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The Independent Weekly arts
To celebrate 200 issues of Poet's Corner we feature some distinctly South Australian poems from
contributors both old and new. Our thanks go to all our readers and poets over the time.
A special Poet's Corner
John s Bench
Inspired by "In the Garden", a poetry collection by Miriel
Lenore about the Adelaide Botanic Garden
"Beauty is the promise of happiness" whispers
as I sit on the bench created by Khai Liew
(Cheong s brother)
in loving memory of John KK Ho.
Before me a grassy bank sweeps away
to the sacred lilies of Nelumbo Pond.
An enormous Ficus prasinicarpa on my left.
Behind the pond, two layers of greenery.
The first bright leafed, luminous,
and rising above it
dark-trunked, towering pines.
A line of ducks,
like Ducks on Dawn Patrol
or perhaps off on a picnic,
Another comes to investigate me,
angling for the food I m not allowed to give it.
In this place
Larson s "Ducknaphobia" --
The fear that somehow, somewhere, a duck
is watching you,
is not a fear, it s a fact.
Sitting on his bench,
I float the question.
"So, waddaya think John,
is this beautiful?"
He just goes on being happy
and doesn t reply.
Dead Man s Pass (Gawler)
As misty vapours waft the air
and dewy blades of dawn
drip forth their pearly sheen
raucous calls ring out
from atop majestic boughs
The Pass awakens
to autumnal scent
kookaburra laughter gives way
to dulcet sounds of warblers soft
in orchestral suite
With well-trod paths of tarnished red,
and mallee stems of lacquered brown
look down from slopes on lofty gums,
some gnarled and bare, yet some
so flush with foliage flare,
guard the dense rush watercourse
Flowering gums host humming bees
and parrots search for titbits rare
willy wagtails create a stir
and magpies strut and shrill the air,
a friendly call, and frisky dogs
race round and round in playful yelp
while owners meet in carefree watch
This peaceful scene dreams on and on
when once there was no hope for one
who passed this way in summer heat
and faded from this earth to toil
his soul rests now to savour all
in Dead Man s Pass.
I spoke with the spoonbill, and he said to me
"Where s all the water, I can t seem to feed?"
Said I "It s all gone to soak bloody cotton --
These Lakes & bless d Coorong are all but forgotten!"
So do something, say something, write your MP --
We beg you -- the Lakes, the spoonbill & me.
Driving Home Through the Hills
There are days when every liquid amber hurts --
Their blazing colours can assault the eye --
Because they mean that autumn s drawing to a close
And soon it will be winter s chill, for all things die.
There are days when every tinkling tune can hurt --
The words are trite, predictable, but how they score
With every note a wound, because they wind their way
To final bars that signify the music s o er.
There are days when sunsets glowing in the west --
So chocolate-box, painful extravagance of hue --
Can make me falter and draw anguished breath
Because I know they soon will fade from view.
I enter Heysen Tunnels with eyes blurred --
These too like all else have a predetermined end.
But as I round their final curves I see
An apprehended light beyond the bend.
On the Value of Bird-Song
As I walk to work I scuffle
though the layers of my mind;
Like some demented gardener
I turn over the dirt of duty.
That meeting today,
This person to see and to solace,
That paper to write, report to read,
Those essays to mark.
I arrange these patterns of pressure
Over and over, obsessively.
But bird-song stops
This cognitive rummaging.
The rattle and squawk
Of the little wattle bird,
Shrieks of the pee-wee,
Choral ensemble of magpies,
Sing me along my journey to work.
All blessings upon the song of the bird
That saves me from my crazy-paved mind.
Russ Talbot has studied professional
writing at TAFE and was a 2009
Wirra Wirra Short Story winner. Thom
Sullivan is an engineer who published
his first collection of poems last year
with Friendly Street. Tom Mann is a
member of the Australian Refugee
Association and author of Desert
Sorrow, a book about the Woomera
Detention Centre. Valerie Volk is
a former secondary school English
teacher and tertiary lecturer, with a PhD
in Education Studies. Simon Brealey
is a geologist, avid birdwatcher and
active campaigner for the freshwater
conservation of the Lower Lakes and
Coorong. Helen Cameron, PhD ret, is
an adjunct senior research fellow at
UniSA's School of Psychology, Social
Work and Social Policy.
Compiled by John Miles
Reader unpublished poems to 30 lines can be emailed with postal address to email@example.com or posted with an SAE to the Poetry Editor, Independent Weekly, GPO Box 114 Adelaide 5001.
A poetry book will be awarded to each contributor.
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