Remembering Les Murray

A good number of people in Australia, and across the seas, have encountered the poetry and person of Les Murray, 17 October 1938 – 29 April 2019. I have been meaning to pay my feeble tribute to him, and, since inspiration has not been forthcoming in my own works of late, I dedicate this post to Les.

As his website tells, he was born in the village of Nabiac, in New South Wales.  His family’s dairy farm was where his childhood and youth matured. After studying modern languages at Sydney University, he became a translator at the Australian National University in Canberra for a time.

He is well remembered for his many collections of poems, like On Bunyah.

Here is an excerpt from one of his poems

Performance

I starred that night, I shone:
I was footwork and firework in one,
 
a rocket that wriggled up and shot
darkness with a parasol of brilliants….

There are more on his website and at the Poetry Foundation.

Les also struggled, at times, with depression,  ‘The Black Dog’, as described in his book Killing the Black Dog.

We remain in his debt for many things. May Les rest in peace and his words remain in our bookshelves and in our hearts.


 

For Les Murray

 

You are at rest,

Worthy wordsmith,

From your years

Turning, turning

Words and pages

Over

To us.

But

Your words visit

Us still

Through the leaves

Of pages of poems,

And autumnal falling leaves,

That mark a new season

And invite our gaze

Like yours

To see the lyrical lines

Of life.

May we see

The beauty

In the messy

And the mundane

As did you.

May we hear

The hurting heart

Of battler’s tales

As did you.

And learn to

Look at the

Underside of things

To help free

Their voice.

 

 

Simon C.J. Falk 9 June 2019

 


You can find some good news stories on the tag #WATWB

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Author: simonfalk28

Country lad, Focussing on verse.

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