Laura Jan Shore

Born in the UK of American parents, Laura learnt to climb stairs on the ocean liner to the States. From Minneapolis to Laramie to Chicago to New York, she moved frequently as a child and has never stayed in one home for more than ten years. While raising two sons, she taught composition, literature and poetry at several colleges as well as offering creative writing courses privately. Her YA novel, The Sacred Moon Tree, Bradbury Press, NY, 1986, was nominated for the Washington Irving Children's Book Award. Laura's poetry has appeared in literary magazines and anthologies in Australia and overseas. In 1996, she immigrated to the Byron Shire where she initiated the Dangerously Poetic reading series. Her collection, Breathworks, was launched at the Byron Writers Festival in 2002 by Dorothy Porter and at the Sydney Poetry Festival by Ron Pretty. She won the 2009 FAW John Shaw Nielson Award and the 2006 CJ Dennis "Open Poetry" Literary Award. She was chosen by the Poets' Union for the 2003 Poets on Wheels Tour, which she counts as a poetry highlight. Her poems have twice been broadcast on Radio National's Poetica.


Laura performs her poetry with Mark Heazlett on guitar at the Brunswich Heads launch on 4 November, 2011. A brilliant mix of spoken word, jazzy music and visuals!



We stumble out
into thick blue air
and sink,
ankle deep into brine.

The water forest reflects itself
in a shimmer of olive and sage.
Mud oozes like greasy chocolate
between our toes.
The path is pricked
with mangrove knobs and twisted roots.

Your words are lost
in the sizzle of cicadas.
I splash ahead
through sea grass and darting minnows,
then slump
into the cool depths.

in the cradle of the river,
high tide laps my upper lip.
Gold sparks across the rippled surface.
A mullet arcs into air and for an instant,
we’ve exchanged elements.

Immersed, I float above speckled oysters
bedded in rock, glimpse the flutter
of a stingray in a cloud of sand,
then bob up
sleek as a cormorant with a long slow blink.
Your bulk is buoyant in this medium.
Wearing goggles, your hat tied beneath your chin,
you duck under and nose the shallows,
hunting for wildlife.
Nudging up close
we soak, heads lolling,
adrift in the sway of current.

It’s nearly evening when we scramble
back onto the bank. Prune fingered,
hair matted with seaweed.
Slime-black feet tentative on land.
Knees quiver,
pulse of the river
in our veins.

Proclaiming my love to a stone

Rest in my palm, dense one,
for you were created to fit just so.

Your oblong
curves into my lifeline,
cradled from fingers to fleshy pads.

Cool at first, you gently warm to me.
The rough arc scaring one side
contrasts with the rest of your smooth egg surface.

Held to my ear, I listen to the clink, clink
of your history, the rhythmic roll
against a dozen others, liquid grey in the tide pool.

Seaweed has tumbled with you
smearing a sheen of green.

About the weight and shape of my heart,
in another age, you would have been my daily
companion, my precious tool.

A pestle to crush open pipi shells or crack nuts.
Cast into the fire until glowing,
I would have slipped you close
on winter evenings to toast my icy feet.

Just the hint of a head and body –
as a child, I would have cradled you
crooning the lullabies of my kin.

Clapping you against another
to punctuate my thoughts, I choose you
to tote home. I make an altar
to your endurance.

Held each morning between both hands,
you pulsate my life back to me.

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