Archive for June, 2009

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Retreat

June 26, 2009

The first one in the
second hidden
I see you this time,
spy you out.
Not twice,
Not thrice the fool,
Not I –

Wiser, now, I lay down brick
Thicken mortar, set cement
Add a fence post, make it sturdy
Barb the wire, thicker wood –

Safer, now, my fortress strengthened,
I wait for one who
Sees through walls.

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Outback III

June 13, 2009

I wish I knew another way to say
red
orange
amber
ochre
sunburned
sunkissed –
another way to describe
the clay
the earth
the soil,
the trees
the sky
the sand –
that I haven’t yet used,
that met more fully
the ancient earth sense of it.

Perhaps I could say
laughing, loving,
deep, shallow,
brown, broken, vast, whole,
home,
foreign,
landless sky and skyless land,
open
wordless
eye-quenching,
soul-holding.

Still it wouldn’t be enough
for land that roots you and sets you free,
for skies that ache against the earth like a lover,
for colours no hand can write
but only eyes and hearts can hold
for an instant
without time.

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Outback II: Sunset

June 10, 2009

Like a phoenix
the sun
shares her dying glory
with parched sand,
fire kissed by fire,
her amber rays spark
off the embers of orange earth,
and molten clay soil shines
momentarily golden into space
and holds the memory of light
lest the sunbird forget
how to rise again
from midnight ashes.

Written 30 May 09 – ER

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Outback I

June 9, 2009

Out here in this
vast flat earth
you remember that the world is round –
but far from spherical,
you feel like you’re on
the head side of a giant coin
and that the end of the road ahead
might really be
the end of the road –
that, on reaching it,
you might slip right over the edge
and tumble out into
the vast arms of space
and the endless silence
of stars and eternity.

Written 30 May 09 – ER

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First Rain

June 8, 2009

“There’s something on the roof, Mum!”
my boy called,
“something on the roof!”
I heard the pitter patter plop plop,
getting more urgent
plopplopplop
and it took even me a few minutes
after 9 years
after 9 dry years
to remember that corrugated sound.

“It’s like being in a shower outside, Mum!”
he called from the doorway,
dancing out into the downpour,
spinning his feet round and round in red mud,
“like a shower outside, Mum!”
he laughed
head up, mouth open,
dusty body red stained, dancing.

I remembered the day I stood
watching another boy leave in a Sydney rainstorm,
hating the deep cut
of dampness in my empty bones.

And here my boy was,
loving it like the world’s biggest miracle.

“It’s like the sky is crying, Mum!”
he cried, laughing.
My face was wet –

rainwater?

“The sky is crying, Mum!”
laughing laughing laughing.

Written 26 May 09 – ER

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Dreamtime

June 7, 2009

The black bushmen sit
in a circle on thirsty grass
telling stories in
the words of their fathers
the rhythm of their fathers’ fathers,
hot sun on thick skins,
fresh cool water trailing down throats

I have walked
and I am dreaming now
dreaming
dreaming of the time I walked
on ochre sand

The black bushmen sit
haphazard on manicured lawn
slurring their mouths around
white men’s words
hot sun glinting off bottle tops
amber fluid falling down throats,
leaking its way into soft borrowed earth

The earth is dreaming now
dreaming
dreaming of the time it bled
and the tough soles of bare feet
caressed its arid scars
dreaming
dreaming now
of blood on ochre land