Speaking for the Sandstone Country

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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.

Hesed (Heb: tender loving-kindness)

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Banksia Ericifolia: Grows in the Sandstone Country

Where there is love, There is God.

A lot of people speak occasionally of God,
Some talk of God a lot,
Some say she’s here,
And some say there,
And scarcely hesitate
To legislate
Her very nature.

But I would wish to hear
The claim she makes herself, and tremble even to appear to want to draft God-governing laws.

Whose belly gripes for want of power,
(To make a better world, of course),
Omnipotence alone will fill.

Those whose bleeding guilt
Condemns them to an endless thirst for righteousness,
Will have none but a perfect, distant God to slake it.

While those whose flesh is burned by the coals of rage,
Spilled on them undeserved, by indifferent lovers,
Clamour for the strictest justice in their God;

And the vanity of wisdom
Leaves her devotees relishing the rolling cadence
Of their second hand omniscience.

Strangely enough,
The actual occupant of the high, celestial throne
Is singularly reticent.
She who is…is alpha and omega,
Overflowing with a mother’s tender love,
Slow to anger and ready to forgive,
Herself saying nothing much
About an omni-this or omni-that.

And one of us
Has figured in this world.
Immanent in service,
Signing forth,
In brightness and in darker ways
The living shape of Hesed.