The backdrop of Carol and Ahoy is the Goulburn River and its floodplains around Shepparton. Ancestry and watchful reflection combine seamlessly in these poems, which are always in search of “what is tactile and particular”, be it a gum tree, an agave or the past. Simon West’s fluid, ever-shifting gaze will be familiar to readers of his previous volumes.
Waking on a Summer Morning
I asked if verse were no more than a toy,
then heard the blackbird’s carol and ahoy
and the traffic’s tidal snare drum sough.
They were absolute, these tones, not thought’s forgotten setting now,
as they washed through open windows and the new-found
arch of door jambs, and echoed round
the room’s old school of shadows. They were glory
of music on the mind’s cool parquet floor.