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Best Famous Les Murray Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Les Murray poems. This is a select list of the best famous Les Murray poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Les Murray poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Les Murray poems.

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Written by Les Murray |

Music To Me Is Like Days

 Once played to attentive faces 
music has broken its frame 
its bodice of always-weak laces 
the entirely promiscuous art 
pours out in public spaces 
accompanying everything, the selections 
of sex and war, the rejections.
To jeans-wearers in zipped sporrans it transmits an ideal body continuously as theirs age.
Warrens of plastic tiles and mesh throats dispense this aural money this sleek accountancy of notes deep feeling adrift from its feelers thought that means everything at once like a shrugging of cream shoulders like paintings hung on park mesh sonore doom soneer illy chesh they lost the off switch in my lifetime the world reverberates with Muzak and Prozac.
As it doesn't with poe-zac (I did meet a Miss Universe named Verstak).
Music to me is like days I rarely catch who composed them if one's sublime I think God my life-signs suspend.
I nod it's like both Stilton and cure from one harpsichord-hum: penicillium - then I miss the Köchel number.
I scarcely know whose performance of a limpid autumn noon is superior I gather timbre outranks rhumba.
I often can't tell days apart they are the consumers, not me in my head collectables decay I've half-heard every piece of music the glorious big one with voice the gleaming instrumental one, so choice the hypnotic one like weed-smoke at a party and the muscular one out of farty cars that goes Whudda Whudda Whudda like the compound oil heart of a warrior not of this planet.

Written by Les Murray |

Bats Ultrasound

 Sleeping-bagged in a duplex wing
with fleas, in rock-cleft or building
radar bats are darkness in miniature,
their whole face one tufty crinkled ear 
with weak eyes, fine teeth bared to sing.
Few are vampires.
None flit through the mirror.
Where they flutter at evening's a queer tonal hunting zone above highest C.
Insect prey at the peak of our hearing drone re to their detailing tee: ah, eyrie-ire; aero hour, eh? O'er our ur-area (our era aye ere your raw row) we air our array err, yaw, row wry - aura our orrery, our eerie ü our ray, our arrow.
A rare ear, our aery Yahweh.

Written by Les Murray |

A Retrospect Of Humidity

 All the air conditioners now slacken
their hummed carrier wave.
Once again we've served our three months with remissions in the steam and dry iron of this seaboard.
In jellied glare, through the nettle-rash season we've watched the sky's fermenting laundry portend downpours.
Some came, and steamed away, and we were clutched back into the rancid saline midnights of orifice weather, to damp grittiness and wiping off the air.
Metaphors slump irritably together in the muggy weeks.
Shark and jellyfish shallows become suburbs where you breathe a fat towel; babies burst like tomatoes with discomfort in the cotton-wrapped pointing street markets; the Lycra-bulging surf drips from non-swimmers miles from shore, and somehow includes soil.
Skins, touching, soak each other.
Skin touching any surface wets that and itself in a kind of mutual digestion.
Throbbing heads grow lianas of nonsense.
It's our annual visit to the latitudes of rice, kerosene and resignation, an averted, temporary visit unrelated, for most, to the attitudes of festive northbound jets gaining height - closer, for some few, to the memory of ulcers scraped with a tin spoon or sweated faces bowing before dry where the flesh is worn inside out, all the hunger-organs clutched in rank nylon, by those for whom exhaustion is spirit: an intrusive, heart-narrowing season at this far southern foot of the monsoon.
As the kleenex flower, the hibiscus drops its browning wads, we forget annually, as one forgets a sickness.
The stifling days will never come again, not now that we've seen the first sweater tugged down on the beauties of division and inside the rain's millions, a risen loaf of cat on a cool night verandah.

