“I was so honoured and grateful for the invitation and opportunity to collaborate with Alison Whittaker in creating this poem called (I had to look up the name) “Our Poem.”

It's not that it isn't true, of course it's true. It's just that I'm trying to work out what is essential to say. I don't want to fill empty space with words purely for the sake of it. The world is noisy enough without me adding to it.

In this, I am thinking of your line "I am ageing into silence," and how, over time, the things we know and the things we don't know seem to converge at the place on the shore where the tide turns. Words are temporary, we throw them at the beautiful, they don't stick. So what's the point? 

Well, this morning I've re-read our poem again and smiled and sighed and laughed and you know what? I've wished to do it all over again. Not the off milk that led to the unspoken race, nor the 5 wicked, wasted hours spent with James the British Lecturer (well maybe just a few) and certainly not the 13 days of mourning for a queen whose monarchy stole the language from our ancestor's throats. But for the connection? Yes. Absolutely for the connection. 

In truth, you're the one I want to thank. I know what a difficult year it was last year and how you kept this one commitment while foregoing many others. I'm so grateful, and this is not contrived. You cast out those first lines inviting me to pick up and after that, the poem wrote itself. So I suppose my primary reflection is this: sometimes, we can't do it on our own. Sometimes we need someone else to show us where to begin. The image of the solitary writer is as colonial as a white man on a plinth, and just as immovable. But I don't think that's how we are naturally inclined to create. It makes you wonder how many indigenous women before us have aged into silence? How many poems have never been written because there was no-one out there to cast out the rope, and no-one to pick up? No-one to hear the Beautiful. The boring, common agony. The Temporary.

But we do hear, when we find a way to overcome the urge towards silence. Alison, I hope this is just the first of many more beautiful collaborations we might work on in the future. 

With immense love and respect (and a caution to please avoid milk at conferences!)