Les Murray


Blowfly Grass

The houses those suburbs could afford
were roofed with old savings books, and some
seeped gravy at stitches in their walls;

some were clipped as close as fury,
some grimed and corner-bashed by love
and the real estate, as it got more vacant,

grew blady grass and blowfly grass, so called
for the exquisite lanterns of its seed,
and the land sagged subtly to a low point,

Bottles in the Bombed City

They gave the city a stroke. Its memories
are cordoned off. They could collapse on you.

Water leaks into bricks of the Workers’ century
and every meaning is blurred. No word in Roget

now squares with another. If the word is Manchester
it may be Australia, where that means sheets and towels.

To give the city a stroke, they mixed a lorryload
of henbane and meadowsweet oil and countrified her.