New Poetry

Verse submissions or reviews to mwdavis[at]



John Glover Patterdale landscape with cattle

John Glover Patterdale landscape with cattle

After travelling

back in the magical country

the great south land

where sunshine cheers

like the best wine

and more innocent histories

give the search for wisdom

a special relish

Bob Cowley is a retired public servant. He lives in Adelaide, Australia



Peter Purves Smith - The Diplomats

Peter Purves Smith – The Diplomats


on behalf of the
eccentrics, court jesters and poets
may I say
if everyone was like us
there may be chaos
but if no-one was like us
would dull uniformity win?

      Old Age

winds blow colder
and wounds heal more slowly
but love and humor
may broaden and deepen


who can explain life?
don’t try too hard
logic should be
a servant of love

      Dreams of a poet

will the storms clear
and the warblers sing?
can the love of wisdom
bring the wisdom of love?

      A few contrasts

the incredible human mind
and pedestrian powers of computers
marvellous old music
and repetitive pop songs
sometimes grand statements
and messy reality
enjoying the search for wisdom
and the delusion of dogma

Poet BOB COWLEY is a retired public servant. He lives in Adelaide, Australia




 Elegy for Minor Emperors

by Michael Davis

No one will mourn Caesar

Not the stiff-necked night-watchmen at the German border

Neither the green nor the black olives

Nor the disinherited crown


The grapes won’t sour on the vine

The cypresses won’t bow low as his carriage passes

The stars won’t reflect his majesty in the heavens


His consort won’t throw herself on his pyre

His sons won’t be seen about in rich black robes

His concubines won’t throw themselves on couches in the garden

His horse won’t rear beneath the weight of his absence


The foreign delegations will pay their respects and proceed orderly out

The women will sleep naked in their beds

The men will stay out and get wildly drunk

The servants will fondle one another on haybails

The barbarians will track mud on mud floors

The dogs will lie down in the kennel

The sheep will huddle on the dark hill

The beetles will hum a disinterested Taps

Michael Davis is QR’s Poetry Editor




One January

                                                     One January –

                                                     And people come to the sea

                                                     To walk in groups, or singly,

                                                     At the edge of immensity.

                                                    All find themselves here –

                                                    But what wishes or fears

                                                   Will make themselves clear

                                                   In the ebb and flow of a year?

Poem by Derek Turner, the former Editor of Quarterly Review



Two poems by Marcus Bales

mid-life crisis


Suddenly the kids, the car,

the house, the spouse, the local bar,

the work, have made you what you are.

What doesn’t chill you makes you fonder.

Should you stay or should you go?

The thrill you’re looking for, you know,

could be right here at home, although

What doesn’t thrill you makes you wander.

If, avoiding common truth,

you dye your hair and act uncouth,

will you find your misplaced youth –

really, will you if you’re blonder?

It doesn’t matter if you’re strong

or if you sing a pretty song,

something, and it won’t be long,

will come to kill you, here or yonder.

You’re human in the human fray,

and choose between the shades of grey.

No matter if you go or stay

what might fulfil you makes you ponder.



Girl Reading Charles_Edward_Perugini_ak1


Of all my readers I like you the best.

You’re sexily well-read, and very smart –

Oh, you’re the one; the rest are just the rest.

Though most of them will think I speak in jest,

It’s you, you know, who’s read into my heart:

Of all my readers I like you the best.

I’m feeling better now that I’ve confessed

That it’s for you I struggle with my art.

You are the one — the rest are just the rest.

I see by your reaction you had guessed

I liked you more, and liked you from the start;

Of all my readers, I like you the best.

You get me — and I like how you’re impressed

That I know Horace comes before Descartes;

Ah, you’re the one. The rest are just the rest.

I like you very much — I’d be distressed

At anything that kept us two apart.

Of all my readers I like you the best;

Yes, you’re the one: the rest are just the rest.

Marcus Bales lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio




     Pretending Wall

He made a show of spitting on his hands;

he had a trowel, a hammer, and a tape,

and eyed the ground as one who understands

the way a wall might possibly take shape.

He didn’t dig a trench or fill with stone,

he didn’t even stake a line with string;

but while he talked to someone on the phone

he scuffed a crooked boot-wide path-like thing.

He kicked them into rows then, brick by brick —

it looked like he had never heard of math —

he’d sometimes give the dirt another kick

along his crooked and unlevel path.

