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ADELAIDE Independent Monthly Literary Magazine / Revista Literária Independente Mensal, New York / Lisboa, Online Edition  

 




 

 



 

 

 

 

 

GHOST GUMS
by Jan Napier

 

 

 

 

PINK QUARTZ PEBBLE

Who knows how to speak the philosophy of stone?
Each pebble dust humble but not easily formed for all that.  

Born of heat lacking in pain and expectation,
skin rough and lightly pink, crystalline meld of silica
and oxygen warms in the hand after a moment spent

in touch, and is relevant, always relevant, as a red
feather dropped, or tadpole ponded in a universe
as mysterious and necessary as any.

No sin splits its existence. So if frost and fire and soil
conspire to alter place or structure, unbuild it to some
new symmetry, then nothing is lost, that too being strange

and perfect and marvellous as sunlight on lemons,
or the brownian motion of tea in a cup.

Landscaped as part of matrix, this small god, translucent
and ever as the rest, was there at the beginning, but
who knows how endings go?

 

 

 

 

 

GHOST GUMS

Ghost gums, signage etched in desert
tells nomads where water rests far below
limestone; eroded caverns smashed, Devonian,

home to beetles and mites, echidna,
numbat, lizard, mummified, dried; cave fish
flickering like tapers lit to defend

against darkness; deeper lithography
alive with myths, glyphs, sea creatures seared
into dreaming, ciphers to pools secreted

before stories. Roots of these eucalypts crack rock,
suck softness far from parch. Women filling
emu eggs from seepage, glance at wagyl

on boulder; white ochre trees, yodelling
dingoes, smoke of birds, each easy to read
as spoor of explorer and horse drooping exhausted
further into the dry.

 

 

 

 

 

Eqalussaq
(Greenland Shark)

far
far
below
Inuits skimming skin kayaks         uncertain bergs      foghorn’s mourning
d
o
w
n
where the world is dark and fluid      there giants swim
fin slow    slow     kilometres      seek and feed
where ship bones broken by pack ice snap and crack
men’s soft pink bodies
m
o
t
i
n
g
into silt
sliding beyond kraken’s haunt       sharks hear nothing but skreek
of floe      faint scrape of walrus tusking molluscs

 

      observe short sighted scientists in habitats of tin
goggling at depths netted to empty       metal tick ticking
limits      as caught in flash’s actinic shock      tasting
only tainted water       monsters cruise deeper

      pursue the surety of obscurity    
become mythic      and not yet extinct
s
i
n
k     
into shamanic vision

 

 

 

About the Author:

Jan Napier is a Western Australian poet whose work has been showcased in anthologies and journals both at home and overseas. Jan’s first poetry collection Thylacine, was launched in 2015.

 

 

 




 




 

 

 

     
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