Dusty Boots Vignette #50

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.

Looking Back To Today

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.


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.

Broken Promises

Broken Promises

In October
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.

Celebrating What We Have

Banksia Rose

The air electrifies
and the sky darkens
gathering shades of ash
the wind tugs at new leaves

thunder ripples
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.