David Mortimer


David Mortimer writes poems to speak aloud and carry in the mind. Judith Beveridge calls Mortimer’s Magic Logic “a delightful book”, commending “the sense of wonder, the imaginative play, the strong yet mellifluous cadences, the poignant perceptions, the spirit of tenderness and lightness of touch, the vigour of the syntax” in Rochford Street Review (November 2013). Steve Evans talks of the “spacious and musical poems in this impressive collection” in Transnational Literature (May 2013), and Bronwyn Lovell describes the poetry as “linguistically arousing”, a type of “literary orgasm”, in Lip Verse (August 2013).

Magic Logic (Puncher & Wattmann 2012) follows Red in the Morning (Bookends 2005) and Fine Rain Straight Down, in Friendly Street New Poets Eight: Barker;Driver;Mortimer (Wakefield 2003).

Mortimer’s poems have been broadcast on PoeticA , Writers Radio, and A Way with Words, and published widely in newspapers, journals, e-journals, collections and anthologies. His poetry has been awarded first prize in Salisbury Writing competition 2008 (“Salisbury Strangeness”), Poetry Unhinged 2005 (“Train to Noarlunga”) and Gawler Poetry Cup 2003 (“4 Months Old”). “Rainbow in Black” was shortlisted for the Blake Poetry Prize 2009, and a sequence including “Orbital” and “Not-being and Somethingness” for the Newcastle Poetry Prize 2010. “Leopold” was shortlisted for the inaugural Montreal International Poetry Prize 2011, before being included in the first Global Poetry Anthology (Véhicule Press 2012).



the west coast of irish light

is inside everything and through everything

like the washing on the line, the pegs

the sky, the wind, this window, and your hands, your eyes

the yolk of daisies and the white

stone walls of cottages with slate roofs

clipped with strips of tin, and rooks and crows

gulls and blackbirds, sheep and cows all caught in the same spell

from before morning until after night

for eighteen hours a day the photons

scooped off the atlantic and smashed into peat bogs, earth, fence-wire, rust, paint

bushes, mountains, cars and roads and poems

to borrow a licence from wright

build for their own resurrection day

in a one-way experiment with wild geese, swans, the coil of air, and cold

and rain five minutes ago, and in five minutes’ time, rain

compacted with second sight

hedges and ditches, smoke, thought, clouds and mist compressed, compelled

annealed and overlaid, and overloaded with clarity, clamped down

into landscape already magnified with force, worn inward and set, against the horizon

steeped in a paradox of height

confined to mid-range, revealed at human scale, condensed, but unabridged, unabbreviated

the quality of illumination is absolute, intensified, unshielded, unchallenged, understated

quiet, like the moon lit from within, rock, bone, a candle, a teardrop, enamelled and sprung, sheer

and supersaturated deep bright

from Flying Kites: Friendly Street Poets 36 and Australian Book Review (May 2011) and Magic Logic




when I was ill

and trapped in the back room

the colours of the rose you brought me

set the table alight


in a cut crystal vase

in the late afternoon

with a clawing of leaves

and rings of water and sky


the red and the yellow

forged and glowing

in two-tone petals

each brighter than each other


blazed with shape and strength

in a cold fusion

brighter than a Blake watercolour

uncovering the core


more than neon or halogen

ballooning etched or painted light

or through the last struck window

the deflating sun


from Catch Fire: Friendly Street Poets 33 and Magic Logic



Early train to town

There’s a woman dreaming at the end of the carriage

Eyes shut and a smile

Riding like an angel against the people in the next carriage

With one glass triptych behind

Another sometimes framed, sometimes hurled


Left or right, above below across

The lurch of uncertainty distance

The chain-swung swivelled between

Nervous half-curving held-apart

Bounce and recovery, limbo of coupling, uncoupling

A sudden card-board cut-out saint, deity, the Buddha

A magnetic chess piece interposed, photograph unstuck

Unglued and ouija’d across a scrapbook

Beatifically swirled


Against an unconcern of newspapers

Schoolbags, coats, faces pressed to background

Hands gripping, swinging handles

She is in the eternal

Present world, whirled inward

An index case of calmness, finger of God

Eyes shut and seeing the eternal

Living suburbs passing in a true city

Open in another world


from Friendly Street Poets Thirty and Best of Friends: the First Thirty Years of the Friendly Street Poets and Magic Logic