Justin Lowe – Moree

Profile Lowe LEP&W ANZ May 2021

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing May 2021
Special edition featuring poets from Australia & New Zealand.

Justin Lowe lives in a house called “Doug” in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney where he edits international poetry blog Bluepepper.


I worry about my nephew.
I worry about a lot of things
but now and then I worry about my nephew.

he is a man of twenty-nine
who long ago had my measure,
so he’s fine.

but all the same I worry.

when I heard about Moree I worried.
some job on a cotton farm
on the treeless expanse among the sickly rivers

I stood at my window for a long time
looking west, as it happens
due west where the day dies

it is, afterall, what the anxious do,
like all the well-meaning and ineffectual of this world,
we stare at glass

our breath clutching like a fist

I know my nephew loves me
and that he has my measure
but he hides the best of himself from me

he hides his fears and worries from me
which is where all his courage lies
and so I can’t quite get a fix and I worry.

I try to picture Moree:
the taut sky
the vast plains and silted rivers

the cotton
that sucks it all dry
like a vast white sponge

and then I worry again:
that he won’t take his warfarin
that the heat will pound on his heart until it breaks

I wanted to write a poem today about nature
because it is to nature we turn when we worry
but all I could see was a vast emptiness

and so


had the night ended

than she drew the curtains
to a dark storm brewing

the high thunder curling
all brassy around the curtain rings

roosting there for an hour or so
every door handle emitting an angry spark


two rutting away in the guest room,
two in foetal bundles on the dog leg sofa

and in an hour the delegation is due
in the sleek cars black as hearses

to sign away their country

At Uncle Leo’s Wedding

I was feeling my way, OK?
you notice the movement of every waiter
when you’re sat at a table like that
the opening and closing of every door

it gets you thinking about the beginning
and the end of things, whether
this is really the look for you
sat there with your hands clasped

resisting the urge to clap along
when the lights go out
and all glassy eyes are raised to heaven
and they start dancing that strange dance

that only widows seem to know by heart

© Justin Lowe