Adele Kipping

Adèle Kipping was born in Sydney, but had her education in both Europe and Australia. She studied music and art in Europe and made her career in these fields before turning to writing full time. After living abroad, Adèle discovered Adelaide and soon called a heritage cottage in the Adelaide Hills her home. She has published Dune Birds and Other Poems (1983), A Garden of Poems (Sandalwood Press, 1989) and Reflected Light, a collection as part of the joint book Across The Gulf with Judy Dally and Miriel Lenore (Wakefield Press/Friendly Street Poets, 1992). She also co-edited the No. 15 Friendly Street Poetry Reader.

Taronga Engagement

What passion
drives male tortoises
to join the waiting line of females?
No evidence of, May I have
the pleasure of this courting dance?
No pinched behind or questioning eyebrow.
Only that dogged unromantic process.
The males materialise
plod heavily with purpose.
No need to rush, they’ve more than a hundred years.
Eyes shut, she stands firm.
Never to seem too eager. Better to take
a nap while he plans his overture.
When he mounts and settles on her shell,
he stays up there trying to remember
what this is all about.
And only she could know the end result.
perpetuate the species
every spring and seasons in between;
fixed in that solid line
like idle double-decker buses
out of gas.

From Friendly Street No. 12 and Tuesday Night Live


That first bright day
we dashed through clear-washed morning
to rediscover the world; and you, the leader
needed to test the land, sea and sky,
circle the whole planet in one adventure;
shinned up the tallest tree on
Shepherd’s Hill Road; a young Balboa!

“Look at the sun on the water!” you yelled.
“I’m glad it’s all there where we can see it.”
And the sweeping blue horizon carved a compass line
away from the hill to hurry us down to the sea:
and I promised that you could take me snorkelling.
You were six years. And keen.
I clasped your hand, knowing that you
would not always be so eager to include me.

Today, as tall as a door,
your merest greeting needs new manoeuvres
to kiss my upturned cheek; say something nice.
You bend above me like
a wind-winged gannet hunting mussels.
By comparison: I dwell on the forest floor;
should take to the air to touch
your hair when you won’t notice.

But remember, I am a born barracker for marathons
and hurdles; the pursuit of career
in science or arts.
That hot air at your should is not
the sun or an opponent.

It’s me. Cheering. Silently.

From Friendly Street No. 16

The Moment

For Catherine Adair

There is something
in this changed weather; sunlight
honeyed in a lift of clear air from the valley,
swaying slenderness of silver birch
and fine-leafed maple,
brings me again to the day I came
to the garden unplanned and discovered
terraces in bloom,
weaving their colours, a mixture of movement
and play of iridescence
along each pathway.
And I found her as though growing there
among jasmine and early roses,
paintbrush busy transplanting beauty onto paper.
Sky round her head and buttercup hat;
a platter-shaped nod as her sight
aligned to the painting, to the purpose
and back again.

In silence, only the faintest
chime of her brush in the water jar.
The moment, merest whisper in my mind,
My footfall
as I left.

From Friendly Street No. 18