Budgies, Icarus and disintegration


Budgies, Icarus and disintegration

Reef Windows
By Duncan Richardson
36pp, $5 pb (+ $1 postage)
Available from PO Box 274, Corinda, Brisbane 4075
Reviewed by Tracy Sorensen

Like his Siberian tigers, Duncan Richardson's poetry prowls around, sometimes stopping to gaze at some Big Questions (apartheid, changes in the former Soviet Union), sometimes pouncing on fleeting moments to playfully bat them around for a while.

In "Prime Time Icarus", Richardson examines the growing distance between ourselves and our emotions in an alienated television culture: if Icarus had plunged to the earth today, it could have been replayed in slo-mo, a "personal growth" experience for his Dad. Instead, Icarus' old man "went to his friends/and just cried."

In "Echo Road", a poem about how we mesh the past with the present, the very Australian experience of a drive on a new bitumen road with the old road just metres out to one side is beautifully evoked:

while we plunge through red-raw cutting

it rabbits over the hill

for the hell of it

beats us to the other side

breathing softly

in the bushes.

More epigrammatic are his pieces on budgies and a sudden worried thought about disintegration had in the toilet cubicle of a airliner. Richardson's vision is quirky, his talent as a wordsmith solid, and his more political poems are distinctly left and green. A Brisbane-based teacher and writer, Richardson has lived in England and Africa. Reef Windows, his first book, is well worth the $5.

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