Margaret Bradstock

Margaret Bradstock is a Sydney poet, editor and critic. She is an Honorary Visiting Fellow at the University of NSW, a long-term committee member of Poets Union and co-editor of Five Bells. She has published four collections of poetry, the most recent of which are The Pomelo Tree (Ginninderra, 2001), which won the Wesley Michel Wright Prize for Poetry, and Coast (Ginninderra, 2005). She has also won Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson awards. Margaret was Asialink Writer-in-residence at Peking University, Beijing, in 2003.



The Butterfly Effect

(after Decompose, by Gaye Chapman)
‘Is the moon not there unless I can see it?’
                                                       – Einstein

Back home, but never back,
     exploding like ectoplasm
across the empty rooms,
     the decomposed gardens.

Old responsibilities, seasons
     rise up, numinous
as Christmas ghosts, this space
     that once took us in.

For the cabbage nymph, or neophyte,
     it’s chaos theory.
Dust on the snooker balls
     might change

the moment of collision,
     the dense stars wheeling
in the firmament,
     or the response.


In Albert Brown Park

The night-stroked suburbs,
      flare of occasional street lights
            holding us in shadow,

and drought-starved gardens.
      Downhill, past the Alsatian
            revving up behind meshed wire

patrolling his square of concrete,
      past the corner park, more
             strip of green than park.

On the signpost
      something hunches
            (frogmouth or nightjar),

a soft churring
      shaping its gentle breath.
            We douse torches, so close

I might have touched it,
     flight-feathers pinned,
            waiting for prey.


Light plane over Sydney Cove
(after Brett Squires)

Crossing the Blue Mountains
                        soon after dawn

the air like torn canvas
you stretch the limits of reflected light
promontories reaching out
                        the Harbour glimmering.

Those Dubbo mornings
flying back from Emergency
the nightshift routine
of work, sleep, eat, repeat . . .
         broken and restless for harbours.

Cupping the city
in the curve of your hands
you photograph the moment
                 the propeller’s beat.