Mysterious and shadowy in the second act
Steely vertebrae curving cruelly
Twisted in well ironed lust
Her soliloquy weeps
Wistful and willing through the long dark

Electric with coveted anticipation
She might have a plan
And probably has
Acid etched, she fights to salvage stagnant sexuality
In dimly disturbed moonlight
Frosted glass blurred images dance in her wireless world
Sea swell of breasts distinguished in French lace
While hardened, angry nipples shrivel and wither impatiently
Marking time
She senses the fragrant caress of change

The Critique

Did you hear he's back?
Ambitious whispers lick and lash
Thin lipped committees
In some foreign place

Did you hear she's gone?
Provincial poison spreads
Leaving a crimson stain
On the warm hollow in the mattress

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