Yve Louis

Originally from Sydney, then New England, Yve lived in the Adelaide Hills for five years during the early ‘nineties.A regular reader at Friendly Street (and active committee member) she was an early participant of the working group, First Draft. With Jeff Guess, she co-edited Friendly Street 18.
In 1995 her first collection of poems, Silver from Black, was published in Friendly Street New Poets: One. Returning to Armidale, Yve edited five editions of the New England Review as well as an anthology, Skylines: New Writing from New England. In 2000 she co-founded Poetzinc, a monthly open reading (modelled on FS!) which encourages local poets, and warmly welcomes all visiting poets. Yve can be contacted by phone on (02) 6772 6767.

Recent collections by Yve Louis are Lilith’s Mirror (1999), Kardoorair Press; and Voyagers (2002), Five Islands Press. Yve’s first collection, Silver from Black, may be purchased on-line from the Wakefield Press website.


(I do not speak of)
tender oysters
taken from the shell
on tiny forks

the sea’s reaped
against the lips

(I do not mention)
bits of grit
between the teeth

that will slip
along the tongue

(I ask only)

just on the tip

From Friendly Street No. 18


St Walpurgis (710-799) Abbess of Heidenheim,
said to be protectress against the magic arts.
But on Walpurgisnacht, her feast day,
witches ride broomsticks and he-goats.

Under a gibbous moon
branches dip dark molasses of leaves,
slew thickly or flicker Walpurgisnacht
across the glittering disk.
Adrift in the canopy, stars signal.
For three days and three nights
the high ground swept by south winds
…such garbled utterings
tonight mountains speak in tongues.

And she out there, the feral Abbess,
I know the beat of her witch’s heart.
If I open the door a crack, or the window
to let her see a broom leans in the corner
of this tidy, firelit room
will she know that I’ve been waiting?
On such a night there is only risk.
My shadow to her shadow
we will spread skirts in the wind,
shadow to shadow we’ll sail
over the tops of trees, over mountains.
And we will be laughing like loons.
Our howls will ransack the stars
cause clouds to wrack.
Oh, such a havoc when we ride,
rut-goats will tremble for their taking.

From Friendly Street No. 19

The Knot

Out of focus, this stranger
my mother.
In full sunlight
she shivers like dunegrass
edge to wind.
I try to see, reclaim
what light has bruised:
hollowed cheeks
the scooped sockets of her eyes
seacaves drowned in shadow.
I am blinded by bone-light
ridged white under skin
that sieves air.
She breathes. Waits.
Until I recognise her in negative,
reverse images superimposed
over the remembrance of her face,
lips that pull drawstrings
around the words she shapes.
Be happy, she says.
My happiness no longer in her power
still I hold on. My hand in hers
she shows me we are freeing entanglements
unravelling cords.
We tie, untie,
neither one of us released.

From Friendly Street No. 20