Lyn Hatherly


Lyn Hatherly spends much of her time doing something about writing: editing, publishing, writing, and teaching. Some writers have been working with her – as members of The Writing Zone club – since 1997. Currently, apart from teaching writing and mentoring other writers, she’s one of the managing editors of the new Five Islands Press. In the past she was one of the founding board members of Australia Poetry, editor of Poetry Monash and the Medal Poets Series. In between lecturing in North Queensland Lyn set off in her small green car on a Writer on Wheels tour funded by the Regional Writing Fund. She also acted as poetry editor for LiNQ. Lyn has three published books: Acts of Abrasion (Five Islands Press 2006) Sappho’s Sweetbitter Songs (Routledge 1996) Songs of Silence (Medal Poets 1994). She contributes poetry and reviews to journals and anthologies and has won several awards. At the moment, after much house and garden building, Lyn is busy with a new book about creating a garden in the natural Australian style.


It’s a miracle the way they home
every evening, braids of light from the city
to the burbs and boroughs
dark-suited parents in singles or pairs
swooping in with the day’s bacon or fish
dreaming, while halted, of the snug rooms
the glad cries of their young.
From crowded arterials they separate
gem-like threads shine up and down grey dales.
Who could believe they’d each find
that certain opening, could zoom at speed
into their own welcome. 

By February Shearwaters have nested
in earthen burrows, each parent sitting
alternate weeks sharing their warmth
with the young as they swell in curved shells.
The other floats, dives for dinner with the flock
flies unerringly home, feathered beats
matching the clouds, shape-shadowing the sea.
Each plunges straight and fast into one entrance
among thousands, each, to my eyes
exactly alike. Babies in their fluffy suits
squeal with pleasure before the family
settles in their dim cosy nest.

Flexible bones

you slip from me
slick with the fluids of ingress
and egress
my labia refold like petals
when the world turns from the sun
I think how part of you
sleeping now against my thigh
is solid brawn yet baby-skin soft 

you don’t know
in months a child will take its leave
the way you have left
my very bones spreading
almost dislocating
hormones unsettling them
as our child moves outwards
and onward 

you can’t remember
how a pelvis bent as you birthed
so you fit that thin canal
how fontanelles    those pliant spots
flexed your skull
where spaces lingered
where skin stretched
and revealed your soul 

you didn’t see the head
of our first child    pointed
as a pixie as she squeezed
into life
only love could melt bones
this way    then fuse
them for a lifetime