Judy Johnson has published five full length collections and several chapbooks. Her books have won the Victorian Premier’s Award and been shortlisted in both the NSW and WA Premier’s Awards. She’s been awarded the Wesley Michel Wright Prize 3 times. Her latest collection is ‘Dark Convicts'(UWA publishing, 2017) a poetic exploration of her African American First Fleet convict ancestors.
Her Flying Islands publication is ‘Exhibit’, 2013.
Words, after an absence
Tend the graves of photographs
love letters, dried daisies.
Finger the devotions one by one
like knots in a prayer rope.
Gather inklings and injuries
as kindling for fire.
Attune to textures especially
the soft crystals of silence
in the air above old monasteries.
Listen to which footsteps placed
on the heart’s risers
produce a squeak
and which treads are noiseless.
Accept that the poem already exists
in no known language
and in perfect order.
And now that your task is impossible
take the one tool you have.
Try hard to find a way back to the page
Try harder to do no harm.