Friday, 24 December 2010

Happy Christmas

Thank you very much to those who have been generous enough to read this blog over the last year and particularly to those who have shared their comments with me. I hope everyone will have a wonderful Christmas and an even better New Year. A few moments with Les Murray should get things off to a perfect start:
Animal Nativity by Les Murray
(from his 1992 collection: Translations from the Natural World)

The Iliad of peace began
when this girl agreed.
Now goats in trees, fish in the valley
suddenly feel vivid.

Swallows flit in the stable as if
a hatchling of their kind,
turned human, cried in the manger
showing the hunger-diamond.

Cattle are content that this calf
must come in human form.
Spiders discern a water-walker.
Even humans will sense the lamb,

He who frees from the old poem
turtle-dove and snake,
who gets death forgiven,
who puts the apple back.

Dogs, less enslaved but as starving
as the poorest humans there,
crouch, agog at a crux of presence
remembered as a star.


  1. Les Murray's always interesting.

    Have a good Xmas.

  2. Really and truly, I must read more Les Murray. Intriguing poem ... love the last line, and the reference back to the beginning of man's ills,

    I get most of the imagery but there are a couple that escape me. "Hunger-diamond" Is there something biblical in that one?

  3. Just a guess, but would "hunger-diamond" be a reference to the open beaks of baby birds, waiting for food? Look at it like an adult bird from the angle of down-the-throat, and that gape would be shaped like a diamond.

  4. Happy Christmas to all, and, yes, Umbagollah is correct - that's exactly what it is.