Bush week in my tin kingdom

Bushman at sunset

in my tin kingdom

 

1

   hours are always undecided 

they tug each way and I obey 

     rule of thumb and 

 

                                      kingdom is of instances 

points of vantage            it's half sky 

pale with revolution      

 

rattle of paws and that's heaven climbing 

gives me the glint inside   

 

as wattle to the sunrise raw 

coin of the realm twice bitten 

 

trials are what made us       led us to here 

 

summer was listless        shine come off the shed 

                                    best for lemons to brighten 

 

2

 

everything rounds –  vines tug clouds down thirsty 

 

ambition of spider joins sides of the track 

 

snout at ground never seen     but you'll note mornings

 

we hear the ironbark drinking – thief of soil it is 

bringer of lightning afloat 

as if a tree of tin 

 

3

 

it's bush week          

 

here come the other paws of track 

 

smell rat where it stopped 

 

at thunder's beck bring washing in 

make kindling sure

 

weather is coming in my tin kingdom 

a needle points the way 

 

4

 

suffer the meek who come into my trap 

and suffer ones whom I despatch 

 

     make tinsel of the tripping light 

       blind mice won't scuttle now 

 

they're in the walls or proverb drowned 

       Lord make their sleep sound 

 

5

 

hills of it home rolling          the radar lies under the spell          

        

my will be done             things take forever

 

how weeds rise 

 

it's by believing           so festoon

     the lotus like gilt frippery 

 

set paddling pond 

    air flimsiest for embassy 

 

       all of heaven's in 

 

6

 

everything green wants up 

 

     a drought and you 

position the head right under the tap 

 

ancient propellors over the land 

guess who cast them?

 

this is the month of Sundays 

 

7

 

where rain was              all leaning low 

 

a curse of course 

a bushman's blow 

 

8

 

swamps run themselves           my enemies scatter

antechinus are a ledger loss

the wallabies of sunshine come 

red necked                for something sweet     

in timber ruins

 

valley step lightly             blow your own house down 

 

9

 

tin thistles we mow             whistling up 

 

note kangaroo in the moon 

 

kingfishing      whipbirds          fronds  through the boards 

            and the bunion glows 

 

clean clouds show the blue       chip trucks in their twilight 

 

    flies in windows              aches with you 

 

10

 

and a stretch 

            spring is such 

 

my kingdom       'tis of tin I sing        

 

a web like wings    caught sun a shimmer 

 

we'll take a tune from the road

 

11

 

with chorus of falling       tin hat and trench tremble       

 

far far twinkle we salute           sometimes a single star shows       

 

12

 

eat me and drink me       see how mean I grow        for a need how low

I take a bow                proscenium narrows         tin cup on the street    

 

to hollow applause         village of me in raintapping tin

 

13

 

in creekspeak frondfall 

insects see themselves writ large 

 

everyone here born yesterday 

still knowing where to go 

 

14

 

a bird won't learn          already has a fair idea  

 

clouds my proud colour       cannot be helped 

 

pang of the place  is chime with the scythe

 

shy twice of conquest  

 

sat among the roots of the creek      each to its tangle 

not knowing where the eye goes, why 

 

15

 

       best not seeing through the trees 

 

last gold of the kingdom       west with the hours           

 

past yellow grey day fades

 

everything goes a sort of dull silver          and I go in

 

shadows fall to their work 

     of making all secret again

 


Kit Kelen

Kit Kelen is an Australian poet who teaches Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Macau. His most recent poetry collection is China Years – New and Selected Poems (ASM Macao). He is editor of the new cross-arts international on-line journal the wonderbook and Literary Editor for Postcolonial Text.

Stockman image by Shutterstock.

Topic tags: Kit Kelen, poetry, drought, outback, bushman

 

 

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