(December 25, 2015) Antigone. Poem by Jack Ross. Design by Bronwyn Lloyd. Pania Singles 3. Auckland: Pania Press, 2015.
Every Christmas Bronwyn makes a special edition of one of Jack's poems or stories. This year she picked the poem "Antigone." If you're not familiar with Greek mythology, Antigone was the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta. The poor woman attempted to secure a respectable burial for her brother and the King punished her by entombing her alive.
The poem references the story obliquely by talking about a visit to a former colonial prison in Tasmania and his experience in one of the tiny cells. You can find it below. It's best to read across the columns - first the left one, then the right.
You can find further details about the project here, at Mosehouse Studio, and there are further bibliographical details at Works & Days.
Tomb, bridal-chamber, eternal prison in the caverned rock, whither go to find mine own?
– R. C. Jebb
When I woke up in
the melancholy city
everything was the colour of rain all of the garish
of the previous evening
of dread The books I was reading
dissolved into pulp
those volumes of
intangible as fog
as that happiness oh so elusive
Once in Tasmania
at an old colonial prison
I walked into one of the cells there was no-one around
so I closed the door
just to feel what it was like
I lasted two seconds
people go mad
they say Imagine a room
a white room
to sit down too low
my marriage bed
& here are some illustrations of the finished product: