On the Fourth Day pre-Christmas, this author said to me … (Fran Graham)

These twelve days pre-Christmas will take up right up to Christmas Eve. Don’t forget that an issue of page seventeen might make a cool gift for any bookworm, so order fast!

Next up in the reflections we have Fran Graham, on her poem ‘Two Balinese Flies’.

Beau Hillier | Editor, pageseventeen


This is a simple telling of something that actually happened one morning at breakfast in Bali. While playing cards in our room later that day I wrote down the first two lines of the poem and instantly imagined calling it ‘Two Balinese Flies’ which amused me, even though it is my policy never to use words from a poem for the title, but these two particular flies were unsung heroes and deserved to be the title.

I finished the poem when I arrived back in Australia and was really pleased that I had managed to produce exactly the tone I was looking for. I originally wrote it in one continuous loose-lined piece, but later decided to accentuate the irony by adopting the more formal shape of four very serious-looking quatrains.

I love and appreciate the generosity of spirit of the Balinese people and perhaps, in a funny sort of way, I was translating my affection and respect for them into an elegy for these two unusual creatures who I imagined were attracted by the bright orange colour of the juice and had no idea their dip in the ‘tangerine sea’ was a kamikaze dive. Faye, of course, was unable to finish her orange juice but the poor old flies, while happily finishing their swim and perhaps enjoying respite from the heat, seemed oblivious of just how finished they actually were.


Fran Graham is a Western Australian poet and has hard work in Poextrix, FourW and Famous Reporter. Her first collection, On a Hook Behind the Door, was published in 2011 by Ginninderra Press.