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Written by Les Murray |

The Quality Of Sprawl

 Sprawl is the quality
of the man who cut down his Rolls-Royce
into a farm utility truck, and sprawl
is what the company lacked when it made repeated efforts
to buy the vehicle back and repair its image.
Sprawl is doing your farm work by aeroplane, roughly, or driving a hitchhiker that extra hundred miles home.
It is the rococo of being your own still centre.
It is never lighting cigars with ten dollar notes: that's idiot ostentation and murder of starving people.
Nor can it be bought with the ash of million dollar deeds.
Sprawl lengthens the legs; it trains greyhounds on liver and beer.
Sprawl almost never says, Why not?, with palms comically raised nor can it be dressed for, not even in running shoes worn with mink and a nose ring.
That is Society.
That's Style.
Sprawl is more like the thirteenth banana in a dozen or anyway the fourteenth.
Sprawl is Hank Stamper in Never Give an Inch bisecting an obstructive official's desk with a chain saw.
Not harming the official.
Sprawl is never brutal, though it's often intransigent.
Sprawl is never Simon de Montfort at a town-storming: Kill them all! God will know His own.
Knowing the man's name this was said to might be sprawl.
Sprawl occurs in art.
The fifteenth to twenty-first lines in a sonnet, for example.
And in certain paintings.
I have sprawl enough to have forgotten which paintings.
Turner's glorious Burning of the Houses of Parliament comes to mind, a doubling bannered triumph of sprawl - except he didn't fire them.
Sprawl gets up the noses of many kinds of people (every kind that comes in kinds) whose futures don't include it.
Some decry it as criminal presumption, silken-robed Pope Alexander dividing the new world between Spain and Portugal.
If he smiled in petto afterwards, perhaps the thing did have sprawl.
Sprawl is really classless, though.
It is John Christopher Frederick Murray asleep in his neighbours' best bed in spurs and oilskins, but not having thrown up: sprawl is never Calum, who, in the loud hallway of our house reinvented the Festoon.
Rather it's Beatrice Miles going twelve hundred ditto in a taxi, No Lewd Advances, no Hitting Animals, no Speeding, on the proceeds of her two-bob-a-sonnet Shakespeare readings.
An image of my country.
And would thatit were more so.
No, sprawl is full gloss murals on a council-house wall.
Sprawl leans on things.
It is loose-limbed in its mind.
Reprimanded and dismissed, it listens with a grin and one boot up on the rail of possibility.
It may have to leave the Earth.
Being roughly Christian, it scratches the other cheek And thinks it unlikely.
Though people have been shot for sprawl.

Written by Les Murray |

The Harleys

 Blats booted to blatant 
dubbing the avenue dire
with rubbings of Sveinn Forkbeard
leading a black squall of Harleys
with Moe Snow-Whitebeard and

Possum Brushbeard and their ladies
and, sphincter-lipped, gunning,
massed in leather muscle on a run,
on a roll, Santas from Hell
like a whole shoal leaning

wide wristed, their tautness stable
in fluency, fast streetscape dwindling,
all riding astride, on the outside
of sleek grunt vehicles, woman-clung,
forty years on from Marlon.

Written by Les Murray |


 Us all on sore cement was we.
Not warmed then with glares.
Not glutting mush under that pole the lightning's tied to.
No farrow-shit in milk to make us randy.
Us back in cool god-shit.
We ate crisp.
We nosed up good rank in the tunnelled bush.
Us all fuckers then.
And Big, huh? Tusked the balls-biting dog and gutsed him wet.
Us shoved down the soft cement of rivers.
Us snored the earth hollow, filled farrow, grunted.
Never stopped growing.
We sloughed, we soughed and balked no weird till the high ridgebacks was us with weight-buried hooves.
Or bristly, with milk.
Us never knowed like slitting nor hose-biff then.
Nor the terrible sheet-cutting screams up ahead.
The burnt water kicking.
This gone-already feeling here in no place with our heads on upside down.

Written by Les Murray |

Aurora Prone

 The lemon sunlight poured out far between things
inhabits a coolness.
Mosquitoes have subsided, flies are for later heat.
Every tree's an auburn giant with a dazzled face and the back of its head to an infinite dusk road.
Twilights broaden away from our feet too as rabbits bounce home up defiles in the grass.
Everything widens with distance, in this perspective.
The dog's paws, trotting, rotate his end of infinity and dam water feels a shiver few willow drapes share.
Bright leaks through their wigwam re-purple the skinny beans then rapidly the light tops treetops and is shortened into a day.
Everywhere stands pat beside its shadow for the great bald radiance never seen in dreams.

