It was a heartfelt game, when it began -
polish and cook and sew and mend, contrive,
move between sink and stove, keep flower-beds weeded -
all her love needed was that it was needed,
and merely living kept the blood alive.

Now an old habit leads from sink to stove,
mends and keeps clean the house that looks like home,
and waits in hunger dressed to look like love
for the calm return of those who, when they come,
remind her: this was a game, when it began.

from Contemporary Australian Poetry (Houghton Mifflin, 1990), edited by John Leonard. Used and reprinted by permission.

Click here for a video of the Melbourne premiere of Leonard Lehrman's setting, Jan. 5, 2002.