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“Strong, lucid and passionate ... proud, intense love poetry, written by woman to man, not in blind sentimentality but in full knowledge of herself, her body, her psyche, her heart” – Carol Teloar, 24 Hours (Australia), 1976.

Time & Motion (Australia: Prism/Poetry Society of Australia, 1975; rpt Menhir, 1986)
Awakening to Snow


I’m sorry, I said,
I don’t usually behave like this,
and it seemed the thing to say.
But that was when there was only
pain and fear and
May I scream? I asked
but they said no,
so I held it behind my teeth
where it slowly spread.
It spread all through me,
hard and swelling,
till the membrane night closed round me,
taut. I had to suffocate or
burst, and
there was light, and
May I sleep? I asked
and they said yes.


Awakening to Snow

Blades of light slide under my eyelids
and prise them open to discover
This is whisper day, muffled in deep down
of eiderdown snow, day of
those other echoes and shadows on frosted window-panes
that pass by furtively, wondering.
Today is hushed blue day of nothing, of
empty footprints where feet were,
of absence.
Today adrift from all the gongs of time,
suspended on the feather of your
silent white breath.

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Sylvia Kantaris
Last updated: 10 December, 2000