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, In Your Hands: A Poetry Collection for Isolated Times, 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)