This poem was written with thanks on unceded Wodi-Wodi land
Here I am grateful to be up early while the house is still asleep and the sky is the colour of blood plums. To slip into the kitchen, take the last orange from the china bowl, quarter it bleeding juice and cells, and give thanks. Thanks for the orchard near Griffith 6 hours west of here where it’s still night the whoosh of frost fans, the fruit like lanterns hung in the bladed leaves. And for the Italian diaspora, out of poverty and crumbling fields to new south wales — grazie, milli grazie. And ever for the Wiradjuri Nation on whose land this fruit grew. For quartz knives and scrapers singing trade routes thru the alluvium. For the mottled cod on a rock face and a deep well of water hidden by a flat stone — say mandaang guwu (that’s Wiradjuri for thank you). To the picker from Kiribati grateful for our wages (less board, less diesel, less this ‘n that). In three months, he’ll see his family they’ll buy a Chinese solar battery so their daughter can do her homework at night sitting up out of the tide — and they’ll give thanks. Such abundance, such good juice. 3 aussie dollars buys a netful from my grocers. There’s Damascus pop on the radio and in season you get the best broad beans. They pile nets of glorious navels in bins by the doorway and help mothers in hijabs and elders in duffle coats load their trollies high — and say shukran. Wait. Time for one final thanks: for this morning’s morning chorus, the honeyeater’s tchlik the blackbird in the casuarina — another settler another feral import, useless but to assuage an Englishman’s nostalgia at breakfast and to bless us in our loud, complicated song.
Image: Postcard, the Parent Navel Orange Tree, Riverside, California, c. 1930, Boston Public Library c/- Wikimedia Commons. This is the image of the ur-navel orange, the mutation that occurred in oranges around 200 years ago that produced the navel. All other navels are clones of this one blessed tree.
I’m sorry for not posting for a while but here’s a new poem which I hope you’ll enjoy.
And for music today, (I know I’ve linked this before) to celebrate seasonal change wherever you find yourself, here’s Max Richter’s Four Seasons (Youtube).