Blessed be this sadness

after Les Murray


I carry within the unmimicable dark.

Weeping open on the train one day

I learn no-one speaks to the sorrowful

except to say I’m sorry or I’ve been there

or to caw like some useless bird. No-one

has been to this place, my sweet black sea.

You may have your own, a waterless rock

or else some other reflection of world,

a bedroom, a garden of knowledge, a mouth.

No-one has been to my deep black sea

or knows the names of the unique fish,

crustaceans and algae that flourish there.

I visit its beach of glass every morning

afraid it will vanish without my care,

my soft light. When I’m there, I hold

the necklace of wounds my mother gifted

me, tiny tragedies, accidental histories,

each one a jewel, amethyst of fist, topaz

abortion, and oh the blood diamonds

of neglect. Every wound here is a window

back to life, little lungs pumping air

into this beautiful void. And it is beauty.

A dozen moons of pale pink and blue hang

in the sky, each one a halo on haunted water.

The truth is: I love this grief-wrought hole.

All that I have lost lives in it. Together

as never in life, we swim, we school, we

sink in moon and diamante sand. Bone

dry, I leave wet footprints wherever I go.

Back in the carriage, the necklace is heavy

as a solar system and absolutely ordinary.



Image: Vincent Chien / flickr


Omar Sakr

Omar Sakr is the author of two acclaimed poetry collections, These Wild Houses (Cordite, 2017) and The Lost Arabs (UQP, 2019) which won the 2020 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Poetry. His debut novel, Son of Sin (2022) is out now.

More by Omar Sakr ›

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