Saturday, January 14, 2017


I have written this draft today - and have worries about certain aspects of it. So whaddya think should stay and what should go? I'm looking for some honest responses, so shoot.

St.Kilda Boarding House, mid-Sixties

Lime green. And tall –
it was three storeys high
but thin: a hallway with stairs
and rooms off. She was
old with a stained apron, the flowers
on her wallpaper
faded as the sunlight.
Thank you, I said demurely
as she showed me
the room – my room
for now. I’d hitched over
the nation pursuing
a girl. Certainly
lust inspired my dreams. It was
as cold as Melbourne gets,
and she lived out of town
when she wasn’t
rehearsing. I
wasn’t allowed in her house
or at the rehearsals. I threw down
my bag and lay on
the chenille bedspread. Was this
why I had crossed Australia
from west to east? I grew up
comfortable and now pursued
discomfort: a cleaning job and
a down-at-heel boarding house, a dancing girl
on the end of the stick.
Could I write here?
No words came – only self-pity
as the sun went down
behind the tattered blind.

 - Andrew Burke


  1. I think it's pretty well there but there's something not quite right for me about the rhythm of the last two lines... I think the image is fine

    ... maybe if self-pity could be replaced by some plot leading us to that conclusion?

    1. Great idea. I shall attempt an image to speak the emotion.

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  3. A very fine and evocative poem, Andrew. As Kit says. The last bit. Keep it fine. Show, don't tell?

    1. Show me - don't tell me

      ... it's uncanny how that advice is always right

  4. I agree, erase the word self-pity and show us a gesture, an attitude, a grin, something that lets us know and feel "from inside" rather than analysing from "outside" ...

  5. Yes, show us the self-pity, rather than telling us. I like the poem a lot, especially the narrative and the use of details. I always like reading about past events/experiences. You might consider changing a few line breaks - perhaps you could find stronger words to end lines with than "was," "and" and "this." Also, repeating "room" in line ten seems unnecessary. You could change "my room" to "mine."

  6. Oh thank you for wise advice. This has been very fruitful.


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