Kenneth Slessor was born in Orange, New South Wales. He published his first poetry in the Bulletin magazine while still at school. He worked on the Sydney Sun newspaper from 1920 to 1925, and for a while on the Melbourne Punch and Melbourne Herald. He returned to Sydney in 1927 to work on Smith's Weekly, where he stayed until 1939.
In 1939, at the outbreak of the Second World War, Slessor was appointed as an official war correspondent, and spent time with Australian troops in England, Greece, the Middle-East and New Guinea.
At the end of the war he returned to the Sydney Sun as a leader-writer and literary editor until 1957. He then worked for the Daily Telegraph and ... more »
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Kenneth Slessor Poems
Time that is moved by little fidget wheels Is not my time, the flood that does not flow. Between the double and the single bell Of a ship's hour, between a round of bells
North Country, filled with gesturing wood, With trees that fence, like archers' volleys, The flanks of hidden valleys Where nothing's left to hide
Do you give yourself to me utterly, Body and no-body, flesh and no-flesh
The red globe of light, the liquor green, the pulsing arrows and the running fire spilt on the stones, go deeper than a stream; You find this ugly, I find it lovely
Thief of the Moon
Thief of the moon, thou robber of old delight, Thy charms have stolen the star-gold, quenched the moon- Cold, cold are the birds that, bubbling out of night, Cried once to my ears their unremembered tune-
After the whey-faced anonymity Of river-gums and scribbly-gums and bush, After the rubbing and the hit of brush, You come to the South Country
These black bush-waters, heavy with crusted boughs Like plumes above dead captains, wake the mind.... Uncounted kissing, unremembered vows, Nights long forgotten, moons too dark to find,
Country towns, with your willows and squares, And farmers bouncing on barrel mares To public houses of yellow wood With '1860' over their doors,
Out Of Time
1 I saw Time flowing like a hundred yachts That fly behind the daylight, foxed with air; Or piercing, like the quince-bright, bitter slats
The Night Ride
Gas flaring on the yellow platform; voices running up and down; Milk-tins in cold dented silver; half-awake I stare,
Elegy In A Botanic Gardens
THE smell of birds' nests faintly burning Is autumn. In the autumn I came Where spring had used me better,
SMOKE upon smoke; over the stone lips Of chimneys bleeding, a darker fume descends. Night, the old nun, in voiceless pity bends
THE old Quarry, Sun, with bleeding scales, Flaps up the gullies, wets their crystal pebbles, Floating with waters of gold; darkness exhales
'BUY, who'll buy,' the pedlar sings, 'Bones of beggars, loins of kings, Ribs of murder, haunch of hate,
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
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Time that is moved by little fidget wheels
Is not my time, the flood that does not flow.
Between the double and the single bell
Of a ship's hour, between a round of bells
From the dark warship riding there below,
I have lived many lives, and this one life
Of Joe, long dead, who lives between five bells.
Deep and dissolving verticals of light
Ferry the falls of moonshine down. Five bells
Coldly rung out in a machine's voice. Night and water
Pour to one rip of darkness, the Harbour floats
In the air, the Cross hangs upside-down in water. ...