Donna Maegraith

Donna Maegraith was raised in Adelaide. She started writing poetry in the 1970s and was published in a range of magazines. She co-edited Dharma (1971-76) and Real Poetry (1977-78); and was poetry editor of Roadrunner (1978-79) and National Student (1979). She read her poetry regularly at Friendly Street in the late ’70s and early ’80s. She has worked as a journalist since 1977 and moved to Sydney in 1979, where she now lives with her partner and their son.


I don’t want to dance. . .

I walk towards the Harbour
the heart of this city

the streets are throwing up
fistfuls of rain

the Sydney towers
a bed of nails

I’m not a hero
I don’t want to dance

(who wants to touch
the sky at five
on a winter afternoon)

as I reach the Quay watch
the ferries pulse away

think either you or I
need a heart transplant

I wonder if I’d look this grey
feel this cold at death

pull my coat tight
push my face against the wind
close my eyes against the rain

squint up at towers
I don’t want to dance
on a bed of nails

From Friendly Street No. 4 and Tuesday Night Live

Truro Dinner 1980

tonight I eat seafood
at your table
drink vintage Barossa
and contemplating the art
of sipping wine
from a paper thin glass
I sense that fault
that hairline fracture
    as we eat
    the flesh
    breaks apart
    at the seam
and picking without interest
at an after dinner conversation
I watch the man pluck a rose
from the table
it shakes
as he snaps
the stem
the split runs deep
your wine is fine
you murder your daughters
beneath the glasshouse
the bedrock trembles

From Friendly Street No. 5

The Garden Wedding

the party over
I half-heard her say
as she carried her husband
past the wedding cake
and across the garden
to the honeymoon car
that when she next came
she’d be a beggar
given the nature of marriage
and the state of her man

and then she’d beg
friendship, love, affection
be a thief of souls
she said

and the time after that
she’d come as a mother
feed bread to the ducks

and tiring of that
she’d throw scraps of dead meat
to the crows
the black-clad guests
at the end of the garden

From Friendly Street No. 7