Hewett, Dorothy

Australia, (1923-2002)

Still Lives
(excerpt)

  1. Uncles and aunts and country cousins
  2. all are dead and buried
  3. dry as bone dust
  4. powdering the wind
  5. they sift the dark fields
  6. of my mind…
  7.  
  8. 1
  9.  
  10. My Aunt Alice
  11. wore a ravishing black wig
  12. on the Melbourne tram
  13. but at home
  14. when she went to feed the pigs
  15. each evening
  16. she wore a plain white cotton cap
  17. to cover her sore bald head
  18. the pigs in their wooden sties
  19. lifted their snouts from the trough
  20. they watched her
  21. hairless beautiful her scalp on fire
  22. carrying their slops
  23. through the calm evening air
  24. when she lifted the bucket and poured
  25. their little eyes glowed
  26. they raised their trotters up
  27. as if they were praying.
  28.  
  29. That is how I like to remember Aunt Alice
  30. with her worshipful pigs
  31. and the bats flying
  32. that would never catch
  33. in her hair.
  34.  
  35. 2
  36.  
  37. The pigs are squealing from their sties
  38. they stink they hunger for love
  39. they long for dead Aunt Alice
  40. who will never come again
  41. with her white arms
  42. heavy with those beneficent buckets
  43. their mild eyes blink they dream
  44. of paddocks full of dandelions
  45. cold streams fresh earth
  46. to roll in clean
  47. hogs’ bristles and pink skin.

 the estate of Dorothy Hewett. Wheatlands with John Kinsella. Fremantle, WA: Fremantle Arts Centre Press (2000).

About the Poet:

Dorothy Coade Hewett, Australia (1923-2002) was a poet, novelist and playwright. She was also a feminist and a member of the Communist Party.

Dorothy Hewett wrote many collections of poetry, novels, an autobiography and plays, as well as many articles and short stories. She is best known for her semi-autobiographical play The Chapel Perilous (1971) and the musical play, The Man From Mukinupin (1979).

Frequently confessional and romantic in tone, Hewett also made use of humor and a variety of verse forms to create her poetry. She crafted her works to directly engage readers with themes of ideology, sexuality, ageing, and personal experience, as well as her views on feminist and Communist ideology. [DES-02/18]

A random image of a pig, hog, boar or swine from the collection at Porkopolis.