Ode to a Woman of Great Stature: Margaret Whitlam

 (To Gough, on the death of a mutual friend, Margaret.)

What temperate, cold containment

Can be sustained for such grief?

No words, nor music can console

No elegy gives relief.

The thread is cut for dear Margaret

With her honour, reasoned mind

Agile wit, humour and bold truth

Her parallel still to find.

She has died, mourned by this nation

But Gough, by none more than you

No reason to call out ‘Margaret!’

No gods to hear plaintiff pleas.

As feminists, we hold belief

In equal rights and choice free

Her towering strength is our great loss.

She’s lit a path we still see.

In death’s dark forest she is lost

Such is life and death arranged

Yet, patience and hope endure

Still more ideas can be changed.

Written in reference to Horace Odes 1:24

translation Dr Jacqueline Clarke


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Filed under Australian Poetry, Death, Poem

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