A Poem By Brett Dionysius

NARROW-LEAFED CAMPION
Silene Stenophylla, 32,000 BCE

Why have you woken me from my dragon-sleep?

Such dreams I had as I lay, a hundred feet below

The earth in my refrigerated cavern as the frost 

Groaned & snored through thirty millennia & 

Buried me as a worm guards its soil-dark treasure. 

Dreams of the furred giants who nibbled my limbs, 

Their herculean bones encircling me like a ritual 

Site snares a sundial, or granite star-map. I dreamt 

I was dropped like a kitten from its mother’s mouth;

Half-chewed, a spore these large squirrels missed, 

But the ice did not. We met then as friends who

Sometimes meet unexpectedly in a far-off land

& are surprised; their face – the sun coming out

From behind a cloud. At the right time, we bloom.

Note: In 2012, a team of Russian scientists discovered seeds of the plant Silene stenophylla, buried 32,000 years previously by an Ice Age squirrel. They successfully germinated the plant, bringing it back to life – the oldest plant ever to be regenerated.

Poem by Brett Dionysius

BR Dionysius was founding Director of the Queensland Poetry Festival. He has published four collections of poetry, two chapbooks, an artist’s book and a verse novel. His eighth collection, Weranga, was released in 2013. He was shortlisted in the 2017 Montreal International Poetry Prize. He teaches English, lives in Brisbane and in his spare time watches birds.

About the contributor

Related Articles

What Vachel Lindsay Said- Will Reger

  What Vachel Lindsay Said What Vachel Lindsay saidin faithful song he shoutedfull-cocked, full-blownfull-throated,until his evening felland music went out of the bonein the blast of...

Public Decree. Poetrry by Peter Cowlam

PUBLIC DECREES All is transparency, rose red in the black white squares of dawn, a pale electric in an afternoon...

Three Poems by Mark Tredinnick

Australian poet Mark Tredinnick’s poetry is a nothing less than a hymn of gratitude to the natural world and a rare rhythmical treat!

3 COMMENTS

More Like This

One Poem by Emilie Collyer

Don’t be deceived by the gentle opening to this work by Australian poet and playwright Emilie Collyer, which toys with darker implications in an old photograph.

Beach Watch – Charlotte McCormac

SLIPPING THE SHELVES Skim shelves of old typography, letters that have faded into age. Some in their ninth life, pawed at so many...

Poetry by Frankie McMillan

Frankie McMillan was winner of the New Zealand Poetry International competition (2009)

2 Poems by Marilyn Humbert

Sydney Poet, Marilyn Humbert

1 Poem by John Bartlett

History and a lingering sense of grief come together in this haunting work by Australian poet John Bartlett which delves into the enduring legacy of Mary, Queen of Scots.