Contemporary Australian Poetry

Overflow by Charlotte Guest

Jesus in the straw hat paddock by James Walton

The Humanity of Abstract Painting

by Lisa Gorton


for Diena Georgetti



Afternoon rain on the windows,

bare rooms stilled with light – an idea of the house

that had always haunted your life in it,

as if to say This is the machine of the present.

It reinvents experience as a daydream.

This is the empty house –



The rain sound is less like sound

than it is the trick of familiar places, which return

things to the conditions of imagery.

Boxes filled with what you own. Now

room after room you make this more entire

architecture of memory –



An infinite of loss closed

in its frame like the house of a modernist: furniture

fit to the room. Everything thought, every

thing remembered, as if somebody else’s

house now has you in it, a collector of things as they were

in somebody else’s dream –



Because a collector is free

as facing mirrors prove the renewal in what it is

to be possessed. Rooms you could walk through

blind, windows of rain-coloured light.

This is the house that silence returns to you.

This is the empty house.

Previously published in Best Australian Poems 2014

Lisa Gorton lives in Melbourne and writes poetry, fiction, essays and reviews. Lisa completed a doctorate on John Donne's poetry and prose at Oxford University. Her awards include the Victorian Premier's Prize for Poetry, the Vincent Buckley Poetry Prize, the John Donne Society Award for Distinguished Publication in Donne Studies, and the Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal. Her most recent publications, both from Giramondo, are the poetry collection Hotel Hyperion and a novel, The Life of Houses.