'Chalice' - A Poem by Auguste Blackman

This poem is something really special. Written by Auguste Blackman for his father, Charles Blackman, 'Chalice' is a moving blend of black humour and sweet reflection. Short and punchy, the piece was read by Auguste on the opening night of his father's Retrospective exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria in 2006, and should be considered a deeply personal anecdote- one that conveys a deep nostalgia for the past, and a candid realization of the  ebbs and flows that characterize life's relationships. 


This is the ‘Ode’ I composed for Charles opening night at the NGV 12/6/06, which also happens to be his birthday

An ‘ODE’ for Charles:  

'CHALICE’ (Charles +Alice)

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -

Said Alice to her sister seated-

“That book you read is quite depleted!”

“No conversation, pictures and such,

It really needs the Blackman touch!”

White rabbit passes hopping late,

Alice follows in Victorian state.

And as they fall down rabbit burrow,

Cajole awhile to memories hallow.

Hiede Ho John, Sun and Sweeney,

Monsalvat and Murrambeeny.

Brack’s ‘n’ French, Hattams, Gooday,

Peacocok, Swans and Greenaway.

Joy and Gray, Vassilieff,

Poet Martin and Rosie Smith.

Georges and Mirka, Collins Street,

Friends as fair as harvest wheat.

And as her dress began to billow,

She lands upon a ‘Tontine’ pillow.

Alice awakens to her dream,

And digs the bright and crazy scene.

Of Charlie Blackman brush in hand,

Painting ‘Alice in Wonderland’.

In bobbing boat on painted sea,

Shrink and swim in bottle drink me.

Mouse, Duck and Dodo’s Ark beside,

They upped and chased the ebbing tide.

Bewitched, bedazzled and besmeared,

Cat, Gryphon, Duchess disappeared.

Mad Hatter and the Cheshire cat,

Beguine the tea where dormouse sat.

In White Cats Garden of earthly delights,

Lobster Quadrille Mock Turtle recites.

Alice through times’ mist emerges,

Girthed by life’s eternal dirges.

Will you won’t you join the dance,

Momentous night of great romance

Past kings and queens and saucy sages.

We’re growing through ensuing pages,

So while we sweep away the sand,

All hail this great and sovereign man.

For Charles 6/8/06 read at the opening of the ‘Alice’ retrospective


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