2016 Dorothy Hewett Award shortlist sneak peek: Carolyn Abbs

The second Dorothy Hewett Award for an unpublished manuscript will be announced at the 2017 Perth Writers Festival on Saturday 25 February, 11:30am-12:30pm, in the Tropical Grove. To celebrate the talented writers that made the shortlist, we will be sharing extracts on our blog and social media in the weeks leading up to the ceremony. 


Carolyn Abbs

Carolyn Abbs is a Western Australian poet published in leading journals and anthologies such as Westerly, Cordite, Rabbit, Axon: Creative Explorations, The Best Australian Poems 2014, and Australian Book Review as part of the ABR ‘States of Poetry’ project (2016).






Sea Houses 

    ‘The eternal note of sadness in’, Mathew Arnold


Sometimes at night I lay awake and listen 
to the repetitious hush of the waves, and wonder 
how we came to be here, so far from home. 


Poppy’s house faces the sea, blindly 
in northern winter, a silent melancholy indoors: 
salt crystallizes on windows and vases stand empty 
on the ledge, save for sprigs of colourless catkin. 


Yet, one day in late June, strolling down the lane, 
flowers sprouted through fences and I found 
a bucketful of bright Marigolds for sale. 
I chose a fist-size bunch tied with string 
and wrapped a piece of brown tissue around, 
clonking coins into a tin.     With joy 
I took the Marigolds to Poppy and she said 
Oh I so wanted flowers for the window ledge. 


Tonight I listen to the waves, imagine her 
by an open window watching over the sea, 
the glow of Marigold beneath her chin 
like our childhood game of buttercups; 
and with the ebb and flow of thought 
I connect to home. 


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