Alan Jefferies

Alan Jefferies is a poet and childrens’ author born and raised in Brisbane. He started writing and publishing after moving to Sydney in 1976. 

Between 1998 and 2007 he lived and worked in Hong Kong where he co-founded (with Mani Rao & Kit Kelen) OutLoud; Hong Kong’s longest running English language poetry reading. 

He’s published six books of poems, his most recent being “Seem” (Flying Islands, 2010) (Chinese translation by Iris Fan Xing).

He currently lives in Woolgoolga on the NSW mid-North Coast. 

A new book of poems, “in the same breath”  is forthcoming from Flying Islands in 2021.



                                                  from “in the same breath…” (forthcoming, Flying Islands, 2021)

The Truth

the truth is almost impossible to be rid of

you can chop it into little bits

you can wrap it in chains 

and sent it gurgling down 

to some distant ocean floor.
you can strip the flesh from its bones

grind each gristle into fine white powder

you burn it, crush it, you can destroy it 

with the heat of a thousand suns.

but all you would have done 

is make the truth sit stiller,

for the facts aren’t going anywhere
you can dismantle its DNA

forbid its language, 

you can tear down its temples

and obliterate its culture.

you can erase every last trace of it from the earth;

you can even ban it 

from referring to itself.
but you’ll never be rid of it completely 

all you would have done 

is make it grow stronger,

for one day, the truth will come out

and it will be frightening.

from “Seem” (Flying Islands, 2010)


I had come to her grave for some reason

an anniversary, birthday, I can't remember which.

And there was this guy doing some work on the plot 

right next to my late wife's grave.

He was putting formwork 

around the perimeter.
"It's the resting place of a Somali refugee"

he explained, his wife couldn't afford a headstone so 

I agreed to put something here.

"Anything's better than a mound of dirt, right?"

“Right”, he agreed.
Eventually he stood up from what he was doing 

and looked serenely at my late wife's headstone;

"Young", he said.

"Young" I nodded.

"Sudden" I said,

“Sudden”, he nodded.
And I could feel the beginnings of a single 

crystalline tear forming in the corner of my eye;

and before it could fall, 

he turned and hugged me-

this tall, dark, beautiful stranger.

from “in the same breath”  (forthcoming Flying Islands 2021)

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