Messages to Robert Adamson

The following are messages to Bob submitted to Rochford Street Review as part of the special Robert Adamson issue. Please go to the bottom of the page to submit your own message.


‘A Wave from the Heart’
i.m. Robert Adamson (died 16 December, 2022)

He is the sentinel stood still above the river’s roar
rock bound, wings outstretched, beak proud,
ready to dive deep, and deeper still.
A wise cormorant on the Hawkesbury.
Below dark fathoms and the bioluminescence
guide algal dreams amongst day’s filtered light,
and the profound silence of ever active night:
this web of nature – sunrise and sunset; rain and roar
of storms; drought and divination; sun-blessed streams.

He has stood here for a thousand years and none –
always at work, compelled by patterns of the poetry
enmeshed in nature. Called by rhyme and rhythm,
back to the shores, the beaches, the lagoons and inlets,
the rocks and shallow breeding grounds,
the eternal landmarks of reality and dreams,
the present and beyond.

He dives once more, a final time,
this last line so profound and deep
it echoes through our phosphorescent night.

 (C) Andrew Brion, 2022


Like the black-hole school
an unknown shoal,
This flying fish exits
humble Hawkesbury boundary,
his Planck length
Robert’s sweet particle.

 – Brandon Cavallari


it was a joy
to float on your water
while you told of its shifts
its strange coves and fogs
poems swam between stories
your eyes half in shadow
your laughter quicksilver
your signature precise
“on the Hawkesbury River
in winter 2022″

  – Nicole Rain Sellers


This poem of mine from the mid 1970s was written for Robert Adamson without a dedication

“His greatest poem remains the typewriter
/ letters he must stand to touch
you with / words and the drift of them
dwarf him exactly/ /and to scale
the title he must erect scaffolding /
So the Muse escapes him completely
I feel the pockets of his jeans/ just
to be sure/
the figures are
still discussing planting churches/
growing them a hundred year ( or more
than likely poets are composing gardens
on the words ‘Scandinavian garden
gnomes/ dressed as bankers/ are
taking over the world’) And Bob hurries
/as the banker leaves /for/ the cathedral
no architect will stop him with a
punctuation mark/ screaming it all
to the sky through public telephones”

RIP 16/12/22
 – Michael Witts


Haiku for Robert Adamson

Reading the news
the shadow of birds
across water.

 – Robbie Coburn


I wrote this fifteen years ago. Posted here with immense gratitude for Robert Adamson’s life of poetry and love.

“Restless light”
(for Robert Adamson)

How do I put this and not
make either of us out to be less

than we are? I’d insert myself
within wings, draw a silent line

across the grey sky we share.
Then, as a cormorant spearing

towards the water briefly catches
your eye, I’d see you

lower your weathered net
of questions into the wake to wait

patient for the lake’s reply.
Open-mouthed at the fading rainbow

of scales, you are quiet under the hum
of the boat as it returns to shore, full

of white flesh and restless light.
Outside this made-up scene,

it’s me who’s taken your bait. You
almost gave to these drowning fish

a shape like the joy
and pain of my life.

 – Andy Jackson


Dear Robert, you have always been there, at the centre of the world of our poetry. Your insight, encouragement and your profound love of this purest form of written expression have been an inspiration and helped so many of us to keep going when other doors remained resolutely shut. That spirit of yours is always with us. Travel light travel well Bob.

 -Larry Buttrose


Now, all our tales, thanks to you, have boats at their ends.

 –  Mohsen Beni Saeed


the mullet run stunned
even the seasoned fishermen
that this stream might run so long
be mined so deep

 – Michael Witts


In copperplate
his fine
hand it

reels his
lines in

they too
trail their
blood on


– for Robert Adamson
Larry Schwartz ©


A wonderful and thoughtful talk Bob and thank you for sharing it. “a peace I’ve never known before – a luminous absence of time, pain, sex, thought of everything but the light”. Robert Adamson – and above all thank you for your own poems

 – Frank Catanzariti 


Dear Robert. i first read your biography many years ago. and i was intrigued by your writing. since then, i have come to love your work and admire you as a person.. it saddens me that you are sick currently. and you are one of our greats. along with Michael Dransfield. 

 – ann jarjoura


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