Written by Les Murray |

The Images Alone

 Scarlet as the cloth draped over a sword,
white as steaming rice, blue as leschenaultia,
old curried towns, the frog in its green human skin;
a ploughman walking his furrow as if in irons, but
as at a whoop of young men running loose
in brick passages, there occurred the thought
like instant stitches all through crumpled silk:

as if he'd had to leap to catch the bullet.
A stench like hands out of the ground.
The willows had like beads in their hair, and Peenemünde, grunted the dentist's drill, Peenemünde! Fowls went on typing on every corn key, green kept crowding the pinks of the peach trees into the sky but used speech balloons were tacky in the river and waterbirds had liftoff as at a repeal of gravity.

Written by Les Murray |

The New Hieroglyphics

 In the World language, sometimes called
Airport Road, a thinks balloon with a gondola
under it is a symbol for speculation.
Thumbs down to ear and tongue: World can be written and read, even painted but not spoken.
People use their own words.
Latin letters are in it for names, for e.
OK and H2S O4, for musical notes, but mostly it's diagrams: skirt-figure, trousered figure have escaped their toilet doors.
I (that is, saya, Ego, watashji wa) am two eyes without pupils; those aren't seen when you look out through them.
You has both pupils, we has one, and one blank.
Good is thumbs up, thumb and finger zipping lips is confidential.
Evil is three-cornered snake eyes.
The effort is always to make the symbols obvious: the bolt of electricity, winged stethoscope of course for flying doctor.
Prams under fire? Soviet film industry.
Pictographs also shouldn't be too culture-bound: A heart circled and crossed out surely isn't.
For red, betel spit lost out to ace of diamonds.
Black is the ace of spades.
The kind of spades reads Union boss, the two is feeble effort.
If is the shorthand Libra sing , the scales.
Spare literal pictures render most nouns and verbs and computers can draw them faster than Pharaoh's scribes.
A bordello prospectus is as explicit as the action, but everywhere there's sunflower talk, i.
metaphor, as we've seen.
A figure riding a skyhook bearing food in one hand is the pictograph for grace, two animals in a book read Nature, two books Inside an animal, instinct.
Rice in bowl with chopsticks denotes food.
Figure 1 lying prone equals other.
Most emotions are mini-faces, and the speech balloon is ubiquitous.
A bull inside one is dialect for placards inside one.
Sun and moon together inside one is poetry.
Sun and moon over palette, over shoes etc are all art forms — but above a cracked heart and champagne glass? Riddle that and you're starting to think in World, whose grammar is Chinese-terse and fluid.
Who needs the square- equals-diamond book, the dictionary,to know figures led by strings to their genitals mean fashion? just as a skirt beneath a circle meanas demure or ao similar circle shouldering two arrows is macho.
All peoples are at times cat in water with this language but it does promote international bird on shoulder.
This foretaste now lays its knife and fork parallel.

Written by Les Murray |

An Absolutely Ordinary Rainbow

 The word goes round Repins,
the murmur goes round Lorenzinis,
at Tattersalls, men look up from sheets of numbers,
the Stock Exchange scribblers forget the chalk in their hands
and men with bread in their pockets leave the Greek Club:
There's a fellow crying in Martin Place.
They can't stop him.
The traffic in George Street is banked up for half a mile and drained of motion.
The crowds are edgy with talk and more crowds come hurrying.
Many run in the back streets which minutes ago were busy main streets, pointing: There's a fellow weeping down there.
No one can stop him.
The man we surround, the man no one approaches simply weeps, and does not cover it, weeps not like a child, not like the wind, like a man and does not declaim it, nor beat his breast, nor even sob very loudly - yet the dignity of his weeping holds us back from his space, the hollow he makes about him in the midday light, in his pentagram of sorrow, and uniforms back in the crowd who tried to seize him stare out at him, and feel, with amazement, their minds longing for tears as children for a rainbow.
Some will say, in the years to come, a halo or force stood around him.
There is no such thing.
Some will say they were shocked and would have stopped him but they will not have been there.
The fiercest manhood, the toughest reserve, the slickest wit amongst us trembles with silence, and burns with unexpected judgements of peace.
Some in the concourse scream who thought themselves happy.
Only the smallest children and such as look out of Paradise come near him and sit at his feet, with dogs and dusty pigeons.
Ridiculous, says a man near me, and stops his mouth with his hands, as if it uttered vomit - and I see a woman, shining, stretch her hand and shake as she receives the gift of weeping; as many as follow her also receive it and many weep for sheer acceptance, and more refuse to weep for fear of all acceptance, but the weeping man, like the earth, requires nothing, the man who weeps ignores us, and cries out of his writhen face and ordinary body not words, but grief, not messages, but sorrow, hard as the earth, sheer, present as the sea - and when he stops, he simply walks between us mopping his face with the dignity of one man who has wept, and now has finished weeping.
Evading believers, he hurries off down Pitt Street.

