March 23, 2006

In the Stars

I’m sitting next to Tim in the van, daydreaming, hands cradling my rounded belly, the baby lulled quiet by the engine and the gentle rhythm of the road. In the back, the children are asleep, mouths wide open, red hot faces and damp sticking hair. When they wake we will stop for lunch and after lunch we will move on again. We’re not going anywhere in particular, just meandering, letting one thing lead to the next.

After months on the road our days have formed a regular rhythm. Sometimes the children cry and grumble and the van fills with a sharp tension. Sometimes they play happily together and Tim and I spend time savouring long conversations. Often we sing along to children’s tapes, songs and nursery rhymes, played over and over. But there are also quiet times like now, when the children sleep or just stare out. Then we pass hours moving through flat landscape with low bush, termite mounds for as far as we can see, dry riverbeds, the occasional car … Regularly we see kangaroos, usually dead on the side of the road, their bodies swollen with the heat, or carcasses half devoured by Wedge Tailed Eagles who rise into the sky as we pass. The monotony has its own sort of beauty. There’s something hypnotic about it, something about the vast expanses that makes us look inward.


Between Them

People give all sorts of things away:
opportunities, newspapers,
old clothes, poker hands,
even their hearts.
Sometimes a baby.



There are things at which I cannot look:
waves crashing on rocks far below
my children hovering at the edge
of an abyss
just out of my reach.
I cannot look at the second it takes
to turn one thing
into another.
And the way time doesn’t heal
though they say it will.

Averting my eyes
I circle
this seeping wound,
afraid of what I might see:
a knife embedded deep within,
or rough hands tearing a baby
from its mother.

March 1, 2006

Ode to an Oak

it is still
bare branches
trace an abstract pattern
of light and dark
paint a pointillist picture

under the oak tree
it feels safe
branches curve
across the sky
sweep the ground
a giant skirt
I am safe inside its circle
how steady it is
how certain
in the midst of blaring traffic
scurrying feet
the frenzied rush of time

cradled here like this
I am sturdy and strong
roots reaching deep into the earth
trunk stretching to the sky
limbs moving in nature’s dance
cradled here like this
the centre of me is

Tall Orders

I’ve lost my voice.
I left it behind, one ragged night
when the moon didn’t rise,
to help guide me back from the dark place inside.

I need a new voice,
or even an old.
Something raw and quite fresh,
fearless and strong
that shouts out to the sky,
falls gentle as snow.

Are you a fool?
Do you embrace the absurd?
Inhabit the wide spaces between black and white?
Do you speak only truth,
stick pins into dogma,
and cry out from the depths of your soul?
If you reach towards loneliness,
like a flower to the sun,
and can sit with the stillness. . .

Then please apply.