Volume LII Number 4
Quadrant magazine is the leading general intellectual journal of ideas, literature, poetry and historical and political debate published in Australia.
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The Right Word is a bastard
conceived in anger and a proper rage,
and its parents come from provinces
where all rebellions start.
The Right Word is worse than pregnancy.
The Right Word cannot be delivered
in a comfy bed to the sound of soft music.
As it enters the world The Right Word screams
there is something serious missing here
and something had better he bloody done.
The Right Word is a mongrel
with genealogy so bizarre
that only a computer could unravel
whose bed or hillside had a hand
and whose genes got there first.
The Right Word never swerves away
and can sound like fuck you without
losing the argument, can lie down in mud
and happily cloudgaze, and knows
how to put the world to rights.
The Right Word should be ash upon the tongue
of politicians, who will spit and cross themselves
and soap their mouths. The Right Word
has no native tongue or country and breeds
wherever there is trouble which is everywhere.
I’ve kicked at lexicons and haven’t found it yet
but when I do I’ll feed it verbs and rage
until it bursts with action, then
let The Right Word loose
and watch it work slow fire.
The Quadrant Book of Poetry: 2001 - 2010
edited by Les Murray