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Max Richards shares: 3, Judith Rodriguez and Dimitris Tsaloumas

Last Thursday's posting, an account of Max Richards’ (1937-2016) and John Barnes’ visit to the poet Dimitris Tsaloumas, has a footnote. In a separate file this morning I found ‘Two Seniors’, a poem about this period of visits. It makes sense of the line in Max’s anecdotes in ‘share 1’ about ‘Two Seniors’. "Tercet-constructing Max" is how poet friend Bill Wootton describes him in 'Maxless', a eulogy posted on the 4th of October on Facebook. Here are the tercets at work, also what Bill calls his "measured lopes / of goodwill or gentle enquiry".   
Two Seniors 
    (Judith Rodriguez, b.1936, 
                             Dimitris Tsaloumas, b.1921)

Vigorous poems she wrote –
ditto her body language.
She roused her students –

all can be creative!
New then to her country,
I felt she stood for Australia….

When our summer December
party lagged without
a bottle-opener

she bit off the crown caps
passing round the beer

that might inspire us further.


At her house when I met
Australia’s great Greek poet,
Dimitris Tsaloumas,

of Leros and Elwood Vic,
though I towered over him,
his eyes burned into me

as if asking was I serious enough?
I hadn’t been but might
His voice was intense, but kind.


Hospitalised once
for something dire,
when visited by me

her bed was empty –
she’d absconded
with her drip-feed bottle

to judge some urgent
poetry competition
for the promising young.          

Celebrating his eightieth
at a large gathering
he’d excused himself from,

she hobbled forward
on her stick to the lectern,
praised him with force

and large gestures –
strode back to her seat
without her stick.


Now he’s ninety
I’m about to make my visit
of homage to his Elwood

address, its Greek-
picture-haunted rooms,
I’ll ask: Dimitris,

are you still not only
writing your worlds but
touring Leros on your Vespa?

                  January 2012 
                Max Richards, b.1937 
                  Doncaster Vic


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