Bill Manhire

Bill Manhire’s latest book is The Stories of Bill Manhire.

Poem: ‘Election Address’

Bill Manhire, 28 July 2016

I expect you know why I have asked you here at this late hour. The stars, gentlemen, the stars! They shine as ever, here at End-of-the-line. Do sit awhile and admire the heavens. I have robes and a chain, and I have power in useful ways: your electricity is mine, as is the public swimming pool. I license the posts you hope to score beneath. I can require the trams to go more slowly, for as...

Three Poems

Bill Manhire, 22 May 2014


The window waits for light. The path to the river waits for twigs and stones and feet. The day hopes to be successful, a prose day really, nothing untoward, and so it, too, waits. Also, the car waits. But I suppose the car is not waiting, it is simply taking the corners at speed – it is the gorge that is waiting. The family waits up all night. Sleep is useless. We say time is...

Two Poems

Bill Manhire, 30 August 2012

Old Man Puzzled by His New Pyjamas

I am the baby who sleeps in the drawer. Blue yesterday, and blue before – and suddenly all these stripes.

The Question Poem

Was there a city here?

We were sitting with friends. It was a sunny day. We were boasting about the local coffee. Strange self-congratulations, flat whites. These were friends we had only recently found our way back to. For a long...

Poem: ‘The Oral Tradition’

Bill Manhire, 25 June 2009

The oral tradition tore us apart. It sang in the heart, it chanted of the sun. It knew the attributes of gods, naming their triumphs one by one. We looked far out: that ship was like a bird! Its sails were wings beneath the stars. And kennings like swans would visit from afar to teach us to be travellers.

Such noise, so many voices! The oral tradition was absurd. It knew where killings had...

Three Poems

Bill Manhire, 19 June 2008

The Victims of Lightning

A good poet is someone who manages, in a lifetime of standing out in thunderstorms, to be struck by lightning five or six times; a dozen or two dozen times and he is great.

Randall Jarrell

Often they are naked; clothing is scattered across a field; or trousers and shirt appear in some nearby village – a little tattered, waiting to be folded. Sometimes with...

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