Kate Llewellyn is a hidden treasure. I had not read any of her works before today but she is reaching the age of legend status and should be acknowledged for her beautiful poetry now rather than in retrospect.
In ‘Blue Mountains Christmas’ Kate Llewellyn explores the particular delight of summer rain which breaks a dry spell:
Yesterday, smoke from the valley-–
I thought it was mist
until I smelt it-–
and today, each leaf holds water drops,
shining – it rained in the night.
Kate Llewellyn expresses wonder in the capacity of nature for regeneration in the face of disaster, and nature’s opportunism. In ‘Magpies’ she defines the summer heat and leaving a garden sprinkler on while a bushfire rages:
It had been hot for days,
the garden sprawled-–
hit like a cricketer.
I left a hose on,
hanging in the apple tree,
and went indoors and slept.
Magpies found this fountain
and stalked around.
They made a midsummer opera
and gargled water-–
it became their song.
They sang as if to praise
the fountain in the tree.
While all this was happening
a hundred fires swept the State.
Great trees exploded,
birds and animals caught fire.
People died and houses burnt,
yet still these magpies sang
around the fountain in the tree.
Australia is the driest inhabited continent on the planet. It is natural that drought and the regeneration which comes from bushfires and drought-breaking rains are timeless subjects in our poetry and evocatively captured by Kate Llewellyn.
♥ Gretchen Bernet-Ward
Kate Llewellyn is an award-winning Australian poet, author, diarist and travel writer. She is the author of twenty-four books comprising eight of poetry, five of travel, journals, memoir ‘The Dressmaker’s Daughter’, letters and essays. “Kate Llewellyn is naturally poetic, naturally personal, and uniquely generous with it.” writes Australian Book Review’s South Australian State Editor Peter Goldsworthy. Further reading Poetry Library.
ABC Radio National transcript:
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