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  4. Solitude by Caroline Caddy

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It’s something they carry with them
                      – explorers  night shifts  seamen –
like a good pair of binoculars
or a camera case
                perfectly and deeply compartmented.
It has a quiet patina
that both absorbs and reflects
                           like a valuable instrument
                                                you have to sign for
 – contract with alone –
                     and at the end of the voyage
                                                          you get to keep.
Sometimes it’s very far away.
Sometimes so close
               at first you think the person next to you
is picking up  putting down
                                 a personal cup
                                    a book in another language
before you realise what
– when talk has moved off
                               leaning its arms
                                       on someone else’s table –
is being
handed to you.

Caroline Caddy, “Solitude” text from Esperance, Fremantle Press, 2007; audio from The Tibetan Cabinet, Audio CD, River Road Press, 2010: by permission of River Road Press and the poet. Copyright © 2007, 2010 by Caroline Caddy.
Source: Esperance (Fremantle Press, 2007)
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  • Born in Perth, poet Caroline Caddy grew up in the United States and Japan before returning to Australia as an adult. Caddy’s poems, lingering in the landscapes of China, Antarctica, and western Australia, explore identity through the process of travel and observation. Floating free of the left-hand margins, her poems make use of caesuras to emphasize the connections and gaps between cultures and geographies. “Creating a space that is both recognisable and uncanny, Caddy explores landscape in her early poems with both understanding and a deep seated wonder, the combination of which gives her poems great intensity,” observed Rosalind McFarlane in the Cordite Poetry Review. Caddy is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including Singing at Night (1980); Working Temple (1997); Esperance: New and Selected Poems (2007), which won the Wesley Michel Wright Prize; and The Tibetan Cabinet (2010). Caddy has also won a Western Australian Premier's Book Award...

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