Written by Les Murray |

The Meaning Of Existence

 Everything except language
knows the meaning of existence.
Trees, planets, rivers, time know nothing else.
They express it moment by moment as the universe.
Even this fool of a body lives it in part, and would have full dignity within it but for the ignorant freedom of my talking mind.

Written by Les Murray |

The Sleepout

 Childhood sleeps in a verandah room
in an iron bed close to the wall
where the winter over the railing 
swelled the blind on its timber boom

and splinters picked lint off warm linen
and the stars were out over the hill;
then one wall of the room was forest
and all things in there were to come.
Breathings climbed up on the verandah when dark cattle rubbed at the corner and sometimes dim towering rain stood for forest, and the dry cave hunched woollen.
Inside the forest was lamplit along tracks to a starry creek bed and beyond lay the never-fenced country, its full billabongs all surrounded by animals and birds, in loud crustings, and sometimes kept leaping up amongst them.
And out there, to kindle whenever dark found it, hung the daylight moon.

Written by Les Murray |

Cockspur Bush

 I am lived.
I am died.
I was two-leafed three times, and grazed, but then I was stemmed and multiplied, sharp-thorned and caned, nested and raised, earth-salt by sun-sugar.
I was innerly sung by thrushes who need fear no eyed skin thing.
Finched, ant-run, flowered, I am given the years in now fewer berries, now more of sling out over directions of luscious dung.
Of water crankshaft, of gases the gears my shape is cattle-pruned to a crown spread sprung above the starve-gut instinct to make prairies of everywhere.
My thorns are stuck with caries of mice and rank lizards by the butcher bird.
Inches in, baby seed-screamers get supplied.
I am lived and died in, vine woven, multiplied.

Written by Les Murray |

On The Borders

 We're driving across tableland
somewhere in the world;
it is almost bare of trees.
Upland near void of features always moves me, but not to thought; it lets me rest from thinking.
I feel no need to interpret it as if it were art.
Too much of poetry is criticism now.
That hawk, clinging to the eaves of the wind, beating its third wing, its tail isn't mine to sell.
And here is more like the space that needs to exist aound an image.
This cloud-roof country reminds me of the character of people who first encountered roses in soap.

Written by Les Murray |

Inside Ayers Rock

 Inside Ayers Rock is lit
with paired fluorescent lights
on steel pillars supporting the ceiling
of haze-blue marquee cloth
high above the non-slip pavers.
Curving around the cafeteria throughout vast inner space is a Milky way of plastic chairs in foursomes around tables all the way to the truck drivers' enclave.
Dusted coolabah trees grow to the ceiling, TVs talk in gassy colours, and round the walls are Outback shop fronts: the Beehive Bookshop for brochures, Casual Clobber, the bottled Country Kitchen and the sheet-iron Dreamtime Experience that is turned off at night.
A high bank of medal-ribbony lolly jars preside over island counters like opened crates, one labelled White Mugs, and covered with them.
A two-dimensional policeman discourages shoplifting of gifts and near the entrance, where you pay for fuel, there stands a tribal man in rib-paint and pubic tassel.
It is all gentle and kind.
In beyond the children's playworld there are fossils, like crumpled old drawings of creatures in rock.