Christmas Morning, 2015 – poem

Christmas Morning – poem

Xmas dawn Paperbark swamp_w
Christmas dawn Paperbark swamp, Valla



Christmas Day, 2016, 10am
‘OH what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh’
or in this case, riding boogie boards below a blue
brilliant sky and letting the river flow you to the sea.

I’ve never seen the estuary so packed with families,
but this is a special place, Little Terns nested here once,
migrants land and feed. It’s not just a playground.

Boxing Day, Middle Beach 4.40am
I negotiate the path in near darkness, broken by
winter storms it now takes a sharp left to a goat track
then you feel the crunch of kelp bones and scrape of sand.

A bandicoot dilly-dallies, a wonderful sight, two
in two weeks and on different tracks, the first seen
after six years, just occasional diggings before.

The moon dangles over the sea, the whole somehow
visible despite it waning to bone, a few stars shine
on shards of surf shattering against the rocks.

A towering quartzite range in miniature or contorted
vertebra in graphic detail seam a grey wrack shelf,
the sea, a busy sculptor, rasps and scrapes the material,

the glare from a Cuttlefish bone, sleek surfboard
made from aragonite, catches my wandering eye
and crabs racing for the foam as they feel my presence.

I close them and listen and breathe, but the sand
teases composition after composition, changing colour
and configuration as the sheen drains backwards.

Interference patterns wave me back to school physics
and plastic trays of water, simple and complicated
like a Wheatstone Bridge or electromagnetic induction.

The Eastern sky is thinly painted so I pull the focus to
between two rocks forming a glassy surface momentarily
between rough gestural handling by the breakers.

Helios materialises smouldering, inked by cloud,
stamping rich colour onto the grove of Pandanus.
What’s surprising is that not even Helios knows eternity.

Gulls fly over with fast shallow wingbeats,
the lead one mewing, landing by the cave at once
they start to hunt, chasing after the retreating water,

They are making a living by the sober sea
instead of a landfill site or city park.
It’s as before human time, occurring now for now

and for two hours, not a soul on the beaches
north or south, just birds waving and my casual
need for forgiveness skirting the bedrock.

Boxing Day, Boatshed Beach 6.10pm
We head to the small cove with high yellow walls
to miss the wind, crack open a bottle, Megan and Ruth
go for a swim. I take photographs of the water.

The sea slips towards me through chicanes of rock
almost meshed, the sun lighting the crests and water
foaming over a large rock as if the ocean is retractable.

Day after Boxing Day 4.40am
I head out the door then remember – a flat tyre
so stay inside to finish yesterday’s poem
the kookaburras start up – so loud

they must wake our guests, and then as soon
as they’ve finished the cicadas start
the Rooster someone has smuggled in doesn’t join in

until half five, heard against the faint hum of highway noise
and a dove, a robin, light cutting through the forest
like a laser or a pen.




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