Poet lives again in fond memoir
was hoping to buy a block on the coast in April 1972, in a pastoral mode described ‘‘whipbirds calling, strange other feathered creatures quite unfrightened’’ and suggested he ‘‘might run up a humpy of driftwood to camp in’’. It was signed: ‘‘Love & peace & burrawangs’’.
Two months later, depressed and recovering from a serious motorcycle accident, when he was prescribed opiates for the pain, he wrote in misery from darkest Darlinghurst in inner Sydney. But not long afterwards he was attempting to put his life back in order. An envelope came with a return address at the hospital. He said: I wrote 70 poems the other day and 20 the day before. Inspired indeed by my new-met muse, Paula, who is also Virgo & just 23. Student. We spend our working hours, aching hours, getting ourselves through the long days and long nights. V. pleased with new poems & love. But he added: Health is really shot (grave lung condition, cronks and shakes from withdrawal, freakouts, my bad leg worse). But am positive towards whatever future I have (the doctor reckons 6 months). PS — this ward is full of young heads & freaks like me & Paula. P & I spend time playing all her records from Beethoven to Bob Dylan or sitting in a willow glade on the lake shore but always together.
About a month later, in November, determined to step back from the abyss, he writes from a farm near the village of Tharwa in the ACT, celebrating that: “Have written the first
Paula Keogh with Michael Dransfield from the cover of The Green Bell