Vale Robert Adamson May loving arms hold Juno through this time

December 18th 2022

Vale Robert Adamson.

One of Australia’s great poets and  poet of our Hawkesbury River. An inspiration to so many of us. My friend  asked me to share this poem with all who mourn his loss. She wrote it in 2013 when she was reading on a platform with Robert. She sent it to Robert and he replied with his thanks and affirmation. Now our love focuses on dear Juno for the empty space will take time to reconcile.
Enjoy Pip’s poem:
The poet redux
(for Robert Adamson)
Love is what he’s about
this gentle man
who draws birds
writes poems about them
and the woman
who told him once
to choose between
the drugs and her.
Whatever he was then
she could see
the love in him.
He gives it now to us
words dancing
from his fingers
from his lips
and from his generous poetic heart.
©Pip Griffin 22 September 2013
Clear Water Reckoning
I write into the long black morning,
out here on the end of the point,
far from my wife in Budapest –
as the river cuts through a mountain
in Sydney a poet is launching
his new volume Under Berlin
and I feel like Catullus on Rome’s edge
but this passes and I turn to face
the oncoming dawn, the house
breathes tidal air as the night
fires outside with barking owls,
marsupials rustling, the prawn bird
beginning its taunting dawn whistle;
I burn the electricity
and measure hours by the lines –
I have strewn words around the living room,
taken them out from their
sentences, left them unused wherever
they fell; they are the bait –
I hunch over my desk and start to row,
let the tide flow in, watch
the window, with the door locked now
I wait – hear satin bowerbirds
scratching out the seeds from bottlebrush.
Dawn is a thin slit of illuminated
bowerbird blue along mountain lines,
in this year of cock and bull
celebration the TV goes on unwatched
upstairs, I hear it congratulating us
for making Australia what it is –
the heater breathes out a steady stream
of heated air – I go deeper
into my head, I see the Hawkesbury
flowing through Budapest, the Hungarians
do not seem to mind, they are bemused,
the river parts around their spires and domes,
I see other cities, whole cultures
drawn from territories within,
though with this freedom
comes a feeling of strange panic
for the real; so I get on
with it, writing out from this egg
holding my thought in a turbulent knot,
a bunched-up octopus. I steer
away from anything confessional,
thinking of Robert Lowell crafting
lines of intelligent blues,
his Jelly Roll of a self-caught mess
deep in spiritual distress.
Outside the river pulls me back,
shafts of light disintegrate into clues,
flecked symbols shine with order –
the bowerbirds have woven colour
around the house, through
bushes blue patterns of themselves
traced about the place; half
the moon can topple a mountain,
anything is possible here
I remind myself and begin to hum,
flattening out all the words that were
impossible to write today. I hum
out all the poems I should have
written, I hum away now also
the desire to write from memory –
there is enough sorrow in the present.
I look out over the incoming tide, dark racks
of oysters jut from its ink.
– Published in The Clean Dark 1989