Day 24 – glory (& well, more glory)

24 climate-and-seasons-bgwa.jpg

Thoughts which have been broiling round in my brain while driving round the Barossa these past few weeks as Vintage wraps up, have finally coalesced into a reasonable poem. (After a bit of a biological brush up on the process of leaf colour changing.)

*****

senescence

i
with the arrival of mechanical harvesters
the Valley lost much of its vivid autumnal charm.
over violent shaking of the vines strips a quarter
or more of the leaf cover & startles the remainder
into a state of shock. though improved technology
has recently reduced the trauma & restored slightly
the brilliant explosions, breathtaking feast-your-eyes
yellow-golds, gorgeous scarlets, cheekblushing-crimsons,
redhued-rubies, winedark-purples, outrageous-oranges.
but still, slowly, the old ways die.

ii
a smilier malaise is affecting the less prevalent,
but still present, deciduous population. normally
as daylight declines & the nights grow long & cold,
chlorophyll production slows as plants recycle
& ship to storage those molecules ready for next season.
the domineering chlorophyll, no longer in the ascendancy
allows the always-present but lushly masked
complex chemistry compounds called carotenoids,
yellows & oranges, to have their moment in the sun
(as it were); before the red, pink, & purple pigments
responsible for sunscreen, light protection & pest prevention
kick in to complete the slow motion fireworks display.

iii
but this year’s long dry summer means unhealthy
water-stressed trees seem to be cutting their losses
carte blanche by snap-drying then rapidly dumping
instabrown dry paperwisps; terraforming the sky
to the same dusty brown as the droughtbaked dirt
                                                                                          it mirrors


 

BONUS POEM: April 24, 2018

A place Mum & I had to visit. & somewhere I think I’d love to live.

2019 EDIT: minor tweaks to improve flow, rejambed enjambment, & various images given extra bite. All in all, at least a 50% better poem than previous incarnation.

*****

sitting on the Doc’s step

after driftwalking
half in the world
the rest in my own head ;
limbo rambling in
artfully framed narrative ;
& the much messier
more inconveniently laid
out reality ; I sit on
his fake slate step —
wanting ; wishing ; hoping
to someday leave
such a through
looking-glass legacy
for other daytrip
dreamers

24b doc martin's house.jpg

Day 30 – The Last Thing Remaining on My List

Last night, dear friend & wonderful poet, Louise Nicholas, launched her first, very beautiful, full-length collection of poems, The List of Last Remaining through 5 Islands Press. It was a fabulous warm funny (mildly drunken) night.

Today, after dipping my way in & out of the collection, I have taken the last line of her poem, “How to scale a fish” & tweaked it to use as the title of today’s poem.

moonlight, unearthed

& so it’s come : to that time : of life : to once again : take out the tools of excavation : to dust off : my brooms & tiny brushes : sharpen my trowels : put pads on my ageing knees : & get down in the pit : in the dirt : dig down through the layers : the strata of my happiness : & my grief : to uncover the bones : & broken pottery : & terracotta floors : of true love : lost : of childhood : lost : of embryos : washed down drains : blood on thighs, over tiles, over everything : & to keep digging : until all that’s left to see : is an empty grave : a soul shaped hole : a silver wash : of moon : light : & salt

fish scales

Last line: “as if unearthed in moonlight”

Day 6 – 2016 Miles Franklin Longlist

dry-salt-creek-murchison-western-australia-DJ7R9X copy

Whichever way you spin it, today was a good day. As an earlier post stated, it was the first day of my Poets Residency at Adelaide City Library. For three hours I was paid to be a poet, paid to interact with the public and talk poeting, and paid to write poems.

Today I am spoiled for choice (I wrote several title poems today). Today is also the day of my first truly solid poem.

I chose, as the clever among you may have worked out, to use the 2016 Miles Franklin Longlist titles as the basis for my Title Poem today. The longlist was announced yesterday and the titles are all glorious. I defy anyone not to write a good poem using them. However, to be fair, I was the most lax/playful/non-rule-bound today of any Word Game so far this NaPoWriMo. & so …

 

Australian pastoral

the hands that work the earth
know the natural way of things

of the never coming rain
of the hope we farm

this burnt black rock
so far from the white city

the river’s a ghost, the creek salt
where fish no longer leap

these dirty hands know
the world will go on, without us

..
So yeah! Pleased with that. That is pretty much an archetypal roi jones kinda poem.

Tomorrow will be a new game for a new week.

Here for those interested, is the full list. Look forward to reading them…

Tony Birch for Ghost River (UQP)
Stephen Daisley for Coming Rain (Text)
Peggy Frew for Hope Farm (Scribe)
Myfanwy Jones for Leap (Allen & Unwin)
Mireille Juchau for The World Without Us (Bloomsbury)
Stephen Orr for The Hands: an Australian pastoral (Wakefield Press)
A.S. Patric for Black Rock White City (Transit Lounge)
Lucy Treloar for Salt Creek (Pan Macmillan)
Charlotte Wood for The Natural Way of Things (Allen & Unwin)

& a link to a Sydney Morning Herald article about the announcement.

dry-salt-creek CROP flip.jpg