The Write Out Loud Poem of the Week is ‘Pay Attention’ by Kate G

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This week’s POTW is ‘Pay Attention’ by Kate G, an ode to the world’s ultimate givers, the oft overlooked tree. ‘Pay Attention’ is rich with colour and imagery and utilizes an excellent last line to bring home the theme of the piece. It is a confident and insightful piece of writing and well deserving of the title of Poem of the Week. Below, Kate answers our Q&A and reveals a little more about herself and her love of telling stories.


What Got You Into Writing Poetry?


I got into writing poetry through a compulsion to record what I feel and observe, and as a way to interpret the world around me. I don't feel skilled enough to regard myself as a poet, but it's a genre in which I hope my technical ability matches my passion one day.


How long have you been writing?

I love stories and have been writing as long as I remember. From poems, short stories, news/ feature stories - I'm happy to write in the way that best fits the situation.

As a little girl, I lived in rural Australia, and spent every waking moment running barefoot through bush tracks, notebook in my pocket, recording the world of wonder around me. 

I now make a living as a science writer working in the university sector. People often try to separate arts and science, but for me - having come from both worlds - I recognise the drivers are much the same - a desire to interpret the world.

Writing is like eating and drinking for me, and I'm thrilled my two daughters have inherited my love of a good yarn.


Do you go to any open-mic nights?

No, I didn't even know about such a thing until I came to Write Out Loud. I have a terrible Aussie accent, not exactly renowned for its lyricism, so I don't think I'd inflict my voice on anyone. ?.


Your favourite poet/poem?

As an Australian, I grew up loving the poetic ballads and irreverent tales penned by Banjo Patterson and Henry Lawson.  Dorothea Mackellar also left an early impression. 

As I matured, I grew to love Dylan Thomas and the complexity and challenge of David Whyte's work. His poems really get under my skin.

Of all the poets though, I probably relate to Mary Oliver best. I find her observation of, and affinity with, the natural world very relatable. 

My favourite poem of all time might be Les Murray's An Absolutely Ordinary Rainbow. I can't read it without crying.  


You're cast away on a desert island. What's your luxury?

I'd love to have a clever answer to this, but I don't. The truth is, being cast away somewhere remote, with time to just "be", and no pressure to "do" anything, sounds like a luxury in itself. Maybe a boat so I can fetch wine, a book, or coffee when the mood strikes


Pay Attention

by Kate G


The tree stretches her gnarly boughs wide, rather than tall,
her instinct to embrace overrides her need to reach for the sky.
The deep cool of her canopy shadows the ugly bitumen carpark.
Underneath, two crows seek respite from the heat, perched on a timber fence greyed from weather and neglect.
Beyond her trunk, public housing units loom, equally brown and solid but lacking the beauty she inhabits.
They were built for utility rather than aesthetic.
But the tree has no bias to her surroundings.
Rich or poor, she shades the street just the same.
Her showy orange blossoms do their best to draw attention away from that which is neglected.
"Look at me," she says.
And I do. 
I wonder, as I pass by every day, if am the only one to see the richness she gifts to the world.
She, who gives nectar to birds, shade to passers-by, branches for little girls to climb on and dream.
She who is just a tree, but so much more to those who notice.
"Pay attention", I whisper.

◄ Anatomy of a Whale: Matt Barnard, Onslaught Press

Write Out Loud at Bolton Socialist Club tonight ►


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