Contemporary Australian Poetry

Tai chi by the Pearl River by Jake Goetz

The light by Jackson

Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that

humans are not unique in possessing the neurological

substrates that generate consciousness.

The Cambridge Declaration, July 7th 2012


Upon Reflection

by Liana Joy Christensen


Begin with light on shaded pools — the kind

that caught a fabled youth, and held him fast.

Did no one think his theory was of mind,

not simply ego, self-obsessed and vast?

Take stock: what’s left is myth and acronyms.

The D.S.M. has given N.P.D.

such poor prognosis; beauty’s image dims

till dark obsidian is all we see.


Now mirror neurons join the latest memes

some think it evidence of empathy.

It may prove true, since consciousness it seems

is far more prevalent and it might be

those M.S.R.s show other minds are deep.

Maligned Narcissus must look down and weep.

D.S.M.: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

N.P.D.: Narcissistic Personality Disorder

M.S. R.: Mirror Self Recognition

Liana Joy Christensen’s poetry has been published in literary and scientific journals around the world. She has been an Australian Poetry Centre Café Poet and won the 2010 Peter Cowan’s Patron’s Prize for Poetry. In 2011 she was invited to be the Biodiversity Poet in Residence at the Flourish Festival, an initiative of the Curtin Institute for Biodiversity and Climate and the Augusta Margaret River Tourist Authority.  Her poetry will appear in a Performance Poetry anthology to be published by Fremantle Press in 2012. She is a featured guest at the 2014 WAPI Spring Poetry Festival.