Brisbane: John Wainwright

I met Brisbane poet John Wainwright at a workshop I facilitated as part of the Queensland Poetry Festival. All of us in the classroom were captivated by his poem, A Poetess. I saw Her Again Today. The poem draws the reader down to the Brisbane River. Enjoy …


A Poetess.  I saw Her Again Today.

The tiny bird has white marks like a
smile.  He’s thinking of insects at
sunset.  I’m thinking about the
tide that’s started slipping
down; down to the

White feathers
flash.  Another insect dies.

I shipped the paddle
several minutes ago.
He leaps from the branch,
flutters and twists and lands
back on the branch.
He flies a Mobius loop.

Hush.  Round the bend
big birds watch quietly.  So do I.

There she is again.  She walks slowly into
water in her strong walkers.
Not a sound does she make.
She does not trust her
body.  Her desperate body will
try to save her.  She wears a
big, thirsty coat of
pockets full of stone.

Another insect dies above the bank.

I will come up the creek at low tide
and set the canoe on the shingle.  I
will have a bag tightly tied to me.  And
as the tide lifts the canoe I
will fill the bag with gravel
too small to jettison.

And I will wish it were the River

Down the creek I will go at sunset
as the little bird flashes white,
as the big birds watch her again.
Why do they watch?

Down to the Brisbane, and into it.
Later the canoe will catch on the bank.

My clothes will become heavy and
I will try to trust the gravel and
wonder where the
will take me.
I will trust my lungs to suck in hard
wet watery breath.

A little smiling bird will swoop
over my last bubble.

Then, perhaps, my poems will be finished.


© John Wainwright


John Wainwright


About sandrathibodeaux

Poet and Playwright
This entry was posted in Other Poets. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Brisbane: John Wainwright

  1. Graham Nunn says:

    Very nice JW! That closing image has such stillness.

  2. Yeah, we all loved that poem.

  3. Pingback: Dear Poetry – betsyturcot

  4. John Looker says:

    I’ve always enjoyed John Wainwright’s poems, and we nearly met up once here in England. But can someone tell please: does he have a website of his own?

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