With an assurance uncommon in first-book poets, she announces issues by-passed by most of writers, that preoccupied the poet all her life.Wright’s country is not just a site for heroism or misery.Judith Wright’s ancestors were cattle-raising pioneers of the Dawson Valley in Queensland’s hinterland.
‘The cicadas’ is remarkable in the way it juxtaposes the threat of death with the relentless urge to create life using the life cycle of the cicada.
The insect labours to find the light, to be a ‘wild singer’ like the dingo. 72) is a re-sensitising, an agonising exposure to hurt. 99), a repurposing of old folk-tale tropes – gun, sword, evil-omened blackbird – hints at Wright’s burgeoning interest in myth and legend.
, 1941), the iconic Australian characters remained the man from Snowy River, Mulga Bill and the drover’s wife: examples of endurance, of efforts to prevail against isolation, unforgiving terrain, drought and flood.
Judith Wright’s (Angus and Robertson), first published in 1994, would reflect a different world with expanded, subtler concerns.
It was different country: not open grazing land, but rainforest, teeming with animal and bird life, the subject of many of her poems.
The first collection Wright published here was (Angus and Robertson, 1953): rich and varied in its dealings with natural life, intertwined with love and fear and childbirth.
Mountains jumped in his way, rocks rolled down on him, and the old crow cried, ‘You’ll soon be dead.’ And the rain came down like mattocks.
But he only said I can climb mountains, I can dodge rocks, I can shoot an old crow any day, and he went on over the paddocks.
‘Northern River’ is ‘my river’, Wright claims, home of birds, the vine, the lilies, and native as well as imported farmed animals.
It inspires rapt recall: the river speaks in the silence, and my heart will also be quiet. 6) ‘Country town’ moves into history, with bearded shepherds – some ex-convicts – homesick for England, singing round the fire.