Words are strung on a million strings,
crotcheted nets, wrapped in themselves,
dictionaries, in which
each many-stranded knot,
tapestries into unending differences,
but nowhere can you find the meaning of a single
We cast these nets,
poor fishers of meanings that we are,
but never catch;
the meaning-fishes swim right past,
for they are wild
and always moving,
only sometimes are they there,
when the net is cast,
We cannot see beneath the surface,
glitter-blinded as we are by ripples of fashion
and the breaking and the foaming
as the swells of self-assertion crash upon each other
and by the endless plastic bobbing jetsam dance
of annunciations, myths and dogmas.
Who will tell us when to cast the net and where?
Midwinter under the southern cross, and the wildflowers begin their long blooming season, wattle and red grevillea…
and the wild creatures come out to play…wattle birds, with nectar enough for all, even those who capture them only on film.
The “Black Dog” the old english Statesman called it,
And took a little more from whiskey than whiskey took from him,
But that was not so kind to Labradors,
And all such less than fair dogs.
Wolf I’d rather call it,
Top predator of souls,
Hounding the evolution of our minds
from love of self to other,
from inward loss to outward grace.
Unless, of course, we manage to evade this wolf
And, in that, rob our suffering of its fruits,
and so seek shelter from our life in inner mausoleums,
Among funerary figures
Of Guilt, and Sin, and Long Regrets,
And all the unforgiven things,
Concerning which we claim our own exemption from forgiveness
of faults which, in any other, we might readily forgive,
Even though we know we share with them a common weakness and fragility.
For ourselves, then,
Singular even in this,
The Sandstone Country
Like the first people, guardians of the earth,
we, too, are in the service of the land,
caring for the Angophora, for Bluegum and Turpentine,
Geebung and Scribbly Gum.
We learn to speak a rich vocabulary of secret names,
of Flannel flowers and Christmas Bush,
Boronia and Waratah, Hakea, Grevillea, Banksia and Tea Tree,
Darwinia and Dilwynnia, and the chant goes on.
We learn their songs
and the melodies of all the spirits of those places:
where Wianamatta shale blankets the sandstone plateau
and spills its clays down broken sandstone stairs
past algae-blackened, lichen-patched, wind-hollowed ledges,
which give abundant holds and food for:
Wax Flowers, Blandifordia Bells, Epacris Longiflora’s crimson tubes
and purple lilies flowering after rain.
As our times become more past than present,
As they do, eventually,
They become, also, more one.
How can we speak of the still centre
Of the ever turning wheel,
While talking our lives into the shapes of our wanting,
Through intonation, timbre, cadence
And all the voice’s eloquent vibrations,
Blindly gesturing at the flickering
Tied to the fleeting times and places of their uttering?
Fishermen, Calvinists, Talmudic scholars and French lawyers
Speak on and on with the self same tongues,
Endlessly conjuring paradoxes
From the inevitable becoming of what always was,
While not seeing that,
Halfway between Alpha and Omega,
Meaning never tarries.
Far from the clamour of concepts,
Logic’s deepest groaning
And the murmuring of canon lawyers,
Where the voice of the Pharisees can’t carry,
In a desert place,
Where streams of certainty sink
Into wind-carved drifts,
Detritus of doctrines,
Dunes of failed declamations,
Leaving only a stillness to mark their bubbling passage,
Refugees from denunciation,
Survivors of the cruel Constative,
Seek only the sweet subjunctive there,
Each the other to sustain,
With mere possibility,
And the manna of unknowing.