In Books, Poems

Les Murray, one of the best English-speaking poets in the world, said recently that “Probably the only greater Australian Christian poet [than James McAuley] is Andrew Lansdown”. This statement, first published in the American literary journal Image, has been reproduced on the back cover of Andrew’s latest collection of poetry, Far from Home: Poems of faith, grief and gladness.

The publisher’s blurb states:

Far from Home abounds with warmth, insight, quirkiness and compassion. The poems explore and express loss, grief, longing, regret, hope and happiness. They celebrate family, friendship, freedom and courage. They affirm the astonishing value of human life and are informed by an integrity that arises from the poet’s Christian faith. Readers, however, do not need to share his faith in order to appreciate his poems. These are poems of the human condition; and as such, they speak to every human heart.

The same publisher, Wombat Books, last year published a 224-page collection of Andrew’s nature poetry, Birds in Mind. Far from Home is a companion collection, and could be described as a collection of Andrew’s human nature poetry.

Far from Home contains over 180 poems, including a series of 32 dramatic monologues on the life of the prophet Elijah. Half the poems have been selected from Andrew’s earlier poetry collections, while the other half are previously uncollected.

Three poems from Far from Home are reprinted below:


Though navigators

can find their way by the stars,

I look and am lost.

The only place they lead me,

my Sovereign, is home to you.

Mirth with meaning

After the meal, we read

the words of Christ in the Gospel

of Matthew: ‘when you fast,

do not look dismal …’

‘What does “fast” mean?’ I ask.

My daughter jumps from her chair

and races around the table.

‘See—I’m fast!’ she declares.

Who dares laugh? Angels

rollick about the room. I nod

earnestly. There is a smile

on the three Faces of God.



Like the samurai

I long not to shame myself

or my Lord in death.

Yet those ancient warriors

are beyond compare

in bare courage and resolve.

I fear I’ll never

match such mighty ones as them.

Yet my Lord avers:

Not your courage but my grace

will defend you from disgrace.

Copies of Far from Home by Andrew Lansdown can be obtained from Koorong Books or Life Ministries or the poet’s website, Price: $19.95  Aus (plus $2.00 postage within Australia).

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