Thom Sullivan’s poems have appeared in a range of books and journals, including: Australian Book Review, Australian Love PoemsAustralian Poetry Anthology, The Best Australian Poems 2014 and 2015, The Canberra Times, Cordite Poetry Review, Eureka Street, InDaily, The Independent Weekly, Marrickville Pause, Otoliths, Overland, The Sky Falls Down: An Anthology of Loss, Tincture Journal, Transnational Literature and Westerly.


Two poems from ‘Carte Blanche’ (Vagabond Press, 2019)


Carte Blanche



what to make of this blank space :

this white noise : to score it :

to give it some characters : to put

black marks against it : the way

these lines run on : stack up :

stretch out : ranks of peasants

shaking their rakes & forks :

agitated : jostling : is there

a weak point in the defences :

a vulnerability in the lines : some

place we might break through :

into spaciousness : into nothing :



whiteness on whiteness : to pluck

a white rabbit from a white hat :

in the middle of a snowstorm : or

a ptarmigan in its winter morph :

the whites of your eyes shining :

the cat who got the cream : your

mouth opening on a porcelain

smile : & death with a moon in

her pocket : song of the pack-ice :

jingle of the permafrost : an army

camouflaged in bedsheets :

gnawing ice : marching out to

battle : under a flag of abject white :


Originally published in The Best Australian Poems 2014 (Black Inc)





Paddocks are bought and sold and sold again,

with no pretence about possessing them –

they’re possessed not even by the hour


or the flatness of light, shadows that grow long

on the palomino hills. East-facing hillsides,

left long into the spring, deepen in their load


of grass – a hundred-thousand dollar fleece of hay.

In the aftermath, they’re clean and gaunt

as newly-shorn sheep, flanks lined by the teeth


of the comb. On a further hill, black cattle –

and a pair of eagles riding the thermals,

their double-helix dilating over the ranges.


Originally published in The Best Australian Poems 2015 (Black Inc)