Gepubliceerd op: donderdag 6 juni 2013

Vertaallab 44 LK Holt – Poem for Brigid


‘…it is frightening to be a soul,/ marked in the Book of Judgment 

once a month,/ because you haven’t lived much, and are alive.’

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxElizabeth Hardwick, as quoted by Robert Lowell




‘There’re crabs as big as basketballs here.

They crab through pumpkin patches, backyards,

vying with the roosters,’ is all you write from Christmas Island,

a sea peak lifted and capped with coral,

where you teach English to the Unprocessed.

At least the women I love are safe from me.


I taught you to drive in back-street Anglesea,

always with a view of the horizon

and a bare brake foot.

From inside the car the wild heft was sugared

with little white surf, the wild sound pickled

in the windows’ stout jars—

you drove over the roundabout with a peaceful look

and a constative woops

and a superfluous check of your blind-spot.

No past-selves hiding there!


How does the Child remain in the place?

Doorjamb to doorjamb it darts,

an underfoot of fear felt as distraction.


Girlhood a dense, girl-head-height fern-forest

we issued from into the halls of Ormond College,

our options still—after The First Stone cast—

first-love or a non-compos-mentis fuck

(‘no comment’ for short) post-lawn-party:

sophomores with their polo collars popped,

jutting jaws in time to Eye of the Tiger, 

and a freshwoman left to them or the elements;

she comes to breakfast

with last-night’s hair in a squall.

We should’ve watched out for her. . . . From what vantage point?

We were snug and self-woken

in discrete, heterosexual dells.

The complex beauty with wrists fresh-nicked

for chancing upon in the stairwell,

looked a bit miffed to be found by fellow female.

It took us five years to laugh,

then five more to cry.


And so the Child endures—

so long as it’s granted refuge

retrospectively, from each monstrous moment

that once done will never die.


Now we are wiser, sunsmarter,

and fools until we’re older.

Dear Brigid it is still frightening to be

the only one unasleep—unsaved,

unfinished—with the whole household

gone to bed already.

For it is a big day, tomorrow.







Note: The First Stone, by Helen Garner, 1995; commentary on the Ormond College sexual harassment case in Melbourne, Australia.




L K Holt, 2013


LK Holt‘s first collection, Man Wolf Man (2007), received the Kenneth Slessor Prize in the NSW Premier’s Awards, and her second collection, Patience, Mutiny (2010), received the Grace Leven Prize. Stages of Balthazar, a Rare Objects chapbook, was published this year by Vagabond Press. She lives in Melbourne.

Over de auteur

- Rozalie Hirs is redacteur van de LL-serie (Lage Landen-serie) en Vertaallab op Ooteoote. Daarnaast is zij dichter van boeken en digitale media. Zie ook