Express Media: John Marsden Prize

I received some good news this week! A poem of mine, “The Hobby”, was awarded second place in the 18-24 division of the John Marsden Prize for Young Australian Writers. This was my last chance to enter, so I’m pretty stoked! Jeremy Poxon won first place with “The last time I went fishing, it was raining”. (I can’t wait to read it!)

Thank you, Express Media and John Marsden!

I’m fond of this poem. Anatoly Moskvin is such an interesting figure. I have performed “The Hobby” with Richard Grantham accompanying on piano a couple of times — Richard’s music gives it such pathos and humour. Here it is (sans piano, alas):

The Hobby

for Anatoly Moskvin, a cemetery archaeologist arrested in Russia in 2011

I crawl from dust to dust
each Monday morning

I have the teeth of archaeopteryx
and flaking tomes I drew up with the dead

each man must claim one diversion
from corner desk buried
under papers in shrinking faculty

the first dig was the thrill of my career
her skin was perfect, dry as leather
her lips were parted just to whisper
nothings in the words of Cleopatra

I took her home and made her dinner
I seduced her with thirteen ancient tongues
she stayed for breakfast
she stayed forever

the second was more delicate
but her name had struck my linguist’s heart
I dressed her in my mother’s clothes

my bevy, twenty-nine exotic birds
there’s barely room for me against my desk
there’s barely room anymore at home

let me keep the only company I keep
let me have my littlest of rewards
and do not doubt that they will testify

our histories are six foot in all their rot
I’ve exhumed and slept in coffins for this art
I have walked for miles with my chisel
eaten dirt and sipped from graveyard puddles

yet with one bag of much-loved bones
you find me, and you call me mad

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s