Friday, April 04, 2008

Remembering Judith Wright

from w
This afternoon the Geelong Writers and the Geelong Libraries are sponsoring an afternoon at Newcomb Library to remember one of Australia's best writers, the poet Judith Wright. The main guest speaker is Sr Veronica Brady from West Australia which is great.

(later) It was a treat to meet Veronica Brady,the Loreto sister now academic, philosopher, national treasure. A woman of 79 who is so alert, has a sense of humour, and is so in tune with the land and passionate about justice and integrity. Instead of writing up a report on the program, I penned a few lines, first draft. Some of it won't make sense I guess. Last section is about when I noticed that the speaker was half in front of the powerpoint light so her face was in two colours. The other point of explanation is that one poem discussed was about two women sitting at a table, one Aboriginal, the other the writer and the poem was about communication.

Remembering Judith Wright

The Jacquard sleeveless top denotes her age
of this petite woman capped in silver white,
her notes on a paper folded three ways,
crammed with squiggles, cursive and small print.
Veronica from Perth. We've read her papers
shining with attitude and expertise,
a Loreta sister immersed in words,
leaning towards 'being' and Heinneger,
as we all ask where are we going.
Even Gauguin asked that kind of question.

The pursed mouth and fiery scowl denote the stance
of the large woman, warm in coat and hat,
whose photo is projected beside book lists,
finely organized from teacher's laptop.
Judith from Queensland wrote her poems
cleanly with metaphors of bone, bark and leaf,
a farm girl energised by a life of words
until she left them, leaning towards action
as we all do, wondering, who do we speak for.
Even sorry Kevin said it for us.

I make a sketch, notice light and dark,
a face divided - beige and bright light
projected then casting a shadow
of head and sloping shoulders
blocking the print poem
also beamed in light.
Our shadowed selves are real
but transient, cannot be caught.
Colour, after all, a mirage,
Just beams of light, not skin at all.

Across a table what can be said
between sage and curious student,
physically beige but worlds apart.
Why is there always distance
though we are creatures of the moon
and swivel of the same earth?

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