August

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I gather moments like raindrops,
         like snowdrops:
these microscopic buds of spring
         tricked by sun
     to come out, one     by one;
  I see
how hesitant can be
              can be
     the grandest glimpse of things
               and sing.

I catch the way your moments dance
         from distance –
yet close enough to ring
         the shadows into song
       in soft, legato days  of praise.
   I find
how hopefully we hold
               and hold
      in tentative expectancy
                  to see.

You hold our hope in moments of joy,
          unalloyed.
What we do not expect
          grips tight. I neglect
       too soon what we know.    Let go
     of fears
that pass. Joy is forever,
            forever
       the things that stir our hearts in song.
               Not long.

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The sun shines on Wyndham

The Antarctic wakes us with its morning missive blowing.
Swaddled and bubbling, children shiver across the road.
Crossing guard, I open my smile,
bouncing frozen legs to warm them.
To cross the road like a child, I
must race and look not to the side.
What winter brings will soon be known;
the sun still shares the sky.

10 Ways to Embrace the Ring Road

Embrace it.
No other time of day can you sit still,
without compunction.
Here schedules mean nothing.
You may be late; that cannot be stopped.
Yet you can stop. You can look
at clumps of grass and broccoli gums
in wetlands and wonder how they looked
before this road was even thought.
You can watch
the faces as the windows pass
(no other time of day will you
see so many lives entwine).
Invent their stories.
Stop and know your own.
Hold last night’s mess in your hands
as you steer today’s wheel.
Consider the day.
Pluck your nose hair.
Watch birds fly back and forth in sequence
and fancy them a wind-blown sheet.
Name the clouds with metaphors
(a waterfall, a needle,
a walrus’s moustache).
Scan the forgotten gorges of your city and learn
how distances must be covered to move
to where you want to be.
Trace the sun as it chases the trees.
Learn all the textures of its light.
Watch the evening drape the sky.
Prise open this day’s grace.

Redeem the Commute

Keilor-bound at the wheel,
a man plucks his middle brow over the hill.
Trucks speak in whistling brakes;
cars speak in blinkers;
billboards speak in covered-up breaths
and we, doubting ourselves, tremble forth.

Across gorges and bridges, organ-pipes hum
in the silent chorale of a wasted commute.
Gold glints through gum-trees;
grace glints in mirrors.
Wake up –
white, blue and dog collar carry this same weight
and glory hangs latent over the day.

The Long Drizzle

Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote,
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote…
(Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales)

Finally
the clothes are dry,
the air is dry,
the leaves fall in their way.

Finally
April ends with such crispness
and we emerge,
knowledge of winter on the edges of skin
yet our bodies relieved from this dampness.

Follow, southern pilgrim.
The road leads to shivers, then flowers, then shivers.
Yet there will be a season
for laundry drying
and coffees on the lawn,
and a season when all the pilgrims of Canterbury
and Melbourne will dance
in the unendingness of sun.

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Street Camping

We watched, static in our waiting spots,
lights red, traffic backed up Queensberry Street,
as the purple tent, pegless, half air-borne,
somersaulted across the road and stopped
at the stilled bumper of a nearby car.
The car was motionless, like ours, yet not
waiting to start. Content, the purple tent rested,
royal, carefree in this twilit crawl
in momentary grace.

Last Light: For the Winter Solstice

On the shortest day, I walked down to
            the garden where, stretched out across
                        the grass, the out-turned
                                    fingers of
                        peace received
                                    the night soon here.
 
Vestigial glow bedecked the trees
            and roof-tops sank, the light soon gone.
                        In the evening cool the
                                    streets were
                        softly swept
                                    by homeward feet.
 
But I had left my home to see the light;
            I traced its steps from pallid green
                        treetops to underpass
                                    and marvelled at
                        its retreat
                                    and dusk’s perfect lull.
 
Pink clouds settled to evening grey, yet
            the story was not sad: the day
                        was gift, was treasure.
                                    And how glorious!
                        how perfectly bright the light
                                    set against the dark.

Number Nine

Darkness

 

Carlton kept in darkness slept,
            The streetlights out, the roadside swept
With rain that afternoon and feet
            Bewildered by the night.
 
The city never sleeps, they say,
            And anxious souls in search of day
Pit-pattered while inside the homes
            Smart-phones took place of light.
 
Commerce halted, leisure paused,
            Proprietors despised the cause,
While some found hope across the street
            Where power caught their sight.
 
Not quite as thick as Egypt’s, though
            A danker hue than cities know,
The darkness over Lygon Street
            Unsettled with its bite.
 
Yet refuge lay where light still shone,
            And in the end, it came back on
Across the street, and Carlton spun
            Back into groove, aright.
 
The sounds of muffled life returned
            And in the sky the streetlights burned,
Declaring never would the day
            Depart, nor win the fight.

Winter came

            unnoticed; we
thought it had arrived.
 
            The subtle lull
                        of autumn tricked us
            with its need for cardigans
                        and leaves aesthetically arranged
                                    on garden floors and streets.
 
We thought the worst had come,
            forgot
                        how true cold feels
            on toes.
                       And now:
            the need for scarves
                        in bags (in case)
            and duffle coats;
the huddled walk
            of chilling feet
                        and all the proud offense of those
            who do not know the cold.
 
Father hands:
            please keep us warm.
The winter does not sit with us.
                        And strengthen mumbling
            grumbling minds
                        to take the worst
            that comes.