from Long White Cloud
all cattle seem to face one way?
The weather’s from the west, it’s true;
the rain, the wind. But then it may
a vague awareness that they are,
for all the slowness of the grass,
converging on the abattoir.
left the pressure of a name
on mountains, rivers, creeks and headlands.
The British could not do the same.
they found they had to be content
with generals and kilt nostalgia,
no longer meaning what they meant.
was set there solely to be drained
and so their colonists ensured
that very few such sloughs remained.
that ‘wetland’ is a nicer name –
and so, with friends, they’ve slowly swapped
their dry flats for a swamp again.
They make their poetry from it.
END WORKS threatens Armageddon.
Death’s more sudden with ICE/GRIT.
is that sign in mountain air,
five thousand feet above the ocean,
promising us SEAL REPAIR.
Scots who came here via Peru
several generations back.
Your father’s in their faces too.
the photographs and family names.
Who knows when we’ll meet up next?
Meanwhile, this friendship of the veins.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Geoff Page is a Canberra-based poet. The most recent of his eighteen collections are Agnostic Skies (Five Islands Press) and Seriatim (Salt, UK). His 60 Classic Australian Poems is due out in 2009. He made a reading tour of New Zealand in August/September 2008.