Alex Skovron – Brave Music

Skovron LE P&W March 2024

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing March 2024.

Brave Music, poems by Alex Skovron.

Brave Music

‘Our proper bliss depends on what we blame.’
– Alexander Pope, Essay on Man

This weather needs to see someone:
every day the track diverges, spiteful quiz. The sun
settles hydraulically enough into a soft horizon,
but come dawn you resign to the accusative printout
beside the toast; for overnight the cool warmth of spring
surrenders to the next boldface epiphany
– stormquake, insurrection, landfill, surgical mistake –
and a world so full of words stares dyslexic
into another singularity, its sizzling discharge already
brutal as truth. The civilized suburbs dog-paddle
in a pool of poems, or scurry indoors
trailing rumours of apocalypse, while the soundwaves
batter the naked countryside, toxic with untruth,
eyeless with righteous abomination
born of a plotline unalloyed in three millennia.
Someone needs to see this weather, cry the believers,
merely a matter of time before the Time –
but a globe turns, the intervals spell out a braver music
to belie the elements, it thrusts beyond the stars;
and poetry makes poetry happen,
whose lines slant back down across a timescape
luscious and arid, exultant and no less afraid.


The outcome was never in doubt
Whatever could be done had been done
We guessed what the game was about
There was nothing new under the sun

We tried our best to dissuade them
Gentle bribery, a hint of blackmail
But nothing served to persuade them
And our suit was destined to fail

I wondered if the way it concluded
Was foretold and couldn’t be altered
But we’d chosen our path, and pursued it
Until choices ran out and we faltered

We were poorer to go than to come
(I’m referring to nothing material)
Our leaving was an unhappy one
Our mood you could say was funereal

Yet a lesson had been digested
So we pulled up our stakes and departed
The future was still there to be tested
Our next journey there to be started

© Alex Skovron

Alex Skovron was born in Poland, lived briefly in Israel, and emigrated to Australia as a boy. His family settled in Sydney, where he grew up and completed his studies. From the early 1970s he worked as an editor for book publishers in Sydney and (after 1980) Melbourne. His poetry has appeared widely in Australia and overseas, and he has received a number of major awards for his work.

His most recent collection is Letters from the Periphery (2021); his previous book, Towards the Equator: New & Selected Poems (2014), was shortlisted in the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. Skovron’s collection of short stories The Man who Took to his Bed (2017), and his novella The Poet (2005), have been published in Czech translations; The Attic, a selection of his poetry translated into French, was published in 2013, and a bilingual volume of Chinese translations, Water Music, in 2017. His work has also appeared in Dutch, Macedonian, Polish and Spanish. The numerous public readings he has given have included appearances in China, Serbia, India, Ireland and Portugal. In 2023 Alex Skovron was honoured with the Patrick White Literary Award for his contribution to Australian literature.

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