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Books & Poetry

Poem: Western Suburb Heaven

Books & Poetry

In this week’s Poet’s Corner, Martin Christmas celebrates his Adelaide suburb of Athol Park.

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Western Suburb Heaven

from Fawk Reserve

Magpie on oval
eyeing seagull sentinels
standing silent
as council mower
drones on

workmen replace
roofing on
community hall.
Go the Hawks!

Four light posts
stand tall.
Soccer. Footy.
Night time sports.

Steady traffic hum,
Hanson Road.
Trucks, cars, buses.

Heart beat thumps.
Someone plays
African music.
Local pro solicits sex
in broad daylight.

Melaleucas, bottle
brushes, gums
offer their shade.
Incessant rasp of
myna birds.

Above all, wispy
clouds drift through
a pale blue sky.

Western Suburb Heaven?

Breath of God ruffles the hair
on the back of my neck.

The Runner

Daily he runs the Hanson Road pavement strip.

People don’t run in Athol Park,
they walk, jog, meander down the cement.
The runner runs flat out.

Summer and winter,
the runner runs flat out.
He runs flat out.

Today, towards the end of summer,
8 a.m. but already in the mid 20s,
he runs in a black track suit, hoody, back pack.

Sometimes in winter
I see the runner run in summer gear.

He doesn’t just run, he runs flat out.
A full-bodied pace that makes my jog
want to curl up under a shady tree and die.

This runner has focus,
he moves fearlessly
along the cement pavement strip.

And here’s the twist.

This runner is ten years old.
This mini athlete with the metronomic stride.
This runner on his way to primary school.

If he keeps running flat out,
he’ll end up at the 2020 Olympics,
or Murray Bridge or Stawell!

Martin Christmas graduated from the Victorian College of Arts as its first graduate director. He also holds an Hons BA in Theatre Studies from Adelaide University and a Masters in Australian Studies from Flinders University. He was the inaugural artistic director of the Riverland Youth Theatre, and has directed shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. In all, he has directed more than one hundred plays.

Christmas has written poetry since his Woodville High School days, but nearly shredded all his poems in 2010. The next year, however, he was invited to Friendly Street Poets in Adelaide and read a poem, and has continued writing and reading his poetry there since. In 2012 he was a Friendly Street Mentored Poet, and since then has been published in several of their anthologies.

He is also an accomplished photographer, and feels that an understanding of the power of theatre, photography and written imagery can be finely blended in poetry. He teaches presentation and performance elements to emerging spoken word-poets, and established off-the-page poets.

“I feel I’ve done a lot over the years, but am now further following that call to write poetry, that first hit me back in those Woody High days.”

Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to A poetry book will be awarded to each contributor.

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