Leslie Murray was born in Nabiac, Australia, in 1938. His first book of poetry, The Ilex Tree, published in 1965, received the Grace Leven Prize for poetry. In 1972, Poems Against Economics won the Captain Cook Bicentenary Literary Competition Prize. Lunch and Counter Lunch, received the National Book Council Award in 1974. Murray is regarded as Australia’s leading poet. His work has been published in ten languages. He has been an editor of major anthologies, and of literary publications. In 1999 he was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.
At the Widening of a War
Everyone was frightened of the sky.
Each night, Mars emerged at the zenith.
A bleb of pure rage tore off the sun.
For days, the living and the dead
hung in the air like dust
whirled aloft from tired roads.
The fuselage of a lobster lay abandoned.
The Isles of the Blest were receding
to their sailing distances
and the gunfire of tourist shoes was stilled.
Sports stadiums and crowds loomed from another age.
The blow struck now
would be weaker than the blow withheld.