Ray Stuart was born in Sydney, and now lives at Kersbrook in the Adelaide Hills. Individual works have been published over south-east Australia,
the Northern Territory, and in the Friendly Street collections since 1994. His first collection ‘To Fly Again’ was published by Ginninderra Press in 2001.
In 1999 Ray won the Satura Prize for his poem, “Duty Call”.
For more information about Ray and his work visit his website: http://raystuart.bigpondhosting.com
I had been warned of the dangers
of addressing inanimate objects:
of caressing the brow of the mountain
and fondling the grey gum;
so I decided not to acknowledge
the moon as it waved in staccato
between the railroad cars rattling south
nor did I tell it to stop
chasing clouds on that howling night.
I even resisted an order to the trees
to keep to the high ground as they charged
in crouched silhouettes against the wind;
but by morning I had lost my nerve
and begged the mist rolling off the bluff
to hide my path to the sea,
where I would have a short speech
prepared for the nearest waves.
From Friendly Street No. 19
It is hot on the hill, and below, to the south
I can hear the dogs in the village:
they punctuate the hum of the school at play,
and the sighing of waves on the reef.
A distant band of white
frames the entrails of the wreck,
and merges with the ebbing surf
that calls me down the kunai ridge
south, through necklaces of coral
and islands with their petticoats of palm,
where sun replaces moon near dawn
and cane fires signal across a velvet sea –
south once more; heat is gone,
a gray sea claws a colder coast.
The wind from the southern ocean
slows the long unbroken thread, until
through the heads the ferry light beckons,
and the pulse of the water weakens
to wavelets worrying the sandstone wall
below the pittosporums fragrant in the night;
they guard the house where my children are asleep
while their dog stirs to a far-off call,
and where the attic window is left open
to the breeze from the north.
From Friendly Street No. 20
In a half-moon bay on the lee shore
with ruffled shadows on calm water
tall dunes between us and a storm sea
huddled by a shed wall in the vineyard
as we waited for a rain squall to clear
before returning for the last of the grapes
or in a mean tent on the Brindabellas
sharing warmth under a rough blanket
the rush of snow gums outside,
but not alone in that high attic room
south wind rattling the dormer window,
with you asleep on the lower floor.
There, I would have preferred the gale.
From Friendly Street No. 26