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To feel this world

Allan Padgett |  28 February 2017


Selected poems



To feel this world 

the amino acids humans cannot synthesise

are phenylalanine, valine, threonine, methionine,

leucine, isoleucine, lysine, histidine

and the non-rhyming tryptophan,

bound for brain and mutating to serotonin —

this molecule affects your moods and electrical pulsing,

so be careful, these are things we need


notes that humans cannot hear include

the sound of thylacines crying in a van diemen forest,

a dodo's plaintive shuffle on a nearshore kiwi island,

a mammoth's woolly orgasm on an ecstatic arctic tundra,

an esperance dog weed's silent transpiration

the rumbles of a gastric brooding frog giving birth by burping —

these things are far too late for caring


things we need to see and taste include

the surging milk of human kindness

the euphoric rainbow of random caring

the startling scarlet crest of a gang gang cockatoo —

these would make a nice day, nicer


to feel this world, close your eyes and inhale

the earthy pungent tone of musk

on a summer-scented

late evening's perfumed otherness




The brittle sound of daytime barking


Some days it seems we live

in a table-top terrarium with 17 desperate dogs,

such is the brittle sound of daytime barking.

The man comes to read the gas meter:

dogs across the road, dogs next door,

my dog and a host of other unknown

neighbourhood barkers

rip the kind of silent air to pieces.


He simply smiles and says:

Yo, bro, how you go?

I get excited, turned on by

early morning hip hoppy rap

from the energetic mouth

of our meter-reader.

Great, Bro, say I, but short of

the rhyming slang which might

have followed. Nice to see you, mate —

thanks for reading my meter!


He trips off, down the street

to another encounter, another silent meter,

where disturbed dogs may bark

like mad and if they could,

bring the house down.

Then the postie arrives en scoot,

drops the lid after inserting mail

and rides off down the footpath

to a new cacophony of seamless barking.


Four-legged creatures of the sparkling morn:

bark on, since it is your precious sounds

that tell the world these are my people,

and you, relative outsider — harm them at your peril.

My task is to watch, observe, bark —

and if needed: to bite.


You then apologise for stepping into

these private worlds where loving pets

guard the future, and retard the chance

of ugly happenstance.

What's not to like about

these wondrous local choruses

of thrillingly jangly, whooshy sound bites?


And a man on a bike with manners.




Waiting man

Call me Mr Waiting Man:

I wait for Mr Plaster Man to dry

Mr Sander Man to rub it back

Mr Painter Man to lick

his way across your ceiling

and then a longer wait,

the longest wait of all.

I wait for the forces

of nature, time and memory

to resonate and bring

it all back down again. Living

with incipient horror

in a suburban landscape

borrowed from time

and held close to the modern

heart with consuming passion

and inarticulate adoration.

Then, as time proves over

and over again: volcanoes spurt,

apocalyptic magma screaming;

atomic clouds descend, ionising lives to dust;

tsunamis pour in, swamping smiles

with liquid extinction. Then, just

as you think it couldn't

get worse, you switch

to channel 13 on the final day

of life as the asteroid hits

with a force and magnitude

beyond pain and dissolution,

beyond description. The road

out turns back, the road in

vaporises, all skies

lose all their light

all photo synthesising slams


all production is


ships sink to the bottom

of boiling oceans

planes fall from a melting sky

like shivering confetti

all genetic codes unravel. And soon, in

a billion years or so,

life re-forms. A

casual observer is overheard

to remark at the time:

well, the elephants

look more like mole crickets

and the viruses are longer

than road trains,

and that stuff which looks

a bit like gelatine colluding

with dyslexia and vinegar,

and violet in its wobbling,

is what's left of the former

world's greed. And humanity? It

wrote itself out — and sorry,

but you won't be returning

any time soon.


Allan PadgettAllan Padgett is a WA poet who performs regularly at Perth Poetry Club. He has been published in Creatrix, Uneven Floor, Creative Connections, Regime, Rochford Street Review, Plumwood Mountain, Grief Anthology 2016 & Unusual Work. Allan's poem 'The Wheatbelt turns to dust' was second in the 2012 Creatrix Poetry Prize.


Allan Padgett


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