Gliding in contentment

Wedge-tailed Eagle Southern New South Wales

Gliding in contentment's contempt of task
all along Jingellic Road's thread line
by Ulladulla station or further south to Yambla Ridge,
the Wedge-tail where the hill was ripped

by the drag-tool for wattle under-storey
contoured to the cairn, slides in the air,
conserving energy since no wing beats.
Undefeated in flight, wholly at ease

over the Wantagong Valley long and deep,
its green eye-range to the edge of a world:
seeing all, surveillant, dominant.
A dead Kangaroo's ribbed carcass

becomes death's carnal paddock carpet, furred.
Cloud blurs in the light, and beyond, the sun gleams
as the eagle glides by hillside
above or below my eye-line at the cairn site.

On a streaming easy line,
kilometers of small creatures' terror terrain
beneath the reigning kyrios of ripped earth
and replenished saplings and renewed creeks.

Its predator scrutiny pre-dates this ripped aorta,
this heart muscle opened to the beak, talon held.
A cavity of valley grabs lung breath,
exaggerated claws evolved to be good at this.

Now gliding easily over this valley floor
raptor eye seeking curious or hidden prey,
each taloned
and carried away.


The Road

Out running I ran into the God.
A portal black with no depth.

It was a gap in the visual field
A billboard no more signed than shadow

I ran though it
and though without depth

the further I went
the more it persisted.

An ambulance came
and took away my body.

I was not there.
I did not hear the siren.

Dear Flannery

Dear Flannery,
you've been dead since 1964
so I don't know where you are. But
if you have on your resurrected body
you'll be free from Lupus. I
thought about you last evening on the main drive
when an agile figure sped by.
I smelled essence of lemon
as if someone drew it from the air,
distilled it in passing.
For some reason it made me think of you, or,
'You were the very next thing I thought of'.
I hope we can still meet.
Your late reader and fan.


All Saints' Blackheath: July

In Summer's dye of straw colour
the heath traces the same straw shades
in the stone spire past its hundredth year.

Winter dries out from trampling,
over-mowing and by the spire
where people lie shirtless.

It's a big unfenced field.
Light scarcely seeps away,
hangs on late when the vapour trails of high jets

intersect as cold air art
by Summer's moon crescent.
The lit spire says to pilots 'bank North'.

The heath as open sea
invites possible transits
past the spire at shore's edge.

The high up glinting
cock's crow
betrays no one.

The vapour trails are very high
and lit up in a sun that from here
is already below the horizon

Stretched cirrus slashed brush strokes on long canvas,
a water-colour sky washes above the tree bank,
cumulous violet and mauve of this world as another.

On Friday as noon-chimes,
hundreds stand quiet by the spire.
They object to the bombers in the Tube.

Later and far above the spire clock
noctilucent fragments
far above breathing air

in sunlight from beyond all curved limits.

Ivan HeadIvan Head is warden of St Paul's College within the University of Sydney.


Topic tags: Australian poems, Ivan head, wedge-tailed eagle, Flannery O'Connor, Blackheath



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