Marlene Marburg is a PhD candidate at the Melbourne College of Divinity. Her research is focussed on the relationship of poetry and the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. Marlene is a poet, spiritual director and formator. She is married with adult children, and lives in Melbourne, Australia.



Moving Images

Wurrunjeri earth,
skin and muscle bulldozed
to raw and slippery flesh.
Deep rivers turned shallow
slush upside down

Water like wind
finds the empty places
It wants to whirl

The earth-shapers are stopping erosion;
moving piles of dirt from here to majestic there.
Progress demands intervention, they say.
They erect a good will sign,
Rehabilitation Project,

but many of us are old enough to know
the banks of the local creek
are little changed in thirty years.

By October, the stench settles.
Crystals on the banks twitch in the light.
Dust fog begins to rise.

Walkers inhale the disturbance,
coughing debris out and in
Oneness with the earth is closer
than we think

I don’t believe in an interventionist God
Nick Cave sings, and the wind is alive
to his song, and the water
knows to seek its own level



The ammonite in my hands, gazes
from a mysterious, soul-breathing centre,
recognising we are kin in the cosmos, Jurassic heritage,
forming and transforming fossil and flesh, hardened

and polished like marble and slate, cool
spiral labyrinth, narrowing path to the holy of holies,
birthplace outgrown, time and again, the dark place
edging forward into the light. It is as if she struggles;

albino lashes languishing in her burial rock.
Wine stained strands float from her like mermaids’ hair.
Cavities are filled with coral crystals,
pearls from a stowaway rape.

The ammonite is clothed in delicate embroidery,
golden imprint of once green clusters flourishing on a sea bed;
We animate them in the theatre of imagining, mirror
the infinite mind giving shape to desire.

Returning the gaze, I bridge the vast gap of time,
explore her colour and shape as a once-lost sibling.
Ammonite sister and Abraham’s lost son
see the whorls in my fingers and the mirror of self.