Anne Elvey – Marigold

Anne Elvey LE P&W Jan 2023

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing January 2023

Marigold, editorial by Anne Elvey.


a companion dissuading pests

saffron threads too dear to take from shelf

sweet potato peeled and boiled pureed for soup

coin withheld from cause gifted

pumpkin seeds composted with tough skin

a citrus navel tinged with green

tillage of sun

untended butternut sprouting

the cumquat tang of must

amber rest

My Dear Coat,

You came into my life
on a shopping trip with my
mother, before that long

drought. In Myer Melbourne
she bought the deep
emerald wool and I

you, a size larger
in navy. The green was
not available. My children

were quite young. Perhaps
one or both of them
came with us, the older

spooning froth from Nanna’s
cappuccino at our lunch.
As they grew into primary

school and beyond, you
hung in the wardrobe for a
decade or more. El Niño

winters in the climates of this
age were never cold
enough for you. This year

there’s a La Niña watch
in force for spring. Crisp
winter days, I have

you on. Both of us
a little shabbier. I’m
comforted by a reminiscence

as by the wear of things.


What is shared

in the banksia skeleton by the path
on separate arms two rainbow lorikeets perch
bright against a winter-clear
sky above grey-green scrub the one i see

best looks out toward the bay from where
i am just now returning having felt on my skin
the salt breeze and stopped to hear a modest
swell to watch spume curdle at the shore

schooled to think a bird must have
a practical purpose for staring out to
sea i wonder rather is this lorikeet taking
time to rest and feed on beauty of a kind

shared across species but looking
a little different in its eyes


once before i noticed
a wire-load of birds at sunset
dark against sky and facing
west pigeons perhaps or ravens
i was passing in a car
not slow enough to tell

they’d gone when i returned
were they a flock i asked
myself or an unkindness stilled
admiring the crimson exodus of day

©Anne Elvey

Anne Elvey lives and works on Boon Wurrung Country in Seaford, Victoria. Her latest poetry collections are Leaf  (Liquid Amber Press, 2022) and Obligations of Voice (Recent Work Press, 2021). Her collection Kin (Five Islands Press, 2014) was shortlisted for the Kenneth Slessor Poetry Prize. Anne has recent essays on poetry and poetics in New Directions in Contemporary Australian Poetry (ed. Dan Disney and Matthew Hall, 2021) and Imagination in an Age of Crisis (ed. Jason Goroncy and Rod Pattenden, 2022). She is an Adjunct Research Fellow in the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics, Monash University, and an Honorary Research Fellow, Pilgrim Theological College, University of Divinity, Australia.

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