Posts

Knowledge

Image
  “I told you a lie,” said Finegas to Fionn. “The Salmon of Knowledge was to be caught by me according to the prophecy, it’s true, but it was not to be eaten by me. It was given to you, dear son. Let you now eat up the fish.” The Boyhood of Fionn Birds give the danger-on-the-ground alarm and I see a quoll with an injured leg go limping through the garden, not bothering to stay under cover though it’s broad daylight. It’s a big male, worn out by two or maybe three years of fighting and mating; I know as soon as I see him that he’s looking for a place to die. But first he wants water. He goes to the little pool where a pot overflows into a rock hollow, easy to reach, secluded. Next day I hear ravens close to the house, on the ground where they never come, calling Strange! What’s that? and we find the quoll curled beside the water where he lay down after one last sweet mouthful. Close by, the clean bones of another quoll, almost certainly his forebear, who a few years ago also chose thi

Rivers

Image
   Fionn asked: “Would you have got as good poems by the Shannon or the Suir or by sweet  Ana Life ?”      “They are good rivers,” was the answer. “They all belong to good gods.”      “But why did you choose this river out of all the rivers?”      Finegas beamed on his pupil. “I would tell you anything,” said he, “and I will tell you that.      A prophecy was made to me that I should catch the Salmon of Knowledge in the Boyne Water.”      “And then?” said Fionn eagerly.      “Then I would have All Knowledge.”      “And after that?” the boy insisted.      “What should there be after that?” the poet retorted.                                                    The Boyhood of Fionn Chill damp, the smell of rain on the way, everything still, birds quiet. Then it’s here, a line, a band of sharp showers advancing from the southwest, breathing loud in the trees, rattling on roofs of sheds and houses. It runs off road surfaces, off compacted pastures, washing soil and gravel from disturbed gr

Readiness

Image
I catch the poems I am fit for … A man’s readiness is his limit. The Boyhood of Fionn   Four ravens annoy a grey goshawk. They don’t attack it but follow it around, landing where it lands, yelling ‘ Hawk! Down low! Here! ’ I track the sound and step outside at each crescendo when the hawk takes wing from tree to tree.  Without my glasses, hawk and ravens, brilliant in their contrast, look strangely magnified rather than diminished – unboundaried, unplaceable.  Moving leisurely, with an ‘Am I bothered?’ look, it ignores the ravens for an hour or more but is distracted enough to land at one stage in the big bluegum where brown falcons nested this year and they too get on its case.  Goshawks are ambush hunters that rely on concealment, their prey not knowing where they are; eventually, unable to hunt or rest, this one starts to look sullen, takes itself into the dense, soft greenery of a young wattle where the ravens and falcons can’t easily follow. There it sits hunched, a cabinet

Alive

Image
If trauma is untransformable experience, then any … belief [or] theory … that is simply abided by rather than personally transformed is akin to trauma. Adam Phillips   On a hot day, one of few this summer, small frogs sit at eye-level in the cucumbers and sparkle-stemmed tomato vines. They’re after whiteflies, tiny insects that appear in increasing numbers as the season progresses and crowd the undersides of leaves to feed on sap then erupt outwards like animated dandruff if their leaf is touched. As the heat intensifies, snakes and lizards disappear into whatever cool seclusion they can find. Small birds – thornbills, wrens, fantails – arrive all at once to drink and bathe in a garden water pot. Later, rain comes and goes as a thickening of fog off the sea and in it, wattlebirds talk. The pohutukawa tree has finished flowering but still the birds fly in to check – there’s not much else around. Garden grevilleas power on but I haven’t seen any eucalypt blossom despite the wet; mayb

Respond

Image
" Including human people, critters are in each other’s presence, or better, inside each other’s tubes, folds, and crevices, insides and outsides, and not quite either. The decisions and transformations so urgent in our times for learning again, or for the first time, how to become less deadly, more response-able, more attuned, more capable of surprise, more able to practice the arts of living and dying well in multispecies symbiosis, sympoeisis, and symanimagenesis on a damaged planet, must be made without guarantees or the expectation of harmony with those who are not oneself – and not safely other, either. Neither One nor Other, that is who we all are and always have been. "                          Donna Haraway  So. Again. Restless, waiting to find the thing to bring and here it is: dragonflies hunt a sunlit clearing in a stand of young wattles. There, on a carpet of dusty grasses among clumps of sedge and cranberry heath and nibbled coprosma, tiger-coloured butterflies