In Culture, Poems


Not in Truce


Above the black soil of the bulldozed paddock

spiders have spun their threads

on upraised sticks and roots.

In the midst of anarchy, a small affirmation

of design. The webs,

wet with dew and infused with light,

are white pennants raised to proclaim

the mysterious endurance of the powerless.

Or they are bandages of fine gauze,

daubed where limbs have snapped, wrapped

to staunch the flow of beauty from the broken land.

And perhaps it’s only little things that will remain

to shore the heart against the broad and brutal ugliness

that looms as the destiny of man. Perhaps

small gestures—the weaving of poems

or the pursuit of a personal integrity

or an unfaltering faith that God is good and

good is no illusion—are all that is left to us.

Like the spiders, we bind the broken roots.

Not in truce, but on trust, we raise

our ragged, regal flags in the winds of a desolate age.





I turn to see my son behind me.

He pauses as I pause, a few paces

back in the swath in the weeds.

When did he leave the veranda?

When did he resolve the mower’s roar

would no longer make him scream?

As I move off he comes on, ginger

as a cat. He is stalking his fear.

Come on, then, little one. Be brave.

Two isn’t too young to rehearse.

Courage is hard, cowardice easy.

And fear … fear gets only worse.



These two poems are taken from two of Andrew’s books: Waking and Always (Angus & Robertson Publishers, 1987) – “Not in Truce”; Fontanelle (Five Islands Press, 2004) – “Mowing”.

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