Here, the sea’s bowl –
the harbour with still, white boats
and coloured flags – a Dufy carnival,
lines crisscrossing, the arch of the bridge
against roofs of scattered houses, shops.
It is afternoon, late summer –
how the promise of ships lies lazily
across the myriad bays
reaching as far as eye can see.
The landscape-class, easels set up
have it leisurely before them.
Their canvasses reflect this bluest of light
where the tutor’s words float like gulls
wheeling in and out among Moreton Bay figs.
This morning she is travelling
eyes steeled on her knitting,
while the man next to her
from time to time turns his head,
glances briefly at the fiery wool
then looks away.
He is silent as a guard, and she
never speaks. Are they together, some pair
perfectly joined by silence?
Or are they today’s complete strangers?
I’ll never know, left simply
to knit them together – characters in a story,
a middle-aged couple on a train
waiting for love’s fable to happen to them,
for their old lives to be swept aside
changed, changed – as she keeps knitting,
bumping him occasionally,
at which he shrugs, turns his head quickly
not like a lover, but content.
Track the garden
that fields your tiger.
Track your valerian
and this map
that colours you in,
Track your mercury,
its lasered pulses.
Track your tree –
its bosky spin-offs
and your pollen –
its chain of hours,
Track your windmill,
its shaky cross-bars.
Track your bridge
(it’s weigh-in time)
and your rain-barrel,
your precious catchment
against quick-burn drought.
Track your diviner –
its special water-butt.
Track your marsh,
its wary bunyip.
Track your rain,
its downpour grains.
I’m learning it all – acrobatics, clowning,
riding bareback and trapeze,
fire from a sleeve: my hand’s a wand.
I weave my life round dancing elephants
who spray the air while turning
their backs on the crowd;
lions who never put a foot wrong.
I’m taking their cue, I’ve seen
what people want.
Prancing ponies teach me steps:
pacing, adroitness, like my fellow-dancers
keeping their spot.
I’m walking the high-wire, making my mark
poised, balanced, don’t look away –
you are my gravity’s other edge.