from the editor's desk

From our archive: ‘Winding the Clock Back’ by Andrew Burke

Westerly was saddened to hear of the passing of Andrew Burke (1944-2023), a seminal figure and positive presence in our Western Australian poetry scene. As a poet, Andrew has offered us an extensive legacy. Author of amazing works such as Let’s face the music & dance and On the tip of my tongue, Andrew was a former contributor to Westerly. His work will continue to inspire future writers and he will always be remembered.

In recognition of his passing, we want to share one of our favourite poems from Andrew, from our archive. ‘Winding the Clock Back’ was published in Westerly 37.2, winter 1992.

Photo by JarrahTree under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Winding The Clock Back
for Charlie


It is gone yet you bring it all back.
That grey matter in our attics
replays old tapes: how the garden Earth
flew as I drove like a demon
Maserati Number 7 – one extra push
I pass the Lotus. We rest at the pits
for a character change. As ‘Grand Prix’
magazine’s ace photographer
I rest my box Brownie on a sandy rise
to lift a caterpillar off the track.
Last night’s rain has pitted
your backyard raceway so your are
out there now repairing it by hand
you must bring it back
flat and smooth.

Days were longer then I measured them
with a pencilpine’s shadow
as it turned about my home block.
Nostalgia is the perfect weather:
I plant a tree in my grey matter
to bring it back as I hear you say:
“Gentlemen, start your engines.”


Deep in night’s quiet
I lay by the radio in awe
as the Aussies battled for the Ashes.
Your uncle Ray recorded every ball and run
on intricate score sheets ball after ball
flew over the Indian Ocean to become
hieroglyphs in pencil powder. I closed my eyes.
Someone carried me to bed with Ray Lindwall
still bowling in my head.

Weeks later
we saw ‘Highlights from Lords’
grainy jumpy film at the Saturday matinee.
In these Tv days we see instant replays
of any controversy and question
the umpire’s eyesight and integrity
before the next ball is bowled …

Bad news good news all news is old within hours


You bring it all back
as you bowl against our wall
you do the commentary the roaring crowd
and the umpire The game unfolds
I see your bowling at Lords
with me shouting from the boundary
your mother sewing beside me
and Ray
borrowing a score pad from St Peter

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