Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Rosemary Dobson - Poetry Continues

Rosemary Dobson died on 27 June this year at the age of 92. She was a well -respected Canberra poet who had known another well-known Canberra poet David Campbell. They had worked together on poetry and when David Campbell died as a tribute she wrote twelve poems entitled ‘The Continuance of Poetry’. They are short pieces that reflect their shared times and an interest in Chinese poetry.

In relation to this and the ‘continuance of poetry’ Radio National broadcast a commentary on this work and here is a link to the audio from this session …

Below are two of the poems from this sequence …

7… Translations Under the Trees
Wine to drink at a plank table,
Poems blowing about,
Some we stalk like Li Po and the moon in the stream,
Some we put under the carafe.

Pollen brushed from the table
Flies off to make forests
In faraway countries;                                                                         
May change a landscape.

Poems blow away like pollen,
Find distant destinations,
Can seed new songs
In another language.

Note … poems have a life and like the above interest in the Chinese work of Li Po poems can spread to distant shores (the translation effects the birth of this new life, hopefully the seeds land on fertile ground).

8… At The Coast
The high wind has stripped the bark from the gum-trees,
Smooth-boled they follow each other down to the water.
From rented houses the daughters of professors
Emerge smooth-limbed in this light summer season.
They step from behind the trees at the edge of the water
As smooth as ochre and as cool as lemon.
And which are girls and which are smooth-limbed saplings?
The light is trembling on them from the water.
They glow and flicker in and out of shadow
Like poetry behind the print on pages.
Note … David Campbell’s poems drew strength from a landscape association … looking into the landscape we find his poems (from Rosemary’s final poem in the sequence) … in the above there is direct personification, person and nature inseparable, … I’m sure Thomas Hardy would identify with such sentiment.
Poetry continues … continues to flow … the past will always complete the present in some form or other and I am sure Rosemary’s work will continue through the years in many unseen ways.
The Wikipedia link to Rosemary Dobson …

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