Contemporary Australian Poetry

Jesus in the straw hat paddock by James Walton

Ancient professors by Christopher Konrad

A History of the Siege

by Petra White


Dark days are here.

Nothing can stop them,

they crowd like hair around the temples, everyone knows

and now we can say, at last, it is dark.

On Manus, they are walking along fine edges of themselves,

under a borrowed moon, a borrowed sun.

Nobody follows them, they would lead

only to an end of the world.

When was it darker than this?

Oh it was darker.

And the darkness is genuine,

our fingers have been dipped in it, it is felt

by all who would feel.

Where does it come from?

Us, in our masses, the massing cloud?

Our politicians, they who balance us

in their thready hands, and then plunge portions

of us and them into the pit?

Up there, a human form lies over the land.

Petra White was born in Adelaide and lives in Melbourne, where she works, for the moment, as a public servant. Her first published collection of poetry, The Incoming Tide (John Leonard Press, 2007), was shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards and the ACT Poetry Prize. Her second collection, The Simplified Word, won the Grace Levin Prize and was published by John Leonard in 2010. Petra co-edits So Long Bulletin, a blog on Australian poetry and criticism. - See more at: