A Pain Around My Shoulders | Jill Jones

A Pain Around My Shoulders, as Ritual


I like the lawn’s yellow flowers

Lovely weeds, welcome!

I presume it’s seasonal


Happy grass

as shadows recede in morning


Make sure the gate catches

The way requires obstacles

                     and rusty handles


Everywhere time is

the passing passes

          into the future, the past

not history that’s made

               of what’s counted

rather than what’s dreamt

by everyone present

     the magic elements

          love and despair

               awe and boredom

or simply that pain

     around the shoulders

my own ritual like a brace

before gates and doors


                             Or repetitions

a sip of something else

     the river’s metal

its spume and shade

          its spawn and bloom







Jill Jones’ most recent books are Brink, Breaking the Days, shortlisted for the 2017 Kenneth Slessor Prize, and The Beautiful Anxiety, which won the 2015 Victorian Premiers’ Literary Award for Poetry. A new book, Viva the Real, is due from UQP in late 2018. Her work features in recent anthologies including Contemporary Australian Poetry and Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry.

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