Windows of landscape & light

[Poem from 2009, published in my first poetry volume, The Post-Man Letters, Picaro Press 2010. Written on the train going to and coming back from Melbourne. Took the photo at Hillview house at Sutton Forest near here, sometimes the venue for a sculpture exhibition: a word in the landscape denoting landscape, sign and referent, post-modern landscape-as-text…]

Windows of landscape & light

Yet it can happen, suddenly, unexpectedly, and most frequently in the half-light-of-glimpses, that we catch sight of another visible order which intersects with ours and has nothing to do with it.

– John Berger, ‘Opening a Gate’

1. Going. 27/11/09

Only willows, poplars daub green
along dried creek ruts
channelling hard yellow grass

farmers’ contribution to art
rusting iron installations, video
stills of bored scrawny sheep

piles of black ironbark sleepers
chaotic as wind-blow, Beuys’
fat lumps, linear tracks

of yellow-red shale
embankment cathedrals
of mud eroding in flute

column curves hard
as nails, grey Polaroid
tree corpse icons vertical,

flat on their backs
like matchsticks an infantile
tantrum’s cascaded

for ever down a slipping
slope, a sudden white flash
of cockatoo triangulates

a power-line with a nothing sky
smudged between smoke
& dust, the train window

a movie screen flickering
mirror reflecting, insulating
mind from land back

into rapid vapid pleasures
of word & lunch (hot,
same menu after Albury)

gliding through a never-
ending fractal of fields
punctuated by tree commas

sewn & seamed by wire
stretching weak wheat sun-
light over no horizon

all this as real
as a weather report, history,
global heating, the mind

reading its sad selves
through windows framing
ever-varied patterns

of the same into the blank
end pages of Best
Poems of 2009.

2. Coming. 28/11/09

& today the sun sings again
in every thing, even the great
denuded hill near Donnybrook

the rabid row of radiata
along the wire, where there were
dreary backyard desolations

now vege plots & fruit trees
planted just outside the fence,
spindly re-growth in industrial

grass deserts now sprout
thirty year old mottled gums
leaning near a dry-stone wall

crisp, clear with shadow
& light, fat cumulus bulges
out the blue in bright

subtleties of eye-hurt white
& Gainsborough grey,
yesterday’s smudged trees

green again with the beneficence
of rain-washed light, silver-coin
puddles lining brown & grey-

gravelled rails unreeling below
the window, a sudden jacaranda
has opened its lavender eyes

among dark hair of foliage,
young eucalypts glint back
shards of breeze ripple

sparse trees are vertical islands
in beige seas of wheat
corrugated with the shift

of cloud-throw, a tin shed’s
roof some angelic semaphore
that over-amps the greedy eye.


~ by Peter Lach-Newinsky on July 8, 2017.

2 Responses to “Windows of landscape & light”

  1. such visuals these conjure!

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