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, 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.
Inuits skimming skin kayaks uncertain bergs foghorn’s mourning
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
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
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.