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Amanda's Painting Analysis

Author: poem of Les Murray Type: poem Views: 2

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In the painting, I'm seated in a shield,

coming home in it up a shadowy river.

It is a small metal boat lined in eggshell

and my hands grip the gunwale rims. I'm

a composite bow, tensioning the whole boat,

steering it with my gaze. No oars, no engine,

no sails. I'm propelling the little craft with speech.

The faded rings around the loose bulk shirt

are of five lines each, a musical lineation

and the shirt is apple-red, soaking in salt birth-sheen

more liquid than the river. My cap is a teal mask

pushed back so far that I can pretend it is headgear.

In the middle of the river are cobweb cassowary trees

of the South Pacific, and on the far shore rise

dark hills of the temperate zone. To these, at this

moment in the painting's growth, my course is slant

but my eye is on them. To relax, to speak European.


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