Poems

Cove Park    (West Coast, Scotland)

 

I've taken

to the lochs

like a wild swan:

 

the peat hills

the heather honey,

 

the herring

silver darlings,

 

my housing pod

with claw-foot bath

and blue wash basin,

 

oatcakes

and a jar of haggis

in the cupboard.

 

The blaeberries

are beginning to ripen,

 

the Downey birch

has blossomed.

 

Tartan words keep flying

around my head.

 

From the verandah,

a lucky green ship

on Loch Long,

 

four Highland cows

horn deep

in bracken,

 

mallard on the pond,

the medication

of black-faced sheep,

 

the sound of my blood

pressure lowering,

 

a strong lamp to read

George Mackay Brown

 

a nest

of white feathers

to sleep in.

 

 

Big Blue Gum

Eucalyptus globulus

 

Lightning strike veteran

weakened by dry rot

the sky dropped its jaw

when your arms

full of birds

split apart

like a piñata.

 

As your giant trunk released

pre-flight parrots

arborists felt the vibrations

of a thousand songs.

 

Your glaucous green leaves

fell like feathers

branding the ground

with antiseptic scent.

 

Ring-tailed possums

thrown from their nesting cavities

wailed into ribbons of bark.

 

When the last of your living tissue

powdered the air

the aftertaste of your nectar

lingered.

 

 

Ladies in lace-up shoes

 

The bakelite lamp shines on

our icons of primary produce.

 

In their eighties

the tearoom ladies

of the Country Women's Association

still carry trays of clotted cream scones

and pots of Bushells tea

 

to laminex tables

where paper doilies sit under

centerpieces of flowers

and framed pictures of the Queen.

 

To

catch the scent of april violets

from their hankies

 

glimpse their hair

prim, like topiary

 

feel the frill of their aprons

brushing past

 

breathe in buttermilk cake

out of the oven

without a rack mark

 

gaze upon prize winning pavlovas

light as white wings.

 

And what of their other skills.

 

Goodwill and scones

served in a hot tin shed

at Tennant Creek

to refresh scores of soldiers

before the march

into the Darwin invasion

 

Friendship and alms

to drought stricken farmers.

How they talked them

from going to the top

paddock, with their guns.

 

Our heroes at the Tea Rooms

will take their recipes

for custard creams and light

cinnamon sponges up with them

into a perfectly risen sky.

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