Today marked a great start to the year. My copy of Rialto 97 came in the mail today, all the way from England. It features my poem Marshall Mount Road at Dusk which placed 3rd in the Nature and Place competitions run by The Rialto and RSPB, BirdLife International, and Cambridge Conservation Initiative.
This year the competition closes 1st of March with a first place prize of a 1000 pounds.
Here's the poem:
Marshal Mount Road at Dusk
There is never, he reflected, a moment of certainty, only the illusion.
Flying foxes migrate across the dusk sky
like the morning's intentions undone
And clouds sink like tea leaves in the great bowl—day casting the last shadow of herself.
I set out south on the highway and follow tail lights
—lit synapses in the blur
Of mind. I've driven this country for what seems a lifetime; the sheoaks grown like children,
The flame trees snuffed silhouettes in the night,
still that great compass
—silent in time's declination.
Turning onto the road, two mares fold together
Beneath a Norfolk pine, and I know less than when I started. The hills and gullies
Roll like tensioned muscle;
Pectoral, bicep, flexor—aching sinews of lowland.
Sometimes I feel I've slept for half a life and it’s the swamp oak stands that are the real
Talkers—Morpheus and a pair of olive backed orioles unmoored on the flood plain.
Southwest now; in the headlights the paperbarks are half-hearted shadow puppets
—Macbeth in the leaves,
a sign of nothing, or no one,
or just the wind from the west.
It's easy to lose oneself here, in the in-between places,
hemmed in by the fence posts and rails
—Kinetographs at light speed, reflections of the day.
Here, the air is the full
Smell of kangaroo grass and manure lingering like a fresh painted wall.
The landscape writing itself, with or without me, like it always has, like it always will;
And I remember I read myself a better man at dawn
when the rose robin
Rose with purpose in the forest of tea trees and threw his back into the day.
The car rises the ridge line of a low slung hill, the paddocks fall away
into dark slits
Of valley and a lone farmer trawls the field with his spotlight. Hunting
Pockets of darkness for eyes, for motion; the cabin of his truck steams with gun powder
Death has her price—Charon's toll on the living was always more.
Further off, past the cyclopean bales of hay, heaped in decline,
the pencilled edge
Of mountain frames the stars and Cassiopeia dresses the sky in ruined beauty.