from Issue #3: Poetry by John Bryson

Photo (CC) Constantine Agustin @ Flickr

Photo (CC) Constantine Agustin @ Flickr

From a Voyage


Into a postcard scene, tropic lagoon,
palmfronds freehand, glossy horizon,
steps the ageing writer tended
by his divorcee daughter,
her twin godsons at her side
who don’t suspect how the
word ‘Rest’ panics the old.


Floating in the lagoon I saw
weightless on the reef below
a single sheet of written paper.
Within a breath’s reach it puffed
into pale cloud at my fingertip
before I could grasp a word,
but I was taken hard by the belief
it carried the first lines of a novel
or at least a sonnet.


Poolside at a resort, watching newly-lovers
at play, and first-time mothers tender, he feels
an urge to call to them all: ‘What events
you have in store, what astonishing times,’
but his daughter has adjusted his deck chair
and the moment is gone.



John Bryson’s poetry is published in literary magazines, and most recently The Monthly, The Australian and The Sydney Morning Herald.  His prose works include novels, stories and feature pieces. He has lectured at Australian universities in law, literature and journalism and, in 1998, in universities in Northern Spain and Southern France. His feature journalism is widely published in news presses and journals. In 2000 a Schools of Journalism Panel included him in ‘The 100 Australian Journalists of the Century.’ His documentary novel Evil Angels won three Australian and two UK awards, and is now a film starring Meryl Streep and Sam Neill. Appointments advisory to government include the Literature Board of the Australia Council and the Prime Minister’s Creative Fellowship Panel. A one-time trial lawyer, he suspects practising in advocacy developed his understanding of the structure of stories, how they might best be presented, and a sympathy for plight.

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