I’m packing for the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival, trying to imagine what warmth might be like, and covering all bases. In between searching for swimmers and scarves, I’m also finalising the script for my monologue performance first thing on Sunday morning.

This fragment of Richard Hovey’s poem was sent to me by Jenni Gates via the Festival website, for inclusion in my performance. I thought I’d share it here, so you can be part of the fun.


…I have need of the sky,
I have business with the grass;
I will up and get me away where the hawk is wheeling
Lone and high,
And the slow clouds go by.
I will get me away to the waters that glass
The clouds as they pass.
I will get me away to the woods…


Thanks Jenni, for an introduction to another poet, and for the reminder of the wide blue.

Thanks too, to all who came along to hear Hilary Mc Phee talk last night. It was a glowing evening. Thanks to those of you who have visited the Pilgrimage of Bookstores post over at the Meanjin blog, and to the “likers” on Facebook and even the twitterers who spread the words. Thanks to my pueblo of subscribers here – you keep me honest.

I was such a skeptical Luddite when all this began, but I am coming around, and some days I’m lit up by the sound of a Tweet whistling in or out.

Who could have guessed?

For now though, I’m imagining the sound of waves and picturing a light reaching out across the ocean to greet the dawn – and maybe even whales.

It’s my first visit to Byron. Another Finisterre, at the other end of the world.

I’ll report in on my return, but for now, buen camino, my village.

Paso a paso.

I will get me away to some sky…



9 thoughts on “I have need of the sky

  1. Hello Ailsa, you may not need the swimmers at Byron, unless it’s for a dip in the resorts heated pool. I’m from the Sunshine Coast, a couple of hours drive further up the coast, and our day’s are lovely and sunny with temps in the low 20’sC, The night’s however are cool so don’t forget a jacket. Sorry it’s the Mum in me coming out. 🙂
    Have a wonderful time at Byron, and I hope you see some whales.

  2. Hi Julie. Thanks so much for the update. I am trying to hose myself down about getting into that warm air. It is so exciting. Not to mention the up-close-and-personal-with-writers thrill that I get at the thought of the line-up there. If I see a whale, I will thank you for wishing it for me.

    And Jim – Muchas gracias amigo!
    I have your magnificent two pages of responses to the book tucked in my briefcase. It arrived a couple of days ago and I scanned it, but wanted to read it properly, as it deserves to be read, so am taking it up there in my travelling kit. I will indulge myself in your reflections. Thanks so much for making sure it got to me via the publisher’s snail mail. I had not seen it via their website so don’t know what happened. No matter. I have it and am treasuring it. Thanks again.

  3. My Daughter Lisa who resides in Brisbane recently had a weekend at Byron with a friend. I love it there and planning to visit at Christmas. It’s a truely beautiful place as is the hinterland and there are wonderful nut plantations.

    1. Sounds glorious, though I suspect the only nuts I will see will be at the festival site, but I am really hoping that I can get to walk a few miles in the early mornings or between sessions. Such a decision – to listen to great minds or to explore great wilds. Lovely to hear from you again, June. Thanks for saying hello.

  4. Good on you with the book. I had experience of some of that great sky and weather during the ‘Cosi’ tour in 2010 (albeit often in a car). I’m looking forward to our opening of His Girl Friday at the MTC next week. Walk on!

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