She Hawke

Shé Mackenzie Hawke is an award-winning poet and trans-disciplinary scholar. She currently works in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University. Her work has appeared in several academic journals, and her poetry has been widely anthologised. In 2007, she co-authored Tender Muse (Picaro Press) with Carolyn van Langenberg. Her novel in verse Depot Girl (Picaro Press) appeared in 2008. In 2009 it was nominated for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, and shortlisted for the Colin Roderick Literary Award in the same year. Her research interests include poetry, Greek mythology, psychoanalysis and crosscurrents between environmental, economic and socio-cultural flows of water. She has recently returned to her hometown Canberra, and lives with her two cats and dog. Her adult daughter, also an author, lives and writes from Italy.


I. Eukosmia

Mother of Gods, great nurse of all, draw near
Divinely honor’d, and regard my pray’r …
From thee at first both Gods and men arose
From thee the sea and ev’ry river flows
Orphic Hymn XXVI to the Mother of the Gods
– Thomas Taylor Translation, 1792:1512

In a beginning …
from a cryptic darkness
born of time, space and necessity
came the first liquescent soak
sprayed forth in wide array
venerated parthenogenetic
Creatrix of All
who would trouble Gods and poets
and men in times to come
few would give the triple deity her due.
Her holy moist Metisian fragments
imagined galaxies
leaked stars, seas, earths
creatures and sexes to life
a sovereign orb atomised by cosmic mayhem
wed to intention
her vapours everywhere present.

This Aquamater milk-producing bosom of life
invites us home to the sacred covenant
to re-member our moist beginnings
the original feminine divine
through Erikapaios, Phanes and Metis
the intrinsic numinousity
of the fragmented
aqua trinitarian doxology:

holy spirit


Humanity is depleting, diverting and polluting the planet’s fresh water resources … every species on earth – including our own – is in mortal danger.
– Maude Barlow, 2002:5

Streams, aquifers and oceans,
corrupted at source and mouth
by thirsty fat controllers
invisible to the sentience
of tabernacled ponds
guarded by the elemental
tied like an umbilicus
to the immanent trans-corporeal host
the Indigenous local
ecowise neophytes and elders,
that big business writes
as a footnote
or a nuisance
in broad
re-territorialised water story.

Our elemental passions for blue gold
flounder as the prizes of economic war
are exchanged without consult and consent
nature’s midwife re-trenched
by regulation
peaks and flows
from anthropocene whim
… congealed.


At eight
I lost you for a while
into other stories
trapped in the steerage
of a vessel
no longer buoyant
muffled by sin and penance
swallowed by shame
and the sorrowed departure
from my disfigured soul.

Slow Water

Not a gushing tap
or torrential flood

but a cyclical drip
measured by its own
deep space
and time.

The cloud is un-lonely Wordsworth
in company seen
but mostly unseen
raining on a human spectacle
of uncertain mission and method
while taking up the airs however spent
or dense with fumes

a cloud of different proportions
and constitution
owned by a commons
only humans could invent
irreverent of the God-Becoming
nascent deity of
slow incubation.

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