Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Anna Couani Glebe poem 1 - first memories

my earliest memories of Glebe
my parents' memories
of first meeting at Sydney Uni
studying Medicine
my father recruiting Mum for the Labor Club
bastion of progressive politics
a heady mix of ideology and romance
Mum lived with her sister in a rooming house 
in Arundel Street
run by Miss Sherack, the hoarder
of Depression era handkerchiefs, men's underwear
and walks
common Glebe pastime
walk to the city, walk to Paddington
walks through the Uni especially
my own feet treading the same footpaths 
30 years later
down all the way to the water
clapping hands under the fig trees
to see the fruit bats fly up
watch their nightly migration 
from the figs in Victoria Park
to the figs at the Point, cool in the night air
like black kerchiefs flapping silently
and now nearly 80 years later
doing the same thing
calling up events and memories
tracing lines back to the buried tram tracks
surprised by the synchronicity, the continuity
of the one who broke away
but didn't break away


  1. first remarks:

    I like the idea of fluidity; we kind of feel it into the poem, not that much through the crafting but through the tale making time what embarks everything on its flow.

    That said, I suspect not being Australian, not Knowing Sidney at all, makes me miss something whether meaning or hints or ….

    I’m just wondering about the use you made of commas, five in the whole poem: are they intentionally put when sometimes line breaks seem to make the trick … my question is: why not more, why not zero… since there are no other punctuation marks …

  2. I remember the swarms of cockroaches that would appear when one turned on the lights in the middle of the night at Selle House .. I think that was Arundel St

  3. Very nice circular motion from start to finish with all the walking - I found this evocative. The only suggestion I can think of (feel free to ignore!) is that it might be a little easier on the reader (and more controlled in the reading by you) to put in some stanza breaks - maybe after “romance”, after “and walks”, after “silently” (removing “and" for next stanza) and maybe one before “tracing lines” - because that is, for me, the most powerful point, and deserves a pause before.

  4. Thanks for comments everyone

  5. I am very excited about your project, Anna, Glebe a very dear place to me, there is so much evoked in this poem. The walking in it especially, like walking through time, a sense of everpresentness.

  6. Thanks Sarah. This is actually the beginning of a kind of essay about Glebe.