Back home, 14 Aug

Reminder: ‘To get the best possible chance at glimpsing their otherworldly beauty, look upwards in the early hours of Sunday, August 13 – specifically at 3am. Although the Perseids are more vibrant in the northern hemisphere as Earth passes through the trail of debris shed by the Swift-Tuttle comet, an icy ball of rocks and gas.’[i]

I wake late to light lining the black blinds though this
coordinate has not yet wheeled round into sunlight.
Every morning the living is so energetic it feeds poetry,

Old friends, tennis foes from three years ago
before my litany of bursitis, Ross River Fever, cancer.

I cook a full English then we head into the woods
our garden backs into. Plenty of birdsong, they love
the twisting Bloodwoods. How not to take the forest
for granted? Everything, the Golden Whistlers, bracket
fungus. Hoping to see Red-backed Wrens in the dunes,
perhaps a little early, heard the Superb without a sighting.

Dolphins heading south, just glimpses of dark otherness
cutting the water without extravagance.

Behind us the sacred mountain, from this angle
losing its steep look, and the dunes are alight
with Coastal Banksias all flowering. The beach
stretches colour, reaches diaphanous clouds losing water.

Brian is ahead thinks he spot something, a fellow poet and artist
I will be reading with him on the Arts Trail, it was just Kelp rolling around.

A line of silver, and the whole picture looks like a picture,
what does the truth give? Flowering coastal wattle on the dunes,
cylinders of colour that brighten the whole fragrant scene.

I would like to walk round to Millba, my river not seen for days,
but am too tired, the drug has slowed me.

We cut through the Paperbark Swamp, a dim theatre, ancient,
dried. Ugly rocks have been dropped to stop the hoons, Jesus . . .

Vines moving like pythons, (I want you to see this).

No sign of the Noisy Pitta I wanted to show them.


The garden is filling up the airspace, afternoon light somersaults
from branch to branch, I forget how most of them got here.
A Bleating Tree Frog in the small rainforest garden stops as I approach,
Miners are flying in and out of a large Lily Pilly, the nest is hidden,

Satisfaction is a curse, the trees are waving, cool wind.

I don’t think I’m smiling, the poem can tell, worried
that one day I will write a poem that repeats, word for word,
a poem a poem from last year of the year before, some minor
changes if my punctuation has evolved or regressed.

Vociferous Pardalotes surround, the Striped variety.
I saw two Spotted in Jagun a while ago, first in ages.

They are living in an expensive area, land prices shot up
during Covid when people were running from the cities.

The Spear lily looks in rude health, but after a dozen years
still withholds flowering. We tried firewater and I gave it
a good talking to once. I photograph my totem, an angophora,
but just think of Uncle Mark, a Gumbaynggirr elder I miss.

I think he would say, talk to the tree, ask questions.
He would never suggest hugging, possibly touch
which I do. The smooth skin wears bark remnants
from when the growing tree split its carapace.
I feel my hand, no sense of movement of sap
flowing, either the nutrient rich juices flowing from
the leaves through the Phloem down to the roots,
or the Xylem moving minerals and water up from
the roots – or the veins draining my blood.

In the small rainforest, the Bleeding Hearts we pollarded
spit red blips of growth. There’s a lot of roo and wallaby poo.
I’ve forgotten what Bandicoot poo looks like

A storm is promised, the sun is playing hide and seek,
my love appears on the bedroom balcony. I’m in love.


[i] Maya Skidmore, Liv Condous, ‘The Perseid meteor shower will peak above Sydney this weekend’, Time Out, 11 August 2023.

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