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Enterprises begun, projects explored

  • 13 November 2018
  Selected poems  


It feels odd to be recycled

My atoms billions of years old

Stretching back millennia


What adventures they have had

Enterprises begun, projects explored

Voyages completed


Gathered now into this organic centre

Of blood and bone

Assembled to be me


Constant in their duty

Always at work

Sending incessantly electronic reassurance


How much I owe them

I do not know where I would be

If they had not paused for this short time


I hear them making plans

Some have already packed their bags

And moved on


But I will always be grateful

Under their guidance

I was able to hold myself together



Are stranded whales

Canaries of the sea

Pods beach-cast in despair

Their life-habitat now deadly


Encountering a rainbow parrot

Dead upon the path

I looked for its assassin

Only polluted air


The slow dying of our Village emblem

The growling grass frog

Is sign of the fading health

Of our beloved wetlands


As if sea, land and air

Are succumbing to our greed

New Delhi prepares for winter

School children in class breathe through face masks



It is audacious

To throw out of the cupboard

That which is old

In preference for the new

And foolhardy


Old and new belong together

Lean on the need to touch

Both then and now

For balance


I am not convinced

Shininess and gigabites

Generate thought

I write this poem

With a pen



No one forgets how to ride a bicycle

Gripping the handlebars comes easily

Slipping onto the seat

Feet unerringly finding the pedals

The first gut wrenching effort

To get inert wheels moving


Riding over the rutted surface

Of a dirt road outside my son’s house

On my grandson’s bike

I raise dust of childhood memories

Wheels cracking ice over winter pools

On the frosty ride to school in Bendigo


Sweaty and hot, pushing up McIvor Road hill

Out to get dry scrub for Bonfire night

Potatoes raked out of the dying coals

Jet black

To be split open, butter and salt added

To burn too eager lips and tongue


The front wheel hanging still on

The designated hook in the undercroft

Of the boy’s bicycle shed at High School

Foreshadowing the stillness

Of a final resting place long forgotten

In the mists of time


Now with the wind in my face

Sparkles flying from glinting spokes

Pursued by remembered shouts

Of teenage enthusiasm

At eighty-one, caution thrown to the wind

I hurtle downhill once again with uncertain brakes



There is little to be said in the end

Since that which matters

Transcends knowledge


It is difficult to accept

That not knowing

Is the true gift


How hard to learn

That all we secure

Will mist-like drift away


What will remain

Cannot be banked

For love is priceless


We are left without understanding

As an act of mercy

That we might understand



Denham Grierson is the author of Walking on Bones: Poems in the nick of Time.       Main image: Southern lights (A. Sparrow/Flickr)