Day 7 – fire alarm

Tonight was CFS (Country Fire Service) training & so I took the opportunity to pick a few of the old firies brains.

fire alarm 

at training tonight
there’s the usual banter
& the familar stories 
the old hands tell
about wild jobs  
they’ve been on

dead end gullies
their captains tried 
to order them into

walls of flame leapfrogging
roads  rivers  almost bare 
dirt to resume again
in forest canopies 
impossible distances away 

sitting in the truck
reflectors down
breathing apparatus on
under blankets 
waiting for the fire 
to burn over
hoping like hell
the halo holds up*
likewise hoping 
their sphincters do

i don’t know if climate 
change is the cause
but i do know fire 
season is starting earlier
lasting longer
& each one 
feels more of a bitch
than the one before

*a waterfall-like system which rings the cab

Day 8 – Daughter of the Poets

Second day of Judging a Book by its Cover … & today’s text is Wooroloo by Frieda Hughes. My friend & fellow poet, Jules Leigh Koch, lent it to me following my reading at Lee Marvin on Tuesday night.

Those who’ve read Day 5’s post Crows everywhere you turn, will know I elected to perform what amounted to a “concept album” of poems; with every one referencing in some way, a crow or crows; including a couple inspired by a chilling experience at this year’s Adelaide Writers’ Week, where the voice of Ted Hughes reading poems recorded in Adelaide 40 years earlier were played through the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Gardens. It made for a very a haunting session dedicated to Hughes, with guests Jonathon Bate (biography of Hughes) & Max Porter (Grief is the Thing With Feathers).

I didn’t know that Ted & Sylvia’s daughter had tried her hand at poetry. Nor that for a time she was married to an Australian and lived on a West Australian farm. Sadly, the collection did little for me, with only a couple of poems I found engaging. However, if the cover is anything to go by, she is a pretty talented artist.

conflagration

the sky is a golden fleece
— a beach furnace fuelled
by driftwood embers
— the front face of fire
leaping into the air
— flames catapulting over
themselves to escape
— everything it is destroying

wooroloo.jpg

NOTE: this painting is not called ‘Wooroloo’, but ‘Two Sheep’, 1996, by Frieda Hughes. Sadly for the sheep, they have been cropped out by moi.