Volume LIV Number 7-8
Quadrant magazine is the leading general intellectual journal of ideas, literature, poetry and historical and political debate published in Australia.
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(after Nora Heysen’s portrait, Robert H. Black MD c1950, and Self-portrait 1953)
Is that my jacket?
Yes. It keeps me warm as I paint.
It’s my thinking jacket.
It’s my painting jacket.
What do you think about, in your jacket?
About the war, about meeting you.
About you. About you in your studio, in my jacket.
When I’m painting in your jacket I think of you.
I think of you bent over a table
in your white coat
testing the blood of soldiers.
I think of me, sketching you—then.
I think of you painting me—now—in your studio
doorways behind you, framing you
infinite doorways receding, smaller and smaller.
In my jacket you blend in. You blend into that interior.
Now—I paint you in a gentle landscape
paint you thinking, in your jacket,
blend you into that gentle landscape.
I paint you looking elsewhere, not smiling.
You’re not smiling.
I’m not smiling because I can’t forget—then.
The landscape wasn’t gentle
but I smile inside—now
when I think of you in my jacket.
You’re looking at me, but you’re not smiling.
I’m looking at you and I’m not smiling
because I’m painting you
in a gentle landscape, in your jacket
but I’m smiling inside
because you make me warm.
because I’m wearing your jacket.
The Quadrant Book of Poetry: 2001 - 2010
edited by Les Murray