Climactic events in Royal Park

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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,

weeping.

 

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 screamed for the red and the blue, and among them all,

me too,

to hail the Demons’ rising yet again

to reign a thousand years more.

 

This early morning,

the sunlight falls

on spreading eucalypts,

and in each tree

picks out each shining, twisted, curling, crossing limb

each stretching, thrusting, hurling heavenwards

its foliage to seize the light

that sparkles on each dew-starred leaf,

and Magpies carol in delight to be alive

this morning,

just as yesterday they sang,

and sang each day

for more than sixty years,

and sing each morning still.

  

 

 

 

Andrew Hamilton

Andrew Hamilton is consulting editor of Eureka Street, and writer at Jesuit Social Services.

Main image: Sunrise at Fairbains park, Melbourne (Getty Images)

Topic tags: Andrew Hamilton, poetry

 

 

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Existing comments

Many very special happenings with "Presidential Election".


Pam | 26 October 2021  

There was delicious irony in 'First Lockdown': a vision of a world turned upside down. I think most readers would have to look up the two Hebrew phrases. 'Christmas after Lockdown' was clearer and more easily comprehensible because of its clever use of familiar images juxtaposed with native flora. There are some extremely complex modern poets, like Eliot, but some of his more readily comprehensible stuff in 'Ariel Poems', like 'Journey of the Magi', is just as moving as 'Four Quartets'. Good stuff. Keep writing, but aim for simplicity and accessibility.


Edward Fido | 27 October 2021  

Lovely to see you 'take shelter' in poesie, Andy: a life-enhancing break from the high responsibility of your other job. When Morag Fraser described you, Peter Steele and Brendan Byrne all those years ago as 'The Three Musketeers', it hadn't occurred that you shared Peter's extraordinary gift. I know Brendan as a singer and wonder if he 'bards' as well: an antidote, no doubt, to his skill in untangling SS Paul & John.


Michael Furtado | 02 November 2021  

I was wondering, splendid Andy, if, as in the instance of the kind of mistakes I often make in my too-easy tinkles on the type-writer and very very occasionally glaringly evident on ES' Poetry pages, a typo might have been 'commited', adding a second 'c' to the title of your first poem. In my rueful experience, saunters in the park are sometimes rumoured to lead to these, especially when accompanied by references to 'piddling' and 'cowled figures walking alone'.


Michael Furtado | 07 November 2021  

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