Anne Elvey’s poems have appeared in journals, including most recently Blue Dog, Cordite, Island and Westerly and in The Best Australian Poems 2009 (Black Inc.). Her first chapbook Stolen Heath was published by Melbourne Poets Union in 2009. Her research and writing is supported by the Centre for Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, Monash University, and Melbourne College of Divinity.





lacing and unlacing her song


The ear is a window where she transfers

a blue wren. Her song

is a cat’s tail curved

round the air when her fingers

bend to the strings. And her bow

is an oar, striding a river.


She ties up to a she-oak, shakes

its raindrop chandelier. The rest

becomes a body, composed

to chocolate and wine. Bread.

A magpie. Weeds trodden into

loam. A stump


where insects trace their graffiti.

The perfume of fennel. Wild.

Her touch says wood and gut.




At home the frame bends.

With use a string frays.

All night she will play

shadow puppets on a wall.

They disappear when the day awakens

beside her score.


And unlacing her song, she laces

her song with the remembered scale

of her years.



memento: the manuscript under may hand is/not written


The verse etched on a tree selects

a variety of media to represent itself.


On the smooth trunk where the bark has peeled—

such a robust street tree, thick


and rugged, not that I’d lean into it—

is the kind of word this land leaves


on things, neither exodus nor crucifixion,

but a slow tapping into soil, a writing outward


of time that was rock and clay and an everywhere

sky. With its dense foliage this is not a tree


for a clearing. Cars’ fumes create their own

mass and insects travel woody


roads eeking through age, so that I wonder

do they hear the tree as it makes itself?