A dead dog.
A deep hole.
A piece of rope.
I tied one end around the dog’s waist,
the other around mine.
Ralph (I’ve given him a name)
went in first.
We didn’t make it as far as China
but we did come out in a strange city, a city
unlike any I’d ever seen.
Everything – the streets, the buildings, the doors
& windows – was made of polished steel, everything.
And it was bright, much too bright
for my weak eyes.
I soon went blind.
Ralph (who by some miracle has come back to life,
or perhaps he was only sleeping)
was not cut out to be a seeing-eye dog
but he’s doing the best he can.
Philip Hammial has had twenty-two collections of poetry published. His sixteenth collection, In the Year of Our Lord Slaughter’s Children, was short-listed for the Kenneth Slessor Prize in 2004, as was his fourteenth collection, Bread, in 2001. In 2004 Philip was awarded an Established Writer’s grant by the Literature Board of the Australia Council. He has represented Australia at several international poetry festivals: Poetry Africa 2000, Durban, SA; The Franco-Anglais Festival of Poetry, Paris, 2000; The World Festival of Poets 2000, Tokyo; the Festival International de la Poesie, Trois Rivieres, Canada, 2004 and the Micro-Festival, Prague, 2009. In 2006 an anthology of Australian poetry in French that Philip edited – 25 poetes australiens – was published by Ecrits des Forges in Trois Rivieres, Quebec and Le Temps des Cerises in Paris. He was a resident at the Australia Council studio at the Cité International des Arts in Paris for six months in 2009/2010