1 2

A friend has just sent me this poem by a dead Australian poet. It is a type of poem that my uncouth untutored mind does not go looking for and rarely takes the trouble to try to understand. I am assured that the poem has great significance to myself. Therefore I will be interested to read other views, insights and thoughts on Judith Wright's poem:

Eli, Eli
To see them go by drowning in the river –
soldiers and elders drowning in the river,
the pitiful women drowning in the river,
the children’s faces staring from the river –
that was his cross, and not the cross they gave him.
To hold the invisible wand, and not to save them –
to know them turned to death, and not to save them;
only to cry to them and not to save them
knowing that no one but themselves could save them –
this was the wound, more than the wound they dealt him.
To hold out love and know they would not take it,
to hold out faith and know they dared not take it –
the invisible wand, and none would see or take it –
all he could give, and there was none to take it –
thus they betrayed him not with the tongue’s betrayal.
He watched, and they were drowning in the river;
faces like sodden flowers in the river
faces of children moving in the river;
and all the while he knew there was no river.
Judith Wright (from the ‘Woman to Man’ sequence 1949)
FrayedBear 9 Aug 18
You must be a member of this group before commenting. Join Group

Post a comment Reply Add Photo

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy.

Create your free account

1 comment

Feel free to reply to any comment by clicking the "Reply" button.


To me, it sounds like the person is trying to convert you.

I see a lot of jesus references and I would say thst the river represents your atheism.

Could be but not xtianity but agnostic Buddhism.


I can see the similarly. I'm going to have to research the author a bit as we all can pull individual meaning out of such writings.

I enjoy philosophies that focus on elevating the individual in becoming a better person though not with regard to any type of spiritual plane. Internal and external to those around you.

@Bierbasstard She is a highly respected decorated Australian poet who died this century age 85. A lot of her work is allegorical.


Nice! Thanks for the information.