born May 31, 1915
An Australian poet for Poetry Friday. It's past Mother's Day, but Father's Day is coming up and some people have birthdays, and the Year owes us anyway. Judith Wright:
Request to a Year
by Judith Wright
If the year is meditating a suitable gift,
I should like it to be the attitude
of my great-great-grandmother,
legendary devotee of the arts,
who, having eight children
and little opportunity for painting pictures,
sat one day on a high rock
beside a river in Switzerland
and from a difficult distance viewed
her second son, balanced on a small ice-floe,
drift down the current towards a waterfall
that struck rock-bottom eighty feet below,
while her second daughter, impeded,
no doubt, by the petticoats of the day,
stretched out a last-hope alpenstock
(which luckily later caught him on his way).
Nothing, it was evident, could be done;
And with the artist's isolating eye
My great-great-grandmother hastily sketched the scene.
The sketch survives to prove the story by.
Year, if you have no Mother's day present planned,
reach back and bring me the firmness of her hand.
A Year of Reading has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Mary Lee!