Guest Poem by Anthony Lawrence

Anthony Lawrence has published eighteen books of poetry and a novel. His most recent work is a chapbook ‘A Lock of Timedown’ (Life Before Man, 2022.) His awards include The Prime Ministers Literary Award, the Blake Poetry Prize and the Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal. He teaches Creative Writing at Griffith university and lives on Moreton Bay, Queensland.

The Moonlit Lakes of John Atkinson Grimshaw

have all the hallmarks of ice, when seen through
a hawthorn hedge or drystone wall,
and you’d be forgiven, the way a witness,
driven to description, not of a man,
but of animals on the surface of the moon,
is forgiven for seeing things reflected light
and winter air manufacture, and whoever
ventures out to inscribe, with skates or a knife
the circumference of a frozen lake, who then
cuts a hole to fish for pike, those killers
with combat camouflage on their sides
and finds themselves alone in a pool
of polished light, stunned to the gills
by metaphor, by iron foundry pyrotechnics,
they might surrender to the kind of silence
common to a surgery, after hours,
and while it’s not the silence we align
with invisibility, ask the maker of silver leaf
backing in mirrors, or the operator
of the swing arm on a hill-top semaphore station,
ask, and they will say, between gesture
and display, that fields and lakes
share the same inner glow as can be seen
in scar tissue, on the face and blacked-out
backside of the moon.