Thursday, 15 May 2008

Reflections by Duncan Fraser

Driving down to Bellbird Corner,
whippet tense with anticipation on the seat beside me,
sun shining down from a nearly cloudless sky,
yet it’s winter next week.

The dew’s still on the grass
but the earth is dry without the fickle rain,
it’s different now to when I was a boy on Bellbird Farm,
the weather’s changed.

Along the wombat track
the sound of spinebills’ beating wings is all around us,
the mistletoe’s in flower on dying blackwoods,
sweet nectar for the birds.

We’ve reached the river bend,
where riding in to school so many years ago
we heard bell tones, and looked to find the songsters in the trees,
they’re not there now.

Newry Creek is barely running,
a gentle trickle through the roots and logs,
clear tannic water green azolla frosted, soon to meet
the river’s muddy welcome.

A faint call lifts my head,
my first known raptor, a Whistling Kite,
head down, weaving lazy circles in the blue,
we called them eagles then.

Open the gate to let Jock through,
he doesn’t like the tight-strung wires,
the Golden Wattles by the fence are budding up already,
yet it’s winter next week.

To home now through the dips
once spanned by white-railed timber bridges,
it must be twenty years since they last saw a flood,
the weather’s changed.

Pause for a quiet look out north,
old Ben, rising blue on the far horizon,
whippet still hunting, like Toby sixty years ago,
some things never change.

Duncan Fraser, Australia

1 comment:

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