Saturday Night - Thea Astley

Year: 1944


By Thea Astley[1]

The crowded trams go past,
The faces bright and painted -all the same;
No joy to last!
Last! you fools!
A bit of dazzle came before the claim
Of cold eternity.
But I would be a fool
If being such meant but an hour of joy,
Of laughter and the dazzle of the night-
An hour become for me
Cold winds toss the sky
Into a jumbled maze of star and cloud,
The trams go by-
A rustling in the trees – and I alone
With loneliness upon me like a shroud.
O aching scar!
I sit and long for life-
And pen a sick love poem to a star!
Barjai no 14, May 1944, p3

[1] 1925-2004. Educated at All Hallows School and the University of Queensland. Taught in regional Queensland, novelist from 1958, 4 times Miles Franklin award winner.

Love's coming - Grace Perry

Year: 1944

By Grace Perry[1].

The air was hushed with voiceless loveliness
That trembled on the crystal brink of song,
While waiting flowers drooped their heads in prayer.
The fading sunlight tarried them along
The smiling lawns, and lingeringly kissed
The listening trees. Vague shadows loitering
Within the darkening vale delayed the mist

So they might see love come to me…

Barjai no 12 January 1944, p12.


[1] (1927-1987) published 3 books of poems as a teenager, then qualified as a doctor, becoming a paediatrician. Resumed publishing poetry again in the 1960s, founded South Head Press, and Poetry Australia Magazine. Bred Simmental Cattle. 

Sleep Song - Barbara Patterson (Blackman)

Year: 1945

By Barbara Patterson[1]

They in tired ways beset me
Asking for pass ports
And news of rain;
I cannot tell them,
I am escaping
And the sun will never shine again.
I am drunk with the deeds of daytime,
I am crazed with the city street.
They stand
Like shadows of relations
Fanning themselves from exhausted heat.
Please tell them I am indisposed
Awaiting the pedlar
Selling peace,
Tell them when I awake I shall be merry,
But tell them that now
I have need of sleep.

Barjai no 19,  1945. P29

[1] Barbara Blackman (1928-     ) Brisbane State High Graduate, 1945, artist’s model, poet, librettist, and patron of the arts. According to Joanne Watson, she was stripped of her position as BSHS ‘Head Girl’ because of her association with Barjai. Now one of the ‘Legends of State High’..

Morning - Laurence Collinson

Year: 1944

By Laurence Collinson[1]

Into the gutters gushed the tedious rain
and overflowed on to his step-worn shoes.
he trod the puddled cobbles of the lane:
discomfort emphasised the tawdry views
of blustering shirts on lines, and garbage cans
with lids upthrust by swollen refuse and
newspaper wrappings, and broken pots and pans,
and fences come unstuck from sodden land.
He crouched behind a sheltering iron wall
and looked out on the roadway pierced by drops.
The heavy clouds around him seemed to fall,
the thunder flattened sadly on housetops.
He thought how much he’d like a change of scene

and watched a lady in a limousine.

Barjai no 16, September- October 1944, p4.   


[1] (1926-1985) editor Barjai 1943-47, high school teacher, psychotherapist, writer, artist, and campaigner for homosexual law reform.

Short Story - Barrie Reid

Year: 1944

By Barrie Reid[1]

Jack Reeves left home at the fifteenth anger
went out west with cattle.
Proud with the pride of his sixteen years
he rode where the dust is on the wattle.
All the suburb’s talk swelled fast about her
but his mother was still as a stone,
His father cursed once and was then silent
and the house huddled up all alone.
All the street pointed, whispered, gave opinion,
and his Grandfather Dan began a wild carouse
but I have never known a silence

like the silence on that house.

Barjai no 15, July 1944, p15.  


[1] (1926-1995) poet, editor, arts critic and librarian. Co-editor of Ern Malley’s Journal with Max Harris (1952-55), poetry editor of Overland (1965-88) and its editor (1988-93). Executive Officer of the State Library of Victoria Public Libraries Division from 1967.

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