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This light is for saints, silk,

washerwomen and pomegranates

tablecloths like marzipan waterfalls,

a plein air in which you have set your easel,

made an inventory of the afternoon’s offerings:

babies in palanquins parked

before gold and crimson precincts,

self-conscious honeymooners,

a bride as she gathers her train,

collecting hopes or clouds.


Reflections of the opposite shore

slide over the silver water

like a sheaf of photographs emerging from a tray.

Buildings of state scud like spinnakers.

A little plaque reminds those

who wander onto the soggy lawn

that a sculpture was erected, then buried there,

a standing interment,

a child’s game dressed up as a concept: there but not there. 


Like the traffic’s noise that sidles like a bookie

through the reeds growing in clusters nearby,

the sculpture still has a presence

at least in the lawn’s languid decline

even if what was momentarily feted on its green plinth,

its mocking notion, is unremembered

by picknickers in a tapestry of chamomile and pigeons

or those watching the pageantry of parasols

between pavilions open to the heat.


Returning late, light slants across bollards,

leans over the little bridge as if watching

the metal herons probe

the flagged path winding its way back

to the entrance.  A camellia

gleams at my feet as if a star had slipped

from the night’s icy, black lake.

Commended, Melbourne Poets Union Poetry Competition 2014

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