Post for my love, (Bron)Wyn
She is working on another novel and for her publications has a new website.
I looked for a poem about her to post here. I have written so many. The first one to come up under her name in file manager is one I haven’t seen since I wrote it. It happens to be written half way into our relationship.
It’s not a poem I want to write but a gift for your birthday, that immediately, suspiciously followed the process of becoming a poem.
Wises Track, Royal National Park
You are so happy, Christmas Bells light the track
as the mist lifted, sedge glints like glass rods with dew.
We watch two pairs of Southern emu-wrens, tails
stiff as twigs, pale bibs and peach bellies in soft light,
climb a small ridge looked out over the heath, and back
towards blocks of cloud fraying over the city, the sea
a glint of silvered light, the headlands mere silhouettes.
I said, ‘I’m so happy’, and you said the same – and we hold
each other and kissed amidst the mass bouquet of heaths,
peas and lilies with Banksias and Wedding Bells earthed
in this vast garden, a unique and amazing cultivation
shaped by evolution on this continent since it drifted
apart from the rest of the world 30 million years ago.
You photograph them gathering evidence of beauty
and even take my photograph a couple of times.
I will look older, again.
Does this gift need a title or a caption like a photograph
may appear to do, as we encircle time, a memory or line.
Not meaning this to be instead of, instead of a soft slow
Sunday afternoon fuck, or a meal out at a ritzy restaurant,
or whispering so close to your ear ‘I love you’ that it tickles,
instead of a present. I am not really that careful.
We bush bash up a ridge hoping for a view south, passing
a lyrebird’s digging, fresh wallaby scats placed neatly on a rock,
but solid scrub scribbles over the field of vision with geebungs
your favourite, not in flower. North of the track, a low canopy
is brushed red with fresh growth. Coming down I hyperextend
a knee, and hobble along to the aqueous music of orioles.
Behind the car, of course, we found Hyacinth Orchids, some cut.
We breakfast at the lookout, hypnotised by the ocean,
rolling in echoing blue, distracting me from keeping watch
while you went for a pee behind a sparse shrub.
We drive down and you change in the car, white-limbed
in your blue one piece, you run into the relentless breakers
foaming at the edge, dance like a girl grinning back at me,
jumping as the waves hit and your golden hair flying up,
a great offer with a 30-year discount. I notice a small rip
and called out to be careful. You keep looking back at me,
laughing to share the pleasure. A boy behind passes you
on a board, he leans and energetically jags across the wave
greedy for the last drop of motion from the ocean.
The Forest Path
You look around you, as if memorising this grand forest,
the steep slopes littered with great blocks of rock.
We photograph them as much in hope as expectation,
I pick out the outline of a vagina enfolded by lips.
The Treecreeper poses (was it Brown or White-throated?)
but Chestnut-rumped Heathwrens try to hide – everything
and everyone so nice today, even the ranger who gave us a ticket
because we arrived a few hours before the gate was staffed,
We don’t own a car so we can’t buy an annual pass.
There is just enough water to make a go of it, the bottom of the falls
untidy with boulders and logs as usual, I clamber down to the edge.
You get annoyed or worse, worried or worse, annoyed I always do.
Shiny fat skinks watch as we waded upstream on a sandstone bed,
the peach-pink of the emu-wrens shading to a deep vibrant red,
the tail disappears inside a culvert under the road, a reminder
I wanted to buy a camera for your birthday tomorrow, but we don’t
have the money. The stream of motorbikes is louder than the water.
A Kookaburra volleys his Tarzan call above a creek barely running,
Black-faced Monarchs race through the trees then around us,
either a pair of lovers or fierce rivals. We are punctual for happiness,
happy the government has changed, looking forward to stopping
at the wildflower nursery, then lunch, then the rest of our lives.
I don’t have that many photographs of myself with Wyn, and can’t find any from the day of the poem. This is from the same year 2007. We were on the James Craig, a three masted square rigger, launched in 1874, with a friend, Alan (a colleague from NSW NP&WS). I was being awarded as Sydney Harbour Artist of the Year for a suite of poems about the harbour I love.