moreton bay fig
she must be more than a century,
no longer concerned
gnarled roots exposed,
wrinkled trunk, limbs
tangling skyward with
crows perched in
her green rinse
she's cantankerous — dropping
fruit over neighbours' fences,
and secretive, whispering in
the ears of the children
who play beneath
her scent is always earthy
and over-ripe, having long
given up on seasons
but not on life
The twilight of autumn
First rains wash:
a ritual, cleansing residues
from clothes lines, fences, roofs and roads.
Clouds filter sunlight
Rains polish almond-shaped, olive-coloured leaves
and blushing berries of the Japanese Pepper,
or Jesuits Balsam
that frames the church car-park.
The oil a cure-all:
anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral
Aperient (a mild laxative),
Like a tourniquet it reduces bleeding,
Anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, anti-depressant,
The essential oils found in Chilean wines.
Like juniper sweet and aromatic:
with tears that washed the feet
There is no balm for the yearning of eucalypts.
Candlebarks stretch up this vaulted wanting.
Dahlias splash an insane chant over a paddock,
a calf nods and backs into a startled wander.
One day she might raspily lick the mystery of my supplicant salty palm.
The kunzea shakes its head at the darting thoughts of ransacking honeyeaters;
galaxies of shining filaments catch their own suns,
striped feathers and silver eyes are lavish ideas with nowhere to go.
In winter, a faltering hand of snow,
sticks a gentle finger in my eye stopping the risk of pride.
The chalice Ash joins no offering of passage,
the canoe drifts from tree shape misleading entry.
Hands worked free an illusion of transit,
pushing into the promise finding
Hardwood bars all ways against the bubbling rainbow.
At my pew in the white gum I am an uneventful and regular event.
A shrieking squall of red and green blue yellow veers —
leadlight to frame the river noise below, and holding
at anchor, in shards of haphazard reflection,
memories slipping through my hands to their own lives
My prayer, more like the old family dog sitting alert in the herb garden,
each working day at the same hour,
listening for the school bus,
panting for the children who no longer arrive,
but never doubting the shadowy promise.
Kevin Gillam is a West Australian writer with three books of poetry published, Other Gravities, Permitted to Fall and Songs sul G. He works as Director of Music at Christ Church Grammar School in Perth.
Deanne Davies lives with her family in Geraldton, Western Australia. She won the Matthew Rocca Poetry Prize in 2011. She reads her poetry annually at the largest regional readers and writers festival in WA, Big Sky. She is passionate about social and environmental justice and enjoys history and singing.
James Walton ives in the Strezelecki Mountains in South Gippsland. He has worked for the CPSU SPSF public service union for over 20 years, where he is the assistant Victorian Branch secretary. He will also be published in Australian Love Poems Anthology 2013.