Category Archives: Uncategorized

Beautiful autumn, season of mellow fruitfulness

bellbrook autumn2014 001nature completes its cycle and we have caught up with some rain. About 130mm now since christmas. It took a few weeks for the grass to grow but now the cows are happy even if the grapes are saying too much too much! The nets are on and we can’t fight the mildew except by pruning the bad bunches with some of the unripe bunches.
I think we may be making some verjus this year.


Wild Dog

Wild Dog
She was as interested in my reactions as I was myself
There was a flicker of recognition that might save her life.
How far back in her memory is that connection with man,
Escaped from close contact, lurking down little used tracks
Living on road kill and culled ferals. She knew what I was thinking
About the power of life and death, choices that exist
Between instinct and knowledge, sixty seconds of possible outcomes.
I lifted the drop gate and said, ‘today you go free, but remember
To kill only for food and to give thanks when you do’.
Relieved that my decision was made, I realised that
It might easily have gone a less poetic way.
Was this the last of the blood letting? Probably not,
ewes normally with twins, were left with one, lambs killed
and not all eaten. Eventually someone got her, can’t have loose dogs.

The Painters View

The Painters View (memory of Fred Williams)

The horizon is sometimes there,
even a curved reference dividing
sky breath from earth body.
The colour of soil visible through the trees
which float above the translucent earth.
Fallen trunks like abandoned ideas.
Scale given by the stab of a brush,
there, and there, the mind of the artist
mimicking nature’s random purpose.
Years of comings and goings, drought,
fire and the rivers wriggling on their bed,
the silent music of a complex land.
Stories of water, sand, and fragile life
in the timeworn composition, the cantata
of the everyday is painted like
notes on natures blackboard.
The barely seen presence of man and animals
in a wide and colourful landscape,
they are there, not forgotten,
trees and rocks all significant
in the luminosity of this canvas world.

I am not pablo neruda

I am not Pablo Neruda

How brief and terrible was my desire.
You existed because of my thirst
confusing me, muy camino indeciso.
I might stop loving you, little by little,
but I am not Pablo Neruda
I cannot measure a little of infinity.
You are not mine, but part of me
is attached to the memory of you.
Your body and proportion my eyes see
but I know the frailty of belonging
to the people you meet, awareness of possibility
and small intimations of the heart.
Not in a corner will I place you so I might
keep you prisoner with my peasant sword,
you are the air and my sheltering sky.

Seeds of Change

“All things hang like a drop of dew…”

The perfume of the sweeest fruit
contains the scent of decay
fullness of ambition, abandoning youth
forever left on the far shore.

A giant flamboyant poppy
paper petals and black heart
full and giving, orange flamenco skirts
soon to drift and fall.

Vine roots reach down, sucking,
sap rising, transpiration
high summer green heading for
frost yellow brittle winter.

Whole valley a story of spring
held in the palm of time’s hand
Geology will metamorphose
this gift wrapped world

Into something not so tidy.

winter of childhood memories

Winter country shrinks down, dormant,
seeking a response from its sky partner,
hard to separate the earth from weather
or from friends who walk over it
with the cries of offspring
dispensing their rough justice,
the tiny hands of grandchildren
hanging on for immortality.
Absent friends like kangaroos culled
or visiting pockets of pasture
in alternative valleys of the mind.
A little thinning of the herd, prostates
cut or zapped, some early dementia,
bored with society’s rules.
Finding romance, lecturing on ships,
needing new calendar flexibility.

I am not halfway through pruning the vines
sleet is drifting in from the Southwest
the crows are complaining hungry.
I recall fireside company
With a shared remembering
like the lair of native animals.

Writing groups, suddenly we must
get it down. Previous generations
left few notes, knew who they were.
Search for identity, driving us,
nightwatch brings the hero, but
in daylight it is what others see
in the way we queue to be served
and the sinister joy of laughter.

Chatting with country folk about
the dance with stumblefooted nature.
Surfacing of childhood memories.

Clutching the bakelite handpiece,
breathing concentration down the phone
party line, three short rings, one long,
the metallic sound of wire and distance.
Overnight train rattling into the darkness
carrying anticipation, come-on, come-on
to meet wrinkled uncles and facecream aunts
in a place where even time has a suntanned face.

With the mail and the weeks papers, the Chrysler
drifts , with the lazy steering but great donk,
through creeks and washouts to scones and tea
on the wide shady verandah of the mind.
The kelpies chained to their hollow logs,
The windmill turns impassively feeling deep.
The chooks picking and scratching like poets.
dark interiors of timber pole sheds, held up
by their contents and the old peppercorn.
Machines with great flywheels, now still,
slowed by the drift of children back to the coast.

The thankyou letter, light on the upstroke,
heavy on the down, and keep the letters even.
‘I hope you are well…’(haven’t fallen…)
‘Yours affectionately…’ curiously formal,
‘Your loving nephew…’ too sentimental?
Those first letters were an awkward journey,
the final struggle to sign your name,
try to make it glow with significance,
ambition compressed into a flourish.

Spending hours in the mind’s library,
I am a folder of unfinished poems,
A slim volume irreverent of time

A willy wagtail comes by who knows me
and his confidence calms my discontent
“I am sharing this space and moment…”

Secrets of the year just passed


winterbellbrookautumn2012 033


From the winery comes the musty smell
of compressed summer, the vineyard
lies like an abandoned bride with
condensation swirling like a veil.
The currawongs shrieking sweet news
as they feed on the hidden branches.
The sun is tiring against the winter tilt
cobwebbed tussocks and fences
show up the dew and early frosts.
The city/bush divide seems greater
as the visitors are dropping away
the legendary fights between city dogs
and working dogs, become distant memories.

In the country towns farmer’s wives
raffle firewood and show hand knitted
woolies and tea cosies in the craft shop
The bakery fills with whiskered men
boots and look at me jackets
I insulate the trough pipes for warmth
sucked up from the land by the night.
Roo shooters and piggers in beanies
bounce their utes along bush tracks
confirming their dominance over
nature’s wild and cold

Over the Divide with Molly

Its only a short flight for a curious crow

from country’s carrion to the city’s illusion.

The stars are hidden, light kills the night.

Molly and I come down the mountain

to unnatural night noises of drunken

omnivores, loud in their ignorance

of water vegetation and blood.

In the metallic carbon scented morning

the city cafes and bookshops fill with

the swelling crowd of Babylon.

The hiss of steam, the froth of busy ideas,

warmth and noise of shared ambitions.

The odd poet sitting alone, tuning inspiration.

My blue heeler looks for yappers under

the cafe tables, fed on cereal bits

as dry as politicians promises.

We pass girls chatting mysteriously

about last nights indiscretions.

There is poetry in their laughter, for

the flowers of ambition can be picked twice.