Wednesday, August 19, 2020

New Poetry by Andrew Leggett

For Joseph Coleman, 1810-1833

As the sun goes behind the hill above Glebe Gully,
I think of you, Joseph and wonder, where did you go,
after they hanged you by the neck at Old Banks 
on the Paterson River? Are you here, at Maitland, 
under this ground, where they dumped the remains
of convicts in anonymous holes—no more dishonour 
for you than Greenway, the forger, whose best
designs would not spare this plot, where he came 
through cholera, five years after you? He dissolved 
in your mould, that of you and your neighbours, 
whose bones were scattered and mingled with others 
as earth shifted with the Hunter’s quakes and floods.
Whether your bones lie in this ground, or not,
has your spirit flown past the sun, back to London? 

Did your brother know? Did Townshend send Henry
from Gresford that day, to stand with the chaplain 
and ask would he write something home to your mother?
Did Henry speak regret for the way he taught you
to pick a gent’s pocket and he’d always remember
you held him and fed him when taken with fever
during the lay-up when the ship drove to Spithead
before that long journey on the Marquis of Huntley?
Did they send Edward Cory to let you say sorry
you lifted that shovel to strike his head and to pray
for forgiveness, (though I’ve read that you said
you’d sooner hang than work for him another day)?
And when it was done and you were dead, did
Henry’s tears wash before they took you away?

- © Andrew Leggett 2020

Andrew Leggett is an author and editor of poetry, fiction, song lyrics and interdisciplinary academic papers. Andrew has resided at various places in three Australian states, but now lives at Port Macquarie, New South Wales, with his wife, Linda Kaarina. They collaborate musically to record as the Blood Moon Wailers. Andrew’s writing is widely published in Australia and internationally. In addition to medical degrees and postgraduate qualifications in psychiatry and psychotherapy, he holds a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Queensland and a PhD from Griffith University. His two previously published collections of poetry Old Time Religion and Other Poems (1998) and Dark Husk of Beauty (2006) were published by Interactive Press. He was editor of the Australasian Journal of Psychotherapy from 2006-2011. He is the current prose editor for StylusLit.

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