Luke Fischer PhotoLuke Fischer is a poet and scholar. He won the 2012 Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize and was shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize (2012). He is the author of three forthcoming books: a debut collection of poems titled Paths of Flight (Black Pepper), a monograph on Rilke and phenomenology, and a book of children’s stories. His poems and translations have appeared in Australian and international journals, including: Meanjin, Overland, Cordite, Snorkel, Agenda (UK), Antipodes (US), and ISLE (US). He was awarded a PhD in philosophy from the University of Sydney in 2008 and has held academic positions in the US and Germany. Recently he returned to Sydney.




Les Grandes Baigneuses

   Cézanne, 1900-1905

The serious blue of dusk
pervades the forest and figures.
On the further shore a dense cypress
spires. To the left of the group
arranged as a chance constellation,
a woman with a trunk-like frame
trails a river of towel, the source in her hand,
while her head is submerged in blackened foliage.
Two women, kneeling on the bank like deer with
folded legs, watch a naked girl as she slowly leaves the water,
unembarrassed and contained. Her iconic profile,
ringed by a cumulonimbus steeped in twilight. 
To the right a tomato cheeked farmer with ample breasts
relaxes in cushioning arms and a sturdy physique
inclines with a tree. A seated woman between them
is feeling the texture of the earth while a russet head,
still bathing alone, rinses a shoulder, looking on.
Their skins shimmer––a moonlit lake
composed of refracted sky, woods, shore.
Beside the dark cat on a table of grass: 
a cane basket of fruits and a watermelon half.


After days of rain

After days of rain
       I go out for a walk
The air is hazy and bright like the mind of a saint
  coming to her senses after a vision    

threaded with polished jade and crystal beads
grace   the   breasts   of   trees
  anklets glint in the grass

Three lorikeets pass in a rush––
chirpy green-winged rainbows 

Entering the reserve
only now I realise the path
is a scar on the landscape
Now that the water
has made it a creek bed
and flows like a healing lotion

Downstream a fairy wren
twitches its blue-capped head
flicks droplets off its wings   departs

In my fine leather shoes from Berlin
I slink along the bank, the soles pressing
native grasses and purple stars

Is there no way we can enter a forest
other than by severing it––like drawing
a rusty scalpel across a patient’s skin?

And what about the footpaths and roads,
the byways and freeways, motorways and runways––
all the cauterised wounds scarring her back?