Johannes Beilharz
Samantha’s painting

        for Les Murray

Oh summer day & lilacs abound
This is a Samantha day

This is a day for easel outing,
lunch packed in proper basket

by Helena the maid,
the old green MG out of the garage

Oh but all forgotten the landscape
The rolling hills of Pamphrey,

that rush of the river Brooke
This is a Samantha day

And everybody’s there with her
Each tube of oil is someone

Wish I knew which green was me
But light lilac I know is Samantha

Light lilac flowers on off-white muslin

Still life with tulip and chimneys

Even though life’s
like a still life today,
what with chill,
a sheet of incessant rain &
this being a holiday,
there must be motion
somewhere behind each
one of those still windows

There must be

Since I don’t have one,
I imagine a tulip
in the window,
screaming vermilion
– from hot sun rays
soaked in –
at the chimneys
stuck up in today’s torpor

There’s life somewhere,
I’m sure of it

Loving and free

There’s nobody to tell you,
and if there were
you’d tell them to go to hell,
you’re on your own,
you’re your own man,
and there’s opportunity
out there, a wide field of it,
you have only an inkling
of its expanse. You’re on
this freedom trip because
you’ve severed something,
an attachment you felt
was a string, one whose
tucking was in one
direction only, and you
were sick of the tuck.
But that’s only one thing –
think of verse, and its
wide expanse. Now that’s
freedom. You can do
anything, and with the
advent of computers
you don’t even need
paper. You need current,
but that’s ok, everyone
needs it nowadays, even
though the same could
be said of paper – think
of toilet paper. Anyway,
I’m free from the love
business tonight as well,
thoroughly sick of its
ups and downs and pit-
falls. What is true love?
Is there ever more than
one instance of it? Then
a drop into cold water
from that serenity, or
into the scald of felt
betrayal or foolishness.
This is freedom. Take
it now. You’ll leave it
again too soon,
when this belligerence
is over – as it will be,
just like everything
else that will always be
over – in an instant,
tomorrow, when some-
thing else comes up,
when you betray love,
when you betray