ROBYN ROWLAND / LINE OF DRIFT
Rowland is a latter day Synge who listens, not through the floorboard cracks, but across the hearth.
— Iggy McGovern
Cover art: Vera Gaffney
ROBYN ROWLAND has nine books of poetry, most recently This Intimate War: Gallipoli/Canakkale 1915 (Five Islands Press, 2015). Irish-Australian, Robyn has read and taught in Ireland for thirty-three years and lives half-time in Connemara. Her work has appeared in forty anthologies and journals, and in Best Australian Poems, 2014, 2013, 2010, 2009, 2005 and 2004 (Black Inc). Robyn won the Catalpa Poetry/Writers Prizes from Australian-Irish Heritage Association, Jean Stone Poetry Prize, Poetica Christi Poetry Prize, Writing Spirit Poetry Award (Ireland); was shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize, 2013 and the ACT Judith Wright Poetry Prize, 2007.
Breast-white, a blue-veined
moon is bulging over-full
against its girdle of black,
the sea’s crush of waves
blowsy in its lush cadence.
Beneath, a deeper thrum,
an engine imagined that
drives the whirling globe round.
At midnight, white water
is high and busy on the beach
and way out half-way to the horizon
it still churns, shattered light
all across the sea now,
waves and flat acres alike
silvered as if blue forgotten,
green a memory,
and only the gilt skin moving
toward this house,
all slick and salt wet.
I turn to sleep in the crease of
sarong on a hot night
suddenly soothing cool,
and the silvered sound
calms the heated heart.
ghazal in Istanbul
waking, our distant country seems strange my love to me
mountains stand jagged where flower fields would be
rough river and wide with no boatman in sight
beyond, a stretched desert frost-burned of verdancy
familiar old country I know without maps
tattoos of loss score my bones’ history
I re-read your words absent honour, bereft of care,
love leaving, sword-edge-sharp, carves a swift vacancy
in darkness, a thief, your words crept in abrupt,
rejoicing in decision you seem thrilled to be free
on crumbled ruins of our future, abandoned, I grieve the
bright world we would sail, compass wrecked at sea
you have another woman before days have time to heal,
shock inks its solitary script, no embellished calligraphy
diminished, Beloved, you made yourself Stranger to me,
cruel as a lion’s claw you rake your heart free