From ‘Miracle at New Norcia’, by John Kinsella

29 November 2012


So I finally finished Peripheral Light a couple of days ago – obviously it’s taken a while if you look how long ago the first Kinsella poem was posted on this blog. The poems in it aren’t always easy to love, but the highlights are real highlights. I came across a quote from Coleridge today, on the aim of poetry, that seems to sum up the below excerpt: “The best words in their best order.” New Norcia is near Perth; I have no idea what the miracle there might have been.


gaze upon this phantasm, doctrinaire line

months in getting back, against this house freed
from Satan’s urging towards it, as we retell
it, as part of wheatbelt miscellany, our greed

for crossover myths and stories, hard sell
prayers that play their politics, right-wing
politicians on display in the roadhouse, the hotel

with its cells under new management. Sing
psalms to olives and scrub, the blistering heat–
the searing kind that gets under skin, cauterising

and lifting like paint, art patron; that will entreat

[Read in Peripheral Light: Selected and New Poems, published by Norton. The full poem can be read here:]



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