Chasing Marie Antoinette All Over Paris
 Adrienne Eberhard


Published Titles

Agamemnons Poppies
Jane, Lady Franklin
This Woman
Chasing Marie Antoinette All Over Paris

ook Description

I caught
a glimpse of satin shoes
paler than pearl shell
softer than the skin
at a lover’s wrist
of a woman’s body
all the pinks
that glow
and suffuse
a palette of rouge
the hues
of dawn and sunset
of ardent and replete

Adrienne Eberhard’s new collection Chasing Marie Antoinette all Over Paris forges connections between past and present, public and private, and human and non-human, exploring what it means to be truly at home in the world, whether her beloved Tasmania, France or Indonesia. Ranging in subject matter from native grasses, ducklings and footy games, to cave paintings, family and 9000 years-deep ancestry, she draws on personal, as well as cultural, history to investigate possibility, love and loss. With their focus on the small and the precious, these poems draw our attention to what is often overlooked, enabling us to see the extraordinary in the ordinary.

She demonstrates how well she can move from sensual evocation of place to tenderness and love of the human. This is a book whose language, because of its precision and sensuality, does justice to a wide range of experiences. Eberhard’s poems seem expounded wholly from both body and spirit.
Judith Beveridge, Westerly

ISBN 9780648038757
110 pgs
$24.00 Australia

Back to top

Book Sample


Mt Field, Tasmania (after Jordie Albiston’s ‘Cartography’)

What is the space between this hut and that mountain
but impenetrable black, and frosty cold?
She is writing this at a table in the cabin,
spinning thoughts like threads, as if they can hold

her boys tighter, pull the mountain in, with their bold
tents blooming like flowers in the snow.
Can thoughts, or mad desire, shift the world
slightly, tilt ranges so their faces lower

to her own? Upthrust, tectonic forces, the whole slew
of geology sped up, so contour lines diminish
and lakes freeze, ice thickening to a deep blue
while those dark mountain peaks relinquish

distance; and this long night will finish.
Her writing is a thread to lure them back,
their faces filled with snow light, dolerite, the itch
of time alone, cold breath of height. Face facts:

the contours between here and there are shifting. Pack,
and ask, what is the space between home and out there,
between their beginnings and these beginnings, but a lack
of courage; what is distance but a prayer?


Three balls of dusky wool peep in outrage
for renegade parents, lost but not alone;
closely knit as a fair isle pattern,
regrouping at every ten uncertain steps,
linking, huddling, calling.

In the box you pile high, a mound
of freshly laundered socks or a downy bundle
of pick-up sticks, burying yourselves in each other,
necks entwined, links on a chain,
abandoning yourselves to dreams of your lost mother.

You lie together, a swell of winter muffs
or crocheted shawls, flaring newly formed
feathers like flamenco dancers,
ruffling, dislodging,
soft down falling like rain.

In morning sun you preen and poke,
baring a froth of petticoats, your wings
quilled with turquoise as you settle on stones,
extending your legs in a cat-like stretch,
tucking leather joints to doze, nod, trill.

Ever restless, you pad on prehensile feet,
foraging for green pick with greedy beaks
and I call you, peep, peep, peep,
then, duck, duck, duck,
and finally, boys, boys, boys,

your maturation a mirror of my other trio:
tender cossetting, wriggling bodies
seeking the warmest spot, explosive growth,
faces tilting at the sky, angled necks
and folded legs.

I’m ahead of myself watching you:
heady with hormones
and the lure of blue,
as you whir budding wings
on webbed tiptoe.

Your breasts are spotty as a dalmatian’s
but strong with the shape of an adult bird;
your lost mother recedes as you loll
in the sun, separate, discreet,
while I juggle this unwieldy knowledge.


There’s something comical about flounder:
the way their noses curl

and their eyes stare upwards, close together
like badly separated seedlings.

They are sand flowers, sea-bed huggers,
skins dappled with sun-flecks

and freckled with rain.
When you lift the baby flounder

from the sea floor,
your grin bigger than its girth,

the lost months disappear:
this day bound only by laughter.

Back to top