At the Wingecarribee River

Monday, August 31, 2015
M. S. O'Shaughnessy



There are clues in its double existence, this river

and its greenish banks subsiding quietly

This morning a bit of tea-tree was writing the kayak upturned

on the darkened water, and the reeds and grasses

were drawn along the slicky turf, dragging; it felt like the end

of a story I tell you    What is this new season?

It’s mid August and already the wind is tearing clumps

of wattle, setting it in heaps       I have walked this track a year

when dreams were clearly something tender and the beginning of summer

called Come here like a tropical bird      I saw the fragile light

move the casaurina shadow toward the ledge

on the opposite shore      A variety

of dogs that seemed to want to roll with the current

like so many logs        And then winter arriving late, as though

a forgetful man might excuse himself

by hurling himself at the hosts, being helpful       The rain

smattering the trees, hail in droves

handfuls of ice thrown onto iron rooves

onto cars, onto hills       I’d wake, dress, climb

a slope where potholes were ice frozen with twigs, fur, bones      

And at night the moon went snowy       Then the next month, the warm air

again sailed through the branches, and we asked

Already?      The cold had not yet left our different condition

Cracks appeared      I saw a moorhen swimming the thin brown stream

with seven chicks, then four, then none; we didn’t know

if it was a fox or those three nights when there was a sudden frost        

See, you say, all settled forms are coming apart       And I think, the land

repeats our gestures       The currawong’s nest       I saw

it fall       Sometimes I just want to hold things together       

When I look at the large boulder on the bend I want to wrap

my arms around it       When I see the stand of blackbutts dancing

there is a restlessness, like the pages of a book

left out in a windswept yard


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