E A Gleeson

E. A. Gleeson was born at Coleraine and lived the first six months of her life in her grandmother’s home at Wootong Vale. The rest of her childhood was spent on a Soldier Settlement farm near Camperdown in Victoria’s Western District. Since then, she has travelled widely. She has lived in urban and rural Australian communities, and, in Tonga, as an Australian Volunteer International.

In the mid 1990s, Anne began writing poetry and quickly established her reputation with a quick succession of prizes and publications. She features regularly at Victoria’s premier poetry venues and, occasionally, in other places, when she travels.

Anne currently lives in Ballarat, Victoria, where she works as a writer, educator and funeral director.


eNews 41: Emily Brinkworth's interview with E.A. Gleeson about in between the dancing


Rising Light

When the house was sold, she stayed, renting back
the rooms she’d thought of as hers. When winter

closed in, she gathered twigs, set the fire, pulled
her chair close. She saw the horses arrive, three

welsh ponies; a grey, a bay, and one, the colour
of wheat. Each one brought from somewhere else.

In spring, the ponies shredded the young trees
she’d planted, nibbling on the soft new growth.

They cropped the grass, slurped from the dam.
Their bellies grew round. In the mornings, she

leaned on the fence, the rotten palings digging
into her fleshy underarms, her eyes searching.

One morning, as she stared across the paddocks,
she saw it, the white foal following the grey mare

towards the house-yard. And then two days later,
on a day when fog clung to the valley, a bay foal

teetered beside its mother. The lighter pony
grazed on the slope, its belly bulging. Feeling

the dampness on her skin, she watched all this.
Just herself, and the welsh ponies with their foals

coming towards her, all of them cocooned in the mist,
the young sun struggling. Next year she would be

somewhere else, but this place on this spring morning
would be hers. It would be hers now.

International Women’s Day

Women’s voices drift above the palms
across the edge of night, colouring

the Tongan morning with holy songs
a benediction for the waking world.

Filtering through western latitudes
into coffee shops brimming with chatter,

the day passes in the telling of stories,
the night throbs with the dancing

and stomping of women till the darkness
is full of the sound of breaking glass.

The women who first blessed the day
sit in the glow of the new morning

gouging at coconuts, the white flesh
falling into a pile of soft wafers.

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