We Can See You Now
A bounty on their pelts
as vermin to our eyes- with dogs and guns on bloody spot lit nights we strung them on the fence
ring barked their homes by day
cursed the wombat holes and roos among our crops blamed dingoes for dead lambs so few of them remained
we clear-felled their land
now with these fires storms there’s nowhere else to run they look to us for help and we have changed
paws clasped around a hand
we see them on our screens their heads are turned up to a human face forgiveness in their eyes.
This frail raft
we set our hearts upon
not knowing where the journey ends
to venture further than our dreams
and fall in love with chance
or hold back for clear signposts
we hope the choices made
are first or second best
believe that we can mend
the damage we have wrought
trust the stars, the sun and wind
will still be in the sky to lead us on
despite a rising fear
our world cannot turn back.
The air so still and sun-charged
it appears surreal
as I walk down the track
into painted light
eager to discover the next moment
I’m like an open-hearted pup
following the scent of a potent life force
all of nature here is smiling
I am smiling too
basking in this wonder
like a kelpie running after its master
through the shimmer of eucalypts.
Years ago we had four seasons
there was summer and a winter and I have seen it snow we had springtime and the autumn when leaves would turn bright red.
The people then had gardens
filled with many flowers that came from distant lands tulips, rhododenrons even lilacs plants we can’t grow today.
We had lawns beside our roads
bright green in front of houses
not fakes but living plants
that were watered all the time
then mowed short with a machine.
The deserts were far inland
not at our cities’ edge
there were forests of tall eucalypts
wattles flowered through the winter
with grevilleas in spring.
Before the great inferno
that took so much away
we had birds in every suburb
who built nests beside our homes
and touched us with delight.
Now they live as pictures
and in memories like mine
or we can watch them at the zoo.
I would like to go and visit
see a parrot one last time.
In our world today
so much is hard to comprehend if we look beyond ourselves in nature there is reason we can understand.
Outside the wind howls
air is a fire upon my skin but plants are wildly blooming offering themselves to life sharing all they have.
Not for me the agile rhyme
a sparing use of metaphor
is my desire.
I hum a different tune
prefer plainsong that’s unadorned.
The world of spin compounds
I need songs of unmasked truth
give me open verse.
As another of my rhododendrons dies from lack of water and hot soil binds its shallow roots.
I consider the twenty years of careful tending, the hours spent with hose and bucket, the tons of manure and compost lavishly applied.
Today dust rises as I rake the paths, a taint of smoke is in the air and I wonder what another year will bring this patch of ground that rain and earth and my devotion once turned into a sanctuary called home.
they open from tight curled nubs
a green to make hearts ache
for lands our forebears knew
leaves delicate as moth wings
from bare brown twigs
Spring’s promise of life
its timeless cycle to renew
within a day
leaves turn brown and crisp
buds of roses form and wilt
or opened for an hour are spent
the garden limp and parched
it cannot withstand this new rite of Spring October now a summer month.
The air electrifies
and the sky darkens gathering shades of ash the wind tugs at new leaves
billows from rain squalls slender branches contort bouyant with sap
the yellow rose trembles
then settles back to weave new canes among the trees
their stems range free
from bounds of rusted arch across cherry, plum and apple outward to the light
survivor of hard prunings
no transient storm will stop its primal urge to grow and grow and grow.
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