Julian O’Dea: ‘When Mum Died’ and ‘The Assumption of St Francis’


When Mum Died

When Mum died, I didn’t cry.
Why lie?

But the woman authored
and annotated my life;
as I think daily, footnotes
appear in my mind,
of mordant comments
she made
and exhortations.

She had been a teacher:
Can do better …
Not your best work.

She wrote poetry of sense
and wit, Augustan in its

And won a major prize for
Australian poetry,
which led blinking wombat
to despise her.

But hush, I won’t go on.
She never liked gush.

Julian O’Dea

The Assumption of St Francis

Seven hundred species of birds,
well preached at, carried the saint
home to Heaven, provided the
Cranes and eagles were the motive
power, tiny birds came from every
bower, to adorn him.
The angels thought him their own,
winged with such colour
and clamour.

Julian O’Dea


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