Australia's mystic river

  • Poet
  • 03 April 2012

Big river

The Darling is just another beast
secreted in shade.
Hangabout leaf that
river is almost embarrassed at the space it occupies —
professionally shocked to be spotted
despite the camouflage dust it
wears to wander beneath notice.

One vein for all living
but not interested
in grand acclamations.
Such tinnitus is human,
unworthy of a ripple here
where even the trees
are transitory.

It scrawls
on the grey-soil plains.
This consecrated vellum
is read by cockatoos. A lethargic loam is too thin
for gods or garnish —
last will & testament there's fear
where there's nothing.

Men are busy — we pump & preen about
this unknowable saline belly.
Eagles understand the deaths
that feed any cycle.

Further south more weirs & bridges cage
a living this dissonance.
But it moves on despite all subornation,
blue in its pocket
& no sense of contention.
Meanders towards Antarctica
in a joyfully flocculent languor.

Les Wicks

none o'clock

its none o'clock,
the A-frame warm,
a day of page, of touch,
sky unzipped

the A-frame warm,
day of brie on rye
and the sky unzipped,
blue wrens flitting

day of brie on rye,
a river bank wander,
blue wrens flitting

a day of page and touch,
Schubert and doona,
none o'clock

Kevin Gillam



She-oaks are silent.
On the sand dunes they grow together,
but never make a forest.
They stir, in the sea wind,
grey heads nodding,
rooted in sand.
It never seemed odd to me
as a child
how they survived,
old lizards,
their tough grey hides
focused inwards
on the pale flame
drawn up, drawn
up their thin frames
from silence,
the wordless thought,
that says
'alive, alive'.

R. Nugent 

Les WicksOver 35 years Les Wicks has performed at festivals, schools, prison etc. He has been published in over 250 different magazines, anthologies and newspapers across 15 countries in nine languages. His tenth book of poetry is Barking Wings.

Kevin GillamKevin 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. 

R. Nugent is a Queensland poet.

Topic tags: new australian poems, Les Wicks, Kevin Gillam, R.Nugent, Murray-Darling Basin



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Existing comments

ODE TO REGION Oh, such song is spent on a river Silence for those, who With love and toil have revealed all Through each drop of heaven's tears To city dwellers who splash in pools Why, asks the child Of farmers and irrigators Why do 'they' want us gone We're part of this showing Of the telling of the river's story It's those who've never lived here Parents tell the one Those with visions of a land With no human footprint The words of their story don't have one for you When will there be time and will To listen to the story with all chapters Of water, of nature, of man hearing a future for all? The story's here, in the region. Why not come and listen to the tellers all.
Fr Mick Mac Andrew | 03 April 2012

Thank you Les, for the word flocculent! R. Nugent, thanks for the wordless thought of the she-oaks. No thanks to Kevin, for making me want cheese! (Lovely poem though.)
Penelope | 03 April 2012

This rings so true for me in this day and age, in how vital it is for us as Christians to respect God's creation, as it, through the process of evolution is an onoing process after 15 billion years, in which we, homo sapiens, are in integral part in creating the best possible world for these, and future generations. Love your e-zine, too,and continue to, along with other things to which I subscribe, I continue to both get lots out of it,and become stronger and passionate about our progressive Christian faith. The strong emphasis on social and ecological justice is to be admired, too. Thanks, and keep up the good work.
Phillip Smith | 03 April 2012


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