Muir Holburn - Selected Poems

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FROM SEVERAL THOUSAND attics, paths, and porches,

Windows-at-landings and tramstops in fifteen

Gently unlovely outlands you perceive it—

A monstrous concrete pimple on a green

Inflamed colline where nothing is but grass,

Foundation stones and souvenirs of hate.

Nannies and babies come here for the air,

Honeytongued publicists, governors, invalids

And divers dignitaries to restitch and iron

A crushed and fraying past.

        The ragged seed

Of the austere and celebrated dead

Prefer a muckier setting for their games.

Love would not seek the adjacent slips of turf

To launch ahead upon its secret voyage.

A stale and piercing light which radiates

Death and pretension from the ziggurat,

Plumped high upon the smug and bastard Greek,

would blind the youthful captains. Hence the Shrine

Reminds us of the Value of ‘14,

Promising us Utopias where we’ll find

The moral life, cities of hungry parks,

Lustier wars, bigger and better shrines

To honour spilt blood and mock the dispossessed.



Melbourne, mcmxliii.







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