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Telco Crash


A selection of poems by John Kelly



Telco Crash


While its virtues are ubiquitously

touted and near-idolized

as advantages in efficiency,

improved contact rapidity,

and enhanced global connectivity,

it takes but one malfunction,

not to mention piracy,

to wake us up to see

the cost is very high for

an increasing faith in

and dependency on

messianic promises and marvels

of uber-advancing technology!




Post-Dover Beach 


Stranded on shingles, the Western beachhead

now quite in disarray,

as Matthew Arnold presciently intuited

on the night he rose up from his honeymoon bed

and looked out across the Channel:


a new tide of the rational and the irrational

surging in, displacing earth and rock

where faith for centuries had stood;

the tutored steerage of the mind wrenched madly

from its compass, the wild wheel spinning,

the mooring lines adrift; and, un-captained,

unattended, the fraught ship listing, course-less,

flayed on all sides by contending winds. . .


Once, not so very long ago, the port-bound sailor

adequately knew the distinct compass-points:

journeys had a purpose, like pilgrimages

suggesting possibility

beyond the immediate destination. . .


Step up to post-modernity, my friends,

where hegemonic dogma,

the latest a sophistic prevailing wind,

pronounces all is relative, nothing sure,

(except its own assertions)

and ‘mainstream’ culture’s love

sings more of eros than of agape.




Grandchildren at Play


She, at one, already bolder even than her elder brother,

and mobile, somewhere between a fast crawl

and a stuttering first-steps sprint

that end abruptly in belly flop or genuflection

before she reaches the intended coffee-table’s edge

and hauls her weight full-height to turn

the pages of the picture-books, especially the animal ones,

pointing and laughing at the coloured illustrations. . .


He, her big brother, is all of just-turned three:

his ready grin announces “I’m up for anything”

while his wide eyes shine with mischief in the offing –

he’s already into plucking and to throwing lemons

off the backyard tree, and hiding garden figurines

of gnomes, and birds, and turtles in the shrubbery. . .


And all the while the family dog called “Otto”,

a cross between a Belgian Shepherd and a Labrador

with a coat as black as moonless night, but happily,

the temperament of the latter,

vigilantly and with Job-like patience scouts,

like a trained sheep-dog, the children’s play;

and, when it suits, joins in, providing

his broad back for doggy-riding action.




The Acropolis of Athens


How, just how, in that war-torn,

plague-infested time and place

could human mind conjure up

a vision of such harmony and grace

whose ruins signal still for us,

in troubled times, what is achievable?


Her elegant remains protest today

against time pressing, passing.

Long now past the youthful glory

of her prime:

her patron goddess’s aegis,

her plundered and eroding frieze,

her crumbling columns,

despite sporadic make-overs,

all but vanquished. . .


though, even yet, the divine spark of logos

that first conceived her abides:

a time-transcending potency

wherever and whenever

God’s most Self-like of all creatures

lives, breathes, and dreams. . .





John Kelly is an Adelaide teacher whose third collection of poems A Schoolbag Full was released in 2021.

Topic tags: John Kelly, poetry



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