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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 |

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 |

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.

More great poems below...

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 |

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 |

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 |

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 |

Amandas Painting

 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.

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 |


 From the metal poppy
this good blast of trance
arriving as shock, private cloudburst blazing down,
worst in a boarding-house greased tub, or a barrack with competitions,
best in a stall, this enveloping passion of Australians:
tropics that sweat for you, torrent that braces with its heat,
inflames you with its chill, action sauna, inverse bidet,
sleek vertical coruscating ghost of your inner river,
reminding all your fluids, streaming off your points, awakening
the tacky soap to blossom and ripe autumn, releasing the squeezed gardens,
smoky valet smoothing your impalpable overnight pyjamas off,
pillar you can step through, force-field absolving love's efforts,
nicest yard of the jogging track, speeding aeroplane minutely
steered with two controls, or trimmed with a knurled wheel.
Some people like to still this energy and lie in it, stirring circles with their pleasure in it, but my delight's that toga worn on either or both shoulders, fluted drapery, silk whispering to the tiles, with its spiralling, frothy hem continuous round the gurgle-hole' this ecstatic partner, dreamy to dance in slow embrace with after factory-floor rock, or even to meet as Lot's abstracted merciful wife on a rusty ship in dog latitudes, sweetest dressing of the day in the dusty bush, this persistent, time-capsule of unwinding, this nimble straight well-wisher.
Only in England is its name an unkind word; only in Europe is it enjoyed by telephone.

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 |

To Fly In Just Your Suit

 Humans are flown, or fall;
humans can't fly.
We're down with the gravity-stemmers, rare, thick-boned, often basso.
Most animals above the tides are airborne.
Typically tuned keen, they throw the ground away with wire feet and swoop rings round it.
Magpies, listening askance for their food in and under lawn, strut so hair-trigger they almost dangle on earth, out of the air.
Nearly anything can make their tailcoats break into wings.

Written by Les Murray |

Travels With John Hunter

 We who travel between worlds 
lose our muscle and bone.
I was wheeling a barrow of earth when agony bayoneted me.
I could not sit, or lie down, or stand, in Casualty.
Stomach-calming clay caked my lips, I turned yellow as the moon and slid inside a CAT-scan wheel in a hospital where I met no one so much was my liver now my dire preoccupation.
I was sped down a road.
of treetops and fishing-rod lightpoles towards the three persons of God and the three persons of John Hunter Hospital.
Who said We might lose this one.
Twenty days or to the heat-death of the Universe have the same duration: vaguely half a hour.
I awoke giggling over a joke about Paul Kruger in Johannesburg and missed the white court stockings I half remembered from my prone still voyage beyond flesh and bone.
I asked my friend who got new lungs How long were you crazy, coming back? Five days, he said.
Violent and mad.
Fictive Afrikaner police were at him, not unworldly Oom Paul Kruger.
Valerie, who had sat the twenty days beside me, now gently told me tales of my time-warp.
The operative canyon stretched, stapled, with dry roseate walls down my belly.
Seaweed gel plugged views of my pluck and offal.
The only poet whose liver damage hadn't been self-inflicted, grinned my agent.
A momentarily holed bowel had released flora who live in us and will eat us when we stop feeding them the earth.
I had, it did seem, rehearsed the private office of the grave, ceased excreting, made corpse gases all while liana'd in tubes and overseen by cockpit instruments that beeped or struck up Beethoven's Fifth at behests of fluid.
I also hear when I lay lipless and far away I was anointed first by a mild metaphoric church then by the Church of no metaphors.
Now I said, signing a Dutch contract in a hand I couldn't recognise, let's go and eat Chinese soup and drive to Lake Macquarie.
Was I not renewed as we are in Heaven? In fact I could hardly endure Earth gravity, and stayed weak and cranky till the soup came, squid and vegetables, pure Yang.
And was sane thereafter.
It seemed I'd also travelled in a Spring-in-Winter love-barque of cards, of flowers and phone calls and letters, concern I'd never dreamed was there when black kelp boiled in my head.
I'd awoken amid my State funeral, nevermore to eat my liver or feed it to the Black Dog, depression which the three Johns Hunter seem to have killed with their scalpels: it hasn't found its way home, where I now dodder and mend in thanks for devotion, for the ambulance this time, for the hospital fork lift, for pethidine, and this face of deity: not the foreknowledge of death but the project of seeing conscious life rescued from death defines and will atone for the human.

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 |


 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.