It might have been his girlfriend or his bank,

but on he talked as back and forth he walked:

He’d move one brick, then give his hat a yank,

or wipe his face, or gesture as he talked.

And then the mortar – one place way too wet

another dry as if it were unmixed.

He tells me not to worry — it’ll set

as well as all the others he has fixed.

Unconsoled, I watch it as it grows:

he jams in legos, rocks, and broken wood

to try to even out the ragged rows,

but it’s not even close to being good.

“Being any good?” He gave a stare,

surprised to be confronted with such gall.

“Whatever structure that I may declare

to be a wall, it thus becomes a wall!”

At least two follies stand there, his and mine,

along that ugly length of anti-art:

There’s his incompetence’s little shrine,

and how I could have ever let him start.

Poem by MARCUS BALES who lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio



Elmore’s Farm

By Luke Torrisi

 The dogs’ chorus draws me to the night sky,

I look up to see the crushed quartz underfoot

Mirrored in the clear black. A ring of onlookers

From the heavens, like an ancient audience.

They surround this earthen altar,

Faintly verdant, streaked with rust,

In the blue light of Mani.

Stepping out from the void, as if disturbed,

Are the gnarled joints and split limbs

Of the oldest residents. Wind sculpt effigies.

What backs have they seen broken?

How many men have they measured?

Whose remains do they shade from the merciless

Beat of Sunna’s drum?

Quiet, now so quiet. And in the still crisp air,

I ask myself – did I hear a calling?

Was that a voice whispered from the earth itself?

I stoop to pick up a glinting shard – the tittering earth-crunch

Incessant. My every move – even a pivot – announced.

Sharp yet smooth – catching the slightest of light

It’s small but ancient curves amuse my thumb.

Words not hushed but echoed,

Strong, indeed determined to be heard

Reverberating through the ages, refuse to leave me.

Is my place in this sliver of vastness? Should my hands

Loosen the crumbling bronze? Splinters, spurs, stings-

Not even housemaid’s taunts out here. The rain furrowed

Driveway carries my eye to its craters.

A barely standing shed of discarded wood sighs.

A breeze, a rusted clang. Winged specks are cast like grain.

Will the dendrite watchers of the land oversee my passing?

The cluttered silhouettes of lives past hang from the distant

Roof of an unwalled lean-to, too precious to discard.

Dented iron, pitted brown metal, flaky ash-grey handles.

Dangling remnants – the inheritance I leave?

The dry-wind brushed fences of picket and wire,

Encompass the testing paddocks. A tough bronze skin

That only gives way to wilful heaving of diesel coughing iron.

What mercy will Freyr grant to any channel hewn

Into this parched firmament so divided from the sky’s tears?

The children’s window, tapped by the fluttering flecks.

I feel them sleeping.

In the common good of this soil I shall sow their strength.

In the bright solar spirit of tomorrow these fields,

Shall receive new life, as new life from old springs in me.

To acquiesce is not to lose one’s self, to fail one’s being,

It is to become, to return to one’s essence.

In this ochre and dusty green I have found my polis

A citizen returned from his Odyssey.

The dogs snap me back to the present moment.

Are the sirens calling me to the rocks once more?

Roused from my reverie, the dark shades of doubt

Whisk about me. Loki’s bag of tricks,

Once loosed an enchanting promise of perfection,

So many dance intoxicated to its tune – perhaps me?

My fate lies now in this ghost-soaked land.


Luke Torrisi is a legal practitioner and the host of Carpe Diem, Sydney’s only explicitly Traditionalist radio programme

To Hylas M. W. DAVIS

To Richard II M. W. DAVIS

Four poems LIAM GUILAR

The prison house of language? LIAM GUILAR

On an anonymous reviewer CATHARINE SAVAGE BROSMAN

Child dancer PETER STARK

Oblivions grace DEREK TURNER


The tide-watchers DEREK TURNER

Cold constitutional DEREK TURNER

Monday night DEREK TURNER

Photographs from last summer DEREK TURNER

Subduction HAMISH WOOD

Poems by Niels Hav, Hamish Robinson, Anne Stevenson, Rilke and others appeared in the print editions of the QR published between 2007 and 2012, and will be added shortly


Rough Spun to Close Weave by Liam Guilar – reviewed by M. W. DAVIS

Shades of Love by Constantine Cavafy, illustrated by Dimitris Yeros – reviewed by DEMETRIS DEMOPOULOS

Shades of Love by Constantine Cavafy, illustrated by Dimitris Yeros – reviewed by DEREK TURNER

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