Whipstick-mallee Critics- 1935

Literature was served up to me raw
while waiting in the Dodge that day. Bar doors
flew wide and two bruised critics rolled
out roaring in the sun. The footpath throbbed
to thumping feet. A rising dust cloud fogged
a ring of cheering men and four
ecstatic dogs.

My uncle, propping up the limestone wall
Schooner-handed,  mentioned that the brawl
began with words on writers.
One, he said, was Lawson. In his view
both those pounding clowns were wrong. He knew
that Paterson outwrote them all.
And the dust cloud grew.

Years later, when our English tutor sneered
his way around Australian poets, “here
no writer’s worth re-reading”, those
two mallee academics seemed to swing
across my memory. Noisy sunlight ringed
a crowded dust cloud. Years are clear,
transparent things.

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