Of the many poems that stopped me in my tracks, one is called Watching My Lover . First we get a vivid picture of her man holding his sick mother as she vomits. He washes her face, removes her soiled gown, her paper ‘‘ diaper’’; he dresses her as ‘‘ she covers her breasts with hands bruised from tubes and needles’’. Then Crozier’s brave candour: Later, I curl naked beside him in our bed, listen to his sleeping breath by breath. So worn out he burns with fever — the fires his flesh lights to keep him from the cold . . . Though he has washed I smell her on his skin as if she has licked him from head to toe with her old woman’s tongue so everyone who lies with him will know he’s still his mother’s son. Sam Hamill and Lorna Crozier are guests of the Australian Poetry Centre’s festival in Castlemaine, Victoria, from April 25 to 27. Bookings: ( 03) 9527 4063. Email: admin@ australianpoetrycentre. org. au.