Title: Sport 13

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, October 1994

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 13 Spring 1994

Alan Riach

page 129

Alan Riach

The Balance

For all the days my mother’s mother spent
silent with her husband’s obstinate pride—an
inordinate man, in a small, recalcitrant country,
where that kind of life is daily,

I’d want to mention love,
that means you’re sleeping now
in the room
right next to this one;

Ronald Center’s hushed
Dona Nobis Pacem is
helping me remember

the simple aspiration of
Andrei Rublyov—

and the thought of all intensity
swings back: he would
have understood
the stubbornness that made
a film like that, an icon,
love, a bell.

page 130

From Flinders, South Australia,
Drifts Another Scent of Distance

‘The perfume drifted out upon the waters,’
my father (he was first mate on a Clanline
cargo vessel manned by lascars bound
for Sydney) told me, &
‘We couldn’t go in, though we wanted to
go in, it looked so
sunny & the trees were
dancing silver on the skyline &
the green leaves & the green grass shimmering.’

Adelaide, or Lisbon?
For now I can’t remember
which route it was he would have taken, & know
I make a fiction of it all, like this.

Standing among the trees at Bedford Park,
looking past the blue gums down the hollow of the ranges,
to where the city stretches, over the wide estuarial plain,
low below a hovering cloud of blue polluted air,
I can breathe the scent coming out of the places around me,
& make of it this fiction I believe: I can
watch it go in colours from these Flinders ranges
drifting down the howe towards Adelaide’s broad streets,
its stone-built buildings, pleasant & relaxing in the sun,
& out upon the waters where I do not know
my father may have passed, so long ago.