The Bush

By Chris Wallace-Crabbe b. 1934 Chris Wallace-Crabbe

for Seamus Heaney

Overture:
                  violins:
it is all scraggy,
wideawake,
                  ironical,
decked out
                  in denim fatigues.
Witty and welcoming,
                  leathery-evergreen,
bemedalled with beercans,
cowpat and wallaby-dung,
flap,
    nub,
         hinge,
            node,
blindeye quartzite,
                  wafery sandstone,
bright as a button
subtle for mile on mile
far from vulgarity
                  (far from sleek Europe)
in its array of
                  furniture tonings
sheeted by sunglaze
                  lovingly dusted,
wispy and splintery,
tussocky,
                  corduroy,
all of its idiom
dry as a thesis
to moist outsiders:
wonderfully eloquent
                  on its home ground,
branchful of adverbs,
lovingly
                  wombat-hued,
dreamily
                  sheeptoned,
fluted with scalloping surf
and every step a joke.

Chris Wallace-Crabbe, "The Bush" text from The Amorous Cannibal, Oxford University Press, 1985: audio from The Domestic Sublime, Audio CD, River Road Press, 2009: by permission of River Road Press and the poet. Copyright © 1985, 2009 by Chris Wallace-Crabbe.

Source: The Amorous Cannibal (Oxford University Press, 1985)

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Poet Chris Wallace-Crabbe b. 1934

POET’S REGION Australia and Pacific

Subjects Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Chris  Wallace-Crabbe

Biography

Born in Melbourne, Australian poet Chris Wallace-Crabbe is the son of a pianist and a journalist. He earned a BA at Melbourne University and attended Yale University. Wallace-Crabbe’s wry yet expansive poems mix high and low diction to sometimes startling effect. In the Times Literary Supplement, critic Eric Ormsby referred to Wallace-Crabbe as “a genial smuggler of surprises,” noting, “His uncommon affability, even when . . .

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Poems by Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals

POET’S REGION Australia and Pacific

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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