After yet another warning from scientists about the impending end of the world

By | 1 February 2020

Let’s look around the place, here, this farmlet,
southern highlands, late October in a year records are again broken.
I still don’t understand it. Even as I prattle on to visitors
of its few successes, many failures. Can I really see it?

Always that film of ideas, memories, comparing, imagining, like veils of mists
coming up from Bundanoon’s deep gorges, channelling the Tasman
up through sandstone ravine funnels hitting high coolth
to merrymake mushrooms, mood magic, droplet cobwebs, bee diseases.

Mostly though, wheeling skyscapes pushed by westerlies
from sandy ebbtide cirrus to rolling king-tides of cumulus
backlit by sunsets like last sputterings of some senescing fire somewhere
invisible just over the horizon blocked by tangents of trees.

Night tends to fall like a sentence, stars its letters
spelling patterns we no longer see. How to explain this longing
for something else? Something not to be measured in algorithms,
there and not there, central and peripheral, a bend in unbeing

bending you into Is. The Southern Cross wheels yet is always going south.
Although the buddleias have unbloomed, woodwhites, jezebels
still jinx and suck. Our slow-dying dog Billy stumbles in to beg for food,
his remaining passion as his legs give way, lungs rasp

louder towards some crescendo-diminuendo I am avoiding. Ask not
for whom the bowl empties, it empties for thee.
Soundscapes around here always mix machine, mind and wild,
the steady techno of swamp frog, dull sigh of plane or train

receding into the comforting abstractions of distance.
Magpies, ravens chase away raptors and are praised daily
in the rabbits’ subterranean temples. One rifle blast and I can wait
at least twenty minutes before another whiskers the air.

It would be nice to say these rodent moon-makers were my roshis
in patience and detachment from headcount and slow-cooked stew.
Farming is about killing things. Killing ancestors that made us.
Some say the expiation comes from preparing the food

with heart, mind in the right place. I wouldn’t bet on it.
Apparently some Buddhist cold-climate carnivores
foist the karma onto the man with gun and knife. No one’s perfect.
I used to only eat meat I’d killed, riding out the sheep’s

spurting spasms after I’d slit its throat. Getting too old for that, so now
it’s also others’ organic because it builds the soil. But who knows.
Vegan seems cleaner, thus suspect, and I’d miss the bloody mystery
of dark resurrection and dying-to-live.

This spring, with days of welcome wind-shifting curtains of drizzle
heading off another record drought, there’ve been more small birds.
Waves of yellow-rumped thornbills seem to share the insected grass,
trunks and air with red-browed firetails, the odd restless flycatcher

outwinging their flanks. For the first time variegated fairy wren,
spotted pardalote have sat at our sill demanding entrance
to our forbidden cave. May the tiny star-speckled wonders of their eggs
rest safe some place unknown to the winged, sharp-beaked

brains gracing the sleek black shoulders of corvids and butcher birds.
How much longer before the dark angel of blindness
touches my maculate eyes with his immaculate feather? I can feel him
shuffling in the wings. Will I navigate the final times

in the new tough light of sound, sense and senseless,
the metallic whir of robotic drones replace the oneiric buzzing of bees?

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