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Climactic events in Royal Park

  • 26 October 2021
Selected poems

Climactic Events in Royal Park

First Lockdown

These weekday mornings all is quiet.

I stroll across the highway,

a piddle of cars in the outbound lane,

a puddle at the distant lights.

Along the parkland trail

cowled figures walk alone,

measuring their distance.

From the rise above the railway cutting

Macedon stands burly in the smoke-free air.

‘Six days shall you labour

but on the seventh day you shall rest’,

said Moses.

But now on six days few can labour,

grind corn, or pay their debts.

Every day brings death and exile,

lack of bread, and isolation.

After sunrise

of this seven-day, upside-down shabbat

the crimson glow out in the East

reflected on the redgum trunks

makes do for candle lights,

and the wind upon my face

intones Shalom Aleichem.

As I walk across deserted playing fields,

between grass parrots and galahs,

both grazing,

a swoop of swallows

dance about my non-observant feet

chirruping the Havdalah.

Presidential Election

This morning a million words on Trump,

but nothing special happened here.

The sun fell on eucalypts and far off Macedon,

fallen gum leaves sparked like silver coins,

spring grass was lambswool underfoot,

the liquid call of a grey thrush sweetened the gully,

a murder of crows ground the air,

three red mowers spun like dodgem cars

between the trees,

two pigeons, tails fanned like geisha girls,

danced together,

mother duck and her eight ducklings

played by the ornamental lake.

No, nothing special happened here.

Christmas after Lockdown

A dark morning, damp path, dull spirits,

and the smell of recent rain.

Along the rise, yellow light

seeps through the circling trees

and pours through gaps,

falling on the redgums,

and glinting off the rain drops on each leaf.

The whole wide world’s alive with stars

and the smell of earth and eucalypt,

as once in Bethlehem

when shepherds clumped down from the rise

and wondered at the child

who lay in golden light,

surrounded by a thousand stars,

as kings came bringing gifts

and, embarrassed,

laid aside their heavy gold.

The Fall of Kabul

Above the hockey stadium,

the morning sky is scarlet,

like a fire.

I think of you

as you await the coming of the Taliban.

Over the stadium hang banks of blinding globes,

as once within the Estado Nacional in Chile,

under Pinochet,

and still on Manus Island

where many of your brothers are confined.

To the north the sky hangs heavy grey

like security police en masse,

and to the west,

a rainbow buttresses the sky.

An emblem of our care for you,

it slowly fades away.

And now a cold hard rain sets in,


Grand Final


‘We’ve won’,

the Siren blared last night,

as sixty years of inner demons were expelled,

a hundred thousand arthritic knees creaked up,

fifty thousand long-unpractised fists attacked the sky,

and croaking voices