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Today is longer than yesterday

  • 18 August 2020
Selected poems  

Southern Solstice


Today is longer than yesterday

                        by a split second or so

We are being sucked

                                 towards indolent days

              that wade through heat and glare

                     numb the brain as it soaks

                                                    in festive inanity

                     furnish public places with eyefuls

                            of bare skin

       long legs         midriffs             shoulders


                                   play-acting at being accommodated

                               in make-believe shorts

All while the calendar changes its uniform


Today is longer than yesterday

            we drift towards future events

         to be written by History’s thick clumsy fingers

                   in ink composed of blood

                               seasoned in pestilence and greed

Terrifying    tsunami          tempests         seismic





                                                                 poised to write

                                    their malodorous stories in heinous hieroglyphs

                       across the planet’s

                                          already ravaged visage


Today is longer than yesterday

                   the beginning of a drag

                             towards year’s clamorous end

          One less for us to endure


       The number in the credit column shrinks

Backyard Rebirth


It might look ordinary to some

But there’s an interesting array of shrubs

                                        arranged with nonchalant elegance

With different muscle power

                                layers of overlapping greens

                                          caress the eye

A dominant yellow box eucalyptus or two

            a couple of different acacia types

No wretched northern hemisphere lawns here

Native grasses state their case

                     everything native

Makes this backyard different

                            but not extraordinary


There are times when the extraordinary

                                        can be sensed

A barefoot walk over this ground

              earns a shiver

                          felt ascending the soil

Generations of stamping Gundungurra feet

                                                         assert themselves

A burning smell

                            claws at the air

                        a campfire

           flesh smothered in hot ashes

Slender black children

          run         squeal      dodge

            throw thin sticks

                                    would-be spears

Women sit in a circle

                         stitching skins

                                won from the bodies of possums


The power of the ages lasts only so long

The here-and-now look of the backyard space

                  clamps down on the imagination

For now

         just a different

                                   but not extraordinary



Greg Tome is a retired secondary school teacher who focused on writing after he retired. He has had two books of poetry published by Ginninderra Press: Watching from the shadows and Tilting at Time. His poetry has appeared in a number of literary journals, the most recent in BlazeVOX. Main image: (Utamaru Kido/Getty Images)