In Paperbark Country

i.

the slow river draws us

past the rusty banksia

the paperbarks' tarnished silver

 

like any leaf, we spin

tranced in the eddy

the spell of sun

 

but see! his dragonfly mind

before the eye can alight

jerks away, weightless

its electric turquoise

 

 

ii.

my mother hates the paperbarks

their eerie white scribbles'

twisted beckoning

 

but       their flaky arms above the lake

their long feet, wet to the ankle

their listening, their hair shiny with sun

their fingers full of birds

 

are like my mother

 

 

iii.

when he crawled from his last skin

he could tell it was the end

of the furtive, underwater life -

this hull was blue, with wings -

on a thought, he sent his new craft

skidding into the air

 

no time to learn the world

but he found

the lake was a sky he could stand on

insects were for his hunter's swoop

and anywhere under the blue dome

sex was a midair gleeful

coupling of box-kites, catapulting

skywards

 

can the world be newer than this?

for three weeks he will drink in

the astounding earth and sky

his jerky blue flight

stitching the lake shore

teaching the eye

suddenness

 

 

iv.

my mother is a lake now

she is all depth and resonance --

the new days cannot hold

they slip away

like a sheet of clear water

skimmed from her well of eighty years

 

she is an island lake

with a narrow beach

and no shallows

walk in past the reeds

and you are suddenly

in over your head in the dark sweet water

 

eighty years of seasons

have washed over her

now blue dragonflies bead

the sedges' grey-white-green

cupping today's sunlight

she will hold it and let it go

poet's biography ->