May 9, 2021
Sunday 3:20 pm, I have been thinking
back to a vision and start writing . . .
The clouds squeeze out a pip of light
that smears and runs towards to us.
Incoming waves are arcing closer to
the Pandanus, already on the edge
inflecting the colours of the beach,
the whole impetus of design wonderful.
Weeks later I’m still picking out small pieces
of plastic from lumber the floods ditched
but today we are looking for driftwood,
to display Bonsais, trees saved from ruin.
For example, a 25 years old Moreton Bay Fig
that took root in our path near the side gate
in Sydney could have grown 60 metres,
but what triggered the poem was a flight
of White-faced Herons rowing overhead,
grey on two-dimensional grey, a rare sight
so wonderful I never made a play for my camera.
Two Brush Wattlebirds glimpsed, arguing
in a Banksia lodged in my wilderness.
Playing ‘Promises’ by Floating Points and Pharoah Sanders
who heard his electronic music and suggested collaborating.
He’s over 80! Remarkable, and remarkably beautiful.
So this is utopia! Life on a beach down under,
pleasure sheered off from poverty, adventure mixed
with ignorance, an unfurling understanding of
what lies behind (the last ice age peaked
20,000 years ago, the coast was a hundred Ks
out to sea – environmental decline.
I ring Andrew, suggest we postpone beers,
it’s thundering and lightning outside
(and I feel exhausted (the COVID jab))
So this is Terra Nullius, a legal fiction
not overturned until the Mabo decision,
life is hiding in the sand grains, no crops,
no pasture, just silicon, just pleasure,
the real names lost, forgotten or scrubbed.
I call Wyn to the sight of the stub of a rainbow,
leave this poem, take my camera. We watch a pair
of Galahs flying beneath us, I hug her tightly.
It’s wonderful being so high, above the birds
though the pair of Ospreys circling over late yesterday
were very high, so high we thought they were eagles.
Deanna wants a photograph of Glossy Cockatoos
for a new FEA t-shirt. No sign of cockatoos,
nothing more on my tongue-tip, enough poetry
and I don’t approve of late and have no issue
with referential accuracy, being a Clare fan.
Complacencies of the peignoir, and late
Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair,
And the green freedom of a cockatoo
Upon a rug mingle to dissipate
The holy hush of ancient sacrifice.
Wallace Stevens, Sunday Morning
I think I should write a shopping list, am out
of oranges. We have a few on our tree, I was wondering . . .
Colour is an unreliable indicator of ripeness (Valencias can turn green, yet still be ripe), so the best advice I can offer is to pick a ripe-looking fruit and taste it. If it’s sweet, start harvesting.
Did Stevens really write, ‘the most beautiful . . . thing in the world is, of course, the world itself’? I couldn’t find a source, just hundred of sites with quotations that are meant to ease our way though the day, week, year, life, and even to Tom Hanks in Castaway. I eventually tracked it to Voros.[i]
What is a peignoir? I’ve forgotten.
The sand provisional penetrating my feet. Sea mist
smothers the edge to the north – the relevance of light.
[i] Gyorgyi Voros, Notations of the Wild Ecology in the Poetry of Wallace Stevens, U of Iowa P. 1997.