vost cropped

Ubermensch: VOST

(Ronn Morris for Gary Willis - 2002)


It's like that Ferlinghetti poem: "In Goya's Greatest Scenes" we seem to see

The people of the world exactly at the moment when they first attained

The title 'suffering humanity'. Only in this painting of Leichhardt, all alone,

The explorer kneels with paintbrush in mouth,

And speaks with this non-tongue, his death.


Silence is a grammar. This man, with golgotha eyes, says,

My life streaks the horizon and will fade in a swirl of stars.

Once, he recalls, I wrote to that hard man, my father,

Saying, I am on top of a mountain over looking a landscape

Writ large where formerly I had crawed through narrow valleys.


How was I to know all Antipodean summits areold and small? They leach the will,

Becoming Mount hopeless, Mount Disappointment, Mount Desolation, Mount Despair.

I have become a man who lives and dies in obscurity.

This ruinous flatland speaks cleanly as it obliterates me. Its heat fires me,

It darks the flesh, and ripes the heart. It says Herr Docktor, Herr Fraud: life is bitter; your blood is sweet.


Ronn Morris - Melbourne, December, 2002.


'VOST' - Installation - Faculty Gallery - R.M.I.T. University - 2002


MALLEY POEMS - Ronn Morris - 2001

The following poems were written in response to Ern Malley’s The Darkening Ecliptic and after viewing Sidney Nolan’s accompanying paintings and calligraphic drawings in the 1974 R Alistair McAlpine publication. As you recall Ernest Lalor Malley began life as a hoax whose oeuvre and circumstances were authored by poets Douglas Stewart and James McAuley.

Douglas Douglas Stewart James McCauley

Douglas Stewart - James McCauley = Ern Malley

As Michael Heyward notes in his book, The Ern Malley Affair, (UQP, 1991): “He (Nolan) wanted to show that Malley ‘did make sense by doing a drawing of each four lines to try to prove to McAuley and Stewart that the thing did have a logic and a meaning like other forms of poetry, and it wasn’t a nonsense’” (175). This poem sequence has been written in the spirit of Nolan’s Ern Malley drawing and painting: it is to be read as a fathoming of the verse of Ern Malley and as a series of encounters with Nolan’s and Heyward’s differently compelling engagements with Malley.

In writing the following poems I acknowledge Heyward’s fine scholarship and lucid narrative style. His chapter on the trial, and in particular, on the Detective Vogelesang’s and Crown Prosector, Mr D.C. William’s interrogation of the Ern Malley poems, through the unfortunate person of Max Harris, their publisher, is particularly interesting. It is from this chapter, “Indecent, Immoral, Obscene”, and in reference to the outré notion of a policeman reading surrealist poetry as evidence of obscenity that I take the phrase, “ fingering his truncheon” (190) as subtitle for the first of the “Sonnets for the Pain”.


 The complete suite of 'Malley Poems' were completed in 2002 as part of a collaborative poerty - painting project between Ronn Morris & Gary Willis.

voss 2 Voss - Gary Willis - oil on cotton rag - 2001

Nolan: Malley Country, 1944-1974

Not knowing then that he perceived it too

I looked beyond horizon fraught with scabby leaves

And saw unrelenting haze as cataract on sky.

The vast blue stretching like Heaven’s cloth

For a hammy Atlas to hold aloft

— Pure Nolan confection.

But the painter’s china blue eyes know

That this interminable sky

Is particulate with gritty dust

It tastes like iron in the mouth

And smells like blood and wafts

Like sleep-time narcotic in these our veins.


Ronn Morris


More 'Malley Country' poems - Ronn Morris; (by arrangement)







(i)Prophylactic Measures in the Court of the Dark Surrealist Muse,

― Or, We Are Not Amused: What the Good Detective Read as He Fingered His Truncheon

(ii) Poetry, You, too, Dislike it.