Friday, February 15, 2019

I Wish I'd Written This

The Poem

Welcome to the last, great
non-commercial art form.

Remarked, unsung,
oxygen, in the swamp of images.

Gaze on these words, reckon
how deep you can go into my dream.

Immerse in my clear stream,
nourish the meadows of your attention.

Listen to my water song
and drink deeply.

Escape in me to other worlds, where I whisper
silk across your skin, drip plum juice off your chin.

If you are uncomfortable here,
let me walk with you, I will be your guide.

The way to read a poem is often.
Walk with me often to the end

where I will leave you,
your heart full, my burden eased.

– Ken Smeaton 
from Love Poet Live (Melbourne, Eaglemont Press, 2001.)

Ken's an old mate of mine from when we were both performance poets in Melbourne. I featured him here once before, in 2011 (click herewhere I detailed our early connections. We caught up after a very long time when I visited Melbourne a few years ago. 

Now I've just finished proof-reading his forthcoming 'new and selected', titled Who Among Us? ('The Poem' is one of the 'selected'.)The b
lurb says:

Ken Smeaton was born in Ballarat, educated in Canberra and lived and worked in Melbourne from 1970 to 2017. He is known throughout Australia by his poetry organising and his commitment to live readings and performance. Retired, he is living in Newstead, country Victoria.

Speaking of live readings, he's all over YouTube with his RealPoetry movies recording performances by other poets and himself, if you'd like to have a listen. (He continued being a performance poet in Melbourne long after I had moved elsewhere.)

It's just been Valentine's Day, and the above poem (originally from a book called Love Poet Live) reads almost like a love poem from a poet – or poem! – to readers.  

I published one of his books, Real Face, long ago when I was an independent publisher of Australian poetry. Among the pieces he has selected from that for the new book are these three actual love poems, as romantic as anyone could wish, which I'll share with you too for Valentine's Day:


Her fingertip
touched on my skin.
A surface-skipped pebble
woke an ocean within.

Live a Dream  

You don’t talk unnecessarily.
You are as quiet
as if you live
in a faraway garden.

I’m sure you do.
I gaze into your eyes
for long periods
to join you there.

A Rose 

After dark
in the caravan park
a thief creeps
to the only garden.
Secateurs and glove
a snip for love
and on his darling’s breast
a rose.

Note: I suppose I should mention, for Americans, that a caravan is what (I think) you would call an RV or camper trailer.

Material shared in 'I Wish I'd Written This' is presented for study and review. Poems, photos, and other writings remain the property of the copyright owners, usually their authors. In this case, Ken Smeaton holds the copyright in the poems: The Poem © Ken Smeaton 2001; Suddenly, Live a Dream, and A Rose © Ken Smeaton 1987.


  1. Oh, he writes beautiful poetry, Rosemary. Very subtle - yet so very deep! I like "Suddenly" a lot and then "Live a Dream." How wonderful that you know him in real life, Rosemary. The poems in this week's feature were a real gift!

  2. I agree - a gift to read each of these, like a pebble falling into a deep pond. I especially love a poem being described as the "last great non-commercial art form." It may very well be!

  3. This looks fine on my laptop. I have just discovered that on my iPad it looks very different – readable, but with some weird size changes of font, some white background showing in places.... Apologies to anyone who is getting a strange view!

  4. What a lovely connection. People who bring creative energy to our door - up close and personal - are magical links in our chain of relationships. The poems are wonderful … the kind of pieces that, I find, truly resonate with me on a personal level. Thanks for this, Rosemary.

  5. The poem 'Suddenly' goes straight into the heart. Also love the closing lines of the first poem 'Listen to my water song / and drink deeply' : Words of all poets as it were. A beautiful post Rosemary.

  6. I don't know why the fonts appear so eye hurtingly tiny. I'm wondering if it's my laptop's fault for it's behaving in a funny way recently, though it's new :(

    1. Can only say, they don't on mine. I don't know how to fix it.

    2. Every time I go to your blog Sumana ,there are some very strange ads ( does not happen with anyone else). Best get you pc checked out.

    3. Zooming is an option but I couldn't even do that :(
      Rall, I don't know how to deal with these things, because I don't see ads but a box pops up saying visitors will see ads and this can be stopped if I upgrade my blog to paid plans of WordPress which I am not doing. I use the free version.

  7. I think Ken's love poems are sweet. I have met Robert Gray. He is the only poet I know.( Sydney based now but he hails from the Northern Rivers)He has written an autobiography which you might find interesting.

    1. Oh, I had no idea Robert Gray was originally from Northern Rivers! Nor that he was in Sydney now; had thought he was in Canberra many years.

  8. "The Land I Came Through Last"
    Just remembered the title:)

    1. Sound interesting, ta. (He is one I have never met myself. Also I'm not very familiar with his poetry.)

  9. Thank you Rosemary. I enjoyed this Valentine post!


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