Andrew Lansdown

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Gestures of Love

Gestures of Love: The Fatherhood Poems

 

Andrew Lansdown

 

Wombat Books

(Capalaba, Queensland), 2013

136 pages

 

ISBN: 9781922074706

 

RRP $14.95

 

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Back cover blurb

Few poets have explored the weight and wonder of fatherhood like Andrew Lansdown.

Over the years he has established a high reputation for his subtle, insightful poems about his wife and children.

Acclaimed poet and critic Geoff Page has observed that “Lansdown has a very sincere and direct way of handling poems about his immediate family which subtly suggests great tenderness without becoming sentimental.” And world-renowned poet Les Murray has claimed that “no one writes of family love with more tenderness than he.”

Now, for the first time, Andrew’s widely-published, award-wining poems celebrating family life are gathered in one collection, Gestures of Love. These fatherhood poems are bound to delight and move all readers—not only parents, but also anyone interested in the joy, grief and quirkiness of the human condition.

 

 

Preface

 

Andrew and his wife, Susan, have five children, three sons and two daughters, who were born over an 18-year period. Their first son was at university when their last son was born. This is why Andrew could write about a one-year-old son in 1978 and again in 1996.

Andrew is widely respected for his poems about his family. Geoff Page has observed that “Lansdown has a very sincere and direct way of handling poems about his immediate family which subtly suggests great tenderness without becoming sentimental.” And Les Murray has claimed that “no one writes of family love with more tenderness than he.”

The poems in this collection span 35 years of fatherhood and are selected from twelve published collections of poetry. Many of these poems have been revised since they first appeared in Andrew’s other books. Some previously uncollected poems are also included.

 

 

Three poems from Gestures of Love

 

 

Homecoming

 

It is thrilling to be so loved.

Hearing my step on the veranda

he bellows to Mum that I’m home

and races to the door to greet me.

 

To be so loved. It is thrilling.

Seeing me he bursts into welcome,

with glad prattle, great prancing

and that sheer shine on his face!

            © Andrew Lansdown

 

 

 

Rhyme

 

I sing a rhyme for my daughter

of a teapot short and stout.

She mimes a clumsy kettle,

crooks a handle, points a spout.

 

The world is wide with danger,

my life is dark with doubt,

but a child commands me sweetly,

‘Come on, Daddy, dance and shout!’

 

Sometimes I sense my children

have turned my life about.

They top me up with gladness,

tip me over, pour me out.

            © Andrew Lansdown

 

 

 

Apples

 

She lifts her long skirt

to cradle the windfalls.

Her legs are very white,

like the flesh of apples.

 

Some things about women

a woman can never know.

Else she would not stand

with her skirt caught up.

 

Or she would more often.

She stands in the shade

of the laden tree, unaware

I am aware of her legs.

 

Beloved, even the apples

are blushing in your lap.

            © Andrew Lansdown