Ray Tyndale

Ray Tyndale is completing a PhD in Creative Writing (Poetry) at the University of Adelaide, and several verse narratives and collections depicting the lives of contemporary farm women. Her first collection of poetry, maiden voyage, was published in 2000 in Friendly Street New Poets 6. She won the High Beam Festival 2002 award for poetry.

Friendly Street New Poets 6 may be purchased from the Wakefield Press website.

A pigeon pair

I was the answer
to her mid-life crisis
and she to mine. The ex’s
would find someone younger
to dish up the same old meals
on someone else’s
wedding present dinner
service while she and I
could marry our talents
in the culinary department
with the coriander and the basil
and the raspberry coulis.

No need for unkeepable promises
as we peeled back the artichokes
sucking the lemon and butter from
fleshy leaves with our teeth
Wrapping our tongues around the
dripping hearts, little
moans of pleasure.
We had unfettered licence
to live and love and eat.

From Friendly Street No. 6

Farmer’s wife

The cows milked and the chooks shut up
The bread baked and the dishes done
The pickers’ pay packeted and the books up-to-date
The garden watered and fresh flowers in the house
Homework supervised and a square meal eaten
The tractor spares ordered and the vet assisted
at a post-mortem
on a hand-reared calf
a yearling
that’s now a dead loss.

No need for Serapax or Mogadon or Valium
No need for Horlicks or Milo or hot milk
The farmer’s wife sleeps every night
the sleep of total exhaustion
She groans with relief
as her body unfolds
onto the mattress and
as he clambers on top of her
like the prize Poll Hereford bull
in the paddock
she is beyond caring.

She is rocked to sleep already thinking
of what tomorrow brings when the pickers arrive
at five.

From Friendly Street No. 6

The blooding

Appraising the virgin copy of a poem
is a thrust to the heart
of the poet’s ego.

Neither a rape nor a courting,
whatever is said or left unsaid
probes like a speculum.

Is it innocence or pride
that is deflowered
by critical analysis?

However studied the response
the whole being protests
the misunderstanding, the insult.

Words may be changed, modified
upon reflection, but reluctantly,
without modesty.

The taker of maidenhead
is the first reader, the audience
for whom the poem is written.

From Friendly Street No. 6