the egret

It’s been a month since the contractors poisoned the weed that
was choking our suburban lagoon. Still water, mats of black collapse

the shore is quiet. Usually by October the reed warblers would be 
full-throated at their young: this our morning song, this an alarm trill 

this is how to hang a nest on two bent rushes just right. Next year 
— maybe. The pelicans mooch about before departing.

An egret wades in the shallows, brilliant 
like a tear in a curtain on a summer day. 

Yellow eye, yellow blade strikes, catches nothing. 
I want to make this bird into something — 

in its leanness and pallor, a township starved then razed
or our kids trampling helter skelter through the garden.

Unmoved, the bird stabs again, brings up a string of muck. 
It won’t mate this season; it’ll starve if it stays.

I’m thinking how hard it is to say anything cleanly, truly. 
Then the real bird lifts, a slow loping climb 

over lawns and picnic tables with a loud croaking call 
that I couldn’t help but hear as disgust.  

Image: An eastern great egret (ardea modesta) c/- David Clode at Unsplash, similar to the one so disappointed at our local lagoon.

And for music today, here’s Grown Ocean… “a large ensemble project by Sydney-based musician Novak Manojlovic”. with Memory Gardens (Youtube), which features songs inspired by the Illawarra NSW – where this poem was written. Maybe start with Rail Line, What Runs thru Coast & Colliery tho it’s all good.

And for those of you having difficulty with WordPress – here’s the poem as a PDF.

This poem was inspired by and written on unceded Wadi-Wadi land.

jasmine rice

beyond the glass, rain
intensifies in sheets wild
by light poles and 
car yards, stammer of traffic
as we huddle the dinner’s remnants
and restless chandeliers.

one eye on the conditions
we’re counting umbrellas (1)
considering desserts (4) 
sticky, drunk, deep fried, pronged with sparklers 
and how poetry elevates everyday language
the crackle of electrics and lit. things.

weather app shows mint and mango zones
rolling over our coast
shows renewed river rises 
floods flood floods
water down the water glass.

we shrug into cardigans 
and summer throw-overs
tarry at the entrance 
the waiter in silk pyjamas 
bows, hands together — sawadti kha diners
Buddha says appearances are an illusion —

yet here we are beguiled

the puddled carpark
the servo, native grasses 
tall as the tanami in spring
a way through to
the cemetery roses 
heavy heads before the rain.

Image: Photo by Jolly Yau on Unsplash. Sawadti (pronounced with long last syllable) – is a Thai greeting, farewell and generic blessing; the Tanami is a desert in north west central Australia; and Jasmine Rice is a Thai restaurant in Wollongong, ‘almost an institution in this town’ some say: not that you need all this explanation.

For music this morning, here’s the Australian Chamber Orchestra with Johnny Greenwood’s composition ‘Water‘ (Youtube).

This poem was written on unceded Wodi Wodi land.