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A poem for Agnes Bojaxhiu

Grant Fraser |  03 September 2017


Selected poems


Corellas at Dunkeld

From our distance we saw the Corellas

hanging like a hospital's washing

in the tenements of a large Redgum,

and heard them crooning the scandals of the day

each blushing mildly,

cronies of the nudge and the wink,


one watchful bird rose on a whim

drawing with him a thousand companions,

and they swung boisterously up,

then broke into raucous quorums

in a vast drunken carousel,

bringing and taking tidings,

gathering and breaking apart,

seeding the skies with gossip.


And the elect among them

rose on their high sabbaticals

until they all disappeared

beyond the sneak of their horizons,

but still haunting the evening

as a migraine staggers light

at the corners of the eyes.



with all the spanish majesty of a living Caravel,

coursed by the momentum of their thinking wings,

they soared as one in their din above us

lavish with the imperium of flight,

a great hush in the thunder of their passing.




Japanese paintings

Here, the air is buffeted by kites,

the tug of carp, the blossom's kiss,

Waves of fire coil through a paralysis of storm,

and the song of the Samurai

is whetted sweetly

in arcs of chosen light.


Through snow,

through the night's ink,

bandy men come trotting,

thatched men

with feet the size of snowflakes,

each warmed by spoonfuls of lantern light;

the breath from their paper lungs

does not disturb the pieties of smoke.


In the kindling house

tea blooms in amber steam,

fans rustle insinuations,

tinder screens slide their propriety.

Here, the tides of meticulous oceans

are stilled,

even the wind is content

with an exact debris of leaves.




Bellini: Lamentation over the Dead Christ

In the Uffizi,

Past miles of forgettable popes

And galleries of swooning virgins;

Past the custodian

And the craft of her cornered eye:

' Signora!'

You may chance,

As I did,

Upon the Bellini,

And ...


Stilled utterly

By the shock of absence,

The unravelling of life into grief,

Their shyest privacies

Are spilled into the painter's eye;

And they stare into their elsewheres,

As if they were watching

What they were already remembering.

Except for one of them

Who has turned to watch

The young man at the left of the painting

Who is caught in that abysmal moment

Before weeping can begin,

Reminding us

That grief itself,

Might in a kinder eye,

Become an act in love

Of tenderness.




A poem for Agnes Bojaxhiu

Recently published letters have revealed that although

Mother Teresa of Calcutta spent many years

In her inspiring ministry, she felt, during much

0f that time, a profound spiritual emptiness.


At each day's end

You shawled the night about you

Gathering in the cold,

And rehearsed again

Your most private agonies,

As if your turn of phrase

Might stir a holy grammar,

Might persuade the silence to speak.

But by day,

With the sureness of one who might attend upon a prince

You washed the disgrace from their bodies,

Eked out from them the blessing of their names,

And restored life

To those whose lives were ending.


You longed to bring the touch of your unaccountable faith

To those pressed by municipal indifference

Into the crannies of a slum,

To bring your presence,

                                                     to those whose last capacity was to wait.

And so you would child your sorrow

Through Calcutta Streets,

Eyes fixed at the height of a beggar's hand,

Until each day revealed itself

As a scrubbed infant,

                                                    Face shining like a holiday.





Grant FraserGrant Fraser is a lawyer, poet and filmmaker.



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Submitted comments

It's difficult to choose which one I like best. Very impressive, thank you.

Pam 04 September 2017

Thank you, Grant. Three grand subjects ... an inspiring beginning to a warm Spring day.

Helps Jones 05 September 2017

.....and life continues to unravel into grief..........I have ceased to wonder about Mother Teresa's life journey through withoutness and its always attendant despair. Great souls carry the many of us without us ever knowing... and that's the blessing as life continues its inexorable unravel...... Inspiringly profound....thank you, Grant..

Charles Murray 05 September 2017

Thank you.

David Moloney 06 September 2017

I savoured these rich offerings. Thank you.

+Greg O'Kelly SJ 06 September 2017

Richly wrought and piercingly perceptive, a joy to read and reflect on. Thank you.

Jena Woodhouse 06 September 2017

Long live the memory of the exemplary life and heroic services of saint Mother Teresa of Kolkata.

Dr.Cajetan Coelho 06 September 2017

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