The Privacy of Typewriters

The Privacy of Typewriters
I am an old book troglodyte
one who composes on paper
and types up the result
as many times as need be.

The computer scares me,
its crashes and codes,
its links with spies and gunshot,
its text that looks pre-published

and perhaps has been.
I don’t know who is reading
what I write on a carriage
that doesn’t move or ding.

I trust the spoor of botch,
whiteouts where thought deepened,
wise freedom from Spell Check,
sheets to sell the National Library.

I fear the lore
of that baleful misstruck key
that fills a whiskered screen
with a writhe of child pornography

and the doors smashing in
and the cops handcuffing me
to a gristlier video culture
coralline in an ever colder sea.
Les Murray

from Waiting for the Past (Carcanet, 2015)

Reprinted by permission of the publisher.
Les Murray

Les Murray is a poet, anthologist, editor and critic. He is originally from New South Wales, and over the past forty years he has published nearly thirty volumes of poetry, alongside two novels in verse, and prose collections.

In 1971, following the publication of The Ilex Tree (with Geoffrey Lehmann, 1965) and The Weatherboard Cathedral (1969), he moved to Sydney to write full time, acting as editor of Poetry Australia between 1973 and 1979. Early collections include Poems Against Economics (1972); Lunch & Counterlunch (1974); The Vernacular Republic (1976); a volume of Selected Poems (updated 1983, 1984, 1986, 1988); Ethnic Radio (1977); The Boys Who Stole the Funeral (1980); The People's Otherworld (1983); The Daylight Moon (1987); Dog Fox Field (1990) and Translations from the Natural World (1992).

Murray has edited several anthologies, including an Anthology of Australian Religious Poetry (1986/1991), and The New Oxford Book of Australian Verse (most recently re-issued in 1999). His work is widely translated, and has won literary awards including the Grace Leven Prize (1980, 1990), the Petrarch Prize (1995), and the T.S. Eliot Award (1996).

In 1999 he was awarded the Queens Gold Medal for Poetry on the recommendation of Ted Hughes, and in 2001 and 2002 he was shortlisted for the Canadian Griffin Poetry Prize. His most recent poetry collections are The Biplane Houses (2007), Taller When Prone (2010) and Killing the Black Dog: A Memoir of Depression (2011).

Read more about this poet