I take the brush-cutter out of the shed,
For it is time once more to slash tall grass,
A tangled and impenetrable hedge
Choking the dam. Once there I prime the gas,
Pull on the cord, adjust the throttle as
The engine kicks and sputters into action,
Then shoulder the strap, making a slow pass
With the great, whizzing blade, section by section
Subjecting nature’s ruins to a man’s correction.
It has been my intent for many years
To turn this dam into a landscaped pond.
It burst some years ago. The water clears
Slowly, as faith does in a broken bond.
There is no such thing as a magic wand.
Sometimes I have lost hope but I return
Time and again to work the stubborn ground,
Imagining the scene when I am done,
Lawn sloping to clean water ducks will quack upon.
Somewhere within this fortress grass I know
A brown snake lurks, her scales like polished brass,
Her eyes black coals, her movements sure but slow
Until she senses an intruder pass,
When she uncoils from the much-too-much grass
A lethal spring. I’ve met this cool bitch twice.
Twice she came short, incising where I was,
Expending all her fury in a trice,
A gambler’s fling. She sure would like to make it thrice.
She won’t come near me while the blade is spinning,
Despite her fangs, her archaic weaponry,
Because survival still depends on winning.
I have replaced the Aborigine,
Tuned to the rhythm of the didgeri-
doo when the fire-place roared and the hillsides rang
With dreams now vanished from all memory.
He kept the tempo of the world he sang
With a rotating wooden blade, the boomerang.
This is written in Spenserian stanzas. Strictly speaking, the boomerang was only used by some tribes in the centre of Australia but throwing sticks were universal and they all looked rather like boomerangs. More needs to be added to the poem, I guess, but this will do for now.
18 May 2014
26 August 2015