Sunday, 27 May 2012

The blessing of onions

William Street

The red globes of light, the liquor-green,
The pulsing arrows and the running fire
Spilt on the stones, go deeper than a stream;
You find this ugly, I find it lovely.

Ghosts' trousers, like the dangle of hung men,
In pawnshop-windows, bumping knee by knee,
But none inside to suffer or condemn;
You find this ugly, I find it lovely.

Smells rich and rasping, smoke and fat and fish
And puffs of parafin that crimp the nose,
Or grease that blesses onions with a hiss;
You find it ugly, I find it lovely.

The dips and molls, with flip and shiny gaze
(Death at their elbows, hunger at their heels)
Ranging the pavements of their pasturage;
You find it ugly, I find it lovely.

Kenneth Slessor


Peter said...

Slessor ...a true Sydneysider, not too many fish and chippers left in the cross ... kebabs and pizzas.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful night scene!

Lachezar said...

Beautiful night shot!

brattcat said...

you find it lovely, i find it lovely. thank you.

Jane Bennett Artist said...

I find it lovely too; poem, photo & post.

Jim said...

Great night view of William Street back to the city.

Mark said...

So many great Slessor poems but this is a real favoutite. It captures the desperation of William St so well.
Have you ever read Peter Ackroyd's "London a Biography'. He has a theory that certain streets, areas have personalities that linger through the centuries and even Millenia no matter how much the physical appearance changes.
William St is like this too me. How many times over the last 50 years have there been schemes to make it some hideous Antipodean Champs Elysee, but no amount of money or plane trees (ha London again!) will ever change it. I notice the red neon light is for a pawn broker, just like Slessor's times. I wonder in Eora times if it was a lonely swampy place for the outcasts or bad spirits.
Most find it ugly but I find it all so lovely! Thank heavens for the blessing of onions.

Joe said...

Wonderful night cityscape. Well chosen words.

Mo said...


Joan Elizabeth said...

Great photo to go with a great poem ... it captures the essence of city at the edge so well.

Kay L. Davies said...

A perfect photograph to accompany the poem, Julie. A lovely night shot indeed.