Les Murray, celebrated poet, dies aged 80

One of Australia’s most celebrated poets, Les Murray, has died aged 80.

Murray was a convert to Catholicism in his late teens, dedicating his books to “the glory of God”.

His work has had a global impact, affecting many Christians including Bible Society Australia CEO Greg Clarke. Writing for World Poetry Day in 2012, Clarke chose one of Murray’s poems as a favourite:

“From one of the world’s great poets came a most extraordinary collection of Australian poetry which seeks to imagine the God-created world through the eyes, ears and vocal cords of animals. This one explores the world of the bat, and it is worth hearing Murray (an incredible linguist) read it himself at this website:

Sleeping-bagged in a duplex wing
with fleas, in rock-cleft or building
radar bats are darkness in miniature,
their whole face one tufty crinkled ear
with weak eyes, fine teeth bared to sing.

Few are vampires. None flit through the mirror.
Where they flutter at evening’s a queer
tonal hunting zone above highest C.
Insect prey at the peak of our hearing
drone re to their detailing tee:

ah, eyrie-ire; aero hour, eh?
O’er our ur-area (our era aye
ere your raw row) we air our array
err, yaw, row wry—aura our orrery,
our eerie ü our ray, our arrow.

A rare ear, our aery Yahweh.

More to come.