At The Broinowski gate
A busload of adolescents and bureaucrats trade frisbees
dispelling the parterre’s formality. The design emerges
only when they leave: determined bights
for the older varieties, and then, in longer tines,
some climbers and the flash of floribunda.
A tennis court behind its arbours.
An autumnal gust turns the light adamantine.
The afternoon’s corners curl like an old photograph’s.
For a moment, it’s 1931: a million minds are summoned
to great squares, throngs approach history’s ramparts
but that “thin, querulous fellow” sees,
laid out in the paddocks’ blank hansards,
spread before the hills’ dusty asperities
a hedged, a decorous passion:
procedures laid out,
protocols bedded down
etiquette clasped in green sepals
the carmine calyx unfolding
at a subscribed nation’s heart.
Commended - ACT Poetry Prize 2009