‘THE NATURE OF ICE’ AN ENCHANTMENT
I scavenge for breath, swallow electricity, dream ice.
Snowflakes kiss the brow of the window
on the captain’s bridge. Filigreed skeletons
of crystal emerge from this slurry
under the massage of the wind. Growlers
scatter the ocean while the chasms below
sing with blue whales and giant squid. King penguins
hug landcusps channelled by glaciers rich
in imprisoned oxygen. The gas slips its knots
with a turquoise grace when the glaciers
calve and marry the sea in sculpted rituals.
I wake to heat beneath the skin.
The newly haloed-couple before us, tuxedo
and tulle gown like nuptial plumes, their wedding dance
once precise steps become as breath; ours is hushed.
I recall a brolga on a visit to Kakadu, in legend
a young girl who gambolled like an aurora and dreamed
herself wings in the fledgling dawn. Stately in courtship,
she bobbed her head, bowed, flexed, launched
a cloud-skimming leap and jeté of continents.
THE PATRON SAINT OF POLITICIANS
(Saint Thomas the Apostle, the Doubting Thomas)
An itch to unshackle the world led me into late night
trawls through libraries and textbooks. A sentence tripped
me up. It swelled into a credo I sang as a miracle in a choir
I joined courtesy of a poster on a telegraph pole.
We marched the streets, knocked on doors and proclaimed
salvation on Sunday afternoons on step ladders in the shade
of a buttressed fig. The light glinting off the nearby
gallery’s sandstone haloed our earnestness.
unheard through the dutiful years that followed, we began
to argue over split infinitives and irrelevance crept
in like a mist.
I hitched a ride on a mainstream bus
where, while shepherding wayward voters through banners
and leaflet litter, I was schooled in the virtue of achievement
and unearthed a talent for parsing the middle ground. Persistence
awarded me a seat of suburbs and handshakes, a weekend
of dedication stones and the confection of heroes.
Now my life is undulation,
a sea of moods,
ears of wind,
a self I submit for appropriation.
In the chamber they once knew me as combative and relentless
when on song,
whereas I now nurture within a dancer’s form,
a rhythm of silken steps and wind-ribbon limbs.
Even when the speeches are drought-inflected,
my face plain as curtain,
I am warmed by heel-spark
on a flinted floor.
There is a man not of this world anointed for us,
who was also
trammelled by quarrel
and doubt, who parted
his leader’s ribs
and thrust into the maw
in search of truth.
But I tremble at shaping myself to his choreography, for I seek
more what is kind than what is true.