Judy Johnson

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

    with words.

                 Try harder to do no harm.

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