Rural prayer

moreton bay fig

she must be more than a century,
no longer concerned
with appearances,
gnarled roots exposed,
wrinkled trunk, limbs
tangling skyward with

crows perched in
her green rinse

she's cantankerous — dropping
fruit over neighbours' fences,
and secretive, whispering in
the ears of the children
who play beneath

her scent is always earthy
and over-ripe, having long
given up on seasons
but not on life

Kevin Gillam

The twilight of autumn

First rains wash:
a ritual, cleansing residues
from clothes lines, fences, roofs and roads.
Domestic spirituality.

Clouds filter sunlight
relaxing eyesight.
A meditation.

Rains polish almond-shaped, olive-coloured leaves
and blushing berries of the Japanese Pepper,
or Jesuits Balsam
that frames the church car-park.

The oil a cure-all:
anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral
cleansing wounds.

pain relief.

Aperient (a mild laxative),
purgative holiness.

Like a tourniquet it reduces bleeding,
promoting healing.

Anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, anti-depressant,

Hypotensive, cardiotonic,
heart health.

The essential oils found in Chilean wines.

Like juniper sweet and aromatic:
with tears that washed the feet
of Jesus.

First rains.

Deanne Davies



There is no balm for the yearning of eucalypts.
Candlebarks stretch up this vaulted wanting.
Dahlias splash an insane chant over a paddock,
a calf nods and backs into a startled wander.
One day she might raspily lick the mystery of my supplicant salty palm.

The kunzea shakes its head at the darting thoughts of ransacking honeyeaters;
galaxies of shining filaments catch their own suns,
striped feathers and silver eyes are lavish ideas with nowhere to go.
In winter, a faltering hand of snow,
sticks a gentle finger in my eye stopping the risk of pride.

The chalice Ash joins no offering of passage,
the canoe drifts from tree shape misleading entry.
Hands worked free an illusion of transit,
pushing into the promise finding
Hardwood bars all ways against the bubbling rainbow.

At my pew in the white gum I am an uneventful and regular event.
A shrieking squall of red and green blue yellow veers —
leadlight to frame the river noise below, and holding
at anchor, in shards of haphazard reflection,
memories slipping through my hands to their own lives

My prayer, more like the old family dog sitting alert in the herb garden,
each working day at the same hour,
listening for the school bus,
panting for the children who no longer arrive,
but never doubting the shadowy promise.

James Walton

Kevin Gillam headshotKevin 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.

Deanne Davies headshotDeanne Davies lives with her family in Geraldton, Western Australia. She won the Matthew Rocca Poetry Prize in 2011. She reads her poetry annually at the largest regional readers and writers festival in WA, Big Sky. She is passionate about social and environmental justice and enjoys history and singing.

James Walton headshotJames Walton ives in the Strezelecki Mountains in South Gippsland. He has worked for the CPSU SPSF public service union for over 20 years, where he is the assistant Victorian Branch secretary. He will also be published in Australian Love Poems Anthology 2013.

Topic tags: poetry, Kevin Gillam, Deanne Davies, Jim Walton



submit a comment

Similar Articles

Portrait of an empty marriage and absent God

  • Tim Kroenert
  • 11 July 2013

The sense of God as absent is almost suffocating, but is relieved by the hope that if God is absent from buildings and institutions he may be present 'outside' and in relationships. Father Quintana comes into his own when he comes into contact with the needs of ordinary people, as he prays in voiceover 'Christ before me … behind me' and so on.


Bad teacher's classroom voyeurism

  • Tim Kroenert
  • 04 July 2013

'Those who can't do, teach,' declares the unkind truism. Germain is the proverbial failed writer turned English teacher, who has grown jaded and cynical to the point of sociopathy. Education, like art, should enhance humanity, not diminish it — Germain's ultimate failure as a teacher is in neglecting his students' human reality.



Subscribe for more stories like this.

Free sign-up