Summertime in drought



Selected poems





It was summer in the midst of drought.

The earth was parched, impenetrably hard,

and all about leaves fell like rain,

clogging gutters and the drains.

Leaves fell in clouds, curled and dry,

and formed a carpet across the street

that crunched beneath pedestrians’ feet

and whenever hot breathed winds eddied by,

blowing veined fragments into the sky,

they blinded eyes like winter sleet.

It was only then, I realised, we were

watching trees trying to survive —

desperately shedding leaves to stay alive.



The great divide


                                    In the eastern, beach-side suburbs,

inner urban culture thrives.

At café tables by the curbs,

latte lovers graze on words.


Sipping chai martinis through

soggy cardboard eco-straws

they can be overheard

discussing important first world concerns


or comparing the performance

of the cars they drive;

the art house movie’s perceived flaws;

                                    the dearth of public parking spaces or


providing a precis of The Feminine.

Sharing make-up preserving 

air kisses — and the same prejudices —

they are happy provided they are seen.


While, west of the Great Divide,

where skeletal cattle chew dirt for cud,

farmers shoot breeding herds and studs

and worry how they will survive. 



My neighbour


My neighbour feeds the magpies.

He thinks he is being kind

but, to the result, he is blind.

Warbling to greet the dawn,

the magpies queue from first light

and, rising late, he doesn't see

the birds are a blight — that while

he sleeps, the magpies strut

about on stalk-like legs,

and prey upon, peck and devour,

the rare and pretty blue wrens' eggs. 





                                    A sound of summer in September:

                                    the buzzing of a solitary, early, blow-fly;

                                    stopping over there, starting again but,

now, nearer here, brings back memories

of lazy pre-pubescent Saturday afternoons

in a dusty country town and of nasally sung tunes;

of the drone of continuous racing calls,

drifting on visibly shimmering, heat haze;

of corpse-carrying fly-paper, hanging

in spirals from moulded ceilings —

akin to raison-sized genes stuck on a helix;

of coloured plastic tapes or strung-beads

suspended from lintels to hinder their entry;

of meat-safes that preceded refrigeration;

of hardships that helped create a resilient nation.



Jeremy GaddJeremy Gadd has published  four volumes of poetry, two volumes of short stories and had plays professionally performed. His recent novel, The Suicide Season, is available from Stormbird Press (Adelaide). He lives and writes in a Federation era house overlooking Botany Bay.

Topic tags: Jeremy Gadd, poetry



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Existing comments

I enjoyed the first poem 'Drought' very much. Thank you Jeremy, kevin your brother In Christ

Kevin Walters | 07 April 2020  

I liked "The Great Divide " best, but each poem is very relevant to this summer.

Lara Carr | 09 April 2020  

I love these four poems, Jeremy. Deeply evocative for an old bloke who used to be a boy on a farm in Northern Victoria, and more recently, 25 acres on top of Picnic Hill at Toodyay here in WA, where drought killed ancient York Gums. Powerful, evocative images, punchy, gutsy, rhythmic stuff. I especially love the twist inside this line - akin to raison-sized genes stuck on a helix - from Blowfly. Thank you.

Allan Padgett | 10 April 2020  

WOW! What beautifully written poems on the drought. You obviously have an extensive talent with words. As a matter of fact I have now learnt the meaning of 'eddied by.' No truer words could have been written, than on the Great Divide. As for My Neighbour...I do feed the magpies, luckily there are no blue wren eggs lying around. Now regarding Blow-fly and that spiral hanging fly paper, this took me right back to my childhood, when mother would hang those sticky brown death traps that I on occasion would run into. Yuk!!

Christina Rudas | 13 April 2020  

I'll take Blowfly anytime. The others are strong visuals but in Blowfly I got the catch that takes me into the world I knew in the Riverina, in the fifties. do change raison to raisin though. that pulled me up short!

Graham Scott | 26 April 2020  

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