William Byrne

william byrne

William Byrne is an emerging South Australian poet in his mid twenties. He has always lived in rural and coastal townships, excluding an urban interlude for university study for degrees in architecture and design. He has recently had work published in Westerly (Univeristy of Western Australia) and The Disappearing (Red Room Company).





Water dries so fast
on my fore and index fingers
once I leave the chiesa,
that foreign place of incensed marble.                                              

It evaporates
as soon as I see the sun
and basking in it, the smooth shoulders 
of the lane’s cobblestones. I trip                                                                    

in my penance, later, while seated 
in the brassed café
as my lips part for vermouth.
Again I see Rome’s dark shoulders 

then her leather heels and passing souls,
then half smoked cicca,
their pale ghosts hanging in the streets, 
then smooth, tanned Roman fingers. 

Chiesa water dries so fast on my fingers.
The vermouth is also dry.




In my old car, tyres wet, we spoke
black over green like a Rothko painting,
the young crops startled in our headlamps,
their fronds thrashing in the yellow glow.
You too were startled when I turned the headlamps off,
even though we had pulled up aside the field.
The lamps were deadened, yet the radio hailed
in a distant AM. Ice crystals formed on the window,
shading thinly the edge of the screen.
Beyond the glass, grey clouds brushed past the moon
rising on the curved horizon beyond
wheat past further than sight from  two sets of eyes could see. 

Afterwards, we drove to a town
at the edge of the wheat, leaving the earth
on the side of the road where we parked
a dry-ish print framed in rain craters
and shallow puddles bleeding into its soft sides.
We laughed so hard that night as we spoke and tried to see.