Tegan Jane Schetrumpf (University of Sydney, Australia)
For Virginia Woolf
The Ouse is a sullen river. Teal blue, a dirty reflection of sky. River reeds range around it, bristling like tweed moustaches while ducks’ feet stir scum, ripple the surface. What an English place to die! But you had to keep off the green grass at Oxbridge; at least
the water would have you.
Would Judith Shakespeare have called the play Ophelia? White rue for her then. And rue
for you; raggedy star-weeds for all your sisters down the centuries. In the language of flowers, rue is regret. In the presence of the sun it blisters skin. It is fatal to the sensitive
and yet, reuo means freedom.
And so the water is. Panacea in ripples and waves that one day will eat the shore.
An overcoat is just another garment. We are wading behind you, skirts dark with drink, watching you put English roses in your pockets. Alone with the tide, you let yourself
be heavy. It takes us far too long to find you.
Tegan Jane Schetrumpf writes poetry and creative non-fiction, and is completing her Masters of Letters at the University of Sydney. She has been published in Wet Ink, Southerly and Meanjin and is currently working on a poetry collection called Women’s Weapons.