Poems of Love and Loss
Poetry by Lachlan Irvine


When our romance was new, we lit a fire
With flames we thought would surely never die;
We lay together basking in the glow,
Protected by its warmth from winter's cold.

It was too comfortable there in your arms
To get up in the night and gather wood;
Too much effort for me to stoke the fire
To make sure it would burn the whole night through.

Then somewhere in the night we fell asleep,
Our dreams took us away to different worlds;
Till I awoke to find myself alone,
A pile of ashes where the fire had been,
The chill of winter in the morning air,
And only memories to keep me warm.

Lachlan Irvine


Rosemary Wray and the Hawkesbury River

(Written on discovering this old photograph of an ex-girlfriend, taken years before as she was sunning herself on a rock ledge high above the Hawkesbury River, near Sydney)

You sit there, soaking up the sun,
A perfect answer for Darwin's critics;
For who could look upon this photograph
And doubt your kinship with the reptiles?

Behind, and far below,
The languid river makes its way
Down from the mountains,
Down to the place where Streeton loved to paint.
Sometimes, in those rare moments
When dreams were still possible,
This was the place to plan our future home.
"The purple noon's transparent might ..." remember?

Your eyes are squinting at the sun.
You always loved the sun,
Loved to feel it warm your blood ...
All those northern winters to make up for.
But then, one late December day,
Your first time in the Centre,
The fiery heat of Alice Springs
Made even you admit defeat ... remember?

But there I go again ...
The memories that can flow
From just one photograph;
The feelings that can still be stirred.

So long ago the camera framed you
On your Hawkesbury sandstone stage,
With its eucalyptus backdrop;
One moment in your life captured forever
When my finger pressed the trigger.

That single shot, when fired at the heart
(A target which may seem already dead)
Can still strike home today.
Old feelings still can be rekindled
Though nothing else remains the same.
The breadth of a continent,
Its vast deserts and treeless plains,
And a lifetime of years
Have broken all the ties
That once held us together.

How many more years
Can desire long forgotten
Be brought to life again
By just a photograph?

Lachlan Irvine

(Note: "The purple noon's transparent might" is the Australian artist Sir Arthur Streeton's best-known Hawkesbury River landscape).


So little time we seemed to have together,
She touched my life so briefly - and was gone;
And when I try explaining how I'm feeling
What can I say - we had so little time.

So little time, and yet we were so close,
As though we'd known each other all our lives;
We seemed to fit so easily together
And now she's gone - we had so little time.

So little time to get to know someone,
And yet she's so important to me now;
Am I in love? Would that explain this feeling?
How can I tell - we had so little time.

So little time, and now so far apart,
So many things I need to let her know;
How much my life has been enriched by knowing her
And that I miss her - we had so little time.

Lachlan Irvine

Political Poems

Vietnam War Poetry

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