Kate McNamara – The Last of the Wine

McNamara LE P&W April 2023

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing April 2023

The Last of the Wine poem by Kate McNamara.

The Last of the Wine


When I met you the afternoon light
Was dazzling in the late summer of
My faerie life and green and broken winged
I saw myself beguiled
By your voice the shape of your hands
A broken smile stance of a horseman of the plains.

And I saw my heart fly from me like a wild bird
And penetrate the oak wood of your soul.


And now as the red dance of trees and leaves
Begin their waltz into the haze of twilight like
Old spirits in a fire mirage
I find in the clarity of dawn I am alone
Safe from the reaping harvest the sickle blades
Of moonlight and the staves of wheat
A Festive Queen with no crown no hope no desire

How could you know the places where my body was hiding
From your dark twin who punctuated my tiny childhood.


And the solstice comes like music from gales and cyclones
The sea pounding through my ears the past is a bonfire
Of rosebuds there is crystal in the morning sky
Stasis waiting like Persephone for her ravaged lover
So the starlit craft of my passage cries: let me go free
Age should be more decorous not this demented maze.

Like black holes collapsing into nothingness
We wait my soul the cat and I we wait.


Colours delusions weddings of mythical proportions
grim light of day dreams of tigers and old paper dragons
how the past will echo movement in a world of dirty blossom
And always the possibility of hope how cruel
Are the collisions that gather in the future for the one
Who sees it all and has no power to reshape it.

What old cobwebby chords of music keep me here
Waiting for the last of the wine.

© Kate McNamara

Kate McNamara is a Canberra based poet, playwright and critical theorist. Her plays have been performed internationally. McNamara delivered the opening address to the Fourth International Conference of Women Playwrights in Galway (2001). She was awarded the H.C Coombs Fellowship at ANU (1991) and elected to the Emeritus Faculty. She won The Banjo Patterson Award for her short story Verity. Her published works include Leaves, The Rule of Zip (AGP) Praxis and The Void Zone (AGP). Her poetry, short fiction and critical theory has been published in a number of anthologies including There is No Mystery (ed. K Kituai, 1998), The Death Mook (ed. Dion Kagan, 2008) These Strange Outcrops(2020) and The Blue Nib (2020). She has also worked extensively as an editor and has only recently returned to her first great love, poetry. McNamara is currently working on The Burning Times.

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