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 16 – fire (& stone)

flames.jpg

Spent a large chunk of my writing time today trying to craft a pome comparing & contrasting the fire at Notre Dame with the fire in our climate. While many parts worked, a few did not & I realised longer would be needed to resolve the kinks.

However, while researching the idea I came across another, far less known story, which led to this …

*****

holy houses

in less widely covered news, the revered
al-asqa mosque in east jerusalem
was also struck by (a far less dramatic)
blaze at the same time as notre dame’s
inferno in france — damaging solomon’s
stables beneath a corner of temple mount

here’s a thought:
perhaps god is trying to tell us something

.


.

BONUS POEM: April 16, 2018

The theme persists.

*****

immemorial

stone is worn
moss softens
lichen gathers
chiselled lines
flatten
it rains hard
the sun shines
& pretty soon
everything
is forgotten

14b cornish grave

Day 03 – valleys (& hobbitholes)

03 misthouse

Reading a Carl Sagan book earlier, where he describes a perfect day from his childhood at a World Fair & got to wondering, what might a perfect day from my childhood be?

*****

a long ago perfect day

a sunday, naturally
  they’re always sundays

autumn morning
cool but not too cold
  not unlike today

overprotective mist
hugging the edges
of our tiny valley

book snug under covers
  wasn’t a doona then
  but in this memory
  i’m stitching it so

hurried lunch
sardines on toast
  tomato sauce
can’t be away too long
from the otherworld

back into bed
till tea

tinned tomato soup
heated in aluminium
saucepan on the stove
  thinned with milk

fire in the potbelly
  wood i probably chopped

not much mattered
beyond the old stone walls
  indeed other than grandparents’ homes
  i barely knew anything
  greater than a dozen miles distant

except the stars of course
always the stars

 


 

BONUS POEM: April 3, 2018

Visited a place I’ve wanted to experience, since reading about it nearly a decade ago. It was as wonderful as anticipated, even if I was disappointed to discover they now have their own iPhone app. The world changes even when we wish it wouldn’t…

*****

Civitie de Bagnoregio 

to live upon
a mountain top
                         alone
like many monk
incarnations before

a town of hobbit
holes on a hill
instead of in
if all mine i’d fill
every home
with books

if only

i were unaware
of the signs
of
      land
       slipping
        away

 

03b Bagnoregio

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.

Day 8 – it’s water jim, but not as you know it

A toast to one of my favourite substances. Been wanting to write a poem about this elixir for a very long time. What came out, wasn’t quite what I expected … but I kinda like it …

NB – I thought I’d uploaded this last night, but I was very tired & clearly I only saved it. Ooops. (Sarah saw it yesterday so she can verify it was written then 🙂 )

*****

uisce beatha : water of life

drinking you is:

sword swallowing
while swinging
from a trapeze

crashing a spaceship
into the sun
to save humanity
from … something

dancing on
the volcano’s lip
as the fire below
becomes the fire
sliding inside

your baptismal juice:

has restored my life
numerous times
drowning despair
in your amber fire
before hope somehow
phoenixes out soggy
& with a sore head
but ready to go on

give me:

an eternal well
of your water
& i shall always
believe

*****

Whisky_by_Hankins copy

April 22 – Day Twenty Two: night visitors

Disturbing visitors last night inspired this. NB this still isn’t on word press despite being back in town is because I got back to discover my electricity has been disconnected. The glamorous life of the poet.

The Outsiders

I’m the proverbial snug bug in a rug
Bedcurled, thriller-reading when the attack begins
Intimate thunder that sounds far off
Yet feels close, frantic rain beating, never falling

As the numbers build, so too the sound
The fury, dive bombers splatting glass
On the neighbouring mesh screen, maniacal harpists
Frenetic playing to appease the wild god of light

Again & again they bash themselves
Over & over they wingertip strum
Till they fall to the ground, broken

There turn violent circles, overwound
tops hypercharged on red bull
Tyre smoking donuts by kamikaze hot rods

Already dying, despite only abandoning
Brownpaper sleeping bags hours ago

If the desire to embrace fire is so intense
Why not fly, Icarus like, at the sun

By the time dawn arrives, silver light filtered

By low clouds, dozens of wing-wrapped coffins

Sleep on

Concrete

*****

moth

Image moi.