Paul Munden

Paul Munden is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Canberra, where he is also Program Manager for the International Poetry Studies Institute (IPSI). He is General Editor of Writing in Education and Writing in Practice, both published by the National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE), of which he is Director. He has worked as conference poet for the British Council and edited Feeling the Pressure: poetry and science of climate change (British Council, 2008). His collections include Analogue/Digital (Smith|Doorstop, 2015) and The Bulmer Murder (Recent Work Press 2017). A new collection, Fugue, will be published by UWAP in October.

Venetian Lullaby

You gaze from your cot at the belltower
of St Mark’s. It seems only yesterday
that your mother was as small
                        but tonight
she holds the wooden lagoon in her palm—
twists the lumpen metal key, winds it tight
until the miniature gondolier
is released in an operatic mime,
gliding under the Rialto bridge. Our
frail memories are in his custody
like a circling dream
            and in the minute
it takes for him to falter, stall,
                you fall
for his solid, inscrutable charm,
your own course through our commotions and let
your heavy eyelids close like a secret.


Four Poster

The frame was hung with tapestries. If he lay
on the bed and stretched his arms and legs
towards the corners he could almost imagine
a quartering of himself, a bloody severance


and what possessed her ? the time she scattered
rose petals in between the sheets, so that when
they regained their senses they also reeled
from the crimson stains that suggested a gross


bereavement, and since none of the four
children could house the legacy whole, the bed
was dismembered, the individual, equal limbs
allotted to separate homes, like orphans,


this one drilled for a red and black flex to run
through its hollowed mahogany core
like an artery, powering the electric light
where I sit at night and witness its first flickers.