Both sides of me – glass. Across the street – glass.
A township’s reflection in silicate.
I watch a car, I see it three times pass.
Gleditsia – a sunburst in triplicate.
Waitress serves coffee, delivers it thrice.
A school bus on route to three destinations.
Thread of pedestrians – a three-way splice.
Parked vans in parallel situations.
An over-weight figure stretches and shrinks.
From the pavement’s perspective, three lines switch.
A chain of clients making awkward links.
Three panels of distortion – a triptych.
. The arcade – a see-through kaleidoscope.
. A visual illusion of words in trope.
To the reader: Taree is a small town on the central coast of eastern Australia. Over three mornings, I found myself in a coffee-spot, positioned in a neat and tidy arcade, overlooking a sleepy main-street. With glass all about me, I peered out from within my squared-off telescope and captured a kaleidoscope of reflections; as the town began its business: in country towns the streets are wide, with rows of trees on either side.
To the poet: As a stranger in town, you are invisible on the first and second day. By day-three, however, your regular habits have been revealed and noted by the observant local. The guy behind the counter knows your coffee-preference, the waitress works around your table-setting of books and pens. There’s a polite expectation, not quite an obligation, that you explain your purpose. Towns, just like people, are a little suspicious of strangers with pad and paper.
I’ve sapped this scene of all there is to write;
nothing more to draw from its sketchy frame.
Anything left to say is said in spite
of inspiration; lyric’s lilt is lame.
Woman in the corner shuffles her stuff,
skuffles by my table, and then she stops:
“Oh, you’re a poet” she says. Sure enough
she wants to chat, she hovers, then she props.
Her life’s story starts with George: “That Bastard”
who left her in ’89; battered wife
left to pick up the pieces, a discard
who’s deal it is to share – trouble and strife.
. Rhonda Sewell – the woman of seven wells.
. Well connected to Bradman – so she tells.
To the reader: With trepidation I engaged with Rhonda. She had broken my creative bubble and had entered my preciously guarded meditative zone. She was not one to regard my space as sacrosanct. Disarmed, I surrendered to her nomadic narrative. As her story unfolded it became clear she was in transit. Rhonda rode the Australian train system sharing stories with strangers; coast to coast she lived her own anthology.
To the poet: Check out “Travellers by Rail” where long-time traveller Rhonda Sewell states: “I love the SunLander because you can buy bacon and eggs for breakfast on it… you can’t get that on a plane. And the only thing you can see on a plane is the bloody clouds” http://www.railpage.com.au/news/article-4325 Need the poet say anymore? I think not.
It’s the noble cause that warrants journey;
so traversed, deserves a destination.
It’s not the distance, for its own sake, earns the
merit – might just call that transportation.
It’s the rough road, made of grit and gravel
that carves its credentials in the landscape.
It’s the ruts that give substance to travel;
the ruggedness of route that gives it shape.
It’s persistence gives a path persuasion,
makes possible a new course of action.
It’s that step, as steeped in preparation,
that gives the next stride its satisfaction.
. Distance, as travel, is all but pretend,
. Substance, the measure of a journey’s end.
To the reader: The journey and its destination. The ‘long and winding road’ that through a series of encounters leads you back to yourself renewed… it’s this road you most fruitfully travel. It’s not the high-road, it’s not the low-road; no, it’s the middle road that offers guidance and a pathway to discovery. A worthy road must do more than transport it must transform.
To the poet: According to the Buddha, it’s better to travel well than arrive. Likewise, the writing process must not treat the end as its purpose. The end does not come forward without a journey. As words seek expression they uncover meanings and reveal conclusions that are in the present formed of wonder; they deliver surprise. So, wonder and surprise are partners in the narrative of life.
To a hillside, a crop of houses cling,
overlook a harbour; a city-port.
White-washed walls absorb a sunlit morning.
Train-tracks and traffic underline a thought.
Birds, gulls and terns, etch the sky with traces
of a coastal breeze; pelicans are drifting.
There’s a long wharf with cargo in cases.
Cranes begin a day of heavy-lifting.
Yellow bus gives way to a staggered start;
the zig-zag pattern of a day takes shape.
A city’s plan runs the way of nature’s art;
suburban portrait draws a cityscape.
. From the suburbs a cityscape is drawn;
. sunshine (as the artist) draws best at dawn.
To the reader: A new day deserves a fresh dawn. The shadows of yesterday cast aside. And so it was in New Zealand when I woke to a brand new vista. The harbour was already abuzz with import/export activity; an intermingling of nature and business trading terms of interests. The hillside-suburbs, slow to wake, were beginning to stir. Life resembling art…
To the poet: … and who was the artist? The sun. In every respect, this consummate colourist was controlling the medium. The pallet was crisp, not saturated, with cool blues and deep greens. A yellow hue was attending to dark remnants of lingering night. The solid canvas of horizontal swatches became animated with small features of meandering life … drifting, sifting; lifting the day on its way to a zenith noon.