Local park inspires North Melbourne resident to publish his second poetry book

Brendan Rees

Dabbling into poetry during lockdowns “for reading as much as writing” has led to a North Melbourne resident looking to publish his second collection of poems.

Brendan Gleeson, a professor of urban policy studies at the University of Melbourne, said he drew much of his inspiration from his local park at Gardiner Reserve, which he described as a “treasure” and a “source of peace.”

“It allows me to express my inner life and reflect on feelings and ideas in a soulful way,” he said.

“I’m also driven by a wish to share these poetic reflections in the hope that they may interest and even help some people to think about and cope with all the recent disruption, and the grief that has come from this for many of us.”

Mr Gleeson said his latest collection of poems Records of the Loss Property Department of Gardiner Reserve, which he began working on since the start of the year would “eventually end up in a book.”

“It is a series of picture poems meditating on the question of loss. This is not to wallow in loss but actually to accept it as inevitable for the human condition and reduce its power over us.”

Speaking about his admiration for Gardiner Reserve at Arden St, he said it was a “joyful place” that reminded him of when his own children were little and the “many happy hours we had at local playgrounds.”

A local to North Melbourne for the past five years, Mr Gleeson said his latest work followed last year’s publication of his first poetry book, Nocturnes, A Passage of Dreams, which he wrote during late 2020.

“It was triggered by some personal grief that was intensified by what we were all going through in that year,” he said.

“It is a series of poems that catch my troubled dreaming in that time. It really helped me to express and ultimately console the griefs I was feeling.”

Mr Gleeson conceded he “never thought to share it,” but friends “encouraged me later to do this,” and “I like to think it might help others to think about and handle grief. I am happy to send it to anyone who’d like to read it.”

“It was lockdown and the general disruption of 2020 that caused me to think a little more soulfully and reflectively, which I’ve attempted to express through poetic writing,” he explained.

“I’m sure many others have had this experience and found various outlets for their emotions. Poetry was a way for me to do this.”

While he had no plans to hold an official launch for his work as he had “no interest” in making money from it, he added “perhaps something could be organised to help us all to think about loss, which is what the book is about, and to celebrate our survival despite all that has been thrown at us in the past few years.”

Mr Gleeson shared a couple of his poems with North West City News:

 

Playground Shoes

Set

On a rock

With courtly care

Two sweet remains

Turned outwards

In a searching flare

For the princess

They ached to bear

 

Out of the Fire and into the Frying Pan

Things haven’t

Panned out well

For this

Poor old fryer

He’s been

Through hell

But seems

Determined

To try a

New start

 

He had

To part

With his

Old flame

She burnt

His heart

But he knows

They’re both

To blame

 

Poor old fryer

Her sizzling desire

Went cold

Now they’ll never

Grow mould

Together

Poor souls

Their love

Lies smoking in

The charcoals

 

Caption: North Melbourne resident Brendan Gleeson says his poetry work was drawn from his observations and interpretations of Gardiner Reserve. Picture: Contributed.

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