after days of rain we need to leave the house is all spelling and online math lessons wwhaat’s fo-or diiinnner and the constant repertoire of piano that sometimes accompanies the theatre of my nightly dreams
midmorning cease, the grey sky ascended distant, moving east. we take an apple boots and a notebook each into the woods behind, knowing post-rain Fall is written for the senses
the burnt patch from early Summer starting to sprout barely, mostly blackened inside acres of yellow; the knee high kind of grass, sharp through clothes, the scrappy kind that looks beautiful for about ten weeks a year
the burnt earth exposes rocks and its soilless quality this is manzanita land, oaks and the determined pines with creamy nuts if we do the work
the house that burnt, it’s garage levelled, a drill press; will it work again? a garden gnome stares from inside temporary fencing (not at us) lifeguarding the covered in-ground pool no trades have touched this place yet
the house next door burnt two years ago and rebuilt from its event of kids and cigarettes
my kids always find the best sticks and compete bulrushes in the awakening dry creek are about to burst, like those they found last week explosive, unstoppable, these aren’t quite ready my middle boy shows us all pushing with a thumb
two ravens in a flurry from the greater pines and a great brown owl with it’s bulk body is all wingspan and pointy eared out of a flattened face we chase them for an hour following the bird terror around the valley, a hunt for a glimpse of the great night creature, who lands and disappears into pines or oak, found again by the two crafty ravens who we thank for exposing the rare evening bird
a deep closing bluish-grey approaches faster than my estimate to make it home on little legs
Brisbane Fringe Festival is in it’s second year. I really wanted to perform some poems on this river of ours. Partly to interact with the river in a different way, partly because it devastated us not so long ago and I want to learn how to love it again and also maybe just because we can get in a tinny and read some poetry (and that can be fun). If you’re interested… I’d love you to be there.
I lick the soil in the air; a mixture of oxygen, water and a slit of sunlight
I zigzag like ground locals
this place asks for instincts lichen give directions
the mug, sleep-sack, bread and spuds slice into my shoulder heavier than thoughts
It’s been great committing to writing the Stinson series earlier this year. I’ve had a bit of a break and now working on other things. This one seems to hang up there in Lamington National Park so I just wanted to share it. I hope to return to all the Stinson poems again one day. They need plenty of editing and I want to finish the series and get the two blokes down off the mountain. Thanks to those who have read and shared your thoughts along the way. It’s been very encouraging. Andrew
too heavy for air, between cathedral roots of a black booyong, wing bent back, floating in leaves, it waits to sink into earth
its expression noble, as the way it stood, in suit jacket – the piercing yellow eye, closed, offering itself to the forest workers who will massage everything back to soil
I’m still working on the Stinson series of poems. It has been such an interesting exercise, working with historical facts and biographical details from Bernard O’Rielley. I’ve been struggling to get Bernard near the plane, so I’ve spent some time on rainforest pieces relating to the area of Lamington National Park, where the stinson crashed.
How soon did you arrive after this giant beech fell and pulled down a hole in the ceiling?
You scramble for light on a rotting forest floor. From one hundred meters you stretch tendrils to climb into the canopy with your backward facing thorns. Why do you exist lawyer vine? What purpose? Look, my throat
is jagged sideways, your necklace of needle hooks rip at my skin, but even as I step back and perform a delicate pincer removal, you curl another round my back and down my arm, grab my pant leg. I bend down to pick you off and again you are holding my hat.
Hands spin the map to turn the ridge north. An identical
twin of the lasttangled north
running ridge. It is like
a fog; no sun, no break in trees, no view, I climb a fig. It is one o’clock, five hours dropping into gorges, lantana climb and lawyer vine across the top, five hours since I saw that one burnt tree.
‘Coo-eee’ A human voice out here?
Must be another local with the same idea to scratch around for an airplane. Better not respond, confuse the poor cocky. He is two tangled north running ridges to the west. Where I’m going anyway. Company will be nice.
The cyclone moved
off the mountain, moved off
the coast, retreating
from what it had done. Air
washed of its haze; buildings
in Brisbane and beyond the Glass
House mountains. We couldn’t see
our mountain held a secret;
flecks of blue through the canopy,
and wandering planes
our cries and smokey fire. Westray
couldn’t wait beside the carcass
of yesterday’s flight, his hand burning
to scramble down gullies. Gone,
in moments, swallowed by green
just the fading sound of a man slipping
through the undergrowth.
The pressure drops, the anxious spin before the storm. Trees lose what they can’t hold, limbs crack, bring down vines, ferns explode and send a squawk up the valley. All of this is swallowed
by the howling. Behind the timber barn, the girls huddle. Their udders and fearful eyes wait until tomorrow. Stump to stump, Bernie crosses the field to the rattling cottage, inside, smoke billows
each gust back down the chimney.
Twenty miles west, below the top of the plateau, John escapes through a cabin window, into the rain, pulls out two others before the engine fuel takes them all.
I hopped off that train and waved at my head in the window. It was the greatest trick I’ve ever played. After all the arrogance, there was fear in those eyes watching me strip down to my heart and run through fields of knowing nothing.
For some reason this week there’s been some poetic interest in the feral, good for nothing, ugly, will pinch a chip out of your fingers, sings like my great aunty, local Brisbane birds (no offence aunty). Here is a sensational poem called ‘Why do we hate the crow?’ by a new blog friend Gabrielle Bryden. Click on the mp3 recording. It is well worth it.