Paul Dawson’s first book of poems, Imagining Winter (IP, 2006), won the IP Picks Best Poetry Award in 2006, and his work has been anthologized in Contemporary Asian Australian Poets (Puncher & Wattmann, 2013), Harbour City Poems: Sydney in Verse 1888-2008 (Puncher & Wattmann, 2009), and the Newcastle Poetry Prize Anthology, 2016 (Hunter Writers Centre, 2016). Paul teaches in the School of the Arts and Media at the University of New South Wales.
The Wreck of the Heartland
You have chosen your compass for this voyage.
It is not the fixity of the astronomer’s chart –
the neck-craning gaze of the brilliant night.
It is not the arrow that aligns itself to those
distant winters in your palm. It is the ebb-tide
below you, the bloody chamber that tells you
with each rushed second that you are alive
for now. It is constant in its fickle desire.
You will pursue this course beyond the
wreck of the heartland, into the spittle of the ocean
into the blue eyes of the horizon, the slaughtering
waters beneath you. Good night,
good morning, and good night again, you say
because the electricity that sundered the sky
that once, that dawn, is enough, and all.