Erica Jolly

Erica Jolly taught for 40 years first as a history teacher and, after her experiences in England, as a teacher of English Literature. Her love of poetry grew as she explored the work of Judith Wright. She began to write in the UK but it was at Elizabeth Mansutti’s insistence that she began to share her work in 1992.

A View of the End

I am so mean with my mulberries
Five years the tree has grown
Beneath its leaves hidden
From all but birds they’ve taken time
To change from red and small
To swollen garnet-coloured worlds
Of such exquisite balls
Each on the palate bursting
With the question – is this the moment
Am I right, have I found the time
When sharp and sweet exploding in the mind
That moment comes multiplied
And pleasure runs from tongue
To toe which curls while body tightens
And holds the minute for a while.
“Their shit will stain your sheets.
They’re bitter if the moment isn’t right.”
Well, I can wait and watch
No matter if it grows too tall
For one suburban space
The birds can share – I’ll wear the shit
For while I prick each globe
Releasing purest joy and daily circle
This most bountiful bush
I’ll keep at bay dire predictions
And my world will not end with a whimper.

From Friendly Street No. 20

Waves of Settlement

(found in the work of Cedar Prest, glass artist)

On Chinese white paper
faint ranges are embossed
and almost lost
unless the light
is right.

Under glass reduced
to specimens of the past
those ancient ranges fade
and native grasses too
nearly disappear.

All colour’s gone –
no ochres mark the trail
no glowing red of fire
on blackened land
wakes a dormant

Deeply ploughed
new foreground furrows
break the fragile crust raising
ridges of such strength
they melt and mould
the rippling glass.

But glass is cold
and paper Chinese white

From Friendly Street No. 23


(Thinking of Oodgeroo Noonuccal)

While sun-lit blossoms
summon all in season
and suede-like peeling bark
speaks more than parchment,
sinuous roots slowly
reveal their strength,
snake through
suburban drains
crack ceramic pipes
                                                  and legal fictions

From Friendly Street No. 26